Best strategy for a 500 PF lens if just starting now?

Started 2 months ago | Questions
krebnickel
krebnickel Forum Member • Posts: 51
Best strategy for a 500 PF lens if just starting now?

I know lots of folks have been on waitlists etc. for a while.  Anyone have any advice if I’m just trying to get one starting now?  Amazon is saying approx 4 weeks - is that just not true?  Any advice appreciated!

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shuncheung Contributing Member • Posts: 646
Re: Best strategy for a 500 PF lens if just starting now?
2

It had been repeated many times: the best way to buy a 500mm PF in the US without waiting forever is from small, local camera stores. In these days the wait should be between 1 to 3 months. I got lucky when my local Mike’s Camera had one in stock at their warehouse and I picked it up a few days later.

Anybody with recent experience with Amazon?

 shuncheung's gear list:shuncheung's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon Z6 Nikon 500mm F5.6E PF +1 more
Doug Greenberg Regular Member • Posts: 498
Re: Best strategy for a 500 PF lens if just starting now?

For this particular item I see no advantage at all in ordering from one of the big New York stores. Particularly now that the sales tax advantage has been eliminated (the B&H Payboo card has complicated this, but I personally am leery of this innovation), you would do best to order from your friendly local camera store or else a smaller store elsewhere such as Mike's or the store I got mine from, B&C Camera in Las Vegas.

Doug Greenberg, Berkeley, California

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shuncheung Contributing Member • Posts: 646
Re: Best strategy for a 500 PF lens if just starting now?

Doug Greenberg wrote:

For this particular item I see no advantage at all in ordering from one of the big New York stores. Particularly now that the sales tax advantage has been eliminated (the B&H Payboo card has complicated this, but I personally am leery of this innovation),

For the 500mm PF and some Nikon products in high demand and therefore there is shortage, the huge disadvantage for ordering from the likes of Adorama and B&H is a long long wait. As far as i know, some people who ordered the 500 PF from them last September (2018) are still waiting.

 shuncheung's gear list:shuncheung's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon Z6 Nikon 500mm F5.6E PF +1 more
Gabbro
Gabbro Contributing Member • Posts: 526
Re: Best strategy for a 500 PF lens if just starting now?

I ordered from Houston Camera Exchange at end of March, with $500 deposit. I got the lens at end of May, almost exactly two months wait. Houston Camera Exchange is a local store, but not small. The best I can tell, they gets 2-3 each month.

BTW, the lens is fantastic.

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Nikon33 Senior Member • Posts: 1,449
Re: Best strategy for a 500 PF lens if just starting now?

You just have to wait. I have been lucky to have 2. Both times, I bought them used. And both times, I resold them for more than retail ($4750 for the first, and $4500 for the second.)

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shuncheung Contributing Member • Posts: 646
Re: Best strategy for a 500 PF lens if just starting now?

Nikon33 wrote:

You just have to wait. I have been lucky to have 2. Both times, I bought them used. And both times, I resold them for more than retail ($4750 for the first, and $4500 for the second.)

The serious 500mm/f5.6 PF shortage and the fact that people are willing to pay $4500+ for a used one clearly shows that Nikon is pricing the lens way too low (at $3600),

Prior to its release, I had estimated that the 500 PF would cost 3 to 4 times the $1400 price for the 200-500mm/f5.6 AF-S VR, which means $4200 to $5600. Hindsight is 20/20, but IMO $4500 is probably a reasonable price for it.

 shuncheung's gear list:shuncheung's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon Z6 Nikon 500mm F5.6E PF +1 more
Nikon33 Senior Member • Posts: 1,449
Re: Best strategy for a 500 PF lens if just starting now?

shuncheung wrote:

Nikon33 wrote:

You just have to wait. I have been lucky to have 2. Both times, I bought them used. And both times, I resold them for more than retail ($4750 for the first, and $4500 for the second.)

The serious 500mm/f5.6 PF shortage and the fact that people are willing to pay $4500+ for a used one clearly shows that Nikon is pricing the lens way too low (at $3600),

Prior to its release, I had estimated that the 500 PF would cost 3 to 4 times the $1400 price for the 200-500mm/f5.6 AF-S VR, which means $4200 to $5600. Hindsight is 20/20, but IMO $4500 is probably a reasonable price for it.

