Nikon Ratings and Reviews

Customer Reviews for Nikon Inc. AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR

Nikon Inc. AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR

Powerful, lightweight super telephoto, ideal for nature and sports features Nikon’s VR II image stabilization and Nikon Nano Crystal Coat for exceptional performance.

Average Customer Rating:
4.889 out of 5
4.9
 out of 
5
(18 Reviews) 18
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot 18 reviews
5 stars
16
4 stars
2
3 stars
0
2 stars
0
1 star
0
18 out of 18(100%)reviewers recommend this product.
Customer Questions & Answers:
13 Questions | 16 Answers
Customer Reviews for AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
Review 1 for AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Fabulous lens

PostedJune 2, 2014
Brad
Location Fargo, ND
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 21+ years
Experience More than a year
Role Semi-professional photographer
User submitted photo
User submitted photo
The 500 is a fantastic lens. I have been using it now for a couple of years and I am 100% in love with this lens. It is great for wildlife.
+2points
Review 2 for AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Sharp lens!

PostedMarch 1, 2014
Brownbomber2
Location Missouri, USA
Age 55-65
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 2-5 years
Experience 6-12 months
Role Semi-professional photographer
User submitted photo
I use this lens for birds and wildlife on a Nikon D800, sometimes with a 1.4 Nikon teleconverter and also without it. It is a fast focusing lens even on the D800. I mounted it on a friends D3 and it is superfast! I love the lens and am glad that I went ahead and made the investment.
 
My product recommendations
 
 
 
 
+2points
Review 3 for AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

One Word: Outstanding!!!

PostedOctober 3, 2012
Andy
Location Austria
Age 25-34
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 6-10 years
Experience 3-6 months
Role Serious passion, hobbyist
User submitted photo
User submitted photo
I have been using plenty of long tele lenses already, primarily zoom lenses, including the Nikon 200-400 VR, so I thought that I knew what excellent contrast rendition and sharpness looks like. Obviously I have been mistaken! The Nikon 500mm VRII is even better than I have expected. I am using it with my Nikon D7000 and J1 for birding, moon shots and sports photography and I am still amazed at the details that can be rendered, even with tele converters or my J1 + FT1 adapter, having a pixel density of roughly 70MP FF.
The autofocus foccuses nearly instant and is very accurate and the handling is not much different from my Nikon 200-400 VR. I can use it hand-held and the VRII is even more effective than VRI has ever been.
I hope Nikon will produce professional cameras without mirror in the future, because the only problem using such long prime lenses is the mirror causing vibration. With my J1 I do have 1350mm and each movement, even a minor one, has adverse effects on sharpness, but due too the J1 being mirrorless, I can get better results than with my DSLR on far off subjects.
Speaking of distance shots, the Nikon 500mm VRII is far better than the Nikon 200-400 VR in this regard, although the Nikon 200-400 is better for macro photography. I wish the closest focusing distance would be similar, but one can use extension tubes for that purpose anytime.
All in all I am very pleased with this lens and I am looking forward for a 500mm VRIII.
+18points
Review 4 for AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Excellent wildlife lens

PostedMarch 19, 2012
Rambleon41
Location Jacksonville, FL, USA
Age Over 65
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 21+ years
Experience 1-3 months
Role Serious passion, hobbyist
Very fast focus, extremely sharp, and the VR allows for hand held photography of flying birds. I have owned several long lenses and this is the fastest focusing and sharpest lens I have owned.
+3points
Review 5 for AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

This lens is the best for the buck

PostedFebruary 7, 2012
lightning lou
Location Rotterdam, NY
Age 55-65
Favorite Subject Nature
Experience 6-12 months
Role Semi-professional photographer
User submitted photo
Very wll made.
Well Balanced
Sharp, fast, great color saturation.
Love the bokeh at lower f-stops.
My experience using a tripod is great, except when tracking birds too far off center. For that, I hand hold, to avoid tripping over the legs.
My hand-held shots are incredibly sharp, and I love this lens no end. The image below was shot at ISO 400 f/4 1/125 1-1/3 overexposed. I wanted to see what it would do with poor light and hand held at the above settings.
+11points
Review 6 for AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Perfect size and great quality

