Holding on to the 200-500mm 5.6 after acquiring the 500mm 5.6 prime?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions
Alpha Lyrae New Member • Posts: 2
Holding on to the 200-500mm 5.6 after acquiring the 500mm 5.6 prime?

For those of you who acquired a Nikkor 500mm 5.6 prime over the last few years, how many of you held onto your 200-500mm? Of course, this is all subjective as some may sell the 200 to 500 to finance another purchase or something else in life but has anyone held onto it and or came back to it for any reason? I shoot wildlife 95% of the time as well.

Ever since I obtained the 500mm 5.6 prime, it's all I've been using and the 200-500mm has been sitting at home. When I was using the 200 to 500mm, I was shooting at 500mm at least 90% of the time. Part of me wants to sell it but the other part of me thinks that it could still be useful in other situations where something in the 200-450mm will suffice. Just looking for opinions as there is no right or wrong answer to a question like this. Thanks in advance!

Ricardo00 Contributing Member • Posts: 917
Re: Holding on to the 200-500mm 5.6 after acquiring the 500mm 5.6 prime?

Alpha Lyrae wrote:

For those of you who acquired a Nikkor 500mm 5.6 prime over the last few years, how many of you held onto your 200-500mm? Of course, this is all subjective as some may sell the 200 to 500 to finance another purchase or something else in life but has anyone held onto it and or came back to it for any reason? I shoot wildlife 95% of the time as well.

Ever since I obtained the 500mm 5.6 prime, it's all I've been using and the 200-500mm has been sitting at home. When I was using the 200 to 500mm, I was shooting at 500mm at least 90% of the time. Part of me wants to sell it but the other part of me thinks that it could still be useful in other situations where something in the 200-450mm will suffice. Just looking for opinions as there is no right or wrong answer to a question like this. Thanks in advance!

I am still holding onto my 200-500mm lens since getting the 500mm f/5.6 though I would sell it for the right price.  In fact,  I did offer it to a couple people who sounded interested but at the end, they didn't buy it.  I have also lent it a couple times to others who were considering getting one or just were curious.  For a particular trip (ie. a return to Alaska's Lake Clark area) I would be tempted to take it, that is where I found in most useful since the brown bears can be very close or further away and there wasn't a lot of walking involved.  Not sure how much a used one in good condition can be sold for, but my experience is one would have to discount it substantially from what a place like B&H sells its used ones for?  As you stated, of course if one needs the funds, then by all means sell it.  But in my case, since I photograph almost every day, if something happens to my 500mm f/5.6, it is nice to know I have the 200-500mm lens ready to use at home!

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ARClark
ARClark Veteran Member • Posts: 4,135
Re: Holding on to the 200-500mm 5.6 after acquiring the 500mm 5.6 prime?
2

I’ve purchased the 500 PF and kept my 200-500. I’ve been on the fence about selling it, but have been fortunate to be in a position that I could keep both. I seldom use it, and if forced to sell one, it would be the 200-500. I shoot mostly birds these days and the 500 PF is the better lens for most of my bird shooting.

But there are three situations where I really appreciate the 200-500. One is shooting birds and wildlife from inside my vehicle on wildlife drives. I appreciate the zoom for close-in subjects while also having the 500mm reach. Second is when shooting BIF where individuals or groups of birds may come in very close and can best be captured by zooming out. I’ll often do this handheld when shooting from the back of my vehicle and having quick access to my other camera body and long prime with a TC, which is sometimes mounted on a tripod. Third is for closeup shooting in fields and gardens where the 7’ MFD is appreciated (versus about 10’ for the PF). In such controlled situations, I’ll often add a 1.4x TC for increased magnification, steadied by the len’s excellent VR. But this type of closeup shooting is closely rivaled by the 300mm PF and 1.4x TC.

Alan

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jeffnles1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,703
Re: Holding on to the 200-500mm 5.6 after acquiring the 500mm 5.6 prime?
2

I've put off buying the 500 PF.  I am retired and absolutely cannot afford to keep both.  Fact is, I would have to sell several things including the 200-500 and a couple guitars to be able to afford the 500PF.  Other than being significantly lighter and a little sharper, I'm not sure the benefit of the lens outshines the cost of what I have to give up to get it.

I guess I'll keep the 200-500 until it gives up the ghost or I decide to sell all my Nikon gear and a couple of my guitars to switch to one of the Canon or Sony mirrorless formats.

Oh well, the good news is the 200-500 meets my needs now and for the foreseeable future.  None of us know what tomorrow will bring.

Jeff

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Ricardo00 Contributing Member • Posts: 917
Re: Holding on to the 200-500mm 5.6 after acquiring the 500mm 5.6 prime?
1

jeffnles1 wrote:

Other than being significantly lighter and a little sharper, I'm not sure the benefit of the lens outshines the cost of what I have to give up to get it.

