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Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Review

John Riley reviews the new wide-angle Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR zoom lens for APS-C Nikon Digital SLRs.

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Handling and Features
Nikkor 10 20mm Front Oblique View

The AF-P DX Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR lens is a small, light optic and hardly seems to add any bulk or weight to the D7500 DX format body used for this review. Intended for use on APS-C format DSLRs, manufactured with extensive use of lightweight plastics, do we have here another “Plastic Fantastic”? Let's find out.


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Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Handling and Features

Nikon 10 20mm DX VR (3)

There's no denying the usefulness of the 10-20mm range, on the APS-C format this being a “35mm format equivalent” of 15-30mm. The 230g weight and restricted aperture of f/4.5 to f/5.6 all help to contribute towards the miniscule form factor. There is even VR (Vibration Reduction) built in, the on/off selection being controlled from within the camera menus. Also controlled by the camera are the aperture and the AF/MF selection. All this no doubt saves space in the actual lens construction itself.

The front element is surrounded by a 72mm filter thread and this in turn is surrounded by the bayonet fitting for the (supplied) petal lens hood. There is a thin manual focusing ring, fully active during AF as well as MF, and this allows a maximum magnification of 0.17x at the closest distance of 0.22m, or 0.8 feet.

The only other control on the lens is the wide zoom ring, with the settings marked very clearly at 10, 12, 14, 16 and 20mm.

If the lens is removed from the camera body, this reveals a plastic mount and a baffle to help reduce flare. Plastic mounts can be perfectly serviceable and durable and with such a light lens this is not likely to become an issue. The mount is fixed to the lens by just three screws where some lenses may have up to five even on plastic mounts, but to be fair it does seem solid.

Compatibility lists are provided in the instructions as the use of older Nikon bodies is not supported by the lens. In some cases the bodies that are usable may need a firmware upgrade to use the lens correctly.

Nikkor 10 20mm Top View At 20mm With Hood

The optical formula comprises 14 elements in 11 groups, including 3 Aspherical elements. The diaphragm has 7 blades and Nikon claims these to be rounded. When viewed through the lens though the usual diaphragm shape can be seen and it is a little way off being a circular aperture.

VR (Vibration Compensation) is provided in compatible bodies and this is controlled by a menu option “Optical VR”. The only question mark is how much VR might be needed in an ultra-wide lens, but the inclusion of settings up to 30mm (equivalent) does bring the lens potentially to near a standard focal length.

In use, the lens is absolutely fantastic, a real joy to shoot with. The viewfinder image is bright and clear, the AF is snappy and utterly reliable and the actual focal length range allows for a very wide range of photographic expression. This is all in a very compact package that is ideal for travel.

Nikkor 10 20mm Rear Oblique View

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Performance

At 10mm, central sharpness is excellent from f/4.5 to f/11, very good at f/16 and dropping off at f/22 but remaining good. At the edges, we see very good performance from f/4.5 to f/11, good at f/16 and f/22.

12mm shows a similar picture, with central excellence from f/4.8 to f/11, sharpness still being very good at f/16 and good at f/25. The edges have excellent sharpness from f/4.8 to f/8, very good at f/11 and f/16 and just good at f/25.

Sharpness at 14mm is very good centrally at f/5 and f/5.6, becoming excellent at f/8 and f/11. This remains very good at f/16 and good at f/25. The edges are very good at f/5 and f/5.6, excellent at f/8 and f/11, very good at f/16 but becoming soft by f/25.

By 20mm, central sharpness is very good at f/5.6, excellent at f/8, very good from f/11 to f/16, good at f/11 but by f/29 quite soft. The edges are very good from f/5.6 through to f/16, dropping to good at f/22 and then becoming soft at f/29.              

Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR MTF Charts

How to read our MTF charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution as LW/PH and is described in detail above. The taller the column, the better the lens performance.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Nikon D7500 using Imatest.

CA (Chromatic Aberration) is actually rather well controlled, very impressively so for such an inexpensive optic. It is very difficult to induce any fringing and it is unlikely that software correction will be needed.

Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Chromatic Aberration Charts

How to read our CA charts

Chromatic aberration (CA) is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Nikon D7500 using Imatest.


Barrel distortion is present, as expected in any ultra-wide lens. At 10mm this is a quite obvious -3.69%, at 12mm this has improved to -2.02%, at 14mm -1.09% and by 20mm it is almost rectilinear, measuring -0.36%. This is a very respectable performance and can be corrected in software if desired.

