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My Nikon 70-300mm AF-P non VR review

December 18, 2017 Lens Review

 

whats up!! Hope you are enjoying your Christmas holidays.

As we get close to the end of another amazing year, I would like to keep my promise. For those new here, my name is Billy Miaron, a photographer and Nikonite by love. Earlier this year I had reviewed my favourite lens, the 50mm f1.8g Prime lens. Today I am going to review another lens on my camera bag; the Nikkor 70-300mm AF-P non VR.

Nikkor AF-P 70-300MM 4.5-6.3 ED

Having used a 50mm prime lens as my main lens for over an year, I needed a lens that would compliment its con which was lack of zoom capability. So I went for a lens that starts close to 50mm focal length and the 70-300mm was what I needed. I visited Nikon Shop at TRM and I had to choose between a VR and a non VR lens but the VR lens was more expensive. So I settled for the non-VR since I knew I was just using it for a project and probably resell it later.

This is one of the cheapest telephoto lens in the market. I bought it for 24,000ksh at Image Solutions a few months ago and decided to give it a test.

It has a great Telephoto:70-300mm with a wide aperture of 4.5-6.3

The first thing I noticed and loved about this lens is its silent but super fast auto-focus. Thanks to the AF-P technology.

When do I use it:

  • I use this lens outdoors when shooting still subjects and I need a clean background blur(bokeh) without getting too close to the subject. This results in making the subject stand out.
  • I also use it when shooting portraits and closeups of slow moving objects that are far from me.
  • When shooting in bright daylight using fast shutter speeds (from 1/400s)

Where I don’t use it:

  • When shooting in slow shutter speeds, hand held. This lens lacks Vibration Reduction and so is pron to camera shake. Minimal shutter speed I would recommend is 1/125s when using this lens.
  • When shooting in tight space. The minimal focal length for this lens is 70mm and I would not recommend using it in tight spaces unless you don’t want everything to be in the frame.
  • When shooting at fast shutter speeds in low light

 

Here are a few photos I took using this lens this year mounted on a crop sensor  Nikon D5200 camera.

Exif: 135mm 1/200 f5 Iso 320

Took this shot for Bmpicz Photography classes somewhere in the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. (Yeah I offer private photography classes) It was during the golden hour and the sun was setting behind the trees in the background. I had a softbox below the child to lighten him up….Luckily, I have a behind the scene photo of this photo. See photo below

To achieve this shot, I asked the child to stand on a rock and I had to squat on so that i was on a lower level than the child and made him to appear big and standout. See the smooth background blur the lens provides. Below is a behind the scene photo of how i took this shot.

 

In october, I was contracted by a Canadian based Sandals store, Karoline Toronto to do a fashion commercial for their African print sandals. The client wanted a natural outdoor setup with models dressed in the sandals. One of the clients favorite photo which happens to be their current cover photo is the one below. See more photos on their store.

I took this shot under direct sunlight and asked my assistant to use a reflector to fill in the shadows. I was lying on the ground when taking the shot and thats how I was able to capture the grass in the foreground. Notice the shallow depth of field created at 300mm.

Sandals shot for Karoline Toronto. Exif: 300mm 1/250 f10 ISO 160

The photo below was taken indoors in very low light. I shot it in monochrome. The client was a sketch artist who wanted me to capture a low key photo of the model. Using only one light source from a speedlight on the left of the model, I was able to capture this detailed shot handheld.

African woman exif: 85mm 1/250 f9 ISO:100

For the love of the Nikon. This was my first photo using this lens. Took it at the rooftop of my apartment during golden hour. I had my friend facing the golden sunset holding the Nikon Lens cap. With a little post processing, I was able to bring out the details on the lens cap and achieved this beautiful image.

For the love of Nikon. Exif: 102mm f7.1 1/800 ISO 200

Same settings as photo above

 

Take a close look at the photo I took below of Nyawira of Curves with style . The image looks decent but some motion blur can be noticed at the edges of the image. This is because I took this photo with a slow shutter speed resulting in camera shake. This is one of the biggest drawbacks of non VR lenses.

