200-500 F5.6 first impressions


Senior Member
Well, the FedEx truck showed up a short while ago and delivered a huge box. Yep the Nikon 200-500 F6E ED VR from B&H had arrived. I eagerly unboxed and mounted it up to my Z5 with the FTZ adater. I was a little nervous that the lens might not perform as well with the adapter as a native mount body. I shouldn't have worried. I went outside and stalked some backyard wildlife before the rain set in, or my wife might need me.

First impression:

It's a big boy. Looks like I'm going to need a bigger camera bag. Seriously, my current bag will hold this lens and little else.

It's heavy as well. Not a huge problem, but I wouldn't want to let the lens hang on the body unsupported much. Not sure my daughter will like this lens simply because of the size and weight.

AF seems to work well. If you are anywhere near the focus point, it is fast and quiet. No idea yet on how well it will track on a moving animal, such as a bird in flight.

VR seems to work very well. The Z5 has IBIS, and the lens has VR. I used the normal VR mode on the lens and IBIS on in the body, and was very impressed with performance. The picture I posted was shot at 500mm and 1/60 sec shutter speed. It is very sharp IMO.

Sharpness and contrast seem to be quite good from just looking at a couple of pictures.

So far, I am quite happy about this lens. It seems like a really good bang for the buck. Not in the same class a some of the fast, primes, but they are pretty much out of my price range.

The first picture was full sized. The second was heavily cropped to show sharpness. OK, looking at the lower rez JPGs, they don't look that sharp. The full resolution images are quite sharp. These were shot full open aperture. When I get a chance I will shoot some stopped down to F8 or F11 and see how they look in comparison.




Senior Member
Got a chance to go take a few more test pictures today. I'm really liking this lens so far.

Here is a picture at near closest focus.

It is exposed at F11 at 1/500 sec and I shot it from a tripod.

Heavily cropped first, and full size for comparison.

I think I need to clean my sensor. I'm noticing the same spots on all my latest pictures, tried a different lens and got the same thing.




Senior Member
And just to bore you with a few more. I haven't had the opportunity to go and give it a real tryout. Just popping out in the yard and taking a few on the fly. It's been hot, and I needed to wait for a cleaning kit to come in and clean my Z5 sensor. Think I have that sorted, hope so anyway.

Just for giggles I mounted it to my D3400 to see how it performed on a crop sensor and without IBIS. I am impressed with how well the VR works in this lens. These images are quite sharp in the plane of focus when viewed under enlargement with the full rez files.

Here is one at ASA 400 with the lens VR on normal, handheld at 1/250 sec F8.


And a similar one at ASA 200, 1/125 sec, F8, and handheld.

Here is a zoomed in portion of the above photo to show detail under magnification. Again, this was handheld at 1/125 sec at effectively 600mm.



Senior Member
I finally got a chance to go do some shooting in the local area today. Exclusively used the 200-500. There were one or two shots I would have liked to use the 24-70, but wasn't going to go through the hassle of unmounting and stowing the monster, then put it back on.

AF worked very well. There were a few instances where I had to help it a little by getting it close with the manual focus ring, but that ring is right there by my left hand, and it's so easy to do.

Figured I'd post a few here, rather than start a new thread. I love the look of the shapes and colors in the water in the first one. Unfortunately, the gator kind of gets a little lost in the patterns. I guess that's why they call it camouflage.


I think this is my favorite of the batch.



Great colors and textures in this one. Not wild about the central subject.


I think the thorns on the stalk to the right are a nice bit of extra interest. Some might find it distracting. Neither myself or the Pup thought so, but everyone is different.



Senior Member
I will have to say that shooting these bird pictures at a demonstration almost seems like cheating. The handlers generally will parade the bird by the viewers to let them get a good look, or take some pictures. You can usually get within 6-8 ft of the birds, and they aren't shy of people. Makes it easy to get some nice shots. Still, I don't have much desire to get up hours before dawn and tramp through miles of wilderness to sit for long periods in an uncomfortable blind, and maybe come home without a single picture.

That sort of reminds me of my hunting experiences.