Flare performance is excellent, with the lens showing very little tendency to reduced contrast or creation of artefacts in the images. It can be use with confidence against the light.

Bokeh is the quality of the out of focus areas in an image. At 10-20mm the cases where we will have out of focus backgrounds are less common, but nonetheless images do show a nice restrained bokeh, without the busy look that some lenses can create.

The provision of VR is perhaps less necessary in such a wide lens, but it does deliver the claimed 3.5 stops advantage and as such has to be an advantage, especially at the 20mm end of the scale.

Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Sample Photos


Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Aperture range


Value For Money

The AF-P DX Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR is priced at £329, a very modest cost for the specification.

Two lenses look likely competitors. The Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM also costs £329 and has the added advantage of the constant aperture. The Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO DX has an even wider constant aperture and costs £499.

However, neither of these are as small or light as the Nikon, which does look excellent value for money.

For more options have a look at the Top 14 Best Nikon Lenses, and the Top 15 Wide-angle Landscape Lenses.


Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Verdict

The Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR is an inexpensive, light, compact and fantastic lens to use. Handling with the Nikon D7500 is just spot on, so the lens is a really attractive proposition. The focal length range is extremely versatile and the images are bright, sharp and punchy. Highly recommended, an ideal travel lens.

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Pros

  • High level of sharpness
  • Excellent CA control
  • Low flare
  • Respectable distortion
  • Very useful focal length range
  • Light and compact
  • VR
  • Modest cost

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Cons

  • No dust and moisture resistance

Overall Verdict


Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Specifications

Lens Mounts
  • Nikon F
  • Nikon AF
  • Nikon AF DX G
Focal Length10mm - 20mm
Angle of View70° - 109°
Max Aperturef/4.5 - f/5.6
Min Aperturef/22 - f/29
Filter Size72mm
35mm equivalent15mm - 30mm
Internal focusingNo Data
Maximum magnification0.17x
Min Focus22cm
Box Contents
Box ContentsLC-72 72 mm snap-on Front Lens Cap, LF-4 Rear Lens Cap, HB-81 Bayonet Hood, CL-1015 Lens Case
HeightNo Data

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Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR SEARCH

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21 Jul 2017 1:26PM
Many thanks for testing and reviewing this lens, John.

One question about the resolution test - do you take the edge resolution from the same image as you take the centre resolution from, please? By which I mean, if you had a lens with severe field curvature, would the edge LW/PH values you use be those from the image where the centre is at its highest resolution (where the edge would probably be quite soft due to field curvature), or would the edge LW/PH values be the maximum values you got for the lens edge - even if they don't coincide with the sharpest image centre?

I'm afraid I'm not explaining myself that well, I hope this makes sense! There's a bit more on the effects of field curvature in lens testing in the "Field Curvature" section of this review http://www.photozone.de/m43/961_olympus714f28pro?start=1 which may explain my question a bit more.

Kind regards,

21 Jul 2017 5:12PM
I understand what you're asking Christopher. I take one image of each aperture in each run, and several runs to make sure results are as accurate as possible. This represents a realistic approach, after all we don't take several exposures refocusing centre and edge when we are shooting images for real.
Tuco 5
24 Jul 2017 7:20PM
I got one of these a couple of weeks ago and like it very much. The best use is with one of the small 5xxx or 3xxx cameras for travel and utility use. Like any lens, outdoors, set it to f/8 and bang away. It also takes in an entire volleyball court for our video needs.

The 3 new "AF-P" lenses range from 15mm-450mm (=FF) + the 35/1.8DX (for low light), weigh less than a single pro body. With careful shopping cost, new is $800 total. With our new $300 D3300, it's a small, practical travel rig.
The pro gear is getting much less use...
Looks like a real winner for Nikon and complements well the irrationally maligned D7500. The photographs really demonstrate the versatility of the lens and colour rendition capabilities of the camera. Good review thank you.
13 Aug 2017 11:27AM
Hello, That was a very detailed review. Thank you, Great work.

Could you tell me whether it will work on my Nikon 5200 with latest firmware updated!

Would u recommend me Nikon or Sigma!

Thanks in advance
22 Aug 2018 12:27AM
I wonder how I can turn off the VR on nikon D7500/D500...
22 Aug 2018 9:44AM
This was done a while ago now, but as regards VR I seem to recall it couldn't be switched off. Perhaps a regular Nikon user can confirm it?

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