Nikon Australia has announced January 28 availability of the first Nikkor AF-P lenses – the AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G,
So what distinguishes an ‘AF-P’ lens from other Nikkors? Nikon Australia’s press office didn’t want to worry our pretty little heads about such a trifle, but elsewhere in the Nikon world more pedantic PR people explained that AF-P lenses ‘achieve fast and quiet AF with adoption of a stepping motor for AF drive operation’. Apparently Nikon 1 format lenses use stepping motors.
And though the two lenses have the same focal and aperture range, and both also carry the ‘G’ designation, one has image stabilisation (VR) while the other doesn’t.
(First press release of the year – a golden opportunity to express the hope that the photo industry will this year employ more PR people who know of which they write. Anyways…)
More on stepping motor advantages (not in the press release): Nikon claims a 25 percent sound reduction in the AF drive. Nikon further claims they deliver smoother AF movements, ‘as well as speed boosts in both phase-detection AF (approximately 10 times) and contrast-detection AF (approximately 3.5 times.)’ This is apparently Nikon’s version of Canon’s STM (‘Smooth Transitions for Motion’) lenses, which also use stepping motors for smooth and near-silent focusing. V good for video.
– ‘Unobtrusive, discreet and fast, the lenses utilise stepping motors to drive autofocus performance’;
– Utilisation of aspherical lens elements that ‘effectively suppress various types of aberrations’;
– Camera shake compensation in the VR model ‘equivalent to a shutter speed effect of 4.0 stops faster’;
– Light and compact, with retractable lens barrels. The VR version measures only 64.5mm (diameter) by 62.5mm (length) when retracted, and has a weight of approximately 205g. The non-VR version is about the same.
Both have 12 lens elements in 9 groups, with 2 aspherical elements to combat aberrations to improve image quality. They feature a 7-blade rounded aperture, a 25cm minimum focus distance, and a filter thread size of 55mm.
The Nikon press release directs media to retailers to find out the RRP of Nikon products. But with the lenses not available for another three weeks, that’s not very helpful. Sorry readers.