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Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
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- Compact super telephoto zoom lens for birding, wildlife, motorsports, events and more
- 500mm of zoom power on FX-format DSLRs; 750mm equivalent on DX-format DSLRS, Minimum Focus Distance: 7.2 ft.( 2.2 m), Focal Length Range:200 -500 mm
- Fast f/5.6 constant aperture for beautiful out-of-focus backgrounds and low-light performance
- 4.5 stops of Vibration Reduction with Sports mode
- AF compatible with optional TC-14E series teleconverters and DSLRs that offer f/8 support
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Wherever your passion lies, the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR outstanding super telephoto zoom can bring it into focus. Capture and share stunning views of birds, wildlife, motorsports, athletes, performers, landmarks and other faraway subjects. A fast f/5.6 constant aperture gives your shots beautifully out-of-focus backgrounds across the entire zoom range and a Super Integrated Coating has been applied to lens elements to lessen flare and ghosting for improved contrast and clarity. A Silent Wave Motor AF system produces fast, near-silent focusing performance that suits both stills shooting and movie recording which can instantly be manually overridden by simply turning the manual focus ring. Turn fast-moving action into dazzling photo sequences—the electromagnetic diaphragm operates in sync for the fastest subjects and shutter speeds while Vibration Reduction image stabilization keeps your shots sharp and steady. And in the rare cases when additional reach is needed, you can increase the AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR's zoom power with an optional Nikon 1.4x, 1.7x or 2x teleconverter.FEATURES: Lightweight, compact super telephoto zoom - Whether your subject is far in the distance or close, fast or slow, you can land the shot. On FX-format cameras, 500mm brings distant birds, wildlife, athletes, performers, landmarks and more into tight focus. DX-format cameras add an additional 1.5x zoom effect for an angle of view equivalent to a whopping 750mm! And despite that extreme power, you can also focus on subjects as close as 7.2 feet away for detail rich close-ups. 4.5 stops of Vibration Reduction - At super telephoto distances, the smallest camera movements can cause image blur. Vibration Reduction image stabilization counteracts camera shake up to ~4.5 stops for sharp photos and steady videos. You also can shoot at slower shutter speeds in low light—great for those magic moments at dawn and dusk. Sports Mode is optimized
From the Manufacturer
Astounding views, comfortably in reach.
Wherever your passion lies, this outstanding super telephoto zoom lens can bring it into focus. Capture and share stunning views of birds, wildlife, motorsports, athletes, performers, landmarks and other faraway subjects. A fast f/5.6 constant aperture gives your shots beautifully out-of-focus backgrounds across the entire zoom range. Turn fast-moving action into dazzling photo sequences-- the electromagnetic diaphragm operates in sync for the fastest subjects and shutter speeds while Vibration Reduction image stabilization keeps your shots sharp and steady. And in the rare cases when additional reach is needed, you can increase the AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR's zoom power with an optional Nikon 1.4x, 1.7x or 2x teleconverter*.
*Compatible with TC-14E series teleconverters (AF is only available when used with DSLR cameras that offer f/8 support. These include: D4, D4S, Df, D600, D610, D750, D800, D800E, D810, D7100, D7200). Compatible with TC-17E and TC-20E series teleconverters (AF not possible).
Lightweight, compact super telephoto zoom
Whether your subject is far in the distance or close, fast or slow, you can land the shot. On FX-format cameras, 500mm brings distant birds, wildlife, athletes, performers, landmarks and more into tight focus. DX-format cameras add an additional 1.5x zoom effect for an angle of view equivalent to a whopping 750mm! And despite that extreme power, you can also focus on subjects as close as 7.2 feet away for detail rich close-ups.
Sharpen your vision
~4.5 stops of Vibration Reduction
At super telephoto distances, the smallest camera movements can cause image blur. Vibration Reduction image stabilization counteracts camera shake up to ~4.5 stops** for sharp photos and steady videos. You also can shoot at slower shutter speeds in low light--great for those magic moments at dawn and dusk. Sports Mode is optimized for camera pans and other movements common when shooting fast action.
**Based on CIPA Standard. This value is achieved when: FX-format compatible lenses are attached to an FX-format digital SLR camera and zoom lenses are set at the maximum telephoto position.
