AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR

72 Reviews

Product 20058



Capture thrilling close-ups of birds, wildlife, motorsports, athletes, performers, landmarks and other faraway subjects with this compact super telephoto zoom lens. Its fast f/5.6 constant aperture gives photos and HD videos beautiful out-of-focus backgrounds and lets you continue shooting while the light is fading. Vibration Reduction image stabilization keeps your shots sharp and steady and enhances low-light performance. Add an optional TC-14E series teleconverter and increase its zoom power 1.4x to a whopping 700mm on FX-format DSLRs, 1050mm equivalent on DX-format DSLRs (AF possible with teleconverters on DSLRs that offer f/8 support).
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5 / 5

Based on 72 Reviews

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  • 5

    Outstanding performance and value!

    Posted by NikonSince76 on August 20, 2018

    A Nikkor long-tele zoom for only $1400?!? When I first heard of this I was surely skeptical - I mean these class of optics from Nikon have always cost many thousands of dollars! But then the reviews and sample photos started coming out so I took the plunge myself. 18 months later, I can say this lens has been a game changer! It is sharp at F/5.6 and gets better from there on. But it is the amazing VR that makes this lens so versatile: goodbye tripod! I shoot this lens hand-held 99.5% of the time. A bit hefty? Yes. I use it on a D810 so the total weight with lens is about 7.5 pounds - but once I got it on a black-rapid strap, I can walk for miles with no issues and it is at the ready to shoot in a split second. The AF acquisition is a tad slow - especially in low light, low contrast, but once it finds its mark, it tracks well - birds in flight are no problem. This lens is real winner and a godsend to those of us who are not working pros. Bravo Nikon, well done!

  • 5

    Great lens in the right situations

    Posted by Safariphotography on April 4, 2018

    I normally use a 200-400 f4 on safari. The lens is fantastic but very heavy and cumbersome to fly with. I got the 200-500 5.6 thinking it would solve some of these issues. At a quarter of the price I was hesitant as to its performance in a hostile environment.
    The lens is priced at a prosumer market so I paired it with a D810 and D850. The only physical issue I could find is that zooming isn´t done internally so even with weather sealing there is a risk of some dust getting into the body. I´m glad to say after three trips it still remains dust free!
    Shooting from a safari vehicle is best done hand held and the weight of the lens is perfectly balanced with a full frame body. My ratio of ‘keep´ to ‘delete´ images was however lower than using the 200-400 f4. I put this down to a couple of factors.
    Firstly with a maximum aperture of f5.6 this lens performs at it best around f6.3 or f7.0 This is great for bright sunny scenes. On safari where your often shooting in the golden hours catching a running cheetah at 1/5000 means your iso is very high. It´s worth remembering that stabilization doesn´t aid in this scenario.
    Secondly the bokeh is great with subjects well isolated from their background, but when foliage such as leafs and grass are close by the results at f5.6 or f6.3 are not as smooth as I would like for the scenes I encounter.
    Where this lens shines is in full sun photography and in backlit conditions where the coatings and large lens shade do a exceptional job. Although the lens might not be suitable for all purposes especially where speed is essential, as a back up lens it is more than up the job!

  • 5

    Great lens

    Posted by Igrose on March 31, 2018

    After using this 200-500mm f/5.6 just under three months I´ve noticed an improvement in my Images mostly all nature. Paired up with my D7200 at 1.3X I am getting a 750mm reach that is even better than I expected. Sharp Images and closer to subjects for great detail and very little if no Chromatic Aberration. Using Nikon Capture NX-D to process my Images is working better than my paid for photo software. (strongly recommend Capture NX-D software). The VR is very good on tripod, the lens at just under five pounds is a very well made strong lens and can be used free handed as i do most of the time. Well worth the money.

  • 5

    Excellent Lens

    Posted by Nikonus on March 26, 2018

    I bought this lens to do astrophotography with but decided to test it by photographing wildlife. With any lens on a full frame you still have to get close. The detail is really great and crisp! The astrophoto I took was my first ever deep space photo. The amount of detail this lens allowed me to capture of Orion´s Nebula is absolutely incredible. Both photos were taken with this lens and my D800e camera body.

  • 5

    The beast

    Posted by Norge on February 23, 2018

    It´s a big lens but I love the fact that I can get close to birds in the field and still get quality shots. Still learning how to handle this thing but so far I really enjoy it.

  • 5

    So far so good.

