Home News & Rumors Talk Shooting with Nikon’s new 500mm F5.6E PF in Kamchatka: Digital Photography Review

Shooting with Nikon’s new 500mm F5.6E PF in Kamchatka: Digital Photography Review


Revealed Sep 8, 2018

Roie Galitz

Nikon D850 | 500mm F5.6E PF | ISO 320 | 1/1250sec | F7.1

Full disclosure: Roie Galiz is a beta product tester for Nikon Europe.

Wildlife photographers love millimeters – the extra the merrier. However additional focal size comes with a price, each actually and by way of weight.

The brand new Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm F5.6E PF ED VR bucks that pattern, together with a PF (‘section fresnel’) aspect to cut back the dimensions and weight of what would in any other case be a big, heavy telephoto prime lens.

Nikon 500mm F5.6E PF key specs:

  • Optical building: 19 components in 11 teams (1 PF, Three ED)
  • Minimal focus: 3m (118 inches)
  • Aperture blades: 9
  • Vibration Discount: 4EV (CIPA)
  • Dimensions:
    • Diameter: 106 mm (4.17)
    • Size: 237 mm (9.33″)
    • Weight: 1460 g (3.22 lb)

Once I put my keen palms on the brand new 500mm F5.6 PF lens and put it subsequent to the flagship 500mm F4E, it felt like a toy, being so small and light-weight. Really, to my eyes it regarded cute. I used to be a bit skeptical that it might ship the identical efficiency, so once I packed my gear for a current bear pictures workshop in Kamchatka, I packed the older lens too, simply in case, alongside the brand new 500mm F5.6E PF and 180-400mm F4E.

Dealing with

A story of two lenses: the 500mm F4 (left) and new 500mm F5.6E PF (proper), with their included hoods hooked up.

Holding this lens feels bizarre at first and I’ve by no means held a digital camera with a 500mm prime in a single hand like I can with the F5.6E PF. The lens is so mild that it nearly feels unstable in comparison with the F4E, and the shift in steadiness with the lighter lens, again in direction of the digital camera, takes some getting used to. After the primary couple of bear pictures although, and a few preliminary discomfort, I started to actually see the advantages. This light-weight lens allowed me to simply transfer round, lay on the bottom, {photograph} from the water from a low angle and be way more versatile than I might with the older and heavier F4.


Nikon D850 | 500mm F5.6E PF | ISO 1250 | 1/1000sec | F7.1

When loosing a cease of sunshine, I anticipated to free focus velocity as nicely, however the F5.6E PF truly locks into focus in a short time. For bear pictures, focus velocity doesn’t need to be ultra-fast, so to actually take a look at the lens I went and photographed some Tufted Puffins flying round with beaks stuffed with fish. The D850 + 500mm F5.6E mixture delivered round a 70% hit-rate the place the pictures have been in sharp focus.

The minimal focus distance of the 500mm F5.6E is 3.5 meters, which is nice for close-ups, nevertheless it’s too shut for bears!


Nikon D850 | 500mm F5.6E PF | ISO 200 | 1/1000sec | F8

Would you slightly have an F4 or F5.6? nicely, in fact all photographers need that additional cease of sunshine. Aside from low circumstances, although, I’d slightly shut the aperture to round F8 for additional depth of area. For that reason, more often than not I would not care a couple of most aperture of F5.6E in comparison with F4. ‘More often than not’ is not all the time, although. In low mild or when taking pictures fast-moving topics, I might slightly shoot at 1600 at F4 than 3200 at F5.6.

Vibration Discount (VR)

Nikon D850 | 500mm F5.6E PF | ISO 200 | 1/800sec | F7.1

Usually on the subject of VR, the bar is raised with every new high-end lens that comes out. With the 500mm F5.6E PF I discovered VR particularly helpful since I did not have the sheer mass of the lens to assist take in shake, as I do with the F4. I didn’t actually get to long-enough publicity occasions in the course of the Kamchatka workshop to check it completely, however I am keen to take action as quickly as I can.

Picture High quality

I didn’t anticipate this child lens to be able to the identical picture high quality because the F4E, however it’s! The D850’s 46 megapixels place an enormous demand on any lens, and the 500mm F5.6E PF actually delivers. Bokeh appears to be like nice, I couldn’t persuade it to flare whereas taking pictures in opposition to backlighting and I did not discover any points with chromatic aberrations.

All-in-all, I couldn’t discover any drawbacks in comparison with the F4E on the subject of picture high quality.

Here’s a pattern comparability between the 2, labeled as A and B. Each pictures have been handheld, un-edited and un-sharpened and brought at F/5.6. See in case you can inform which picture was shot with which lens.

Nonetheless can’t determine? Right here’s a 1:1 crop unsharpened.

And the reply is… A is the Nikon 500mm F5.6E PF and B is the Nikon 500m F4E.

General Impressions

In comparison with the 500mm F4, the F5.6E PF lens is sweet and simple to make use of handheld, particularly with fast paced topics I might simply maintain the digital camera up and prepared for hours on finish and the picture high quality doesn’t appear to have been compromised on the expense of lightness.

I might like to have this lens in my backpack at any time when I’m on a mission in a sunny surroundings, simply to keep away from having to hold the load of the sooner lens. If I’m taking pictures within the jungles or the excessive arctic nevertheless, I might need each cease of sunshine obtainable, at which level I would in all probability play protected and go for the heavier F4E.


Roie Galitz is knowledgeable wildlife photographer, public speaker, wildlife workshop chief and a GreenPeace ambassador to the Arctic.

Roie was in Kamchatka main an expedition for pictures tour firm Phototeva. For extra info and pictures go to his web site www.roiegalitz.com and comply with his Instagram – www.instagram.com/roiegalitz

Roie Galitz was not compensated for this text by Nikon or DPReview, and Nikon had no involvement in its publication.


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