Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR Review

February 12, 2019 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star

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Reviews of the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR from around the web. »

A 500mm lens is never going to be a truly compact lens, but the new Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR is certainly, relatively speaking, as compact as it could get. It is also quite light for such a lens, so much so that the initial impression when first picking it up is a very favourable one. This is achieved in large part by the use of lighter, more conventional glass, with the addition of the Phase Fresnel element that offers a new way to control the CA (Chromatic Aberration) that has always been the bane of long telephoto optics. An intriguing solution, so let's see how the end result holds up and if the performance matches up to the theory.
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Imagine taking a 500mm lens on safari that is, at first glance, easily mistakable for a 70-200 2.8. With Nikons latest addition to the PF lens range, the 500 f5.6 PF, wildlife photographers have been given exactly that. A 500mm lens that isn’t far off a 70-200 f2.8 in size and weight. I’ll just say that again, a 500mm lens that is, essentially, no harder to manage, travel or carry, than a 70-200. That is a (very small) big deal.
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The compact design that Nikon has managed to engineer for this lens is really impressive, but perhaps equally as impressive is the fact that image quality hasn't been compromised. The AF-S 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR is a fantastic lens to have in your camera bag.
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The 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR is the second lens from Nikon using Phase Fresnel optical design (thus the PF in its name). The first was the 300mm f/4E, which turned out to be a real winner of a lens and is one of my favorites for travel.
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