Home Photography 500mm Wildlife lens review: Nikon 500mm f/5.6E PF vs Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E

500mm Wildlife lens review: Nikon 500mm f/5.6E PF vs Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E

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We compare the Nikon 200-500 f/5.6 zoom (our favorite budget lens for wildlife photography, $1200 at http://sdp.io/N200500) to the NEW 500mm f/5.6 prime …


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  1. "A GAME CHANGER" Way WAY smaller and lighter and crazy sharp! Weather sealed? I hope. Having more megapixels might finally pay off with that lens to some extent. So far for me, the ISO grain, not perfect lighting & atmosphere have been huge determining factors for IQ. Almost never is pixel density and only sometimes, lens sharpness quality, a factor for my wildlife work.

  2. With the 10 O-ring seals and metal body, pretty good sharpness and contrast the Tamron G2 was my choice. I am out on water a lot splashing around so the Nikon 200-500 was not perhaps a better choice for me,,,,, but I would give it all up for this 500.

  3. Hi Tony just getting into photography and want to start with wildlife. Any recommendation of starter body & lens or kit for someone who is impartial to a certain brand? Thanks for your time and great video.

  4. Oh! Such a nice review Tony! I just picked up the 200-500 and I'm encouraged by the shots you took with the Z6. I plan to use that combo for many of my venomous insect video sequences. Always a coffee break well spent watching your videos and always even better when I have my buying decisions reinforced. Happy New Year to both of you!

  5. Thanks for the quick review! I noticed the same thing with the VR at 1/100. These PF lenses have very flaky VR; the 300PF doesn't work well, either, at slower speeds. A lot of people gloss over this, but it's a real issue if you're not always shooting at 1/1000 or something.

    A little trick I found is to shoot in Qc mode with the EFCS enabled. This works wonders, and I can get great sharpness at low SS. However, I'm not sure if any Nikons besides the D850 can do this. I was disappointed with this lens, but can live with it now that I found this workaround. I still believe Nikon needs to do something to fix the VR on these PF lenses, but maybe it's just not possible. The downside with Qc is we're limited to 3 fps, but if I'm shooting at 1/100, it's because the light sucks, so I don't need blazing speed anyway. Just my 2 cents. Take care!

  6. If a patient photographer will get better results with a zoom than an impatient photographer with a prime, where would a patient photographer with a prime fit into this scenario?

  7. Hi Tony. I watched your review with interest. I'm shooting Canon 7Dii and Canon 100-400, but really considering the D850/500mmPF especially for birds in flight. I've read some reviews stating that the 500mm PF has VR issues at low shutter speeds (approx 1/80-120th or so). Did you find an issue with the vr? Cheers, Paul

  8. My D500 and 200-500 is plenty good enough for me… I'd rather take the $2000 and spend it on a multitude of other things.
    Say, a wildlife specific trip to USE the D500 and 200-500?
    Or a macro lens, a flash setup and a 85mm prime?
    OR treat my wife to something nice since she let me get the D500 and the 200-500 in the first place πŸ™‚

  9. Hi Tony I want a nice telephoto lens ,I own a nikon d500 , aI am confused wich one to buy nikkor 200-500mm or 500mm pf and I want buy one lens for one lens . I am confused , please give reply and help me thank you , Tony the pro photographer.

  10. The problem with the 200-500 is that the weather sealing is lacking. That's the only reason I still own a 150-600 G2 of Tamron. I don't feel like I can use the 200-500 in a rain forest.

  11. Please HELP. why people say a 400mm focal lenght on FX is like a 600mm on DX? If you crop the same image taken with a 400mm lens in your FX final picture will it be the same, with the same resolution as the one taken on your DX with the same 400mm lens?

  12. In order to compare sharpness first you must AF fine tune the lens to the body using software such as FoCal OR Lens Align Otherwise how are you sure there is no front or back focusing going on?

  13. I shoot from my Airboat a lot here in Central Florida and I just bought the 500 PF to go with one of my D500 and I keep the 300MM PF on the other D500. Come to Florida and I'll put you on some unique subjects. Facebook, Steve L Reid. All for fun!

  14. Anyone knows why this lens is not available to buy anywhere in the US ??? Year after it’s release and imposible to find ! Production issues? Quality issues? Any idea???

  15. Finally managed to get my hands on the 500mm PF and can't wait to compare it to my 200-500mm… already love the 3lbs + weight savings! Will dive in more later, but just posted a quick first impressions video over on my little channel… πŸ™‚

  16. I owned the d850 and d500 plus 500pf ended up using the d500 &500pf most of the time lighter 10 frames per second greater crop reach. 500Pf 5.6 is more like a f8 despite lens align still issues with focus, acquisition acceptable. But traded it all in for Sony mirrorless A9 100-400 now 200-600 simply blown away by focus speed quality 20 frames per second weight compactness only regret wasted all that money on a D850 when the camera I really needed the Sony A9 which came out around the same month the same year!!

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