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Lens review

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 200–500 mm f/5.6E ED VR

30 October 2018
Maciej Latałło

11. Summary

Pros:

  • excellent image quality in the frame centre,
  • good image quality on the edge of the APS-C/DX sensor,
  • sensible image quality on the edge of full frame in the 200–350 mm range,
  • slight lateral chromatic aberration,
  • moderate distortion,
  • perfect coma correction,
  • negligible astigmatism,
  • slight vignetting,
  • nice out-of-focus areas,
  • silent and accurate autofocus,
  • very efficient image stabilization.

Cons:

  • problems with performance against bright light.
The Nikkor-AF-S 200–500 mm f/5.6E ED VR is a very good answer of that renowned producer to lenses of similar class which have been offered by independent producers for many years. The Nikkor is an instrument distinctly better than the older models of Sigma or Tamron which focal length range ended at 500 mm; it also represents a very similar level as other contemporary 150-600 mm class models. Only the Sigma 150-600 mm Sport seems to be slightly better; mind you, it is also a device notably heavier and bigger and you have to pay for it a bit more.

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The tested Nikkor 200-500 mm is so good and its list of pros so long that for a moment I even toyed with an idea to award it our ‘Editor’s Choice’ badge. I dropped that thought because there are too many small flaws, too negligible to be listed in the cons section but significant enough to influence the final verdict (e.g. too slow autofocus, longitudinal chromatic aberration, slight influence of spherical aberration, a bit too weak performance on the edge of full frame). Even without our award I suppose it remains a lens which I can recommend wholeheartedly.