How one reader got the Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens for $885

A reader commented on my previous post about the $200 Amazon credit deal - he basically got the Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens for $885 (reg. $1,400) after taking advantage of several savings and offers:

Wow, thanks for posting this. I'm not one for credit card gimmicks, but this is a serious deal! I just applied for this card, and will be getting the 200-500 for less than $900 (if you count the Amazon credit as savings):

$150 bonus after spending $500 on your new Chase Freedom card in the first 3 months

$200 Amazon cash to use on a future camera purchase

10% cash back on Amazon purchases charged to Freedom card = $140

$25 bonus when you add an authorized user and make first purchase within 3 months

200-500 lens = $1,400
$150 + $200 + $140 +$25 = $515
Final Price = $885 (37% off)

You can see the list of qualifying products for this Amazon offer here (includes the D750, D810, Df cameras, the latest 200-500mm and 300mm f/4 lenses and more). This deal will expire on December 31st. Here are the full details:

Offer: Get a $200 Credit Toward a Future Purchase with a Qualifying Top-Rated Camera or Lens Purchase With Code CAMERAGIFT


Step 1: Buy a qualifying camera or lens listed below that is shipped and sold by Customers must use code CAMERAGIFT at checkout to participate in the promotion.

Qualifying products and additional details can be found here.

Step 2: After 30 days, customers will receive an email from Amazon indicating that a $200 promotional credit has been automatically applied to your account for a future Camera, Photo & Video store purchase

Step 3: Use the link provided in the email to shop the Camera, Photo & Video products shipped and sold by Amazon. Your credit will automatically be applied to your Cart at checkout

Promotion Timeline:

Offer Available: 11/26-12/31/15
Future credit is redeemable until March 31, 2016

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  • Jeff Hunter

    I ordered the lens one day before the Amazon promo was announced – bad timing, great lens.

    • great lens, but quite slow AF. I’ve got one, but for full price 🙂

      • Mike Gordon

        Quite slow compared to what? I have the 200-500 and 70-200II. The 200-500 not at the 70-200 level, but blows any of the consumer zooms out of the water. It it close to the 80-400 I sold to get the 200-500…

        • I do wildlife and have fast prime lenses, so maybe i am comparing to these.. 🙂
          I tested 200-500 to borrowed 200-400 and the new lens is much slower, especially for flying birds.
          On other hand this lens performs in other areas very very well – sharpnes, weight, focal range.

        • PhilK

          If the 80-400 lens you’re comparing it to for focus speed is the original non-AF-S version, that was apparently a notoriously slow-focusing lens. 😉

      • Brian

        I have an 800 F.5,6 and I find the new 200-500 to be pretty darn fast.

        • I don’t have any experience with 800/5.6 but I can compare it to 300/2.8 VR2 , 400/2.8 VR2 or 200-400/4 and definitelly this 200-500/5.6 is the slowest (visible) of them. I am very hapy with 200-500, the only thing i wish being better is AF performance.
          When photographying flying birds then you get what i am talking about 😉
          Just to have a clear picture i am using D3s and D810 body so the AF module is not bad model.

    • Bill

      Call Amazon and tell them. They will most likely credit you or your credit card! The call if free and my experience with Amazon is pretty awesome so it never hurts to ask. Do it soon.

  • whisky

    the more you spend the more you save?

    • waterengineer

      Yep. I always love it when you have to spend money to save money. LOL!

  • nwcs

    I got the Tamron 150-600 which is just as good to my eyes (and far lighter) for about the same price. 🙂

    • Patrick O’Connor

      I’m glad to hear that. I have the Tamron 150-600 and wondered if I messed up. Of course neither the Nikon 200-500 or either Sigma variant was available at the time.

      • nwcs

        The Sigma options were available but not the Nikon one when I bought mine. But the Nikon one wasn’t appealing as it cost more, had shorter focal length, and weighs more. The image samples and reviews I’ve seen of the Nikon at 500mm show it as very similar to the Tamron at 500. Having 600mm without a TC is also nice plus a speed advantage over the Nikon with TC.

  • koenshaku

    Wish I would have known this earlier just ordered a gray market d750 from ebay on the 24th. It wouldn’t have had to be gray market if I would have known.. Well I will look at what lenses this qualifies for.

