My thoughts on the AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6 E VR

3rd November 2017
by Lamar Francois

I’ve been playing quite a bit over the last two weeks with the 200-500mm Nikkor courtesy of Lenses For Hire – photographing deer and wildlife at Wollaton Park , and I thought I’d share some quick thoughts I had…

1/ – very versatile set of focal lengths –  it freed me up to respond as the sun came up above the horizon at Wollaton , burning through fog  and lighting up the trees and foliage and I was able to make a wide variety of images with it , which might have been more difficult with a fixed prime. AF worked quite well.

2/ – you can handhold this lens – the VR really helps. I’ve got stable results at 300mm and 1/15s* and 500mm and 1/60s for static stuff with help of a monopod , but with a D4 body it’s does well to handhold for a short period of time , even at 500mm. I can see it being more difficult to handhold , and keep stable with a lighter body then the D4 as the centre of mass of is moved away from your hands and body position. I’d use a monopod most of the time though as you can get tired quickly balancing the weight.

3/ Zoom cam is very loosely geared , can be a pain to go from the one extreme of the range , to the next as you need to turn the zoom ring with more than one movement. There is a bit of resistance to it , but this isn’t a bad thing.  Focus ring has very little resistance and very light – so can be easily bumped and needs very careful touch to manually focus precisely.

4/AF speed OK for what I needed and usually would hit its marks , in good light. I can see it beginning to struggle though in low light but didn’t fully test this on this occasion. It can also struggle a bit with low contrast , hazy scenes to hold on – there were a few occasions where I’d given up and guessed with MF!

5/ Image quality is fairly good and decent , bit of vignette wide open but comes with the territory – wide open detail is rendered very well with excellent acuity.

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