• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

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

Manufacturer
Nikon

Item details

The Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR is an image-stabilized, constant aperture telephoto zoom lens at a price point that has made it very popular among sports and wildlife photographers. The lens is designed for Nikons DX (cropped sensor) cameras but will work with full-frame camera bodies as well. The three ED glass elements deliver superior optical performance. The lens is compatible with the Nikkor TC-14E III, TC-17E II and TC-20E III teleconverters.
Specs
Mount Type: Nikon F-Bayonet
Focal Length Range: 200 - 500mm
Zoom Ratio: 2.5x
Maximum Aperture: f/ 5.6
Minimum Aperture: f/ 32
Format: FX/35mm
Maximum Angle of View (DX-format): 800'
Minimum Angle of View (DX-format): 310'
Maximum Angle of View (FX-format): 1220'
Minimum Angle of View (FX-format): 500'
Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 0.22x
Lens Elements: 19
Lens Groups: 12
Vibration Reduction: Yes
Zoom Lock: Yes
Diaphragm Type: Electromagnetic
Diaphragm Blades: 9
ED Glass Elements: 3
Super Integrated Coating: Yes
Autofocus: Yes
AF-S (Silent Wave Motor): Yes
Internal Focusing: Yes
Minimum Focus Distance: 7.2 ft. (2.2m)
Focus Mode: Manual, Manual/Auto
Focus Distance Limiter: Yes
Filter Size: 95mm
Accepts Filter Type: Screw-on
Approx. Dimensions: Diameter 108mm, Length 267.5mm
Approx. Weight: 2300 g (~5lbs)
Hood Supplied: Yes
Tripod Collar Supplied: Yes

Latest reviews

AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR
Recommended
Yes
Pros
  • Crisp images
  • Robust
  • Good close-focus distance
  • Lock button avoids zoom creep
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Not the best lens for wet conditions
I have been using this lens for three years and I still continue to be impressed by the quality of images I can capture. It is now the only lens I use for bird photography and every time I look longingly at the top-dollar Nikon pro lenses I see trade-offs in weight, size and lack of flexibility that I don't want to make.

This is a very crisp lens. Test results show that it outperforms the Tamron and Sigma equivalents, though it takes second place to the more expensive (and heavier) Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Sport.

In the real world it has proven to be robustly built, surviving years of not very gentle handling and one fairly significant drop without complaint.

The constant f/5.6 aperture means that teleconverters can be used without problems. I have started using the Nikkor TC-14E III teleconverter regularly and it gives me that extra bit of reach with no visible degradation to the images.

There are four switches on the lens body: Manual-Auto/Manual, Full range/limited range (8m and beyond), Vibration Reduction On/Off, and Sport/Normal mode.

Vibration reduction is rated at 4.5 stops, which is particularly helpful in low light situations.

This lens will work with any F-mount body, but it shines when used with the Nikon D7XXX series and the Nikon D500.

Other things I particularly like:

- the close focus distance is reasonable at 2.2m

- there is a lock button which locks the barrel at 200mm (avoids lens creep during long walks)

- the sealing does a good job of keeping out dust

- manual focus works smoothly

- autofocus is quick and accurate, though not as quick as the Nikkor pro lenses

- the supplied lens hood is robust and does a good job of protecting the front lens element and keeping gunk off of it. (And of course it does reduce flare, which can be a problem with telephoto lenses)

Things I don't like so much:

- it is a heavy beast, and quite long when fully extended - about 17"/~43cm with the lens hood. The weight becomes noticeable after a long day of carrying it around, and after three years it has almost worn through the metal clasp on my BlackRapid strap. I hand-hold the camera 99% of the time and the weight of the lens and a D500 body gives me quite an upper-body workout!

- extending from 200mm to full zoom takes a 180 degree turn of the zoom ring

- this is not a waterproof lens. If you use it in steady rain moisture will get inside the lens body

Bottom line: This is an outstanding lens for the money, and for the enthusiast (non-professional) Nikon user it is arguably the best all-around bird photography lens.
One member found this helpful.
  • Like
Reactions: I_A_N and Hughv
volker sthamer
volker sthamer
Saw just now this review. Very informative and well done. One point I would like to add. For african conditions during a safari for example under dusty conditions, I dont recommend this lense. It is not dust proof. Several of my birding tour clients had problems with dust in the lense body.

Item information

Category
SLR & MFT (micro four thirds) Lenses
Added by
bronze sunbird
Views
3,865
Reviews
1
Last update
Rating
5.00 star(s) 1 ratings

More in SLR & MFT (micro four thirds) Lenses

Share this item

Top