PostedDecember 16, 2011
Mully410
Location Shoreview, MN, USA
Age 35-44
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 2-5 years
Experience 1-3 months
Role Serious passion, hobbyist
I wanted some long glass that I could wield on a monopod. This fits the bill nicely. I can hike all afternoon with this lens on my monopod with the D7000 attached. It's not light but it's a whole lot lighter than the 600f4.
The focusing is super fast...even faster for birds in flight when I set the focus limiter.
I get tack sharp images easily when on a tripod and a high percentage of sharp images on a monopod at 1/800 sec.
It works great with the TC1.4eII. I see no loss of quality in prints or on the computer.
 
My product recommendations
 
 
 
+2points
Review 7 for AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Sharp, sharp, sharp

PostedApril 14, 2011
bills_pix
Location MI
Age 45-54
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 21+ years
Experience 1-3 months
Role Serious passion, hobbyist
User submitted photo
User submitted photo
Had it for a month before taking it to Florida for a week of bird photography. The images are stunning for clarity, contrast, and sharpness. Even with the 1.4 t/c the shots are super sharp.
I generally use it on a "W" brand gimbal mount but even handheld it is not that bad for birds in flight.
+2points
Review 8 for AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Love it

PostedApril 14, 2011
pacho
Location Bogotá, Colombia
Age 55-65
Favorite Subject Travel
Nikon Family 21+ years
Experience 6-12 months
Role Serious passion, hobbyist
Extremely sharp, and love using it hand held, with a monopod or bean bag. The effect of using it at f4 is great, and still sharp.
+2points
Review 9 for AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Great Wildlife lens

PostedApril 14, 2011
FishHawk
Location Harwich, Ma
Age Over 65
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 21+ years
Role Professional photographer
This is the lens to get for birds and wildlife. A tack sharp lens.
+1point
Review 10 for AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Simply Excellent

PostedApril 14, 2011
Nikon Professional
Location Tucson, AZ
Age 55-65
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 21+ years
Role Professional photographer
Lightweight for its focal length and rock steady in the VR mode. Extreme clarity, excellent light management and fast focus make this a must for any nature/wildlife photographer. Outstanding performance on the D3x and the D3. Tack images with tons of resolution. Just superb.
+2points
Review 11 for AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Love this lens!

PostedApril 14, 2011
Eaglewatcher
Location Cleveland, OH
Age 45-54
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 2-5 years
Experience 3-6 months
Role Serious passion, hobbyist
User submitted photo
Wanted just a bit more telescoping that my 400mm lens and this does the trick. Not nearly as expensive as I expected it to be. Well worth every dime. Now I can see the eagles in the nest just like I am sitting there. Even my husband was impressed! This photo was taken approximately a football field away from their nest.
+3points
Review 12 for AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Incredible lens

PostedSeptember 22, 2010
BradB
Age 45-54
Favorite Subject Sports
Nikon Family 2-5 years
Experience 1-3 months
Role Serious passion, hobbyist
Love it for High School football games. It's a great product at a fair price.
0points
Review 13 for AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

pin-sharp edge-to-edge

PostedAugust 25, 2010
londonphotographer
Location London
Age 45-54
Nikon Family 21+ years
Experience More than 10 years
Role Professional photographer
User submitted photo
As a professional photographer I have used Nikon lenses for the last 21years. Nikon optical glass is the best in the World. The 500mmf4 & 600f4 are both crucial to my magazine sports photography: edge-to-edge sharpness and ease of use (fast / accurate focus, light weight and exceptional build quality are second to none.
I would not be without my trusted Super-telephoto Nikon's. Highly recommend using the TC14E-2 when you need slightly more reach on difficult assignments,/ from f4- f5.6 but images are as sharp as they are from the prime lens. The Nikon 500/600 f4's are the best super-telephotos available. If your thinking of buying a Sigma or other make, choose a good second-hand Nikon everytime - its the optical glass that is all important, not the price !
+16points
Review 14 for AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Wonderfully Sharp and Contrasty

