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Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens review


AF-S NIKKOR 200-500MM F/5.6E ED VR AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR

 

Photographic brands have been making long telephoto zoom lenses for a few years now.

Sigma and Tamron really kicked off the long length trend with the 150-500mm and 200-400mm lenses.

Nikon’s first real entry into that range was the 80-400mm in 2001, they then followed that up with the 200-400mm f4 lens a few years later in 2003.

Both of those lenses were excellent, but they did have their downfalls, slow auto focus and not really super sharp.

Nikon has created a new addition to this range of lenses, which has fixed these previous flaws.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500MM F/5.6E ED VR AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR

The new Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens was released by Nikon in 2015.

As soon as it was announced I thought it would be a lens I would be keen to try due to the recent changes to Nikon’s glass and auto-focus technology.

Being a Nikon Professional Services member, you have the opportunity to evaluate lenses, subject to availability, so I got in touch with the NPS team earlier this year to book in an evaluation of the 200-500mm lens.

When the lens arrived I was surprised just how compact it was.  The lens comes with a large lens hood to help shade the front element when in sunny conditions. It also does a very good job of protecting the front of the lens when it is also raining. It also has a tripod collar on the bottom of the lens for those that want to use a monopod or tripod.

One of the lenses great features is that it had 19 elements in 12 groups which includes 3 Extra-low-dispersion (ED) elements. This I found has resulted in the most amazingly sharp images I have ever seen out of super tele zoom lens.

Below you can see the switches for Auto/ Manual Focus, Focus range limitation, VR on/off and VR Normal/Sport modes.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500MM F/5.6E ED VR AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500MM F/5.6E ED VR AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR

Below you  can see the 200mm zoom position lock, this help prevents the lens from zooming out manually when it is held in the vertical position.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500MM F/5.6E ED VR AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR

Below you can see a series of shots that I took with the lens during my evaluation.

16-Audi-Drive-Day-Sandown-March12-130-web

16-Audi-Drive-Day-Sandown-March-10-314-web

16-Audi-Drive-Day-Sandown-March-10-169-web

16-Audi-Drive-Day-Sandown-March-10-068-web

The lenses auto-focus tracks subject very well, in all light conditions. These shots below were shot in low light in the pouring rain.

When I took this shot below, I was amazed just how well the lens tracked the subject in the rain and just how sharp the shots were.

16-Audi-Drive-Day-Sandown-March-10-318-web

16-Audi-Drive-Day-Sandown-March-10-352-web

The Vibration Reduction (VR) works extremely, you can hardly tell it is running as it so smooth through the viewfinder, it is the best I have seen on a Nikon lens.

In low light conditions and hand holding the lens performs very well.

The entire time I used the lens I hand held it, I did not use a monpod or tripod, even though it has tripod collar I just found it easier to use with out it, due the lens being too easy to hand hold.

16-Phillip-Island-Classic-064-web

16-Phillip-Island-Classic-048-web

16-Phillip-Island-Classic-060-web

16-Phillip-Island-Classic-043-web

Hand-held the lens is so well weighted and is easy to pick and grab quick shots with.

16-Lamborghini-Huracan-PIsland-380-web

16-Lamborghini-Huracan-PIsland-368-web

Below you can some landscape images I took down the Great Ocean Road at the 12 Apostles.

The interesting thing about these images is that the wind was blowing extremely hard, at gale forces, but I could still  hand hold the lens and could still capture sharp images, thank to the VR.

great ocean road 12-Apostles sunset great ocean road 12-Apostles sunset

So what are final thoughts on the lens? Well, I so impressed by the lens I bought one……

If you are interested in buying or trying one in Australia you can find your closest dealer here

If you are looking at buying one outside of Australia then check out this link 

Below are the full technical specifications for the lens.

    • Type

    • F mount, Type E AF‒S lens with built‒in CPU and F mount

    • Format

    • FX/35mm

    • Focal length

    • 200 – 500 mm

    • Maximum aperture

    • f/ 5.6

    • Minimum aperture

    • f/ 32

    • Lens construction

    • 19 elements in 12 groups (including 3 ED elements)

    • Angle of view

    • Nikon FX‒format D‒SLR cameras: 12° 20′ to 5° 00′, Nikon DX‒format D‒SLR cameras: 8° 00′ to 3° 10′

    • Minimum focus distance

    • 2.2 m ( 7.22 ft) from focal plane

    • VR (Vibration Reduction) image stabilization

    • Yes

    • No. of diaphragm blades

    • 9 ( rounded diaphragm opening )

    • Diaphragm

    • Automatic electronic aperture control

    • Metering

    • Full aperture

    • Filter-attachment size

    • 95 mm (P = 1.0 mm)

    • Dimensions

    • Approx. 108 mm maximum diameter x 267.5 mm (distance from camera lens mount flange)

    • Weight

    • Approx. 2300 g (5 lb 1.2 oz), including tripod collar; Approx. 2090 g (4 lb 9.8 oz) without tripod collar

    • Autofocus

    • Yes

    • AF-S (Silent Wave Motor)

    • Yes

    • Internal focusing

    • Yes

    • Focus mode

    • Manual , Manual/Auto, Nikon Internal Focusing (IF) System with autofocus controlled by Silent Wave Motor and separate focus ring for manual focus

    • Focus limit switch

    • FULL, ∞ to 6 m

    • Focus distance indicator

    • Yes

    • Focal length scale

    • Graduated in millimeters (200, 300, 400, 500)

    • Zoom

    • Manual zoom using independent zoom ring

    • Supplied accessories

    • 95 mm snap‒on Front Lens Cap LC‒95, Rear Lens Cap LF‒4, Bayonet Hood HB‒71, Lens Case CL‒1434

2 responses

  1. MScott Carter

    Excellent review. But Nikon was doing ‘super telephotos’ in the 1990. For example, http://nikon.com/about/feelnikon/recollections/r16_e/index.htm

    May 18, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    • Yes correct but I was referring to the Autofocus and mainstream models.

      May 18, 2016 at 1:25 pm

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