Nikon Unveils Lightweight 500mm ‘Super-Telephoto’ Lens

Although photography is currently dominated by the announcement of Nikon’s new Z series mirrorless cameras, the company has been quick to add another landmark product to their lineup – a lightweight 500mm f/5.6E ‘super-telephoto’ lens.

The AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR looks to deliver all the punch and performance of a lens at that length, whilst being easy to handle on account of its small size and lightweight build. Weighing in at just 1460g without the tripod collar, and at a length of only 9.33 inches, this lens is ideal for us wildlife photographers looking for great portability at a long focal length.

In comparison with Nikon’s other prime 500mm lens (f/4 version), at a weight of 3090g, this is a significant reduction even with the tripod collar attached (adding an extra 170g). This is achieved through the use of a Phase Fresnel (PF) lens element, which is much smaller than regular lens elements. Constructed from 19 elements in 11 groups, which sees three ED glass elements alongside one PF, sharpness and detailed rendering and brought to the fore.

In addition, the lighter lens elements allow for increased Autofocus speed, making the lens ideal for snapping fast moving species. These have been coated with Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat, that reduces ghosting and flare for image clarity.

Shot with the Nikon 500mm f/5.6E

If you’re braving the elements then no need to fear – the lens is both dust and drip resistant, whilst having a fluorine coat that repels dust, water, and other marks.

Alongside is a Vibration Reduction (VR) mechanism that gives camera shake compensation equivalent to 4.0 stops. This comes in two modes – NORMAL and SPORT. SPORT mode maximises stabilisation in the viewfinder, which Nikon claims to be effective for fast-moving subjects.

Although the lens is compatible with Nikon FX-format digital SLR cameras, it is possible to use the new FTZ mount adapter for attaching to the new mirrorless lineup.

The lens will be available soon for a price of £3699.

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Ed Carr is a Yorkshire-born landscape photographer and nature writer. Having spent his youth in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, he takes any opportunity to don his hiking boots and head out, camera in hand. When not out taking pictures or hastily scribbling down his thoughts, Ed’s halfway up a hill out chasing after his dog, Hendrix.

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