The stepping motor is a mechanism that drives the autofocus function of a lens, enabling lenses to focus smoothly and quietly when capturing photos and videos.
Incorporated into a range of NIKKOR lenses (marked AF-P), a stepping motor works by converting digital pulses into mechanical shaft rotation, creating smoother transitions while calibrating the focus on subjects. This technology provides users with an improved seamless performance when shooting.
The stepping motor improves the autofocus speed of a lens in both phase-detect and contrast-detect autofocusing. While this is useful in taking pictures, the improved noise reduction from the stepping motor makes it particularly ideal for video recording, where even the smallest sounds detected may disrupt the scene that you are shooting. As a result, the power of the stepping motor gives users the undisturbed concentration to focus on making the most out of every shot.
What does this mean for manual focusing?
Even when shooting in manual focus mode, the stepping motor enables more fluid transitions when pulling focus from one subject to another, a common technique used in videography to create emphasis on a subject. Known also as racking focus, this technique, combined with the stepping motor technology, creates more depth in your videos by giving that added perspective to each scene.