Advanced Nikon lens technology
Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass cuts through the glare of bright sunlight. Silent Wave Motor (SWM) powers ultra-fast, near-silent autofocusing with seamless manual override. The Electromagnetic diaphragm (E) operates in sync with the fastest shutter speeds and frame rates, even when using an optional teleconverter. Always bring home views that amaze.
- AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR
- LC-95 95mm Snap-On Front Lens Cap
- HB-71 Bayonet Hood
- LF-4 Rear Lens Cap
- CL-1434 Semi-Soft Case
- Warranty Card
Top customer reviews
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Observations on my sample:
* No focusing issues: fast and sharp at all f-stops and lengths. I tracked a squirrel darting along a fence ridge and it stayed tack sharp. Panning race cars in Sport lens mode worked notably better (sharper and/or allowed lower shutter speeds) than panning without. Cars moving towards and away from camera stayed sharp with lens wide open (granted this is a function of both camera and lens.)
* Minimal vignetting: some seen wide open above 400mm, adequately corrected at F8, completely gone beyond F8
* Good sharpness: seems equally sharp across the field at all apertures and lengths; diffraction softness visible at f16 and above (no surprise). NOTE: It's been observed that some of Nikon's long tele's go soft at infinite focus and seem optimized for closer in. My testing was all within 100 yards, so I can't comment on far-focus sharpness... I'll be curious what others find.
* Low distortion: nothing I could see, but I didn't find a great target for this
* Low chromatic aberration: When viewing images at >2x full size in Lightroom I could find discolored edges a few pixels wide at high-contrast edges at all apertures and lengths. In all cases checking the "Remove Chromatic Aberration" box fixed the problem.
* Very low flare: Very bright automobile chrome hotspots caused *zero* flare; direct sun filtered thru tree branches/leaves caused minor flare
* Stabilization: the VR worked as expected; Sport mode worked great for panning. Doesn't have a tripod mode
* Size and weight: I don't find the weight to be an issue when shooting handheld, but the larger diameter makes it a challenge to fit in my photo backpack since the barrel size is much larger than "normal" 77mm Nikon lenses. It's only an inch longer than the 300mm F4 I had in the pack, so the length isn't really the issue. It's a little less than twice the weight of that 300mm with a 1.4TC, a combo I consider fairly light. Upodate 9/4/16: After shooting several hours at the race track I didn't have any fatigue problem hand-holding the lens.
* Tripod bracket: well located balance point with camera mounted; makes a handy handle for this large diameter lens esp with camera body attached; can be removed
* Bokeh: out-of-focus circles are soft, but I'm no expert on how to assess this
* Good build quality: this isn't a cheap plastic lens, appears to be mostly metal; feels solid
* Accessories: came with hood ( 4 in long) and soft fabric storage bag. I haven't had a problem with hood coming off as some have reported, it seems tight.
* Tele-converters and focus (update 9/4/16): Finally took several hundred pictures at a vintage auto racing event under sun and clouds and found the Continuous auto-focus to be fast and accurate for all directions of motion. No fuzzy shots, all very sharp. I noticed several focus squares would lite up. However when adding a Nikon TC-14E-II 1.4 Teleconverter (taking the lens to F8, maximum for camera for autofocus) to get more reach, the number of focus squares would drop to one and I would often get hunting (lens focus running in and out) and/or an out-of-focus image. This was true for cloudy and full sun. Didn't happen all the time, but I did lose shots due to focus failure and waiting for the lens to stop hunting... a definite risk. Photo metadata indicate pictures shot at between 280-700mm. I'm sure there is some image softening and loss of contrast from this TC but it is slight. Lens works with all the Nikon TCs but anything longer than the 1.4 (i.e., 1.7, 2.0) must be manually focused and sharpness/contrast go down. With some lenses I found the loss of sharpness when using the 2.0 teleconverter was worse than just enlarging the raw lens image (don't have one anymore to do this test here) so would urge testing before committing to that TC with this lens.