  • T.I.M

    f/5.6 for a 500mm is really slow, and that’s the optical aperture, in fact after the light goes through all the elements you get about f/8 real aperture, making the AF hunt.
    You can buy a AF-D 300mm f/2.8 used for $1000-$1500

    • Jeff Hunter

      The only time I’ve experienced any hunting was when I used it with a 2x teleconverter. No surprise there since it becomes f/11 with the TC. The advantage of the 200-500 over faster lenses is that it’s lighter more compact and easier to carry.

      • exactly. It was my big surprise that this lens works with TC14 and TC17 without any problems and the result is still sharp!

        • Jeff Hunter

          I was wondering how it worked with the TC1.4 & 1.7. Thanks for the info.

    • Nikonanon

      The transmission of a lens cannot be predicted so the realisim of your claim of t/8 is as accurate as your d900 claims 😉

      • T.I.M

        it’s easy to check, take a picture in manual mode with a prime lens at f/5.6 and then take the same picture (keep the subject same size) with the 200-500mm at f/5.6
        Then compare both pictures, if the one shoot with the zoom is darker than the one took with the prime lens then you’re loosing light and the real aperture is not f/5.6

        • Spy Black

          You’re confusing T-stop with F-stop. Two different animals.

          • T.I.M

            I am not, or else I want a full refund for my college years…..

            • nwcs

              Time to look for the rebate form…

            • T.I.M

              actually it (was) almost free in my country…

            • Spy Black

              Demand it.

            • You are most definitely.

              An f-stop is a theoretical measure of light transmission. A t-stop is a measurement of the light transmitted.

              You cannot get a prime and compare it to a zoom as they have different t-stops.

            • There is nothing “theoretical” about an f-stop. It’s a ratio of the diameter of the lens in relation to the focal length. It’s a product of mathematics.

            • Harry

              As I know it, F-stop fundamentally defines the size of the aperture and hence sets the stage for depth of field. For still photography, control of depth is generally desired. A TTL automatically adjusts for the the loss through the lens. So, once we determine the exposure time required, it is easy to calculate the depth-exposure trade-off.

              A T-stop on the other hand, defines the amount of light that makes it through the lens. This is generally more desirable in video because it sets the stage for the brightness of a scene where the exposure time is generally limited.

              Just my few cents. Don’t kill me if I am completely off.

            • Just remember that the depth of field is also dependent on the focal length. It’s a bit of a three dimensional problem. An 85mm lens at f/2.8 focused at seven feet will have less depth of field than a 50mm lens at the same aperture and focusing distance. I was responding to the other commenter who was saying that f-stops were a “theoretical measurement”. It’s just math…focal ratio (f-stop in photography)=focal length/aperture. It’s totally defined and there’s nothing left to theorize about it. And yes, t-stops are most useful to know for doing video. Usually they don’t impact still photography much except in technical applications.

            • I stand corrected. Thanks Pete. (T’was after a long day and I was very tired.)

            • At my age, tired is becoming the norm!

        • Mike D

          What you say is true… in that almost any lens will have a true t-stop that is slower than the f-stop. That is true for just about any lens. However, I find it HIGHLY unlikely that the t-stop value for the 200-500 is a full stop slower than the f-stop. I’d believe more like a third stop loss of light.

          • I think you’d be surprised. 1/2 to 2/3 stop on these kinds of lenses is pretty normal. The focal lengths themselves are also very different from that printed on the lens.

        • Nikonanon

          Not all prime lenses transmit light perfectly, no lens transmits light perfectly so therefore it cannot be used as a legitamite benchmark.
          You have once again provided a point as your d900 rumors 🙂

    • Flipper Tweenie

      300mm is not 500mm, also it sounds like you’re used to crap lenses. Which, this Nikon is not.

      • T.I.M

        The Nikon AF 300mm f/2.8 is a great lens, used by pro for several decades.
        I can afford my AF-I 400mm f/2.8, most people can’t, so the 300mm f/2.8 is a good option for quality pictures with a “low” price telephoto.

        • catinhat

          There is also 300 f/4 AF-S for about half the price and weight of what you quoted. Works great with TC-14eII.

      • Nikonanon

        Nikon has never made a bad 300mm f2.8 because they are proper pro lenses. You must be new to photography so I might as well say longer doesnt always equal better.

    • Brian

      The new 200-500 is an amazing lens and fast Auto Focus, not sure what everyone is experiencing as I am not seeing this nor is anyone I know. I have one friend that sold his D810 and 600 F/4 for the 200-500 with a D7200 and is loving it. I’ve used mine on both my D4S and D810 with great performance. Fast Focus, Sharp throughout and great VR.