150mm 1/100 f5 ISO200

A little rim lighting won’t hurt right? Rim lighting is one of my favourite photography technique. The photo below was taken during the Fomo Party festival at carnivore grounds. This couple was enjoying a perfomance on stage and the rimlight on the lady’s hair caught my eye and begged for a photo. How could I resist it?  Notice the image isn’t sharp. This is because I shot handheld at a slow shutterspeed of 1/40 resulting in camera shake. But still, I prefer getting a poor image than failing to get it at all.

102mm 1/40 f5.6 ISO 800

 

Here is another reason why this lens is perfect for shooting still subjects outdoors using daylight. I shot this photo at almost maximum focal length. I shot at 260mm lying down on the ground and captured great detail of this dog. Don’t ask me what would have happened if i shot it using a 50mm lens and had to get closer to the dog. I value my life. haha

260mm f6 1/160 ISO 125

 

Ever heard that a speedlight can help you to freeze motion and reduce motion blur when shooting at slow shutter speeds? Well. I am here to tell you the same. Recall the Rim-light photo above? I shot the photo below at the same place. The difference is that I used a speedlight to highlight my subject and freeze the moment. I used a slow shutter speed of 1/50 so as to capture the ambient stage lights behind the subject.

75mm f5.6 1/50 ISO 640

 

This lens works perfectly at fast shutter speeds. I took the photo below earlier this December at the Kids Park in Garden City while covering their festive season highlights. See how the water was frozen behind the child.

exif: 230mm f8 1/2000 ISO 400

One advantage of using telephoto lenses for portraits, like the 70-300mm is the fact that you can create a dramatic scene in the frame from a not very pleasant location. see the photo below and how I shot it.

exif: 70mm f6.3 1/250 ISO 200

To take this photo, I had two external speedlights. one on the right of the model in a softbox and another on the left separating him from the dim sunset background. see the photo below for the setup.

Wish I could share all photos taken with this lens, but that would be a very long article.

Now that I have shown you what I could do with the lens on a d5200 camera body, here is my summarized review of the Nikkor 70-300mm non VR lens.

Pros:

  • Great price. One of the cheapest Telephoto lens
  • Great focal coverage (70-300mm)
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Decent image quality
  • Fast and accurate AF
  • AF-P stepper motor is fast and quiet
  • Small size and Light
  • Decent aperture and not going beyond f/5.6 which is fine

Cons:

  • AF-P does not work on older cameras (the D1, D2, D3 or D4 series, the D800, D700, D610, D600, D300 series, D200, D100, D90, D80, D70 series, D60, D50, D40 series, D7000, D5100, D5000, D3200, D3100 or D3000. It also won’t work on any 35mm camera. Nikon cautions that you need to have the latest firmware installed for it to work on the D5500, D5300 or D3300)
  • No VR! Great drawback at long end. At 300 mm, your slowest shutter speed can be 1/250 s which means any low light photography is just ruled out. Either that or suffer camera shake/ handshake vibrations and blurring.

My recommendations:

If your type of photography involves low light situations, I would not recommend you using this lens, unless your camera is on a tripod and you are shooting still objects or with speedlights and strobes. For outdoor photographers, this is a cheap alternative to the expensive 70-300mm f2.8 lens. It works perfectly under daylight and can come in very handy when shooting closeups with a clean, creamy bokeh.

It works perfectly when shooting at high shutter speeds in bright daylight.

You can achieve some beautiful results with this lens. However, if you want better results, you could add extra cash and purchase the VR lens which produces sharper images and has great image stabilization and optics.

To purchase this and other Nikon Products in Kenya, I would recommend buying online at Image Solutions or visiting their shop at TRM or the new Village Market Nikon Shop.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to drop a comment and share with other camera enthusiasts.

Blessed Holidays. Yours photographer, Miaron Billy

 

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15 comments

  1. Whenever i want to give myself a challenge in photography, i look at your work and say i have a local role model that i look upto and pray that someday i can also touch people with the art of photography…salute brother

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