PostedJuly 30, 2010
dvd5
Location Sacramento, Ca
Age 45-54
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 21+ years
Experience More than a year
Role Serious passion, hobbyist
Highly recommended for bird photography--very sharp and contrasty images. I use this lens on both the D300s and the D700 with and without teleconverters. Make sure you have solid support (sturdy tripod with gimbal head) or beanbag for sharpest images.
+2points
Review 15 for AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Best all-around bird lens I ever used

PostedJuly 30, 2010
Nikotus
Location Chicago, IL
Age Over 65
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 11-20 years
Experience More than a year
Role Serious passion, hobbyist
I have made 40,000+ bird images with this lens primarily on a D300. Optically, the lens delivers excellent performance with enough resolution to support use of a 1.7X converter on todays highest resolution Nikon DSLRs and it exhibits total freedom from fringing. The relatively low weight for such a fast, long lens makes it tolerable to carrry around in the field all day. The build is first rate and rugged. Auto focus speed on the D300 leaves something to be desired when working flying birds at relatively close range. That may be more a function of the body than the lens, however. The one serious problem is the inexplicable inablility to achieve proper focus with the TC-14E extender. I have tested three 500mm VR lenses, three 1.4X extenders, two D300 bodies, and a D3 body in various combinations and the problem arose in each case, without exception. There is just not enough range of adjustment in the Nikon "AF fine tune" to correct the situation. Fortunately, this problem does not occur with the TC-17EII extender.
+18points
Review 16 for AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

500mmf4 ED VR

PostedJuly 20, 2010
prosportsphotographer
Location London - City UK
Age 45-54
Favorite Subject Sports
Nikon Family 21+ years
Experience 1-3 months
Role Professional photographer
Outstanding, 'pin sharp' images from edge to edge, extremely high precision lens optics and lens construction. The 500mmf4 IF-ED produce results that are simply amazing, together with the 9 blade shutter to give outstanding Bokeh - this is a lens that I would highly recommend for sport, commercial, fashion and wildlife photography. (Cameras used Nikon D3's)
+10points
Review 17 for AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
Overall rating 
4 / 5
4 / 5

fast focus - poor tripod mounting ring

PostedApril 15, 2011
Jer
Location Tucson, AZ
Age Over 65
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 6-10 years
Experience More than a year
Role Semi-professional photographer
Great lens except for one thing. After using this lens for the first time the mounting ring cracked.
After the fact I then found out from others that this is not an uncommon problem with the original equipment on the large Nikon lens. Nikon would not warranty it saying that it was improperly used.
I was not happy but had to pay for a new tripod mounting ring. I shoot along side several other photographers that use their long lenses in the same way that I use mine. I have been using the 500mm lens with the new ring for over a year now and the new ring is performing as it should. Nikon said that the lens should never be picked up by the tripod mount or left on the tripod when moving the camera and attached lens. I have never seen a photographer do it any other way.
+14points
Review 18 for AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
Overall rating 
4 / 5
4 / 5

Great lens, collar just a little stiff.

PostedApril 14, 2011
Sandgrouse
Location rural Idaho
Age 55-65
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 21+ years
Role Professional photographer
This is a great lens. I owned a 500 P and thought it was the sharpest big glass I had ever seen. This lens is just as sharp with AF and VR. I own or have owned just about every medium and large telephoto lens from Nikon in the last 30 years and this is my favorite. Could it be a little lighter, sure. There's no such thing as a free lunch.
My only real complaint; the lens collar is just a bit stiff with a pro body attached. It rotates fine un-weighted, but with a heavy body- and especially mounted on a gimble-type tripod head- it becomes hard to turn smoothly in the small increments required with this kind of magnification. To make perfectly smooth, small, horizontal adjustments, I need to "lift" the lens and body in the collar just a bit with both hands. With one hand it's more problematic. I have a schematic of the lens and they specify 3 (!) different types of grease in the collar assembly so I dont think lubrication is the problem. Perhaps a smoother milled surface with PTFE involved somewhere (besides the thrust bearing) ? I don't have a solution but I'm sure the engineers at Nikon can handle it. When they do, 5 stars.
On another note, all the best to the Nikon folks in Japan after the terrible earthquake.
Sandgrouse
+5points