Nikon 500mm F/5.6e PF ED Lens
Light and Compact
Sorry, my Nikon Intel was a bit off - Nikon did not release a 600mm but a 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR. That being said. WOW! Nikon is really stepping up their game with super-prime less than 10K - this opens the gates for those on a moderate budget who are looking for a prime, but I understand it is not exactly cheap. After many years of using the older 300mm f/4 lens, I jumped at the new 300 PF lens when it was released and it is awesome - super sharp, compact and light. Enter the new 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR looks to be following the same suit - so what do you do, is it worth the $3600 price tag or should you go with the more versatile and economical 200-500?
I feel this lens is geared to the pro enthusiast who needs a great prime lens but will not shell 10K+ for the opportunity to own the faster 500 f/4. Considering this was announced when the Z series cameras - it shows how much Nikon is in the game for photography and thinking of smaller, lighter gear.
Prime 500mm f/5.6 vs 200-500 f/5.6 zoom - My thoughts: I prefer primes but appreciate the zooms and this will be a hellish decision for many. Given my track record for longer zooms, I think I would just shell out the extra cash and get the 500mm Prime, it will be a faster focus and sharper + offer superior weather sealing and to me, that means longevity, use and resell. + almost half the weight of the zoom - 3.2 pounds vs 5+ pounds for the zoom.
If you are on a tighter budget - the 200-500mm f/5.6 has many very good reviews, and some of the images taken with the lens are remarkably sharp. At the end of the day Nikon has given you two nice choices - now only problem is choosing.
Below is the post I made back in May - having intel that the release would be a 600mm.
Nikon is said to be on the verge of releasing a much lighter and more compact version of their Top of The Line Professional 600mm f/4 ED FL lens. The new 600mm will feature as it’s selling point – lightness and compact. If you are not aware of the Phase Fresnel lens concept take a minute to look at their release of the 300mm F/4 PF lens and see for yourself the big advantage in compactness and lightness over the older version. I have owned both the older 300 and now the newer 300 PF and I can attest to what a huge difference it makes in carrying ability. I actually want to take the newer 300 PF along with me as a second camera and lens set up for nature, I would have never done that with the older lens – just too much weight.
Also, the newer 300 f/4 PF lens is killer sharp and I suspect the New 500mm PF will be as well – so no doubt the lens will perform.
What does this release mean to Nikon shooters as a whole? Options! and with options comes decisions - pricing is still up in the air and I suspect it will be around less than midpoint of Nikon’s stellar 12K ed fl f/4 lens, around maybe $4999.95 after all, it is a f/5.6 which currently gives you maybe a 1.4 TC option in good lighting and in my opinion this lens will be directed to those who wish to travel light and shoot in good lighting.
I have already received many questions asking me to provide my opinion. Right now it is about the price point Nikon offers the lens for, if done with respect to their line up we should see a lighter somewhat affordable lens that can make you rethink your lens choices.
For me as a current owner of a 600 ed fl f/4 – I will pass. But for everyone else I suspect they will be very tempted by this lens, especially those who are seeking a longer lens for wildlife/birding and don’t have 12K to throw out or want to carry that weight around.