      • catinhat

        You should post about your friend in the NR thread about D400 rumors (or absence thereof), for the benefit of those who think that FX is the holy grail.

        • T.I.M

          FX is the holy grail
          If medium format cameras/lenses were not so expensive and so difficult to use (often 1-2 stop slower than FX lenses) I would trash my FX cameras and buy medium format digital SRL !!!
          Now DX/FX is an other story, there is no advantage shooting DX format, same weight, same price as FX gear !

    • Ritvar Krum

      a sub 1400$ 200-500 zoom is “f/5.6 for a 500mm is really slow” …. ok… compared to what? compared to a 20 year old more heavy 300 2.8? did you noticed one starts with “3” and other with “5”- how about picking something closer to “5” (like 4 or even 5) and then tell me how slow it is (even if we dismiss that those lenses cost x5 more – even used)???.. by the way – I own 180mm 2.8 – it is fraction what 300 2.8 costs and weights – and 180 is closer to 300 than 300 to 500… and I bet people can compare my 180mm 2.8 with their 85mm 1.8 – those also are “pretty close telephoto” – then I have no arguments vs them (they have f1.8 – and even more compact and crisp than my 180 – and “as good” as my 180 for anything)

  • Gilles Gamache

    Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but a 200$ credit on a future purchase of something else is NOT a rebate on the lens itself; it’s just an incentive to buy something else. This post is not up-to-par with what is usually posted on NR. It looks like NR is advertizing for Amazon.

    • I thought this was a good deal and posted it online like I did many times before. Obviously you don’t have to buy it if you feel it’s not for you.

      • T.I.M

        Peter, please keep posting any rebates, sales, specials offers on NR.
        We all have different needs, I need as much my $250 50mm f/1.4 as I need my $10,000 400mm f/2.8
        In the past I saved money on cameras and lenses thanks to NR.

      • Cajetan Barretto

        I purchased the lens after reading about the rebate here; and used the $200 credit towards a Nikon R1 system, which I always coveted. So thanks and carry on.

    • purenupe1

      What a negative comment…its a great deal to get $200 (which you can apply to any future photo related order without a spending minimum by the way) to buy something you were gonna purchase anyway. I could have just as easily ordered the lens from best buy, adoroma or BH but they arent offering a more competitive deal so why not get ot from amazon and get a bonus. Besides that this post os more about combining other external options (which dont benefit NR at all) to help offset the cost of lens.

      • Gilles Gamache

        “…to buy something you were gonna purchase anyway”; right. Assuming you really were going to purchase something else anyway, it still does not make it a rebate on the 200-500. Gimmicks notwithstanding,the deal was already good at 1085$ instead of 1400$, no need to bring up faulty arithmetic into the picture.

        • purenupe1

          Your logic is flawed….. How can getting a discount ever be a bad thing? Yes. I had plan to buy the 200 to 500 before this deal and so the $1500 was already budgeted ( search my comments as proof) the allure of a a discount on something else influenced my decision to shop at Amazon vs other retailers just as it was intended to do. If you dontbwant to buy anything else because you feel as though your forced to spend more then you dont have to and wont suffer and penalties for it. But the reality of the deal is that you can apy the disscount to an item costing less than $200 and depending on the taxes not spend any additional monies from your personal funds. The use of the credit card for additional savings have the same principal and only offer the risk of additional time spent applying and waiting. You sir are complaining for the sake of complaining, if you dont like the details then dont use it…..your comments are worthless to the thread as you dont even offer a valid warning against the deal or its purpose. You should shut down your computer and go outside and take some photos…do some self reflection….maybe you will make a friend or two if your lucky and add a bit of happiness to what appears to be a life of unecessary disgust and misery.

          • Gilles Gamache

            Wow, Purenupe, what a wise comment.

            First off, I did not target you directly by saying “assuming you really etc…”; it was to be read as “assuming one really…”; I should have been clearer. I could not care less whether you had saved for it or not.

            Second, my logic is not flawed, as I did not use any logic. I did not like the post, and clearly said what part of the offer I did not like, so yes, I did “warn” about what I did not like. That’s my prerogative, like it or not. You are free not to like my post as well, but don’t try to suck up to NR by doing so.

            That being said, Happy New Year to everyone.

