Lens review

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 500 mm f/5.6E PF ED VR

12 September 2018
Arkadiusz Olech

11. Summary


  • excellent image quality in frame centre,
  • very good image quality on the edge of the APS-C/DX sensor,
  • good image quality on the edge of full frame,
  • negligible longitudinal chromatic aberration,
  • slight lateral chromatic aberration,
  • imperceptible spherical aberration,
  • practically zero distortion,
  • perfect correction of coma,
  • good astigmatism correction,
  • slight vignetting,
  • silent and accurate autofocus,
  • very efficient image stabilization.


  • significant contrast decrease during the performance against bright light.
I admit I can’t remember the last time when I had to return a lens after a test with such a regret. Bird photography is one of the areas I like as an amateur very much; still I am not a professional enough to construct hiding places or lookout points and spend inside many hours, days even, waiting for that perfect shot. My nature and bird photography can be rather called casual as I enjoy it mainly during a walk to a forest or a meadow. When I go to a longer trip with my family or alone I sometimes take a telephoto lens with me, stop here and there, wait a bit, observe the trees, meadows or fields through a pair of binoculars, and take a photo. Small wonder I took such a liking to the small, lightweight, handy Nikkor AF-S 500 mm f/5.6E PF ED VR, sharp already from the maximum relative aperture and correcting practically all optical aberrations in a perfect way.

What about the performance against bright light? It is the single flaw we managed to find and, I suppose, you can handle it as long as you use the hood and you choose your frames wisely.

A whole long list of serious assets and just one flaw (a flaw that, additionally, stems from a specific technology which is able to provide many other assets) allows us to give the tested Nikkor our ‘Editor’s Choice Award’ badge.

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Nikon Nikkor AF-S 500 mm f/5.6E PF ED VR - Summary