I don't agree. If it was a super light 500mm f/4, then maybe $4500. But this 500mm lens just has too many shortcomings to command that price. With the exception of weight, I think the 500mm f/4G VR lens is better in all respects. That extra stop makes all the difference, and a used 500mm f/4G VR lens is going for less than $4500. The only reason I keep looking for those 500mm f/5.6 PF lenses is to resell them. Trust me, if Nikon manages to get them in stock, the used prices will fall to a similar percentage of the 300mm f/4E lens. 65-75% of new.

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ARClark
ARClark Veteran Member • Posts: 3,696
Re: Best strategy for a 500 PF lens if just starting now?
1

Nikon33 wrote:

shuncheung wrote:

Nikon33 wrote:

You just have to wait. I have been lucky to have 2. Both times, I bought them used. And both times, I resold them for more than retail ($4750 for the first, and $4500 for the second.)

The serious 500mm/f5.6 PF shortage and the fact that people are willing to pay $4500+ for a used one clearly shows that Nikon is pricing the lens way too low (at $3600),

Prior to its release, I had estimated that the 500 PF would cost 3 to 4 times the $1400 price for the 200-500mm/f5.6 AF-S VR, which means $4200 to $5600. Hindsight is 20/20, but IMO $4500 is probably a reasonable price for it.

I don't agree. If it was a super light 500mm f/4, then maybe $4500.

No, if it was a super light 500 f4 it would be multiples of a 500 f4 E.

But this 500mm lens just has too many shortcomings to command that price. With the exception of weight, I think the 500mm f/4G VR lens is better in all respects. That extra stop makes all the difference, and a used 500mm f/4G VR lens is going for less than $4500. The only reason I keep looking for those 500mm f/5.6 PF lenses is to resell them. Trust me, if Nikon manages to get them in stock, the used prices will fall to a similar percentage of the 300mm f/4E lens.

 ARClark's gear list:ARClark's gear list
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4D ED-IF II Nikon 500mm F5.6E PF Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR +11 more
shuncheung Contributing Member • Posts: 646
Re: Best strategy for a 500 PF lens if just starting now?

ARClark wrote:

Nikon33 wrote:

shuncheung wrote:

Nikon33 wrote:

You just have to wait. I have been lucky to have 2. Both times, I bought them used. And both times, I resold them for more than retail ($4750 for the first, and $4500 for the second.)

The serious 500mm/f5.6 PF shortage and the fact that people are willing to pay $4500+ for a used one clearly shows that Nikon is pricing the lens way too low (at $3600),

Prior to its release, I had estimated that the 500 PF would cost 3 to 4 times the $1400 price for the 200-500mm/f5.6 AF-S VR, which means $4200 to $5600. Hindsight is 20/20, but IMO $4500 is probably a reasonable price for it.

I don't agree. If it was a super light 500mm f/4, then maybe $4500.

No, if it was a super light 500 f4 it would be multiples of a 500 f4 E.

Exactly. The 500mm/f4 E FL is over $10K new. If there were a significantly lighter version, it would be a lot more than $10K and therefore many times of $4500.

But this 500mm lens just has too many shortcomings to command that price. With the exception of weight, I think the 500mm f/4G VR lens is better in all respects. That extra stop makes all the difference

From 1992 to 2016, I have had the 500mm/f4 AI-P lens and then the 500mm/f4 AF-S 1st generation. Currently I also have the 600mm/f4 AF-S VR. I know the difference between a long f4 and f5.6 very well. The 500mm/f5.6 PF is sharp with fast AF and is very light. To me its advantages out-weight its disadvantages with today's excellent high-ISO results.

