Best place to buy a used Nikon 500mm f/4

Started 3 months ago | Discussions
Wade Abadie
Wade Abadie Forum Member • Posts: 66
Best place to buy a used Nikon 500mm f/4

I am in the process of saving to buy (hopefully) a used Nikon 500mm f/4G VR. After much research and comparison, this lens seems to be the best bang for the buck for me personally. They are few and far between, but when I see them online they are usually in the $4,200-$4,800 range.

I have seen them for sale on Adorama, B&H, MPB, and Lens Authority at various times. Are there any other reputable places I should be looking? I'm hesitant to look at places like Ebay or other "gray market" sites.

Thanks in advance!

 Wade Abadie's gear list:Wade Abadie's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4G ED VR Nikon D7500 Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 | C Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G +8 more
larrywilson
larrywilson Veteran Member • Posts: 7,006
Re: Best place to buy a used Nikon 500mm f/4

Wade Abadie wrote:

I am in the process of saving to buy (hopefully) a used Nikon 500mm f/4G VR. After much research and comparison, this lens seems to be the best bang for the buck for me personally. They are few and far between, but when I see them online they are usually in the $4,200-$4,800 range.

I have seen them for sale on Adorama, B&H, MPB, and Lens Authority at various times. Are there any other reputable places I should be looking? I'm hesitant to look at places like Ebay or other "gray market" sites.

Thanks in advance!

Lens Authority has the Nikon 500mm f4.0g vr lens for $4,220.  You can be assured that the lens is a "USA" which is very important.  They don't sell "grey market".

Larry

 larrywilson's gear list:larrywilson's gear list
Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm F4E FL ED VR Tamron SP 150-600mm F5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 Tamron SP 85mm F1.8 Di VC USD Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 G2 +6 more
calson Forum Pro • Posts: 10,373
Re: Best place to buy a used Nikon 500mm f/4
3

I buy all the used cameras and lenses from owners selling their on fredmiranda.com. Need to become a member of the forum but no cost to do so.

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Sony RX100 Nikon D850
patricksmith32
patricksmith32 Regular Member • Posts: 344
Re: Best place to buy a used Nikon 500mm f/4

You’re either looking only at retail stores or the price went up recently. When I sold my 400mm f2.8G VR I could only get $4100 and that lens has always been worth more than the 500mm! When I was looking at getting the 400mm f2.8E FL I looked at the 500mm f4G VR as well, because there were not many used 400mm FL lenses available. I saw the 500mm lenses selling on eBay for $3500-$4100, but mostly around $3800. I wouldn’t pay a dime over $4000 unless it came with a lot of extras or was mint condition. You might as well buy a 400mm f2.8G VR for that kind of money, it’s sharper and more versatile and produces better out of focus areas/bokeh. It was and is an unbelievable lens, I only upgraded to get the weight savings. I was more than happy with everything else, but if your looking to handhold you’ll need either the 500mm f4 VR or 500PF. Although I’ll always take the faster lens, and personally would never pay $3500 for the 500pf. It’s just too close in price to a used 500mm f4G VR. If your on a monopod or tripod most of the time though, the 400mm is definitely sharper and takes TC’s better than the 500mm.

PerfectPoms
PerfectPoms Senior Member • Posts: 2,207
Re: Best place to buy a used Nikon 500mm f/4
2

Except the 500 pf and 400 2.8 are WORLDS different photography tools ...

The 500 pf can easily be carried around all day on a hike for hours and hours and hours - and you have it instantly available to bring up to your eye for a fast shot of a fleeting bird or animal that would be long gone before you pull the super heavy 400 2.8 out of your backpack.

And how many people shoot the 400 2.8 handheld - which means you also need to pack and slug around a tripod and gimbal head, or a monopod at a minimum.

And by the time you unpack all that stuff - your wildlife has left the area.

The 400 2.8 is a destination lens that you backpack in to set up at ONE spot.  The 500 pf is an entirely different world of photography that can easily be carried and readied in a second for a fast shot.

The 500 pf might not be YOUR type of lens for your type of photography - but 99% of people will NOT be carrying around a 400 2.8 ready to shoot for wildlife that comes upon them spur of the moment during a hike.

