The Amazing AF S Nikkor 200-500 5.6 E ED

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Sandy Vongries, May 31, 2020.

  1. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    I was sitting outside with the lens on my D 7200 looking for birds, and got several. No surprise there View attachment 1344024 View attachment 1344025 View attachment 1344026 , predictably sharp meeting expectations. Roughly 25 feet away, I saw a small butterfly in a bush. Here are three shots hand held, unsupported. I have used telephoto lenses for insects for years, usually the AF Nikkor 75-300 4.5 5.6 at six to 8 feet. These, under the conditions, the light was leaving, amazed me.
    DSC_3577 (1024x688).jpg DSC_3578 (1024x685).jpg DSC_3579 (1024x689).jpg
  2. I've found my copy is excellent for insects up to 420mm and then it gets really soft.

    Incidentally, most of the butterflies I've put up on Nikon Wednesday have been with my 200-500mm plus the 1.4 TC II.

    However, at 500mm it's awful. However, for close-up stuff 400mm with the TC you still get near focus of ~2.2m and a rough focal length of 600mm and thus 900mm on my DX D500mm.

    f 1000pix.jpg
  3. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Excellent shot. Thanks for the tips, I'll give it a try, I was at 500 on the D7200. I shoot butterflies mostly with the AF Micro Nikkor 105 2.8D or the 75-300 mentioned. The shots I posted certainly wouldn't be up to those standards, though yours certainly is. I took the shots on a whim and was surprised they were as good as they were.
  4. Thanks for the note. Nice shots
  5. Did just the opposite with my D300/200-500 this morning - far away subject. I attached my Sigma 1.4 EX DG tele-converter but still had to crop considerably. Sharpness is marginal, but, I think, acceptable. (Saving the good stuff for the Monday in Nature forum tomorrow.) _DSC0189ALo.jpg
  6. My kickoff image for this week's MiN thread was captured with the Nikkor 200-500mm/5.6 on my D810. For moving wildlife and birds in flight I've found the autofocus and high resolution of the D810 tend to give me better results than the same lens on my D7100. Here's another with the D810:

    GB Heron-BRMBR-1875.jpg
    I love the lens, but I find it does much better in good light, and when mounted on a tripod. It also demands excellent technique for birds in flight. It certainly outperforms my Tamron 150-600mm.
    bgelfand and Greg Fight like this.
  7. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    This from late yesterday afternoon at 410mm does seem sharper per Mike's tip.
    DSC_3611 (1024x685).jpg
  8. Have you noticed that whenever it looses AF lock it runs out to infinity and back?

    I'd love a user selectable focus limiter of nearest point (2.2m) to 5m,

    ......or atleast tell it to run back to minimum and out again if it looses lock.
  9. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Haven't had a problem as yet. The 6 meter to infinity lock works well, and there is always Manual.
  10. Well, yes it does and yes there is.

    It's the handholding effectively 900mm on a butterfly at 2.2m........... DoF @ f11 is ~2mm

    If I sway or the grass stem the 30mm butterfly is sitting on sways MF (ie, MEI!) can't keep up. Cont AF can, but if it moves off the centre point, it racks out to infinity.

    Would be nice to have D9... Maybe I'll have to try D25, although that's the same size or bigger than the flutterby!?

    Maybe (Centred) Group AF behaves a bit like D9 point?
  11. At least you can see the focus shift; I believe Nikon and Canon are both known for just racking out to infinity and back when focus is lost completely. I've had this tracking small birds in flight against a blue sky - lose focus and you can't see them at all to track them. The 200/2 (and presumably other big scary glass) is faster at doing the same thing, which means I have a number of shots which were in focus when my finger started moving on the shutter and are way out of focus by the time the shutter released, because the lens decided to rack all the way out in a fraction of a second. At least with the 200-500 I can lift a digit before it gets all the way to the end. I'd like the "bring me back to specified focus distance" ability of some of the other big lenses as a workaround.

    The 200-500 is nothing like as bad as the old 150-500OS Sigma at the long end (above about 300mm that fell apart completely, and even f/11 was only starting to rein it in on a D700). But for the long end, my understanding is that Tamron 150-600/Sigma 150-600C are less good optically, the 200-500 is next, the 150-600 Sigma Sport is better at the long end, the 60-600 Sigma is unexpectedly better still at 600mm, and the 500mm PF is better than all of them (with a possible slight edge to the 500 f/4 stopped down). For long-term GAS purposes, if I wanted to improve my long end, I'd be interested in whether the 500PF is enough better than the 60-600 to justify being twice the price, other than being half the weight. Added to "hire an 800mm f/5.6" and "stop expecting to get a good shot through that much air and invest in a hide/some patience", obviously.
    DavidTriplett likes this.
  12. I also notice the tendency to go all the way out and come back in on AF, though it's neither as common nor as slow as my 55-300DX was - that one missed a lot of shots because of this. I note that the 70-300 VR does not do that nearly as much, and the 70-300 AFP-FX is better yet. I don't think it's just a matter of speed, but also of smart design, though i have no idea what that might entail.

    Like Sandy, I've been impressed with the ability of the 200-500 to get close on subjects that are kind of shy and hard to follow with shorter lenses I just went out to the rhododendron with mine and here's a shot at F 6.3. ISO 800, 500 mm. on the d7100, "as is," which I think is pretty decent performance.

  13. Yup, I agree. Be really nice if there was a close range focus limiter.

    I went on a great bird & insect photography holiday in Hungary a few years ago and the 200-500mm on my D500 was perfect for Ooo,look small bird up tree followed by Ooo look a nice Fritillary at my feet. and repeat.

    The only handling issue I have is the huge degree of rotation needed to go from 200>500mm

    I would probably use my Sigma 60-600mm Sport now. It's sharper at the long end, but it's closest focus is at 200mm, although 400/500mm aren't too far away.... 600mm is. It's a weird lens like that!
  14. Size and weight is the only thing thats a con for me, but I knew that before I bought it, shot this hand held and was happy I got it. DSC_9020dragon.jpg
  15. I'm really envying the people whose dragonflies rest where they're visible. The ones at my local pond (small lake) can be seen zipping over the water, sometimes within a few metres of the bank, but there are a lot of reeds growing out of the pond, and you can't get a view of most of them from anywhere you can sit. Hence I have a couple of iffy images of them in flight after at least a couple of hours of even trying to frame them (they tend to be visible for no more than a couple of seconds at running pace), but they seem determined to settle somewhere hidden. I think I resorted to the 70-200 for them because I couldn't frame accurately anyway (I was shooting blind just to have the field of view to see them coming), so the 200-500 only really gave me arm ache. Handy for the birds, though.

    Contrast a trip to Canada, where the local dragonflies would hover a few feet away to look at me, and a dragonfly decided to eat a damselfly a couple of arm lengths away from me on a hand rail. Shame I only had the 24-70 with me at the time, of course...
  16. I've found dragonflies quite variable, with some fairly easy to catch while some never seem to settle at all. Damselflies are easy. But I have been trying with almost no success for some time to get some of the big brown fast dragonflies on the wing, but even at fast shutter speeds, they are a blur. I tried stealing my wife's D7200, which does focus trapping but it didn't help much.

    This has been a banner year for dragonflies, for some reason, so I suppose it's a nice way to pass some of the Covid season.
    Andrew Garrard likes this.
  17. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Haven't had dragons as yet this year, plenty of other insects. Last year I noticed that they like to sit at the top of bare single stems. I'm going to place a few fallen twigs upright in the garden as dragonfly perches. If / when they emerge here, I'll advise on results and post some photos.
    Andrew Garrard likes this.

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