Nikon NIKKOR 500mm f/4 P IF-ED

Nikon NIKKOR 500mm f/4 P IF-ED

Lens Summary

Brand: Nikon

Also Known As: Nikon 500mm f/4 P IF-ED

Lens Type: Prime Lens

Format: Full Frame / FX

Focus: Manual Focus

Lens Mount: Nikon F

Release Date: 1988-01-01

MSRP Price: N/A

Made in: Japan

Production Status: Discontinued

Lens Description: A powerful super telephoto P-Type Nikkor lens with built-in CPU for communication with the electronic metering and exposure features of Nikon\'s more recent SLR's. Photographers interested in bird photography will find the Nikon P ED IF AI-S camera lens ideal for their interests. The lens construction of 8 elements in 6 groups gives you an amazing picture quality. With a maximum aperture of f/4.0, this Nikon 500 mm lens delivers bright and clear images, in any lighting condition. The minimum aperture of f/22 in this Nikon camera lens gives you outstanding still images of the moving birds. The 5-degree picture angle of this Nikon 500 mm lens captures maximum area within a single frame. The automatic diaphragm in the Nikon P ED IF AI-S lens gives an out-of-focus background effect to the picture. The 39 mm filter size protects your Nikon camera lens from dust and scratch.

Nikon NIKKOR 500mm f/4 P IF-ED Specifications

Lens Specifications
Lens TypePrime Lens
Focal Length500mm
Mount TypeNikon F
FormatFull Frame / FX
Compatible Format(s)35mm SLR
Compatible with TeleconvertersYes
Vibration Reduction (Image Stabilization)No
Aperture Information
Aperture RingYes
Maximim Aperturef/4
Minimum Aperturef/22
Optical Information
Lens Elements8
Lens Groups6
Diaphragm Blades9
Focus Information
FocusManual Focus
Built-in Focus MotorNo
Internal FocusingYes
Minimum Focus Distance5m
Filter Information
Filter Size39mm
Accepts Filter TypeSlip-in
Physical Characteristics
Weather / Dust SealingYes
Mount MaterialMetal
Tripod CollarYes
Dimensions384 x 138mm
Other Information
Available in ColorsBlack

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“Photographers interested in bird photography will find the Nikon P ED IF AI-S camera lens ideal for their interests.” I don’t think so!
“The minimum aperture of f/22 in this Nikon camera lens gives you outstanding still images of the moving birds.” Madness.
“The automatic diaphragm in the Nikon P ED IF AI-S lens gives an out-of-focus background effect to the picture.” ?? At large apertures.
“The 39 mm filter size protects your Nikon camera lens from dust and scratch.” NO! It’s inside.

Well I’m testing a 500/4 P on Nikon Z7. Everything works fine. The bad thing is that with his teleconverters TC-14B and TC-301 the automatic diaphragm doesn’t function, works in stop-down as with the other Ai-Ais lenses without chip, loosing also exif data etc. The good is that the viewfinder with focus peaking and the + button helps a lot for focusing. Focusing on a DSLR was really critical. VR on Z7 body helps on monopod. I have not decided quite now if a 200-500/5,6 would be a better choice. (I had it). Given that I paid the 500 P + 2 teleconverter and suitcase only 700 Euro I think it is worth to try it. My goal is to do a comparison between 500/4 and 200-500/5,6 about bokeh. I’m not satisfied about out-of-focus rendition of the 200-500. Bye!


Thanks Pup,
I totally agree with your comments!
Would you know if the TC 20 E for afs lenses works please?
What did you decide upon, lens wise?


The TC-20 E and TC-14 E both work fine in all possible modes. They do not add AF.


Thank you!


just for new readers: modern nikon Tc´s (like 20E, 14E and newer versions) only work with the 500 f4 ED Ai-P if they are modified; you need to cut a little piece on the TC frontal mount. Otherway, you can´t mount the lens. There is a lot of info on that mod in online forums.

José Peña

I have the D750 body with 200-500mm F/5.6G VR, AF-S… I love my setup, thinking about buying this old lens from eBay, I photograph mostly birds and I would like to have more quality, I read an article comparing several primes with my lens above… happens that the 200-500mm F/5.6G above mentioned performs pretty surprising well, however I know prime lens superb image quality cannot be out ranked… will the autofocus be a mayor issue, giving that for example birds to move quickly… how about the lens weight, 200-500mm weights considerable more the weight of the D750… please give me some insights… thanks.


I got both lenses, I sold off my D750. 200-500 is fantastic, You’ll get lot more keepers with that. It is very sharp, and fringing is a lot less. The 500 F4 is great too, with a few caveats. Far away object focusing is hard on a manual focus lens, with modern dslrs. Also very harsh lighting/ lots of reflections will make focusing difficult. I feel that it makes more sense with mirrorless where one can happily use focus peaking to get proper focus.

Having said that, using the 500mm is an experience, there is something rather nice about nailing the focus manually, Photography is a much more involving process with that lens. It is 1 kg heavier than 200-500. yet it is more comfortable to carry over shoulders. Somehow I end up exploring more with that lens.

Jan Gruber

I am looking for something very long, but almost solely for what matters to my is maximum sharpness accross the whole with good contrast transfer.. do not care about IS or AF…
Since I don’t have budget to modern supertele primes, so I am looking for something else around 1000 -1500 dollar range.
How would you compare this one against the 200-500mm (or 150-600 Sigmas and Tamron) in terms of sharpness?

Thanks for any insights!

Avery Caudill

have you found any more info about the 500mm f4 P sharpness? I’m looking at one as well


Here you can find. I hope it helps you out.


Your comments about the obviously wrong things in the blurb made me laugh.


I am hoping this is the right place to ask this question. Recently purchased the Nikon NIKKOR 500mm f/4 P IF-ED. Works great with my Nikon 700 and D3s. When mounted on my Z5 and Z50 with the FTZ adapter, I continue to get the “Lock lens aperture ring at minimum aperture” Even after I set the aperture ring to 22 and lock it in place. I am scratching my head on this one. I am sure it is something very obvious that I just do not see.
I have a number of older non-cpu lenses that work just fine with my FTZ adapters.
I ordered a Fotasy F to Z mount adapter that has not CPU contacts and see if that fixes this issue. Seeing as this lens has CPU contacts to send aperture information to the camera, perhaps making it a “dumb” lens will solve this issue?

Any thoughts or ideas I can try?



This lens can work in limited autofocus mode on a D810 with a modified TC-16A or used on a D7000 with a split prism replacing the focusing screen and a 2x magnified eyepiece.