Nikon 500mm f56E PF Review
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Nikon 500mm f/5.6E PF Review


The Nikon 500mm f/5.6E PF VR is without doubt one of the hottest lenses for wildlife pictures amongst Nikon photographers. It’s additionally my major telephoto lens, and I’ve used it for greater than 4 years of rigorous area work. At the moment, I’m reviewing the 500mm f/5.6 PF and sharing my full expertise.

NIKON D500 + 500PF @ 500mm, ISO 2500, 1/800, f/5.6

Nikon 500mm f/5.6 PF Specs

  • Full Title: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR
  • Focal Size: 500mm
  • Aperture Vary: f/5.6 to f/32
  • Optical Design: 9 parts in 11 teams
  • Diaphragm: 9 rounded blades
  • Angle of View: 5° (Full body)
  • Minimal Focus Distance: 3m (9.8ft)
  • Most Magnification: 0.18x (1:5.6)
  • Size: 23.7cm (9.33″)
  • Weight: 1.46kg (3.21lbs)

In regards to the Nikon 500mm f/5.6 PF

The Nikon 500mm f/5.6 PF was introduced in mid-2018, and I positioned an order for it nearly the second of the announcement. What me in regards to the 500mm f/5.6 was the compact measurement, gentle weight, and quick focusing pace. I wish to be very cellular in my capturing model, usually mountain climbing lengthy distances, so it appeared like match for me from day one.

Nikon is understood for the standard and number of their supertelephoto lenses, however even in that context, the 500mm f/5.6 PF stands out. At 1.46kg (3.12lbs), the 500mm f/5.6 PF is without doubt one of the lightest 500mm lenses in existence. That is partly due to the slim f/5.6 most aperture, and partly due to that acronym – PF.

No, this lens wasn’t designed by a superb however mysterious optical engineer named Penelope Fisher (not less than so far as I do know). Fairly, the acronym stands for Section Fresnel. As you’ll be able to see from the optical diagram of the 500mm f/5.6 PF, one of many lens parts close to the entrance is a Section Fresnel factor:

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f:5.6E PF ED VR Lens Construction


In case you’ve ever used an overhead projector, you’ve seen Fresnel lenses in motion earlier than. In these gadgets, a Fresnel factor is used to offer gentle amplification with a flat, compact optical factor – the flatness being required in order that you possibly can put a sheet of paper on it.

Fresnel parts are utilized in varied different purposes, from improving lighthouses to creating “flat magnifying glasses” like this one. Not like common lens parts, they aren’t easy on the floor. As an alternative, Fresnel parts have a collection of ridges in a concentric round sample. It’s in all probability simpler to point out than to clarify, so right here’s an instance cross-section of a daily lens factor versus a Fresnel factor:

Regular Lens Element vs Fresnel Lens Element
Common lens factor on high; Fresnel lens factor on backside. Picture tailored from Wikimedia Artistic Commons, Public Domain

That’s how it could look in a cross-section. However, seen from above, the Section Fresnel lens factor on the 500mm f/5.6 PF would look be a collection of rings like this:

Fresnel Lens Element Closeup
A Fresnel lens seen from above

You’ll be able to see from these two illustrations that Fresnel lens parts will be made a lot thinner than a conventional lens factor, thus saving weight. Though Fresnel lenses should not with out their downsides, they make quite a lot of sense for supertelephoto lenses, that are normally very massive and heavy. Any measurement/weight financial savings is welcome.

The 500mm f/5.6 PF was the second Nikon lens to include a Section Fresnel factor. The primary was the Nikon 300mm f/4 PF lens, which is an absurdly small lens for a 300mm f/4. It’s additionally expertise that Nikon is incorporating within the Z system – look no additional than the Nikon Z 800mm f/6.3 PF VR S, for instance.

Nikon in all probability took some inspiration from Canon, who has been producing lenses with Fresnel parts since 2001 and now has 5 of them (referred to as “Diffractive Optical” parts in Canon’s terminology). Or, possibly Nikon simply took some inspiration from lighthouses. Onerous to say.

NIKON D500 + 500PF @ 500mm, ISO 450, 1/2000, f/5.6

Utilization within the Subject

In comparison with nearly some other telephoto lenses in the marketplace, what you’ll discover in regards to the Nikon 500mm f/5.6 PF is its gentle weight. That’s actually the most important purpose to get this lens over one thing else. I’ve discovered that it’s straightforward to hike lengthy distances with this lens with out getting sore, and but nonetheless get excellent picture high quality.

Nikon D500 + 500PF @ 500mm, ISO 450, 1/4000, f/5.6

What in regards to the f/5.6 most aperture? It undoubtedly makes the lens more durable to make use of in low-light environments, particularly when it comes to autofocus. I’ve discovered that if I’m capturing even nonmoving topics, and the sunshine is low sufficient to require ISO 6400 or greater, the autofocus efficiency quickly degrades. You’ll have to manually focus near your goal and anticipate the AF system to hunt a bit. That is with DSLRs; you may get higher efficiency when adapting this lens to a high-end mirrorless camera. Fortunately, most of my chicken pictures doesn’t require capturing in such low gentle so I don’t fear about it an excessive amount of.