* Tele-converters & birds (update 4/22/17): Spent five days at Malheur Wildlife Refuge primarily photographing birds. Handheld the camera the whole time, possible because of the stabilizer and high camera ISO. When birds were on the ground I needed to reduce focus to a small circle to ensure critical focus on the head/eyes. When in the air I needed to enlarge the circle to make sure I was getting focus on the moving bird. After shooting at 500mm and wanting a little more reach I finally put the 1.4 TC on and was pleasantly surprised how well the focus worked for this. I've attached a 700mm shot of a Marsh Wren (small bird 10-15ft out) at 1/2000s, 1400 ISO, f8, and a Harrier hawk (large bird hundreds of feet out) at 1/1600s, 1250 ISO, f8 (1:1 image). It seemed I often got sharper images on closer birds than farther but I suspect I was suffering from heat shimmer on the far shots vs. lens itself. I will say there were a lot of "almost-sharp" shots at all ranges and I'm not sure the cause. Nikon reports my lens S/N as not needing the focus firmware update so I can't blame that issue. I don't have experience with other lenses this long to compare results with. I didn't get the high yield of dead-sharp images I do with the 70-200mm VR.
* Solar Eclipse (update 8/22/17): How better to test infinite focus or extreme contrast than shooting the moon or sun? Typical advice is that it's hard to get sharp images of the sun due to several factors, but I'll post these anyway. Sharpest focus was with notch mark right at center of the infinity symbol, using sun spots as a focus target. Both images needed chromatic aberration removed, which Lightroom had no issues fixing. Partial eclipse (moving towards 2nd Contact) was shot with solar filter (95mm Firecrest Neutral Density 5.4 Solar Eclipse Filter), and Diamond-Ring was shot without a filter. Both shot with Nikon 1.7 TC at 850mm, and everything manual, on a tripod with VR turned ON.
Note: High-end 95mm filters are stupid-expensive, even compared to 77mm which I consider high. Nikon's lens cap is also way up there.
Bottom line, if you want a reasonably priced good performing long tele I think purchase of this lens is low risk. If you don't like it you won't have a problem reselling it. For image quality and speed it certainly beats stacking TC's on the shorter teles. The relatively light weight and VR make hand-holding very practical. But the large diameter makes it a bit of a challenge to put in your bag. Image post-processing should probably always include removing chromatic aberration.
I am also posting some photos directly here. It has one of the best returns on investment in quality, built and ergonomics. Better in my opinion than 80-400mm G and cheaper by 100%. Not as solidly build as 70200 but in terms of IQ, almost there.
You can judge the image quality by the pictures you see. Focussing is fast, accurate and zooming is firm. All else 5 stars.
Conclusion: Highly Recommended. Buy Now.
I was a racing photographer before I opened two studios. I have assortment of telephotos but none this large. I shoot with a D7100 for action. I also love nature and tested this lens at Bolsa Chica wetlands. VERY impressive.Quality excellent. Both of lens and results. Hand held amazing.
This lens is sharp! The VR is very effective as well. It allows me to hand-hold the lens to below 1/100s at any focal length and get sharp results, provided the subject isn't moving much. Being able to focus on subjects close or far away and being able to zoom in or out is also a bonus.
I shoot a lot of wildlife, birds in flight, surfing and so on, and needed a longer lens. I was using my 300mm f/4D AF-S plus Nikon 1.4TCII, which got me to 420mm at f/5.6. This combo works really well due to sharpness, light weight, smaller size and good reach. That being said, I'm shooting with the D750 which is full frame, so I've always wanted just a little more reach than that and something I didn't need a TC for.
I was looking at the new Tamron 150-600mm G2 and this Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6VR. I decided to go down to Sammy's Camera to give them both a try to see which one I'd like better. Though I'm sure the Tamron is great, I ended up really liking the Nikon. It just seemed to work better with my D750 as far as low light focus and VR were concerned. I liked it so much, that although I planned on buying it online, I couldn't help myself and handed over the cash so I could take it home that minute.
I have read that there could be some copy variation and that some of these perform better than others. The one I picked up is flawless. It is pin-sharp wide open at every focal length with no AF fine tune necessary. Though it is a bit slow to focus on a subject initially, once it locks on, it tracks that subject very well. I haven't missed any shots so far, so long as I was able to keep the lens on the subject. It's larger and heavier than my 300mm f/4D and TC combo, so it did take some getting used to.
I would highly recommend this lens to any Nikon shooter needing more reach. This lens delivers even with a 1.4TC attached! I've only tried it with my 1.4TC II (which holds up really well though it was first announced in 2001!), but plan on buying the 1.4TC III for improved focus, optics and VR with this lens. The TC brings you to 700mm at f/8. I was getting sharp results on subjects that were moving slower, but for flying birds it didn't quite work out. I'm confident that the 1.4TC III will improve that quite a bit, since it's meant to work better with these new "E" lenses.