Nikon NIKKOR 500mm f/8

Nikon NIKKOR 500mm f/8

Lens Summary

Brand: Nikon

Also Known As: Nikon NIKKOR 500mm f/8

Lens Type: Prime Lens

Format: Full Frame / FX

Focus: Manual Focus

Lens Mount: Nikon F

Release Date: 1984-01-01

MSRP Price: N/A

Made in: Japan

Production Status: Discontinued

Lens Description: Powerful catadioptric (mirror reflex) lens with long focal length in a short barrel and with an aperture of f/8.

Nikon NIKKOR 500mm f/8 Specifications

Lens Specifications
Lens TypePrime Lens
Focal Length500mm
Mount TypeNikon F
FormatFull Frame / FX
Compatible Format(s)35mm SLR
Compatible with TeleconvertersNo
Vibration Reduction (Image Stabilization)No
Aperture Information
Aperture RingNo
Maximim Aperturef/8
Minimum Aperturef/8
Maximum Angle of View (Full frame or larger format)
Optical Information
Lens Elements6
Lens Groups6
Focus Information
FocusManual Focus
Built-in Focus MotorNo
Minimum Focus Distance1.5m
Filter Information
Filter Size82mm
Accepts Filter TypeScrew-on
Physical Characteristics
Weather / Dust SealingNo
Mount MaterialMetal
Tripod CollarYes
Dimensions109 x 89mm
Other Information
Available in ColorsBlack

Reader Interactions

User Reviews

  1. Burghclerebilly
    July 27, 2020 at 9:05 am

    This is a very interesting lens that shouldn’t be overlooked even though it can rarely compete with other telephotos in ‘normal’ situations.

    I purchased a copy a few years ago mainly just for interests sake, prior to getting a 200-500. Given the manual focus, f8 aperture and lack of VR, it cannot realistically be used for any moving subjects, be they birds, racehorses or cyclists. Despite the F8 aperture, this mirror lens provides a depth of field of less than a foot at any focal distance. Someone cleverer than me in optics can explain why, but that means manually tracking anything is virtually impossible. Combined with lack of VR, getting shots of still subjects is difficult unless your at a minimum of 1/500 sec, which at f8 is tricky in less than bright light. Finally, the out of focus highlights have the special doughnut bokeh that often makes things look a bit weird (although is sometimes groovy!).

    However, if you have got a still subject and access to a decent tripod, this is a very useful compact option. And I would be very interested to hear how it performs on a body with IBIS. Once in focus, subjects are truly sharp and have nice contrast. Coming in at around half the size and weight of the already compact 500/5.6 PF, this mirror lens is a marvel of portability. I have recently used it to film a nesting pigeon 15m away and I found no benefit to using my zoom, or other lenses in my kit. This mirror lens with it’s built in hood balanced perfectly with my Z50 giving an effective 750mm focal length, but still with a shallow enough DoF to blur out foreground a background branches. If someone one day manages to create an AF & VR version, it would be incredible if you don’t mind onion rings.

    • David N Mair
      December 5, 2020 at 12:03 pm

      I have had mine for several years and love it on my Sony a7RIII. The IBIS makes it a hand shooter even at 125th. I even get autofocus using my Pronto. The f8 aperture slows the AF down, so birds in flight is hit and miss but it works. It works great for sunspot pics with a 1.4 and 2x combined teleconverters. All that said it’s very sharp and light, albeit with onion rings. lol

  2. Airy Magnien
    July 22, 2020 at 10:56 am

    One of the least useless mirror lenses, given its sharpness, not-too-low contrast, and minimum focussing distance (1.5m in the last version). To get sharp pictures handheld is challenging because focussing an ever-moving subject (in the viewfinder) is difficult. Shooting exposure time should be 1/1000s or shorter, so get a high-ISO capable camera. A monopod with an orientable head is nearly a must, not because of the weight (that lens is way too light, being full of air) but because of camera shake.

    With the 300/4 PF available, the usefulness of the 500/8 is further reduced: success rate and image quality of the cropped 300/4 shots is generally superior. And you may guess which has the better bokeh…

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