Jeff

Not sure my 500mm PF is any sharper than my 500mm f/5.6, but it does focus faster.  When I am trying to capture a bird in flight or moving animal, every fraction of a second faster focus can mean the difference in getting a shot or not.  Whether this is worth the extra cost, is something only you can decide.  Most people I know (including my wife) think I am crazy to spend so much on photo gear when the camera in my phone can be used for most shots.

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briantilley
briantilley Veteran Member • Posts: 5,571
Re: Holding on to the 200-500mm 5.6 after acquiring the 500mm 5.6 prime?

Alpha Lyrae wrote:

For those of you who acquired a Nikkor 500mm 5.6 prime over the last few years, how many of you held onto your 200-500mm? Of course, this is all subjective as some may sell the 200 to 500 to finance another purchase or something else in life but has anyone held onto it and or came back to it for any reason? I shoot wildlife 95% of the time as well.

Ever since I obtained the 500mm 5.6 prime, it's all I've been using and the 200-500mm has been sitting at home. When I was using the 200 to 500mm, I was shooting at 500mm at least 90% of the time. Part of me wants to sell it but the other part of me thinks that it could still be useful in other situations where something in the 200-450mm will suffice. Just looking for opinions as there is no right or wrong answer to a question like this. Thanks in advance!

I think the "right" answer might depend on what other lenses you own that might cover the other focal lengths that the 200-500mm offers.

In my own case, I sold my 200-500mm when I bought the 500mm PF, but I had the shorter (than 500mm) focal lengths covered pretty well with the 300mm PF, 70-200mm and two TC's that were already in my kit.

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jeffnles1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,703
Re: Holding on to the 200-500mm 5.6 after acquiring the 500mm 5.6 prime?

Ricardo00 wrote:

jeffnles1 wrote:

Other than being significantly lighter and a little sharper, I'm not sure the benefit of the lens outshines the cost of what I have to give up to get it.

Jeff

Not sure my 500mm PF is any sharper than my 500mm f/5.6, but it does focus faster. When I am trying to capture a bird in flight or moving animal, every fraction of a second faster focus can mean the difference in getting a shot or not. Whether this is worth the extra cost, is something only you can decide. Most people I know (including my wife) think I am crazy to spend so much on photo gear when the camera in my phone can be used for most shots.

Fortunately, my wife is also a wildlife and nature photographer.  She still thinks I'm crazy but that's what wives are for I guess.

Thanks.  I do shoot some birds in flight but mostly I shoot a variety.  My favorite subjects are whitetail deer, reptiles and amphibians, insects (butterflies mostly), wildflowers, intimate landscapes (tightly focused in specific parts of landscapes like trees in the forest), etc.  Birds in flight are a pretty small part of my library maybe because the 200-500 doesn't focus fast enough???  
If I had to give up one lens, I would give up the 200-500 before I gave up my 105mm Nikkor Micro (macro).

Thanks again for the evaluation.  Makes me feel a little better about putting off the purchase a while longer.

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nicodimus22
nicodimus22 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,337
Re: Holding on to the 200-500mm 5.6 after acquiring the 500mm 5.6 prime?
1

I'm going to be getting the 500mm PF shortly, and I will be selling the 200-500mm. It's just getting rid of something that I'll never realistically use again.

I use the 200-500mm as if it was a 500mm prime when I'm out with it. I'm not sure if I've ever shot it at less than 500mm. The 500mm PF is just a lighter, smaller, sharper across the frame, faster-focusing version of it to me.

Edit: Got the 500mm PF a few days ago. What a piece of technology! I am going to be very happy hiking with this (and the 300mm PF) once I get this stupid quick-release foot replaced with the much better Hejnar H129-500 solid foot. I can't believe how bad the design of the stock foot is...they put the quick release button right where you're going to rest your fingers. It's as if they want you to drop the camera and lens.

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PHXAZCRAIG
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 17,410
same here, but early days

I've only had the 500pf since June, the 200-500 since it came out.   I haven't had a lot of opportunities to shoot either lens - but I have more opportunities with the 500pf than the 200-500.

The 500 seems in a new class to me - serious length with portability.  The 200-500 never went flying with me, but I can see the pf working.   I'm trying to rethink how to bring it as I've been maxed out in the past with my usual 16-35, 24-70, 80-400 kit.  It makes sense to me to add the 500 to that mix - or replace the 16-35,

I had an opportunity to shoot both at the same time this summer on a weekend trip.  200-500 on a D810 and 500pf on D850, but I paid most attention to the new 500.  I think the zoom focused closer.

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Phoenix Arizona Craig
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JasonTheBirder
JasonTheBirder Senior Member • Posts: 1,568
Re: Holding on to the 200-500mm 5.6 after acquiring the 500mm 5.6 prime?

If you can afford it, keeping the 500pf and a zoom like the 200-500 can have its advantages for those occasions where you need the zoom range on travel and you want to simplify logistics. But that would be mainly if you want to shoot things besides birds on such a trip like larger mammals and maybe use the greater magnification of the 200-500 for things like lizards. I am aware also that e.g. a D500+500PF and a second smaller camera with a smaller zoom can be an alternative but carrying around two cameras to certain locations is logistically tedious.

