Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f:5.6E PF ED VR

Lens Summary

Brand: Nikon

Also Known As: Nikon 500mm f/5.6 PF VR

Lens Type: Prime Lens

Format: Full Frame / FX

Focus: Autofocus

Lens Mount: Nikon F

Release Date: 2018-08-23

MSRP Price: $3599.95

Made in: Japan

Production Status: In Production

Lens Description: Contrary to popular belief, a super telephoto does not have to be a massive lens, proven here with the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR. Taking exceptionally long reach and giving it a hand-holdable form factor, this 500mm prime utilizes a unique Phase Fresnel element to greatly reduce the size and weight compared to previous versions of the focal length. This PF element, along with three extra-low dispersion elements, also helps to virtually eliminate color fringing and chromatic aberrations in order to achieve a high degree of clarity, sharpness, and color fidelity. Complementing this advanced optical design, individual elements also feature both Nano Crystal and Super Integrated Coatings to suppress flare and ghosting, as well as a protective fluorine coating to guard the optical system from dust and moisture.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR Specifications

Lens Specifications
* Supplied accessories may differ depending on country or area 
Lens TypePrime Lens
Focal Length500mm
Mount TypeNikon F
FormatFull Frame / FX
Compatible Format(s)Full Frame / APS-C
Compatible with TeleconvertersYes
Maximum Reproduction Ratio0.18x
Vibration Reduction (Image Stabilization)Yes
Aperture Information
Aperture RingNo
Maximim Aperturef/5.6
Minimum Aperturef/32
Maximum Angle of View (APS-C or smaller format)3°10'
Maximum Angle of View (Full frame or larger format)5°00'
Optical Information
Lens Elements19
Lens Groups11
Diaphragm Blades9 (Rounded)
Extra-Low Dispersion Glass Elements3
Special Glass Elements1 PF Element
Nano Crystal CoatYes
Super Integrated Coat (SIC)Yes
Fluorine CoatingYes
Focus Information
Built-in Focus MotorYes
Silent Wave Motor (SWM)Yes
Internal FocusingYes
Minimum Focus Distance3.0 m/9.8 ft
Electronic DiaphragmYes
Distance InformationYes
Filter Information
Filter Size95mm
Accepts Filter TypeScrew-on
Physical Characteristics
Weather / Dust SealingYes
Mount MaterialMetal
Tripod CollarYes
Dimensions106 mm maximum diameter x 237 mm
Weight1,460 g/3 lb 3.5 oz
Other Information
Available in ColorsBlack
Supplied AccessoriesLC-95 95 mm snap-on Front Lens Cap, LF-4 Rear Lens Cap, HB-84 Bayonet Hood, CL-M5 Lens Case

Lens Construction

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f:5.6E PF ED VR Lens Construction

MTF Chart

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f:5.6E PF ED VR MTF Chart

Reader Interactions

User Reviews

  1. Sebastian Fornpost
    September 24, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    Love it since I own it.
    This lens deserves a review,

    • September 27, 2020 at 1:12 am

      Edit: my bad, it looks like we only did the initial impressions:…mpressions

      The problem with this lens has been lack of availability – I have had it on B&H notification since it was released, could never make it on time for it to ship.

  2. Mark Bennett
    June 21, 2020 at 8:34 am

    Finally… during lockdown I managed to source a used version of the PF 500. I sold my 500 FL ED last year which I’d originally bought after reading the review in Photography Life. It was a fantastic lens and took some great pictures but I struggled to get it to work well with birds in flight. While it was not superheavy, traveling with it did create some issues – and its not a lens to hang round your neck for long.

    Lockdown has not been helpful in using the PF 500 to its limits. Being half the weight of the FLED it is immensely portable and handholdable. Its also quick to focus at f5.6 and and super sharp – I would say its as sharp as the FLED and easier to get quick pictures of wildlife.

    I’ve used it with the TC 1.4 – but focus needs calibrating as it seems to focus a couple of inches in front of the subject. Will get this sorted soon.

    Overall… its a sensational lens. Goes in a small backpack and can be carried round the neck for long periods without a problem. Going on a birding trip in 2 weeks so some BIF practice coming up with eagles and vultures…

    • Michael
      June 29, 2020 at 3:09 am


      same here I got my copy of the 500 pf because I was so amazed with the 300 pf. While independent on Teleconverter use I set my 300 pf in AF-Fine Tuning to -2 ( I am using it with 1.4 times and 1.7 times Tc’s from Nikon) I have to say that my copy of the 500 pf is spot on. In terms of sharpness (coming from the 500-200) its a completely new experience. Using the 1.4 TC did not change anything in terms of its focussing. Its sharp and great even wide open. The performance with the 1.7 TC is still amazing and maybe the best I ever got out of the 1.7 TC (even though its already great with the 300 pf). The 500 pf is even better. I stop the lens down to f/11 but then under good light and taking care of keeping iso below 500 the pictures are great – you just night good light conditions.

      I love both pf lenses as they are so light which allows you to track birds and their behavior as well as their interactions in a much more relaxed fashion and over a larger time frame. Having an f/4 prime would be fantastic but I struggled already with the 500-200 (which is also bulky) when tracking animals in trees over extended periods.

      P.S. Lucky that you got a used copy – they seem hard to get !

  3. Subin Babu
    March 22, 2020 at 2:52 am

    Plse post a review of this wonderful lens, am eagerly waiting for yours, but every time I gets disappointed..
    I think pl is the most informative photography site

  4. Alan
    November 26, 2019 at 9:32 am

    Just received a copy, the lens was everything I hoped for, sharp and quite portable. Build quality is excellent.

  5. Martyn William
    March 4, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    Will there be a review of this tantalising lens by Photography Life?

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