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Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 ED VR Lens Review

Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 ED VR photo 1 Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 ED VR photo 2


This is the review for the Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 ED VR lens, reviewed by Hoosh Multimedia. This lens is relatively light and costs less than most ultra-telephoto lenses considering its range of focal length, but that’s only because it’s an F5.6 (be it, constant). This lens has good optics and incredible Vibration Reduction system that enables you to shoot handheld at about 4.5 stops of improvement. Because of its balance, weight and amazing VR, I have been able to shoot 500mm handheld at 1/20th of a second and get sharp in-focus images (you also need a steady hand and good technique).

The Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 ED VR can be used on both full-frame and cropped sensor cameras.

If you have any questions not already covered by this article please let me know and I will try to answer them.

Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 ED VR history


The Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 ED VR was first introduced in 2015, and at the time of writing this article (2020) the lens is still being manufactured. As of 2020, there is only one version of this lens.

Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 ED VR specification

Maximum Aperture F5.6
Minimum aperture F32
Lens construction 19 elements in 12 groups (including 3 ED glass elements)
Angle of View Nikon film SLR and FX-format D-SLR cameras: 12°20'-5°00'. Nikon DX-format D-SLR cameras: 8°00'-3°10'
Number of Diaphragm Blades 9 (rounded diaphragm opening)
Minimum focus distance 2.2m from the focal plane (throughout the entire zoom range)
Maximum reproduction ratio 0.22x
Filter attachment size 95mm
Dimensions Approx. 108 mm × 267.5 mm
Weight (g) Approx. 2300 g (including tripod collar) Approx. 2090 g (without tripod collar)
Supplied accessories LC-95 95 mm Snap-on Front Lens Cap, HB-71 Bayonet Hood, LF-4 Rear Lens Cap, CL-1434 Semi-soft Case


Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 ED VR photo MTF 1


Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 ED VR MTF 2


Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 ED VR Operation


The Nikon 200-500mm F5.6 ED VR has really good optics and has the potential to produce good images. The lens is relatively light and because at 200mm, without the lens hood, the lens is almost the same size as the Nikon 70-200mm lens, then it can also fit into a camera bag. So it can easily be carried to location. But please remember the hood is what makes this lens too bulky to fit in a camera bag (even when you reverse mount the hood).

This lens has a maximum aperture of 5.6, so it is not really designed to be used for fast-moving subjects at low light. I personally use this lens indoors only if there is good lighting or if the subject is perfectly stationary, so I can benefit from the lens’s incredible Vibration Reduction. The lens benefits from Nikon’s Super Integrated Coating and three ED glasses. The lens is internal focusing, but when zooming in and out, the lens will get longer as you zoom in. One thing to consider is that this lens needs a 95mm filter if you need one, so it will be hard to find the right filters for this lens and when you do it will be very expensive. The auto-focus is accurate and the lens is sharp. Even though it’s a relatively slow aperture (being an F5.6), at 500mm focal length, you can still get a nicely blurred background.

This lens is not weather-sealed so please be careful if using it in the rain or any adverse weather condition.

With regards to using teleconverters, I personally would not recommend using a teleconverter with this lens as it has already got a relatively slow aperture of F5.6, so by adding a teleconverter you are going to reduce this to an extent that unless you are in extremely bright lighting condition, you will struggle to auto-focus or get any usable images.

The lens is also not made from metal, and hence why it's relatively light compared to professional lenses at the same focal range. This will also become apparent as the thread that holds the hood will eventually wear out, making it hard for the hood to stay on. But this is minor considering how usable and relatively affordable this lens is.



Who is Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 ED VR aimed at?


I already have some of the world’s best/fastest lenses that cover the focal ranges between 200mm and 500mm, so why did I feel a need to buy this lens? The simple answer is because this lens is relatively lightweight and “compact” (at a 200mm focal length, without the hood, will fit in my camera bag along with other lenses and cameras). So it makes it really easy to carry just one bag to a shoot (I always carry the hood separately, as to enable me to fit the lens in my bag).

I would say Nikon has aimed this lens at prosumers interested in Wild Life and Air Show photography as they are mainly done in bright light. I personally use this lens at events where I need to photograph a brightly lit stage from afar, in these situations; I will always reach for this lens than my other faster/ better quality lenses. This lens enables me to be more mobile and capture the photos that I cannot with a heavier lens. One thing to consider is that this is not a Nikon professional grade lens, and as such, it is not designed to be subjected to the same abuse as a professional-grade lens. As long as you are careful with this lens, it will give you many years of use without any issues (I have had mine for many years and have never had a problem).


Image Quality


The lens is very sharp and Chromatic Aberration is very well under control. The lens is a steal when it comes to price vs performance. If you are not planning on using this lens in a low light environment, then this lens will not disappoint, especially considering its fantastic VR (Vibration Reduction) system.

Sample images of Nikon 200-500mm F5.6 ED VR:

Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 ED VR photo 1 Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 ED VR photo 2




DISCLAIMER: The content, veiws, thoughts and opinion expressed in this website is purely based on the author's personal experience and any action taken upon the information provided in this website is strictly at your own risk. The author of this article will not accept any liability of any kind in connection with ANY information provided. The information contained in this website is provided on an “as is” basis with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness and without any warranties of any kind whatsoever, express or implied.



. Swansea. Cardiff. Bristol. London

All photos on this site were captured by Hoosh Arabi (Who is an award winning photographer).
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