Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR Review

September 15, 2015 | Jack Baker |


The 500mm f/4E has a tough act to follow in the existing 500mm f/4G, as this optic already produces stellar image quality. Nikon has therefore tweaked the design for slightly faster autofocussing, better handling and enhanced VR. The improvements are subtle, but do add up to make the 500mm f/4E a more desirably lens. That said, if you already own a 500mm f/4G, then the new lens’ improvements are unlikely to be major enough to warrant upgrading.

But comparisons with the 500mm f/4G aside, the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR is a superb optic capable of stunning results. Its lightened weight hasn’t had a negative impact on build quality, with Nikon also managing to pack in a top notch VR system and excellent autofocussing ability.

Whilst the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR certainly gets our recommendation as a superb, no-compromise super-telephoto lens, as with any similar optic, getting the best from it will require some precautions. Accurate focussing is essential, given the extremely shallow depth of field when shooting at such a long focal length and using wide apertures. A sturdy, rigid tripod is also a must – a lightweight travel tripod simply won’t do – and using a remote shutter release combined with exposure delay mode will further help avoid the slightest camera shake which is all it takes to noticeably reduce sharpness. Finally, a quality gimbal head would also be a worthwhile investment to provide smooth pan and tilt motion and a perfectly balanced shooting platform.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 4.5
Value for money 3