    Posted by kevwatersphotos on February 16, 2018

    Only had it for about three days. It´s been overcast and cloudy, but I still had to take it out and shoot. I got decent still birds and birds in flight pics on my first few days. All the shots were at 500mm. Cant wait until a sunny day so I can see the full potential

  • 4

    Excellent Lens...One Big Disappointment

    Posted by ImageCatcher on February 7, 2018

    I purchased this lens when I realized that there were some situations that my 70-200mm f2.8 zoom just couldn´t capture properly, even with ´´digital zooming´´ accomplished by cropping the generous digital images captured by by D810. I might have preferred the new 180-400 mm f4.0 zoom with built-in 1.4x teleconverter, but the reality is that this lens will see occasional use, and there is absolutely no way that the cost of that lens is justifiable in my case.

    Based on my initial use, I have been extremely pleased with my purchase. Images are sharp and clear, focus is extremely fast, and the new ´´E´´ system for setting the diaphragm works perfectly. In addition, the image stabilization allows me to hand hold the camera and lens in most lighting situations even while using ´´reasonable´´ ISO settings. So I rate this lens as an excellent purchase and a good value. I do not agree with some other reviews which hint that it is underpriced, however. I believe that the current price is consistent with the design, build quality, and materials used, but I do not sense that this lens is of the same ruggedness and durability as the higher priced truly professional grade lenses in my bag.

    As for the big disappointment, I do believe that there is one major miss in the accessories provided with this lens. It is at the edge of my current photographic needs, and I don´t expect to use it more than 5 or maybe 10% of the time. It is also very heavy. For those reasons, I expect that it will be carried separately from the rest of my equipment. Unfortunately, it is provided only with a mostly cosmetic bag, not with any sort of useful pouch or other container that would provide any level of protection and perhaps a handle or strap to facilitate carrying. Nor have I yet been able to identify any sort of reasonably convenient bag from Nikon that would work. I would have gladly paid a higher price if the box had included a zipper-front pouch similar to the one supplied with the 70-200 zoom.

    Lack of an acceptable bag is the only thing preventing me from givin this lens 5 stars.

  • 5

    Wildlife close up

    Posted by PhotoMate on January 9, 2018

    I have been using another manufactures lens of similar focal length for the last 3 years, lost a number of shots due to focus sensitivity and speed. I got this lens for Christmas, and have been using it for about a month now. The lens is very quick to focus, with the focus ring in the correct spot to make fine manual adjustments when birds or animals are in dense foliage. The optical stabilization is superb, I have been shooting a lot of low shutter speeds while hand holding with very pleasing results. It is a little heavy, and with my D800 the combination can become a little bit of a workout when hiking. I have found that attaching a monopod allows me to sling the camera over my shoulder to transfer some of the load. This is a great lens for the price, and provides sharp satisfying results. I highly recommend it.

  • 1

    This lens has an altitude problem

    Posted by Norm1 on December 27, 2017

    This lens has an altitude problem.

    When the lens arrived, I took a couple of test shots in my back yard (elevation 1200) to make sure it was working properly. The shots were clear and sharp even though I was hand-holding at twilight. The next time I used the lens was at 9500 feet in New Mexico. Before I took the first shot, it was obvious in the viewfinder the lens was not focused. The shots weren´t just soft, they were blurry. The focus limiter and M/A switches were set correctly. I cleaned the camera electrical contacts. I put the lens on two other bodies. No help. OK, I thought, Nikon had a bad day. I returned it and received an exchange.

    I tested the second lens (elevation 1200) more carefully. Once again, the shots were clear and sharp. The next time I used the lens was at elevation 8500 in Colorado. Same problem. While in Estes Park CO (elevation 7522), I tried to autofocus fine tune the lens on my D700 body. A license plate about 50 feet away was my test target. All shots were on a tripod, ISO 200 (the camera´s minimum), and f/8 using a remote shutter release and mirror-up mode. Both camera and lens were set to autofocus. The target was center frame.

    The autofocus fine tune limits are -20 and . See attached shots. I also tested at -10 and with similar results.

    The lens is sharp at 200mm – the serial number on the yellow annual sticker is even readable! - but is somewhere between bad and awful at all other focal lengths. Fine tuning allows the focus quality to be improved somewhat at either 300mm, 400mm or 500mm, but to the detriment of the other two.

    I´ve never heard of any lens being affected by altitude, but I can´t think of another cause which would explain this problem. This lens is made for nature, and nature often lives at high altitude. This lens isn´t acceptable.