That being said, it is fairly rare that I will need less that 500mm for birds. The exception to that is basically fairly tame birds, very large birds like the Southern Cassowary (one of my favourite birds btw), or birds in flight where sometimes a shorter focal length can be easier to manage.

PHXAZCRAIG
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 17,410
Re: Holding on to the 200-500mm 5.6 after acquiring the 500mm 5.6 prime?

JasonTheBirder wrote:

If you can afford it, keeping the 500pf and a zoom like the 200-500 can have its advantages for those occasions where you need the zoom range on travel and you want to simplify logistics.

But it seems to complicate logistics for me.   It's too big to travel, at least not without becoming the centerpiece of some carryon system.

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JasonTheBirder
JasonTheBirder Senior Member • Posts: 1,568
Re: Holding on to the 200-500mm 5.6 after acquiring the 500mm 5.6 prime?

PHXAZCRAIG wrote:

JasonTheBirder wrote:

If you can afford it, keeping the 500pf and a zoom like the 200-500 can have its advantages for those occasions where you need the zoom range on travel and you want to simplify logistics.

But it seems to complicate logistics for me. It's too big to travel, at least not without becoming the centerpiece of some carryon system.

That is definitely true....my cameras and lenses are always the centerpiece of my carryon system. I'll even leave my passport behind if it means I can carry on another lens.

Blufftonian
Blufftonian Contributing Member • Posts: 773
Re: Holding on to the 200-500mm 5.6 after acquiring the 500mm 5.6 prime?

jeffnles1 wrote:

I've put off buying the 500 PF. I am retired and absolutely cannot afford to keep both. Fact is, I would have to sell several things including the 200-500 and a couple guitars to be able to afford the 500PF. Other than being significantly lighter and a little sharper, I'm not sure the benefit of the lens outshines the cost of what I have to give up to get it.

I guess I'll keep the 200-500 until it gives up the ghost or I decide to sell all my Nikon gear and a couple of my guitars to switch to one of the Canon or Sony mirrorless formats.

Oh well, the good news is the 200-500 meets my needs now and for the foreseeable future. None of us know what tomorrow will bring.

Jeff

I have the 200-500 and am thinking about adding a 500 PF.  I'm pretty sure I'd keep both unless I also wanted to spring for a 300 PF.

But selling a guitar to fund the purchases?  That would require some very serious thought!

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goldaccess Regular Member • Posts: 174
Re: Holding on to the 200-500mm 5.6 after acquiring the 500mm 5.6 prime?
1

Sold my 200-500 shortly after getting the 500. The 500 is so much more handholdable and I've used the 200-500 95% of the time at 500mm anyways.

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Janet Zinn
Janet Zinn Veteran Member • Posts: 4,463
Re: Holding on to the 200-500mm 5.6 after acquiring the 500mm 5.6 prime?
1

JasonTheBirder wrote:

But that would be mainly if you want to shoot things besides birds on such a trip like larger mammals and maybe use the greater magnification of the 200-500 for things like lizards. I am aware also that e.g. a D500+500PF and a second smaller camera with a smaller zoom can be an alternative but carrying around two cameras to certain locations is logistically tedious.

Jason hit the nail on the head. I kept my 200-500 and I'm glad I did. Even though I had the 500PF already, I took the 200-500 to Madagascar because I knew I'd want to shoot everything from reptiles to lemurs to birds. Ditto when I went to Australia, I knew I'd want it for kangaroos, wallabys as well as birds.

Another consideration is the close focus. The 200-500 focuses about three feet closer than the 500PF and that definitely makes a difference in a close forest situation, or for reptiles. It actually took me awhile to stop cursing at the 500PF when I couldn't get the close focus that I was used to with the 200-500 (I'm accustomed to it now

However, to be honest shooting locally at home I have not picked up the 200-500 since I got the 500PF.

So it all depends on your needs.

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vantje Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: Holding on to the 200-500mm 5.6 after acquiring the 500mm 5.6 prime?

I will keep my 200-500, just got my 500 PF delivered for a week now.

The 500 pf is an amazing lens in so many ways, but I like the versatility of the 200-500 also.

When on an African safari drive you don't always have the right focal length for small/larger mammals; the zoom always comes in very handy. Even with smaller animals, it pays to zoom out to get the environment. With the 500 you're stuck on that focal length.

For birds, there's no discussion; the 500 Pf wins hands down.

I'll keep both.

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calson Forum Pro • Posts: 10,521
Re: Holding on to the 200-500mm 5.6 after acquiring the 500mm 5.6 prime?

I sold the 200-500mm but held onto my 80-400mm zoom lens. Having the 80-400mm zoom along with the 500mm PF lens was the perfect combination for me and both are relatively light lens so I have no problems carrying both lenses and two bodies in a small photo backpack.

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