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Nikon AF-S 180-400mm F4E TC1.4 Nikon D750 Nikon D4 Nikon D300 Nikon D2Hs +16 more
Wade Abadie
OP Wade Abadie Forum Member • Posts: 66
Re: Best place to buy a used Nikon 500mm f/4

patricksmith32 wrote:

You’re either looking only at retail stores or the price went up recently. When I sold my 400mm f2.8G VR I could only get $4100 and that lens has always been worth more than the 500mm! When I was looking at getting the 400mm f2.8E FL I looked at the 500mm f4G VR as well, because there were not many used 400mm FL lenses available. I saw the 500mm lenses selling on eBay for $3500-$4100, but mostly around $3800. I wouldn’t pay a dime over $4000 unless it came with a lot of extras or was mint condition. You might as well buy a 400mm f2.8G VR for that kind of money, it’s sharper and more versatile and produces better out of focus areas/bokeh. It was and is an unbelievable lens, I only upgraded to get the weight savings. I was more than happy with everything else, but if your looking to handhold you’ll need either the 500mm f4 VR or 500PF. Although I’ll always take the faster lens, and personally would never pay $3500 for the 500pf. It’s just too close in price to a used 500mm f4G VR. If your on a monopod or tripod most of the time though, the 400mm is definitely sharper and takes TC’s better than the 500mm.

I was under the impression that buying expensive lenses on eBay was a big “NO NO”.....due to fraudulent or fake lenses. Is this not the case? If not, how do you ensure that you’re buying a legitimate product?

 Wade Abadie's gear list:Wade Abadie's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4G ED VR Nikon D7500 Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 | C Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G +8 more
fpapp
fpapp Contributing Member • Posts: 620
Re: Best place to buy a used Nikon 500mm f/4

I buy a lot of my equipment from either Used Photo Pro or MPB.

I like the fact that both of these stores post photos of the actual item being sold rather than stock photos of the item. For camera bodies they list the number of shutter activations. Both stores have a no questions asked return policy.

 fpapp's gear list:fpapp's gear list
Nikon Coolpix A1000 Nikon D850 Nikon D500 Nikon D5600 Voigtlander 20mm F3.5 Color Skopar SL II +49 more
ARClark
ARClark Veteran Member • Posts: 3,935
Considered Nikon 500mm f/4D ED-IF II?

You’ve ID’d the usual places to purchase, other than KEH. You can get a decent price there if you can buy on a sale, but there’s no assurance you’ll get a US vs gray market lens, though, unless it’s advertised with the original box.

MPB provides serial numbers and lens-specific info on these high end lenses.  Their sales reps are very accommodating, but they may or may not be able say whether a lens is US or gray.

Nikon service center reps are not supposed to let you know over the phone whether the serial number of a lens is for US or not, but occasionally you may find one that will help.

If you don’t need VR, you should take a hard look at the Nikon 500mm f/4D ED-IF II. It’s the predecessor to the G. I had one for years till I upgraded to a used 500 f4E. It’s just as sharp as the G and is about a pound lighter (7.6 vs 8.55 lbs). More handholdable for shooting BIF when VR won’t help anyway.

Alan

 ARClark's gear list:ARClark's gear list
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 Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX +12 more
patricksmith32
patricksmith32 Regular Member • Posts: 344
Re: Considered Nikon 500mm f/4D ED-IF II?

I buy 90% of my photography gear used, sometimes off craigslist and the rest off of eBay. I bought my 400mm f2.8G VR through Used Photo Pro and I’ve also had great luck with Map Camera out of Japan. They ship fast too, only three days shipping and they always have the big primes in great condition for a hood price. So if it’s an older lens you might as well get it from them as USA model does not matter as much. Another recommendation would be Lens Authority or Borrow Lenses. I bought my new 400mm f2.8E VR FL through borrow lenses, US model 9.5/10 condition for $6799! It was on sale 30% off at the time!

