Author Topic: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E  (Read 37736 times)

Bjørn Rørslett

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New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« on: October 16, 2015, 16:32:21 »
I got my review sample of this lens today. Reports on findings will come day by day.

My schedule for today is cramped so test images will be posted later today.

First impressions,

  • Slimmer and thus easier to handle than the latest 80-400 Nikkor. However, they do share the general design including a lens casing that extends significantly when the lens is zoomed.  The tripod collar and foot are - as expected - below par.
  • Filter size is a massive 95 mm. The hood is sized accordingly and can be stored in a reversed position,
  • The image quality appears to be really good. Only vestiges of chromatic errors can be seen with the lens at f/5.6.
  • Sharpness is evenly distributed over the frame into the extreme corners.
  • Vignetting appear be to under strict control and even at f/5.6 is unlikely to be a visible problem.
  • Mechanical vignetting still exists though, so out-of focus blur circles easily turns into "cat's eyes" off centre.
  • Bokeh looks very smooth.
  • AF speed is adequate on the Df, but nothing more. Hunting can occur when the lens is focused in the near range.
  • The lens is very sensitive to to flare when pointed towards strong light sources. The colours can be washed out all over the frame in the worst cases. I had not expected such propensity to flare from a modern long lens design.

Colour rendition might be on the cold side, but this needs to be rechecked under more controlled conditions.


Erik Lund

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2015, 18:23:09 »
A perfect go everywhere Safari Zoom and super affordable!

Thanks for your preliminary thoughts  ;D
Erik Lund

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2015, 00:18:58 »
I returned from my meeting this afternoon only to find my main ISP line had dropped dead. Too bothersome and hassle to post via the alternate hookup as it is entirely disconnected from my normal network, so sorry no test photos tonight. I continue shooting with the lens and address some of the questions I raised for myself during the first shooting experience.

Roland Vink

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2015, 07:25:59 »
Quote
Slimmer and thus easier to handle than the latest 80-400 Nikkor.
Is that a typo? The 200-500 has diameter of 144mm, vs 95.5mm for the AFS 80-400 - the rear part of the barrels probably have similar diameter.

Somnath Goswami

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2015, 08:39:17 »
I am a noob in bird photography but the affordable lens has lured me into buying one . Posting a pic , please delete if not right to post it here. on D810 , f5.6 , 500 mm , 1/60 s handheld , about 2/3rd crop . Please guide about what to do or not.


Jakov Minić

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2015, 08:59:43 »
Somnath, that is a beautifully captured bird.
I cannot believe ti's so sharp hand-held at 500mm and 1/60s...
Free your mind and your ass will follow. - George Clinton
Before I jump like monkey give me banana. - Fela Kuti
Confidence is what you have before you understand the problem. - Woody Allen

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2015, 09:06:16 »
Is that a typo? The 200-500 has diameter of 144mm, vs 95.5mm for the AFS 80-400 - the rear part of the barrels probably have similar diameter.

No typo. Don't know where you got the 144mm figure from? The filter size is 95 mm and the thickness of the barrel is less than this.

Somnath Goswami

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2015, 09:31:05 »
Somnath, that is a beautifully captured bird.
I cannot believe ti's so sharp hand-held at 500mm and 1/60s...

Thanks Jakov , This lens has a fantastic VR implementation, I was very surprised myself !!!

Roland Vink

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2015, 09:55:35 »
No typo. Don't know where you got the 144mm figure from? The filter size is 95 mm and the thickness of the barrel is less than this.
My mistake, 144mm is the diameter of the AIS 200-400/4.

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2015, 13:49:45 »
OK, my internet connection is at least temporarily restored, and I'll be able to show some boring test images.

First a quick test on focusing accuracy, field curvature, geometry, and light fall-off. Just returned home, put the lens on the Df, and focused (by AF) on my living window curtains. With the lens set to 350 mm and the curtains nicely back lit, a perfect test object for the given purposes.

(f=350mm, N=5.6, t=1/1000 sec)


Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2015, 14:00:39 »
Obviously the lens passed muster on the previous test. Sharpness is very even all over the frame, even into the extreme corners, and light fall off and geometric distortion are negligible. Thus at least at near range, field curvature is virtually absent.

Moving outside, to my back porch, I then aimed the lens set to 500 mm  at my standard "distant" test object, a restaurant perched on a hill ridge 1.6 km away, across the valley from my house.  Perfect and clear autumn weather making for ideal shooting conditions. Still wide open, as f/5.6 even with today's high-ISO capable cameras won't give super fast speeds for hand-holding the lens (Norwegian conditions, remember ...).

First is the entire frame, showing the building on the ridge, and also demonstrating that there is a slight light fall off at the longest focal length. Nt much signs of the usual pincushion distortion though.

The 100% crop shows a wealth of detail. Quite convincing for such a test shot straight off the camera.

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2015, 14:27:29 »
Now, over to the short end and repeating the same hill shot with f=200mm and N=5.6. Again, light fall off into the corners are negligible and geometric distortion seems to be under strict control as well.

First, overall frame, then the mandatory 100%.

No chromatic aberration control has been in force for either this or the previous capture.




Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2015, 15:46:47 »
The propensity of lens flare is much higher than I would have anticipated. Apparently present at all focal settings, but can be terrible at the longer end. You get flare that washes out colour to make the image nearly useless, even when the sun is out of the field of coverage. Apparently having sun rays striking the big front element makes the lens go haywire in terms of flaring. The hood should ideally been much longer, or you have to make an impromptu shadow over the front glass in order to avoid the worst flare. I guess there is no nanocoating here.

A typical example, with the sun well outside the field of view. You can observe directly in the view finder how the image deteriorates as you swing the lens towards a strong source of illumination. Very illuminating as it were.


Kim Pilegaard

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2015, 18:01:35 »
Thanks for the initial remarks and tests. Looks like a sharp lens!

Maybe the flare could be avoided by adding a UV filter or similar with good coating? It would probably be fairly expensive at that diameter. Otherwise a hood extension could be made very cheap.
Kim

Ilkka Nissilä

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2015, 19:07:26 »
The addition of a filter can only make the flare problem worse.

It is a pity that Nikon didn't use nano crystal coat on this lens.

Otherwise, seems promising.