            • purenupe1

              Thank you….your admitted lack of logic in writting the post adds validity to content of my reply. Happy New Year to you as well

        • spicynujac

          If you don’t have another photo purchase to make in the next 4 months, you can always purchase extra batteries which will resell for full price on ebay. An additional step, yes, but then again I think most people here can find a photo purchase they need to make within the time period.

    • Robin Johnson

      Giles – good point but the bigger issue is actually the credit card “savings” – I went to execute the CC deal – and learned that the balance on the card is calculated at unto 24.9% from the moment that something is bought. That’s new (I think) they’re charging you interest not after you don’t pay your monthly bill but as soon as you buy something. That deal sucks actually. It’s predatory. And the “savings” are illusory – and almost are wiped out with the userous interest rates. Nikon Rumors is RIGHT to post the savings – great it is why I like the site – but the fine print on this one is something that some might not take the time to read. It’s not cool… best to stick with $200 back for future purposes and don’t use the card.

      • spicynujac

        This is kind of a moot point now, as it’s too late to apply, but the details with my card state “Interest Free Period (also called grace period on purchases): Your account is in an interest free period when you pay your New Balance as shown on your statement every month by the due date and time. During this period you will not pay interest on purchases”. As it should be. I’ve never seen a card that charges interest from the purchase date, and I doubt this is legal.

      • purenupe1

        My freedom card has a 28 day grace period before interest charges accrue. Not sure where you got this info

  • Kevin

    2 interesting things: 1. on Amazon, you can save $264 automatically on a Nikkor 24-70 2.8 VR by choosing the bundle with a UV lens. Listed as $2196 with bundle instead of $2396 base.
    2. Their code, CAMERAGIFT, doesn’t seem to be working on any lens I tried. I get an error every time I try to use it, which is odd since it’s in their instructions and above.

    • catinhat

      You probably can’t bundle filter AND use CAMERAGIFT at the same time. Double dipping 😉

      • TheInfinityPoint

        You are indeed correct. I tried getting the 200-500 with the B+W 95mm filter and the code didn’t work. Tried it again with the lens only and it worked.

        • Kevin

          okay, makes sense, thanks catinhat and infinity!

  • This is a little off because you needed to activate the 10% rewards by December 14, 2015 on chase website in order to get the 10% cash back on up to $1,500 in new combined purchases from November 23 – December 31, 2015 it counts only as 1% so $14- not $140 (in the actual comment he mentioned he had his rushed to arrive 12/29 so couldn’t have activated the savings yet. Maybe they worked something out but just wanted to point this out)

    However this is still informative as I never thought about it from the credit card saving angle, when you pile on other savings (lets just say I spent more then a hour looking at other credit card cashback reward programs after reading this.)

    • spicynujac

      Unfortunately, the info wasn’t available on NR until very last minute, leaving people a day or two at most to jump in. The deal is too late for anyone now, but I was able to get the 10% amazon rewards when I called and activated my card.

  • Ritvar Krum

    spend more – to save more – more you spend, more you save – but you must spent out more than you can save – and when you find your self with couple of lenses that you wont be using and you can not resell those for exact same price you bought them new cuz everybody is grabbing them for rebate prices anyway and noone will buy new lens from you for a nwe lens price tag if they can pick those in store) and even if you can (resell new lens for brand new lenses price tag) – count out those e-bay and paypal fees…. and you just lost a lot of $$$ (tough you did save on papper at first)

  • TheInfinityPoint

    Funny enough I took advantage of the same exact combination of deals, minus the part of applying for the Chase Freedom card (because I already have it) and adding an authorized user (my wife and I already share a card). Even without that $165 in savings (I spent an additional $100 on other things from Amazon, since they give 10% cash back up to $1500 in Amazon purchases) it comes out to $1050 which is still an impressive 25% off. I’m actually going to pay the remaining $1050 using the Amazon points I’ve accrued… so it’ll effectively be “free” for me.

    I double checked with an Amazon customer service rep and I can spend that $200 credit on anything in the photo/video section. For me I’ll be using it to get a nice travel-size tripod I’ve always needed…

  • Allan Smith

    I paid full whack on mine when I got it 6 weeks ago. I do a lot of motorsport and the lens seems to do a pretty good job. I have had no issues with it being too slow to focus although it is slower than either my 300F2.8 or 600F4, it is also only a fraction of the price. I can recommend the lens. Allan.

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