PerfectPoms
PerfectPoms Senior Member • Posts: 2,207
Re: Best place to buy a used Nikon 500mm f/4
1

Like Patrick just replied to someone else in this thread, I too bought from Map Camera in Japan using ebay.  On ebay I've bought a D5 from the USA (used), I think I got my 200 f2 from Map, and I also bought a 300 mm 2.8 AF-S II from Japan.

I understand there are a lot of scammers on ebay, BUT - if you are careful and check feedback and make sure the seller has a history of selling the expensive camera equipment you want to buy, then I think you can fairly safely buy on ebay - because if there is a dispute - ebay say the buy has protection ...

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lonewolf1983 Contributing Member • Posts: 516
Re: Best place to buy a used Nikon 500mm f/4
1

Look at the Sigma 500mm Sport too, as good as the Nikon

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PerfectPoms
PerfectPoms Senior Member • Posts: 2,207
Re: Considered Nikon 500mm f/4D ED-IF II?

Hi ARClark.

As someone considering buying a long lens, and pondering the differences in image quality between the new and old versions: if the f4G is very similar in quality to the about 2002 AF-S D II - would you say the newest e fl is noticeably better than those?

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 PerfectPoms's gear list:PerfectPoms's gear list
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PerfectPoms
PerfectPoms Senior Member • Posts: 2,207
Re: Best place to buy a used Nikon 500mm f/4

I'm pretty sure it was Brad Hill who tested the Sigma and said it was very, very close to the Nikon e fl, for half the price - BUT - there was another thread here recently that talks about the problem with Sigma lenses with auto focus tracking - and they tend to get every second photo out of focus.

If you're a hobby shooter, half the photos for half the price is a good deal for people on a budget - BUT - if you earn your living taking photos - then you NEED EVERY photo to be in focus - and native Nikon lenses ARE better.  (Sigma has to reverse engineer the interplay between camera and lens, and GUESS at how Nikon engineered things.

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patricksmith32
patricksmith32 Regular Member • Posts: 344
Re: Best place to buy a used Nikon 500mm f/4

Yes the FL is better than the G and the G is better than the AF-S II, all minor image quality differences but between the AF-S II and FL, it’s pretty noticeable! So little by little there has become quite a difference over the last 15 years and those models. The 500mm F4E FL is finally on par with what the 400mm f2.8G VR was capable minus the bokeh/separation difference. So sharpness and contrast, of course the newest 400mm FL beats the 500mm FL, but not by much like they used to. All of the most recent FL lenses are superb, with the 400mm and 800mm being the standout best of the best. I’d put the 600mm and 500mm in a tie now for sharpness, but the 600mm produces the most separation of any of the super-tele lenses which is an advantage!

ARClark
ARClark Veteran Member • Posts: 3,935
Re: Considered Nikon 500mm f/4D ED-IF II?
2

PerfectPoms wrote:

Hi ARClark.

As someone considering buying a long lens, and pondering the differences in image quality between the new and old versions: if the f4G is very similar in quality to the about 2002 AF-S D II - would you say the newest e fl is noticeably better than those?

Bill, I’d say the 500E has more micro contrast. It's not a dramatic difference, but it's noticeable. You might find this link of interest which reviews the 500E and offers some comparisons with the G (My understanding is that the G has essentially the same optical formula as my old AF-S D ll but with VR).

https://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-500mm-f4e-vr/2

More about the lens here.

https://www.ephotozine.com/article/nikon-af-s-nikkor-500mm-f-4e-fl-ed-vr-lens-review-28142

The 500E has lived up to my expectations, and I’m very pleased with it. Very sharp and clear, even with TCs. I’ve provided some example photos with TCs at this link. https://arclark.smugmug.com/DPR-Share-June-2020/n-Kg4fFc/. The handheld stacked flower images are a testament to the 500E's solid VR.

To be honest, I was happy with the IQ of my old 500 AF-S D II. I got the E simply because I wanted the low-light focusing speed of a handhold-able 500 f/4 with VR capable of shooting birds at 700mm at f/5.6 (or 850mm at f/6.3). The improved IQ is icing on the cake. The G offered VR, but at 8.55 lbs it was quite a bit heavier, and I never went for it. At 6.8 lbs, the E is almost a pound lighter than my AF-S D II (and 1-3/4 lbs less than the G), and has great VR. I highly recommend it. Works great with the TC-14E iii, but also fully functional with the earlier TCs. One of my sample photos is with a TC-17Eii.