Back in February, I went to Antarctica with the 500mm PF (and several other lenses). Unfortunately the airlines lost all of our checked luggage en route, including my tripod inside. Since I usually hand hold the 500 PF anyway, not having the tripod didn't have any major impact on my still photography (but it affected videos). If I had a 500mm/f4, it would not have been very useful to me without a tripod. (Eventually we got all of our luggage back after we got home.)

 shuncheung's gear list:shuncheung's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon Z6 Nikon 500mm F5.6E PF +1 more
ARClark
ARClark Veteran Member • Posts: 3,696
Re: Best strategy for a 500 PF lens if just starting now?

shuncheung wrote:

It had been repeated many times: the best way to buy a 500mm PF in the US without waiting forever is from small, local camera stores. In these days the wait should be between 1 to 3 months. I got lucky when my local Mike’s Camera had one in stock at their warehouse and I picked it up a few days later.

Anybody with recent experience with Amazon?

I agree with checking the smaller shops.  In March, I got added on as the third person in line at a small New England camera shop. I just got notice they had filled the first two orders already and would have my lens available tomorrow. So they've been receiving the lens at a rate of about 1 per month over the past three months.

I used the same strategy of contacting smaller retail stores when I purchased my D850s, when they were on wait lists at all the major suppliers.

Alan

 ARClark's gear list:ARClark's gear list
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4D ED-IF II Nikon 500mm F5.6E PF Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR +11 more
shuncheung Contributing Member • Posts: 646
Re: Best strategy for a 500 PF lens if just starting now?

ARClark wrote:

shuncheung wrote:

It had been repeated many times: the best way to buy a 500mm PF in the US without waiting forever is from small, local camera stores. In these days the wait should be between 1 to 3 months. I got lucky when my local Mike’s Camera had one in stock at their warehouse and I picked it up a few days later.

I agree with checking the smaller shops. In March, I got added on as the third person in line at a small New England camera shop. I just got notice they had filled the first two orders already and would have my lens available tomorrow. So they've been receiving the lens at a rate of about 1 per month over the past three months.

I used the same strategy of contacting smaller retail stores when I purchased my D850s, when they were on wait lists at all the major suppliers.

Alan, great news. I am glad your wait is finally over. 3 months is still within the expected window but is probably on the longer side of it.

If you don't mind, after you receive your lens, please share the first 4 digits of its serial number. I would imagine it is 206?xx. (Please do not disclose the last 2 digits.)

My best estimate is that Nikon is producing 400 to 500 units of the 500mm/f5.6 PF a month. If the US is about 1/3 of the overall camera market world wide, approximately 140 units are distributed into the various cameras stores every month.

 shuncheung's gear list:shuncheung's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon Z6 Nikon 500mm F5.6E PF +1 more
Fazal Majid
Fazal Majid Senior Member • Posts: 1,755
Re: Best strategy for a 500 PF lens if just starting now?

Go for small shops.

I ordered from a small NJ retailer called Unique Photo on April 28 (my uncle shops there and I've been in their bricks & mortar store, so I know it's legitimate). Yesterday they called me to let me know it's in and I should have it on Tuesday.

I also had older concurrent orders with Amazon and B&H that I cancelled.

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Fazal Majid (www.majid.info)

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Fazal Majid
Fazal Majid Senior Member • Posts: 1,755
Re: Best strategy for a 500 PF lens if just starting now?

shuncheung wrote:

If you don't mind, after you receive your lens, please share the first 4 digits of its serial number. I would imagine it is 206?xx. (Please do not disclose the last 2 digits.)

My best estimate is that Nikon is producing 400 to 500 units of the 500mm/f5.6 PF a month. If the US is about 1/3 of the overall camera market world wide, approximately 140 units are distributed into the various cameras stores every month.

This guy is doing the tracking, and his estimates match yours (about 5K lenses produced since August):

http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/serialno.html

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Fazal Majid (www.majid.info)

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Phil Waring Junior Member • Posts: 37
Re: Best strategy for a 500 PF lens if just starting now?

I'm glad I looked at this thread this morning! I've been keeping an eye on local camera stores for this lens in the UK. I even held one and had the opportunity to buy it around Christmas but I still needed my 500 f4E and couldn't afford them both at the same time. I no longer need the 500 f4 though.

I found out that my favourite local dealer had one in and it turns up on Tuesday. Now I just need to deal with selling my 500 f4E.

