View 433: Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 VR Lens

As I mentioned in last week’s blog post, I rented a Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E AF-S ED VR lens from LensRentals.com to photograph for a week. I had planned on using this lens for field sports, too. Sadly, with the Covid-19 pause, all those sports were canceled for this season. To get a varied wildlife photography experience, I headed out to the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls, New York on a beautiful Spring day to see what the lens would do for me.

Female Red-winged Blackbird

Female Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) photographed at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls, New York. Nikon D500/200-500VR, 1/1000s, f/5.6, ISO 250, EV +0.3, 500mm (750mm DX) Focal Length, Uncropped.

This lens is long when fully extended at 500mm at almost 17 inches plus the camera. It is a heavy lens at about 5 pounds. I had no problem hand holding the lens but was able to rest along the Wildlife Drive in the refuge as I moved from location to location. If I was shooting sports, I would use a monopod with this lens.

Focal Range from 200 to 500

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) sitting on a nest at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls, New York. Photos taken with a Nikon D500 camera and Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E VR lens.

Above, you see the focal range of the lens.  These first three photos are uncropped. Wildlife, even when used to people driving by more often are farther out. No worries, you can still crop the images. I waited patiently for this male Red-winged Blackbird to sing.

Male Red-winged Blackbird

Male Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) singing at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls, New York. Nikon D500/200-500VR, 1/1000s, f/5.6, ISO 220, EV +0.3, 500mm (750mm DX) Focal Length, Cropped.

I only got one chance to capture a bird in flight (BIF) as a Caspian Tern was hunting over a pool. Unfortunately, the tern was on the Sun side of the vehicle I was photographing from.

Caspian Tern In Flight

Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia) flying over the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls, New York. Nikon D500/200-500VR, 1/1000s, f/7.1, ISO 100, EV +0.3, 500mm (750mm DX) Focal Length, Cropped.

At 500mm, it was tough following a flying bird from a vehicle’s window but not impossible. I got about 75% of the shots in focus.

At f/5.6, the Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 VR is a fair weather lens when it comes to moving subjects. The better the light, the better the images will be. At f/5.6, the field of focus can be narrow as in the photo of a Canada Goose with a set of goslings.

Canada Goose Family

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) swimming with goslings at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls, New York. Nikon D500/200-500VR, 1/1000s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 500mm (750mm DX) Focal Length, Cropped.

I should have stopped the lens down to f/8 to get more of the goslings in focus. For the most part, f/5.6 for wildlife subjects works fine. Like on this pair of goslings.

Canada Geese Goslings

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) goslings at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls, New York. Nikon D500/200-500VR, 1/1000s, f/5.6, ISO 250, EV +0.3, 500mm (750mm DX) Focal Length, Cropped.

At a price of only $1,400 list (look for deals. I have seen very good pricing for both new and used ones), this is one of Nikon’s great values for either DX or FX digital cameras.

For a more detailed review of this lens, visit Thom Hogan’s Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E Lens Review. When business picks up again, I will be getting this lens for my photography.

 

 

 

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7 Responses to View 433: Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 VR Lens

  1. dawnkinster says:

    Looks like you had fun. I don’t know about hauling that weight around, even in a refuge, though. I did like the images you produced with it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Howard Williams says:

    it’s my walk around lens Scott with the D850 when I dont need the 600F4. I love this lens and have gotten great results with it

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kathy says:

    Beautiful pictures with that lens. Glad to see you’re back in the saddle again too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: View 436: Red Fox Family | Views Infinitum

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