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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    arshuter's Avatar

    500 f/4 vs 500 f/5.6

    Trying to decide which way to go. Is the 1 stop worth the extra weight? What about image quality? Will probably have a TC1.4 attached most if not all the time. Oh I hate these decisions. I'll be 62 in March, so weight will be a factor soon, and do a lot of hiking to get away from the crowds. Thoughts/recommendations please. Thanks, Alan


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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Bengan's Avatar

    Re: 500 f/4 vs 500 f/5.6

    Unless you're a professional (and I doubt that you would ask here if you were), I would think that the 5,6 is quite sufficient. The cost difference alone would make up my mind.
    If you're going to use the D850 I would not use a TC, not even one as good as the 1.4. I would crop instead. The 5.6 is a very, very good lens.
    Bengt - D810; D7200
    Tamron 24-70/2.8 G2; Sigma 14-24/2.8
    Nikkor AF-S 200-500/5,6;Sigma 150-600 C; Sigma 105/2.8 Macro
    Pentax K-1, K-3, Spotmatic, ME, K-2; Rolleiflex

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Whiskeyman's Avatar

    Re: 500 f/4 vs 500 f/5.6

    I'll say go for the f5.6, but it really depends upon your needs. (I have a 500 f/4, and I plan on getting a 500 PF E f5.6, if that tells you anything.)

    WM
    "If you think that things can't get any worse, you've never been in the military." - Anonymous

  4. #4
    Senior Member

    Re: 500 f/4 vs 500 f/5.6

    Nearly 60% of the photos I've taken this year are with the 500 f5.6, mostly backyard birds and critters (thanks Covid). If I eliminate those I shot with a Sigma 150-600mm that was remote triggered near a woodpecker nest I'm closer to 70%. I marvel at the image quality and the fact that I can handhold it all day long. Try hiking through the woods carrying the f4 without a tripod. I have a 1.4x TCii but I don't use it with it - I don't have the need, but they work in good light.

    Unless you have a specific need to spend that much money then get the f5.6 and use the savings to grab a D500 to stick it on instead of the TC. I've got a pair of them and the 500mm has not come off of one of them in over a year, and that was for travel. You can see a bunch of the results here.
    Last edited by BackdoorArts; 01-07-2021 at 12:44 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    arshuter's Avatar

    Re: 500 f/4 vs 500 f/5.6

    Quote Originally Posted by BackdoorArts View Post
    Nearly 60% of the photos I've taken this year are with the 500 f5.6, mostly backyard birds and critters (thanks Covid). If I eliminate those I shot with a Sigma 150-600mm that was remote triggered near a woodpecker nest I'm closer to 70%. I marvel at the image quality and the fact that I can handhold it all day long. Try hiking through the woods carrying the f4 without a tripod. I have a 1.4x TCii but I don't use it with it - I don't have the need, but they work in good light.

    Unless you have a specific need to spend that much money then get the f5.6 and use the savings to grab a D500 to stick it on instead of the TC. I've got a pair of them and the 500mm has not come off of one of them in over a year, and that was for travel. You can see a bunch of the results here.
    Looks like your doing exactly what I do. Nature, wildlife and landscape. BTW when I looked at your FB page I could smell the cigar smoke.
    Thanks/Like hark Thanks/liked this post
     

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    arshuter's Avatar

    Re: 500 f/4 vs 500 f/5.6

    Thanks for the help guys I think you've help me make up my mind. Thanks again, Alan
    Last edited by arshuter; 01-08-2021 at 03:19 AM.

  7. #7
    Staff
    Super Mod
    hark's Avatar

    Re: 500 f/4 vs 500 f/5.6

    Quote Originally Posted by arshuter View Post
    Thanks for the help guy I think you've help me make up my mind. Thanks again, Alan
    Eventually I went with the Nikon 300mm f/4 PF and the Nikon 1.4x TC based on the images Jake posted a while back. I have no complaints about the IQ. When the 500mm f/5.6 PF was announced, Jake jumped on board. Once he started using that lens, just about all his wildlife images are taken with it. I remember him mentioning this Nikon 500mm PF to be sharper than his Sigma Sport zoom as well as the weight being so much more comfortable. And based on his results, it's definitely an amazing lens (and he knows how to get the best from it).

    Looking forward to seeing future images with yours.
    Cindy - D750, D500, D7200
    My 2021 Thread

    Where the Spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art
    -- Leonardo da Vinci



  8. #8
    Senior Member

    Re: 500 f/4 vs 500 f/5.6

    Quote Originally Posted by arshuter View Post
    Looks like your doing exactly what I do. Nature, wildlife and landscape. BTW when I looked at your FB page I could smell the cigar smoke.
    Fully 60-80% of the images you see on there involve said cigar smoke wafting while I wait for the next shot.

    Seriously, if you're shooting a lot of wildlife adding a D500 to your arsenal won't hurt you. It'll give you 3 more fps than the D850 and you'll get a few extra pixels per bird. If you have the budget to consider the 500mm f4 I think you'll be better served and far more pleased with the D500 and the 500mm f5.6.
    Last edited by BackdoorArts; 01-08-2021 at 11:43 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    arshuter's Avatar

    Re: 500 f/4 vs 500 f/5.6

    Quote Originally Posted by BackdoorArts View Post
    Fully 60-80% of the images you see on there involve said cigar smoke wafting while I wait for the next shot.

    Seriously, if you're shooting a lot of wildlife adding a D500 to your arsenal won't hurt you. It'll give you 3 more fps than the D850 and you'll get a few extra pixels per bird. If you have the budget to consider the 500mm f4 I think you'll be better served and far more pleased with the D500 and the 500mm f5.6.
    The f/4 I'm looking at is owned by one of the people in a photo club I belong to. It looks to have hardly been used. $3000.00 My main concern is in the carrying all the extra weight. I usually take both bodies a couple lenses for landscape a couple for macro and a 2-5 for wildlife. Add tripod filters etc. ounces equal pounds, pounds equal pain.

  10. #10
    Staff
    Super Mod
    hark's Avatar

    Re: 500 f/4 vs 500 f/5.6

    I know you mentioned you will be using a tripod. The difference in weight looks to be 6.8 pounds for the f/4 vs. 3.2 pounds for the f/5.6. If you would ever handhold the f/4, that extra stop of light won't factor in simply because you'd have to use a faster shutter speed to compensate for the extra weight of the lens. In all honesty, how often would you ever even shoot at f/4? The compression of a telephoto lens would make the depth of field extremely shallow so you'd probably be shooting at f/5.6 or higher anyway.

    Maybe @BackdoorArts can tell you how often he shoots at f/5.6 vs. a smaller aperture (say maybe f/8 or f/9) in real world shooting. Will that one stop at f/4 really be advantageous for your situation? No one can make that choice other than you.
    Thanks/Like Whiskeyman Thanks/liked this post
     
    Cindy - D750, D500, D7200
    My 2021 Thread

    Where the Spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art
    -- Leonardo da Vinci







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