500pf vs 200-500 vs 300 2.8 VR II with and without TC on D500 and D850

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
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Tom Stites
Tom Stites Regular Member • Posts: 162
500pf vs 200-500 vs 300 2.8 VR II with and without TC on D500 and D850

I recently picked up a new 500pf at the discounted price and am very pleased with the optical performance. The lens performs outstandingly and I think it will be a full-time fixture on my D500.  It really is a game changer!

Had some time to kill this afternoon, so I set up an impromptu test to get a feel for the optical performance of the three lenses. As I was getting set up, some clouds started rolling in, so my light was not what I'd have preferred. To stay at low ISO's, I had to shoot at a slower shutter speed than ideal, but so be it. I plan to repeat this in a more controlled setting sometime soon and use higher shutter speeds, though the images are surprisingly sharp for some of the images with long FL and slower shutter speeds. VR was on in Normal for all shots.

For a target, I took a monitor carton that measures 34"w x 22"h and attached some brochure pages to it in the corners and center...plenty of fine detail to resolve at the distances that I'd be using.

All shots were done on a tripod with gimbal, though the tripod was sitting in grass and not exactly a firm footing. A 3 second shutter delay was used.

Full-res jpgs have been uploaded to my Flickr page. All images were processed in LR and the only processing done was exposure tweaking and sharpening at the default of 40. Lens corrections were turned off, as was luminance noise reduction.

My thoughts...

300mm f2.8 VRII - Though I wasn't really testing it, the  smokes the other two in terms of AF speed, it's just sooo fast.  Optically, it's amazing, even with the TC-14E III.  Makes a great 600mm f4 on my D500

The 200-500mm zoom holds its own in terms of sharpness, surprisingly so, though lags greatly in terms of AF speed...heavy but sometimes worth it for the flexibility you get.  No better value to be found!

500pf...tack sharp, reasonably fast AF, light and compact.  Can't beat the size and weight!

I can't see a good reason to part with any of them...they all have their niche!


I'll reply to the thread if/when I post any updated photos.


 Tom Stites's gear list:Tom Stites's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G ED VR +25 more
Nikon D500 Nikon D850
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