Nikon Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR AF-S Lens Review with Sample Images

Noisy Miner 2
Noisy Miner 2
Willie Wagtail


Red Backed Fairy Wren


Dusky Moor Hen


Noisy Miner 2
Noisy Miner 2

Recently I blogged about the new Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR AF-S lens and yesterday was able to pick one up and take it for a spin.
Previously the longest lens I had was the 300mm f/4D lens.
It is very nice to have the extra 200mm and to have the VR functionality which was lacking in the 300mm f/4D lens.
In evaluating this lens after only one day I can sum it up with the following dot points, some of these points may appear to be obvious but I will sum up all the aspects to make it complete:

  • In general for bird photography my 300mm lens was on many occasions far too short and I love the new 200-500mm lens with the additional focal length.
  • The aperture of f/5.6 does not allow the same high shutter speeds as an f/4 lens but many of the more recent cameras will allow much higher ISO settings for equivalent noise levels, so this will counteract the higher aperture to some extent.
  • When I compare the lens with the 300mm lens, the 200-500 is noticeably quite a bit heavier, but to me this was not a problem as I nearly always used a monopod to stabilise the lens as I will continue to do so with the 200-500mm lens.
  • The 200-500 lens is much larger in both length and diameter the the 300mm, this is most noticeable when the lens is zoomed to 500mm as it extends considerably from the 200mm focal length position.
  • As far as sharpness and contrast with the new lens, it is very much similar to the 300mm f/4D lens which I still own. I have always been happy with the 300mm f/4D lens and believe I will continue to be happy with the 200-500mm.
  • The zoom on the lens has quite a stiff feel to it which I believe is good as it is desirable that the lens does not creep to a longer focal length when tilted downwards. It does have a lock to lock it at the 200mm position.
  • The vibration reduction VR, on the lens appeared to be very effective at stabilising the lens. I compared the lens both with and without the VR switched on and it appeared to perform as I would have expected.
  • The focussing of the lens was very quick but I was using the lens in fairly bright lighting for most of the time.
  • I was very surprised at how silent the focussing was on the lens.

Considering this new 200-500mm Nikon lens I feel that it could replace my older 300mm f/4D lens but perhaps I may miss the f/4 setting on some occasions when working in low light, time will tell.

All the images in the above image Gallery are from this new Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E lens. So judge it yourself from these images.

If you want to buy this lens see the link below which I recommend.