Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens review by Steve Perry

Steve Perry published his review of the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens with some sample photos:

Below are some of the images I captured with the 500PF during the field test. One point I neglected to mention in the video is that with the 500PF I favored my D5 over my D850. The reason for this is during the trip we encountered a LOT of overcast conditions and very seldom saw much of the sun. Usually, when shooting in those conditions out in the open, I still tend to favor my D850 over my D5 – but that’s with the 300 F/4 or the 600 F/4.

However, when using the 500PF, I’d frequently notice my ISOs were a touch higher than I would like given the condition and shutter speed, so I often attached it to the D5 due to its better noise performance. So, yes, the F/5.6 is very noticeable if you happen to shoot with F/4 glass on a regular basis. However, at the same time, don’t get the wrong idea here or misinterpret this as a “complaint.” The truth is, most of the time I didn’t mind using the lower resolution camera because it was easier for me to approach the animal (and get low) without all the bulky gear. So, it’s a give and take situation, and you have to leverage the strengths of the lens instead of getting (too) hung up on the disadvantages.

Oh, and one last observation with this lens. If you’re accustomed to big glass, you’ll have to keep reminding yourself that you really have a 500mm lens in your hands. At first, I was constantly getting too close!

Here’s the tech info for each of the photos above:
  • Posing Elk – Nikon D5, 500PF, 1/500th, F/5.6, ISO 500
  • Coyote Portrait – Nikon D850, 500PF, 1/800th, F/5.6, ISO 5600
  • Coyote Headshot – Nikon D850, 500PF, 1/320th, F/5.6, ISO 2500
  • Prairie Dog – Nikon D850 500PF, 1/640th, F/5.6, ISO 800
  • Elk At Sunset – Nikon D5, 500PF, 1/500th, F/5.6, ISO 2500
  • Red Fox In Sagebrush – Nikon D850, 500PF, 1/1250th, F/5.6, ISO 2500
  • Mountain Goat – Nikon D5, 500PF, 1/800th, F/5.6, ISO 1400
  • Pronghorn Buck – Nikon D5, 500PF, 1/500th, F/5.6, ISO 450
  • Racing Pronghorn – Nikon D5, 500PF, 1/4000th, F/5.6, ISO 4500
  • Raven Headshot – Nikon D5, 500PF, 1/500th, F/5.6, ISO 9000
  • Red Fox Sitting – Nikon D850 500PF, 1/2000th, F/5.6, ISO 2500
  • Running Bison – Nikon D5, 500PF, 1/2500th, F/5.6, ISO 720
  • Snowy Bison – Nikon D5, 500PF, 1/500th, F/5.6, ISO 360
  • Up Close Elk Bugle – Nikon D5, 500PF, 1/500th, F/5.6, ISO 800
  • Little Chipmunk – Nikon D5, 500PF, 1/500th, F/5.6, ISO 5600
  • Young Bull Elk In A Stream – Nikon D850, 500PF, 1/640th, F/5.6, ISO 640

Previous coverage and reviews of the new 500mm f/5.6E lens can be found here. Check pricing and availability at:

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