Nikon Announces Development of Smaller, Lighter Weight 500mm f/5.6 Super-Telephoto Lens

Nikon Announces Development of Smaller, Lighter Weight 500mm f/5.6 Super-Telephoto Lens

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.

The 300mm f/4 PF and 500mm f/4 lenses (comparative size is not accurate). We can expect the 500mm f/5.6 PF to look like something in between these two.

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?

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9 Comments

$4000

you beat me to it. i guess between 3.000-4.000 euro so 3500-4500 dollar. its f5.6 nog a f4 and its cheaper tech. i guess they might bring it out with a F and Z mount for their upcoming mirrorles. or atleast ready to adapt to that. short low weight lens, ideal to kick sony's ass.

If they don't make it available in F mount, I'll be the one kicking Nikon's ass! ;-)

stand in line son. would be nice if they made a 400mm f4 and a 600 f5.6. as i understand they are going to based on the above tech. finally a budget friendly option.

You would get all three? I think I'd prefer the 600 but would settle for the 500. I'm not really interested in the 400.

300 f2.8 if they bring those out the 400 f5.6 and 600 f5.6 . would love the expensive versions of these but i still need both my kidneys. 300 f2.8 is crazy good for portrait and other subjects.

And probably saves you from going to they gym or maybe requires you to. :-)

David Pavlich's picture

I thought maybe this was a long awaited challenge to Canon venerable old 400 f5.6 and while old in the tooth, still a terrific lens. But this is a "light" version of their top line 500 f4. If the price is $5000 US, then there will be a ton of comparisons to the Sigma. At $4000 as Sam suggests, this might be a really nice lens for Nikon shooters.

Anonymous's picture

I'm going to stick my neck out and say £2500, low price compared to others here but the construction of this lens enables them to keep costs down and it would go nicely with the £1700 price of the 300 f4. Also I'm factoring in the impact of Sony & Fuji here and the need to keep customers sweet, they won't do that by pricing people out. (apologies for UK £, not sure what the current exchange rate is to $).