Today, Nikon gave a very brief development preview of their new prime super-telephoto lens, the AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR.
Nikon says this upcoming full-frame 500mm f/5.6 lens will be small and light enough for handheld shooting, even during fast action where it typically can be very difficult to hold steady and track subjects with a long focal length. The size and weight also will benefit portability, so wildlife photographers who trek a ways away from their home or vehicle in order to find their subjects might have interest in a super-telephoto like this.
The way Nikon is able to produce a more portable 500mm lens is through use of phase fresnel (PF) lens elements, which we’ve seen before with the Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR. Nikon states that these elements “effectively compensate for chromatic aberration utilizing the photo diffraction phenomenon” and requires a fewer number of total lens elements.
Further information regarding the AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR will be coming later this year, including the price and ship date.
My prediction, and feel free to make your own in the comments below, is that it will be priced between $5,000 and $6,000. That’s enough to remain in the competition space with Sigma’s 500mm f/4 priced at $5,999, where Nikon would cede a slower aperture, but has the advantage of a more portable design and possibly better autofocusing or image quality. It would also leave the entry-level priced Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 ($1,396.95) in its own category with the 150–600mm lenses from third parties, and the no-holds-barred Nikon 500mm f/4 ($10,296.95) still king of their lineup at this focal length.
What are your thoughts on the new lens announcement? If the price is right is it something you would buy?