Where is the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens?

I have not seen any reports of the new Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens being shipped to existing pre-orders for a while (I  think the last batch was shipped back in October last year). At one point Amazon even removed the lens listing from their website (now it is back on). Here are the possible reasons I received from sources on why this lens is still not available:

Update: coincidentally a new batch of the 500mm f/5.6 lenses just started shipping in the US two days ago.

  • The lens is fully hand-assembled (“hand-made”) and because the China factory producing them has only a limited number of staff with the necessary training and/or skill to produce them.
  • The Phase Fresnel element is “tricky and time-consuming” to produce, consequently, this is the bottleneck in the process.
  • Nikon is experiencing production delays due to inconsistencies in the glass used to make the lens elements. Evidently, the glass problems are affecting several other lenses produced in China as well but I don’t know exactly which ones. No timetable was given as to when the issue would be resolved. Supposedly they were talks about sourcing glass from the Sendai plant and assembling the lens in China or even moving production to the Sendai plant.

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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Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens comparison

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