Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR vs AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR

Started 11 months ago | Discussions thread
olindacat Regular Member • Posts: 456
Re: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR vs AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR

Rico Schiekel wrote:

3. Which one would you get and maybe why.

I owned the 200-500mm for a while and almost exclusively used it at 500mm. So for me loosing the ability to zoom was not a big deal and the weight and size of the 500mm PF let me take the lens more often out into nature and on travel.

Speaking of the ability to zoom, this can make or break the deal depending on your style of shooting and in which situations you want to use the lens. A zoom is just so much more flexible.
The zoom action from one end to the other of the 200-500 goes for about 180 degree, so it's very likely you have to re-grab for a full turn. It's also a bit stiff and the lens extends even more which does not help with the front heaviness.
The zoom action is completely different, significantly slower and more cumbersome as let's say a 70-200.

Another point is the AF speed where the 500mm PF shows quite some improvements over the 200-500. I think Steve Perry did a nice video about that including the 600 f/4 and the 300 PF.

To make the long story short, it depends how you shoot and what you need/want. I would not look too much into the optical qualities here, both are very good, but more on the practicality and usability for your style of shooting. 😄

4. Are there any other existing lenses of this caliber to consider which can reach that far?

I use the 300mm PF with and without the TC14e-III. Another stellar optic with this unique size+weight properties.

(I have the 70-300 AF-P). Please feel free to list anything you might consider valuable.

I would recommend to use the "Filter by product" functionality over in the Nikon SLR Lens forum:

There are some discussions about the same topic. 👍

And maybe have a look here for some examples what is possible with both lenses:

Thanks, Kat


If anyone is considering either lens, Rico's shots are fantastic. I don't see a downside to the 200-500 bad on his work. I think the 200-500 looks pretty darn sharp at 500mm, when comparing it to the prime. (Is the extra cash to buy that 500mm prime worth it?) He uses both a Z7 and a D500 in his work at that link. Sorry for this a mini-hijack, but somewhat relative (and self-serving I admit :-)... Rico: How do you like the D500 vs the Z7 coupled with this copy of the 200-500? It looks like you are using this lens at 500mm a lot. Are you fairly close to your subjects? What situations exaggerate your findings that the 200-500mm loses quality and sharpness to your prime?

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