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

Sharpness at 500mm

The sharpness tests for this review were carried out using a real-world subject rather than a test chart. The AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens was attached to a Nikon D850 body, which in turn was mounted on a sturdy tripod. Mirror lock-up was activated and a cable release was used to prevent camera shake resulting from tripping the shutter.

The full frame at 14mmThe full frame at 500mm

Wide open at f/5.6, the image centre is very sharp, even on the demanding and rather unforgiving 45-megapixel sensor of the Nikon D850. Stopping down a notch brings further improvements, while the f/11 and f/16 settings also yield good results. Diffraction limits the optical performance from f/22 onwards. The edges of the frame are are sharpest at f/8.

Aperture Centre Crop Edge Crop
f/5.6 f5.6.jpg f5.6.jpg
f/8 f8.jpg f8.jpg
f/11 f11.jpg f11.jpg
f/16 f16.jpg f16.jpg
f/22 f22.jpg f22.jpg
f/32 f32.jpg f32.jpg