If you’re looking to buy new, I’ll also mention the Sigma 500 f/4 Sport, which is over $4K less than a new 500E. I tried it before purchasing my used 500E. It offered excellent IQ. I’d have kept it if the copies I tried didn’t have an AF problem at high frame rates with my D850s. However, others with D850s and D500s swear by it. So just another option to consider that is significantly less costly than a new 500E. Just make sure you buy it from a dealer that will allow you to return it in case it doesn't suit your needs. Having said that, if you’re considering buying used, the 500E in excellent condition, which Is what I got (at over $3K less than retail), is tough to beat with a lighter weight, better VR and compatibility with Nikon TCs.

Alan

 ARClark's gear list:ARClark's gear list
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 Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX +12 more
owlseye Regular Member • Posts: 208
Re: Best place to buy a used Nikon 500mm f/4
1

Check out Fredmiranda.com buy/sell board. There is a mint one for sale with accessories there.

I also second the suggestion that you look at the Sigma 500mm f/4 Sport... You'll get FLE quality for half the price.

Personally, I opted for the 500PF so that I could keep my 200-400 f/4 (I would have had to sell my zoom to get up to the purchase price of a 500G... but that was 2 years ago... things might be different now.).

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regards,
bruce

 owlseye's gear list:owlseye's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon Z6 Nikon 500mm F5.6E PF Nikon AF-S 70-200mm F2.8E FL ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G ED-IF VR +5 more
Wade Abadie
OP Wade Abadie Forum Member • Posts: 66
Re: Best place to buy a used Nikon 500mm f/4

owlseye wrote:

Check out Fredmiranda.com buy/sell board. There is a mint one for sale with accessories there.

I also second the suggestion that you look at the Sigma 500mm f/4 Sport... You'll get FLE quality for half the price.

Personally, I opted for the 500PF so that I could keep my 200-400 f/4 (I would have had to sell my zoom to get up to the purchase price of a 500G... but that was 2 years ago... things might be different now.).

How do I find it? The only search function I can see links you to the B&H website.

 Wade Abadie's gear list:Wade Abadie's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4G ED VR Nikon D7500 Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 | C Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G +8 more
marter New Member • Posts: 10
Re: Best place to buy a used Nikon 500mm f/4
1

Wade Abadie wrote:

How do I find it? The only search function I can see links you to the B&H website.

The B&H search is on the left side...look at the right side for "Topic Search".

 marter's gear list:marter's gear list
Nikon Z6 Nikon D500 Nikon 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR Nikon AP-F 70-300mm F4.5-5.6E Nikon Z 24-70mm F4 +1 more
owlseye Regular Member • Posts: 208
Re: Best place to buy a used Nikon 500mm f/4

Wade Abadie wrote:

owlseye wrote:

Check out Fredmiranda.com buy/sell board. There is a mint one for sale with accessories there.

I also second the suggestion that you look at the Sigma 500mm f/4 Sport... You'll get FLE quality for half the price.

Personally, I opted for the 500PF so that I could keep my 200-400 f/4 (I would have had to sell my zoom to get up to the purchase price of a 500G... but that was 2 years ago... things might be different now.).

How do I find it? The only search function I can see links you to the B&H website.

Looks like it might have been sold. In the future:

Go to http://fredmiranda.com

Toggle to the Buy/Sell Camera board

In the upper right is a search window called "Topic Search."

Type what you are looking for, and it should show up.

-- hide signature --

regards,
bruce

 owlseye's gear list:owlseye's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon Z6 Nikon 500mm F5.6E PF Nikon AF-S 70-200mm F2.8E FL ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G ED-IF VR +5 more
ARClark
ARClark Veteran Member • Posts: 3,935
500G at Adorama
 ARClark's gear list:ARClark's gear list
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 Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX +12 more
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