NIKKOR Lens AF drive systems

There are four types of autofocus drive system for NIKKOR lenses listed below.

AF-P
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Introduced in 2016
AF motor: Built into the lens.
Example: AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR 

AF-P lenses use the latest Stepping Motor technology to move the lens focus quickly and quietly making this type of lens ideal for shooting movies as well as still images. The letter 'P' in AF-P is derived from the fact the lens uses a pulse to drive the motor. The ability to change focus settings in the camera menu, rather than the switches on the lens barrel, offers photographers a more intuitive way to shoot.

AF-S
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Introduced in 1996
AF motor: Built into the lens.
Example: AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED

'S' indicates that the lens has a built-in ultrasonic Silent Wave Motor (SWM) which enables high-speed autofocusing that’s extremely accurate and super quiet.

AF-I
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Introduced in 1992
AF motor: Built into lens
Example: AF-I Nikkor 400mm f/2.8D IF-ED

The letter ‘I’ in AF-I indicates that the lens has an internal motor. This was the first NIKKOR lens to have the AF motor built into the lens rather than the body which enabled faster autofocusing.

AF 
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Introduced: 1986
AF motor: There is no autofocus motor built into the lens, the lens relies on the camera body having an autofocus motor.
Example: AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8

There is no AF-drive motor built into the lens, the lens autofocus system is driven from a motor within the camera body via an AF-coupling. With this type of lens, there can be no autofocus operation unless a digital or film SLR camera with the autofocus motor built-in to the camera body is used. Selected DSLR cameras such as the D3000 series or D5000 series do not have an autofocus motor built-in to the camera body because most lenses produced in recent years have one in the lens.

Check the DSLR camera and lens compatibility chart for detailed information. 

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