As for teleconverters, Nikon’s 1.4X III teleconverter turns this lens right into a workable 700mm f/8. Picture high quality will not be actually the issue – the larger downside is that an f/8 lens is pushing the restrict for many Nikon DSLRs. You’ll nonetheless get autofocus with the middle AF level, and relying on the DSLR, possibly different autofocus factors as properly. With a mirrorless camera just like the Nikon Z9, the outcomes are going to be a bit higher, with all of the autofocus factors nonetheless participating. However, a 2x teleconverter is a bridge too far with this lens except you’re doing a really specialised shot, like photographing the moon. A 1000mm f/11 simply isn’t a really versatile lens.

NIKON D500 + 500PF @ 500mm, ISO 100, 1/800, f/5.6

I’ve seen just a few folks point out a problem with unusual VR efficiency on this lens that sometimes causes barely blurry pictures at sure shutter speeds. Hardly ever on the D500, I’ve observed an odd jittery look, which can be as a consequence of shutter shock and the VR system, as a result of I’ve by no means observed this downside capturing the 500mm f/5.6 PF on the Nikon Z6 with the digital shutter. However this downside seems sufficiently hardly ever that I’ve by no means misplaced a shot due to it, or been in a position to replicate it constantly. I nonetheless maintain my VR on by default and suggest you do the identical.

What in regards to the 500mm focal size? It’s an ideal candy spot for wildlife pictures, though it may possibly come up brief for the smallest or most distant topics for those who’re capturing full-frame. On the Nikon D500, it’s nearly good and even too lengthy from time to time. Total, I believe that the 400-800mm vary (full-frame equal) is essentially the most versatile for wildlife pictures, so I can’t complain.

Nikon D500 + 500mm PF @ 500mm, ISO 3600, 1/640, f/5.6

Relevance in a Nikon Z Mirrorless World

In case you’re capturing with a Nikon DSLR camera, the 500mm f/5.6 PF ought to be excessive on the record for nearly anybody who wants a supertelephoto lens. However what about for Nikon’s mirrorless cameras? You’d want to make use of the 500mm f/5.6 PF with the FTZ adapter, which nonetheless works properly, however a local lens can be preferable.

Nikon makes just a few Z-series lenses that I believe will be instantly in comparison with the 500mm f/5.6 PF: The Nikon Z 400mm f/4.5, the Nikon Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3, and the Nikon Z 800mm f/6.3.

The 400mm f/4.5 is the extra apparent alternative. It truly weighs a hair lower than the 500mm f/5.6 PF and in any other case targets a really related viewers. Libor, my fellow author at Photography Life, has used the Z 400mm f/4.5 lens and reviews that it really works very properly with the 1.4X Z teleconverter, supplying you with a 560mm f/6.3 lens. For nearly each software, the Nikon 400mm f/4.5 can exchange the 500mm f/5.6 PF lens for photographers who solely use the Nikon Z ecosystem. Nonetheless, particularly on the used market, the 500mm f/5.6 PF is promoting for a lot much less.

As for the Nikon Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3, it’s a considerably heavier lens, nevertheless it’s inexpensive and nonetheless enables you to shoot at 500mm and (roughly) f/5.6. In case you want the comfort of a zoom and don’t care a lot about weight, it could be various.

Lastly, the Nikon Z 800mm f/6.3 has a really related area of view to the 500mm lens, for those who’re utilizing the 500mm on a DX camera and the 800mm lens on an FX camera. So, photographers like me who use the Nikon D500 + Nikon 500mm f/5.6 PF combo could discover the Z 800mm f/6.3 a extra acquainted match on a full-frame camera just like the Nikon Z9. It, too, is way heavier although – and likewise dearer.

Nikon Z 400mm f-4-5 Lens Product Photo
The Nikon Z 400mm f/4.5 is the closest Z-mount various to the Nikon 500mm f/5.6 PF

That stated, if you have already got the Nikon 500mm f/5.6 PF, I don’t see a purpose why you have to change, even for those who’ve moved to an all-mirrorless system. Optically and when it comes to focus pace, you’ll achieve surprisingly few advantages by switching to a local Z lens, contemplating how good the 500mm f/5.6 PF is (extra on that later). On high of that, the 500mm f/5.6 PF lens make an ideal mixture for a extra budget-conscious photographer with the Z system, particularly since many individuals are promoting their 500mm f/5.6 PF lenses once they swap to mirrorless.

On the subsequent web page of this overview, let’s check out the construct high quality and dealing with options of the Nikon 500mm f/5.6 PF.

#Nikon #500mm #f5.6E #Review

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