ARClark
ARClark Veteran Member • Posts: 3,696
Re: Best strategy for a 500 PF lens if just starting now?

shuncheung wrote:

ARClark wrote:

shuncheung wrote:

It had been repeated many times: the best way to buy a 500mm PF in the US without waiting forever is from small, local camera stores. In these days the wait should be between 1 to 3 months. I got lucky when my local Mike’s Camera had one in stock at their warehouse and I picked it up a few days later.

I agree with checking the smaller shops. In March, I got added on as the third person in line at a small New England camera shop. I just got notice they had filled the first two orders already and would have my lens available tomorrow. So they've been receiving the lens at a rate of about 1 per month over the past three months.

I used the same strategy of contacting smaller retail stores when I purchased my D850s, when they were on wait lists at all the major suppliers.

Alan, great news. I am glad your wait is finally over. 3 months is still within the expected window but is probably on the longer side of it.

If you don't mind, after you receive your lens, please share the first 4 digits of its serial number. I would imagine it is 206?xx. (Please do not disclose the last 2 digits.)

Serial no. 2071xx.

My best estimate is that Nikon is producing 400 to 500 units of the 500mm/f5.6 PF a month. If the US is about 1/3 of the overall camera market world wide, approximately 140 units are distributed into the various cameras stores every month.

 ARClark's gear list:ARClark's gear list
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4D ED-IF II Nikon 500mm F5.6E PF Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR +11 more
Nikon33 Senior Member • Posts: 1,449
Re: Best strategy for a 500 PF lens if just starting now?

I put my name on a list at Midwest photo before 2 days before I went on vacation. While I was on the plane, I received an email that they had one, so I bought it, my 3rd 500mm PF! 2 days wait was very good.

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shuncheung Contributing Member • Posts: 646
Re: Best strategy for a 500 PF lens if just starting now?

ARClark wrote:

shuncheung wrote:

If you don't mind, after you receive your lens, please share the first 4 digits of its serial number. I would imagine it is 206?xx. (Please do not disclose the last 2 digits.)

Serial no. 2071xx.

My best estimate is that Nikon is producing 400 to 500 units of the 500mm/f5.6 PF a month. If the US is about 1/3 of the overall camera market world wide, approximately 140 units are distributed into the various cameras stores every month.

Thanks for the serial number. About a month ago, the newest serial number was around 2063xx. 2071 seems to be a pretty big jump. Perhaps Nikon has picked up the pace of 500mm PF manufacturing.

 shuncheung's gear list:shuncheung's gear list
Nikon D750 Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon Z6 Nikon 500mm F5.6E PF +1 more
Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 17,480
Re: Best strategy for a 500 PF lens if just starting now?

ARClark wrote:

I would imagine it is 206?xx. (Please do not disclose the last 2 digits.)

Serial no. 2071xx.

This seems "about right" as some were reporting around 206700 about 2-3 weeks ago.

With 10 months since introduction last August 7100 would be about 700 a month.

The photosynthesis site indicates an average of 700 a month over 4.5 years for the 300 PF.

This does not help find a dealer likely to be able to get one for a specific customer in 1-2 months 

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Leonard Shepherd
In lots of ways good photography is much more about how equipment is used rather than the equipment being used.

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hg38 New Member • Posts: 7
Re: Best strategy for a 500 PF lens if just starting now?

I placed an order with B&H on August 25th just a few days after the lens was announced and then patiently waited.  B&H tried to be helpful. Since I was pretty high up on the list they actually provided several estimates of ship date in good faith. After several disappointments, they ultimately learned not to provide updated estimates.

While waiting for the shipment, I also placed an order in January with Nikon directly but no luck.

So in "desperation", I looked up the listing at Amazon and saw that an estimated shipment in two weeks.  I didn't really believe it, but I wasn't worried about paying for something and not receiving it, so I placed the order on June 7.  I received the lens June 17 (SN 206786) fulfilled through Murphy's Camera.

So in this case, "no strategy" turned out to be best for me.  I can only speculate that some small Nikon authorized dealers are learning they can connect quickly with buyers via Amazon marketplace.

Whatever the reason, I'm delighted at the outcome.

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