Nikon 200-500mm lens review

To: Graeme Chapman <>
Subject: Nikon 200-500mm lens review
From: Andy Burton <>
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 2016 09:46:20 +0000
Hi Graeme, 

I recall seeing many of your images from the pre digital age. I’ve forgotten 
what your lens was at the time but it was a cracker which complemented your 

Time has moved on, I use a Nikon D7100 usually coupled to a Nikkor 300mm f2.8, 
a cracking lens, albeit a little heavy. My first ‘big’ lens was the Nikkor 
70-300mm f 4.5 - 5.6 It taught me a lot about photography but it was, after 
all, not a great lens and the 300mm prime replacement was a no-brainer, even if 
at the limit of, or in reality, outside my budget. 

Back to the point in question, I trust your judgement in these matters and was 
very interested in your comment re the 200 - 500mm lens; “brilliant".

One question, do you have a preference for the 200 - 500mm or the 300mm f4 PF 
for bird photography. In your view does either match the 300mm f2.8, bearing in 
mind that photography hardware is full of compromise.

Regards, Andy

> On 23 Feb 2016, at 6:45 PM, Graeme Chapman <> 
> wrote:
> Hello Paul, 
> Thank you for your useful comments regarding the new Nikkor 200-500 mm 
> telephoto.
> I agree wholeheartedly with everything you wrote.
> In recent times I have virtually replaced all my birding lenses and now have 
> what I consider is the ultimate combination - these lenses (and cameras) are 
> so good that I doubt very much whether I will ever have to buy any more gear 
> in my lifetime. The most important issue in future in future will be being 
> there. Two very, very important words.
> I traded in the latest version of the 80-400 on the new 200-500 and in a 
> word, brilliant, I can even handhold it the VR is so good and in my copy, the 
> autofocus is spot on at 500 mm.
> As you probably know from my website, I do a lot of photography of small bush 
> birds -  most of the Australian ones are there already. However, as you 
> noted, quickly homing in on a small subject with a 500 mm lens is not easy  - 
> that fraction of a second dithering often means  getting the picture or not. 
> Enter the new Nikkor 300mm f/4 PF lens  - one of the best lenses Nikon have 
> ever made and some say equal in quality to their legendary 300 mm f/2.8.
> Last year we spent a lot of time on Eyre Peninsula chasing Blue-breasted 
> Fairy-Wrens. All that time, I used the 300 f/4 PF, often with a 1.4 extender, 
> a very LIGHT and manoeuvrable combination. It even works well with the 1.7x 
> extender (= 510 mm).  I also had the big 500 f/4 lens with me, but where did 
> it remain? in its bag. I find that big lens too heavy to hand hold, so it has 
> to go on a tripod. If you are travelling in a car, often the time it takes to 
> set up on a tripod is crucial. The outcome of all this is that I have put the 
> 500 f/4 VR up for sale, mainly because the new 200-500 is so much easier to 
> handle, and even hand hold.
> I should qualify my earlier statement - I do know of one item I'll buy as 
> soon as it becomes available and that is the newly announced D500 camera.
> And so it goes on. My wife Pam says to me " I hope you aren't thinking of 
> buying any more cameras"  - and for the moment, I agree. 
> Cheers
> Graeme Chapman
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