Nikon 200-500mm lens review

To: Paul Dodd <>, "" <>
Subject: Nikon 200-500mm lens review
From: Rick Nash <>
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 2016 19:46:35 +0000
Hi Paul,

Yes, agree with your points there. I probably should not have stated
"totally unsuited"
as there will be times when that extra focal length is needed.
I shoot at 420 full frame most of the time and find that a good length,
feeling quite cramped when I move away from this for most field
situations. Put that on a crop sensor then as you say it's getting quite
300/2.8 with 1.4tc would probably be my ideal as well.

Regards Rick Nash

On 23/02/2016 11:20 PM, Paul Dodd wrote:
> That's an interesting point of view, Rick.
> I would argue though, that a 300mm with a 1.4 on a full-frame body is
> starting to get into the realm of super-telephotos - an effective focal
> length of 420mm. Put that combination on a DX body like a D500 and you've
> got 630mm - definitely a super-telephoto.
> I agree that lugging a 600mm around the mallee and hoping to get images of a
> Mallee Emu-wren is a tough gig, but I've actually found 500mm to be the
> almost ideal focal length. It gives you enough distance from the bird that
> you're not causing it stress, and with practice it is possible to home in
> and focus reasonably quickly.
> Where I find 500mm simply too long is when the bird or birds come very close
> - and I encounter that situation often enough on pelagics. And for that
> reason, amongst others, something like the 200-500mm is a very useful tool.
> I have known several really top-notch bird photographers that use a 300mm
> f/2.8 with either a 1.4 or 1.7TC as their standard rig, and have seen some
> genuinely remarkable photographs from that combination. On the other hand I
> know of at least one really top bird photographer that shoots with a 500mm
> f/4 with a 1.4TC that is ALWAYS attached.
> I guess each photographer finds the setup that best suits them and their
> style.
> Paul Dodd
> Docklands, Victoria
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of
> Rick Nash
> Sent: Tuesday, 23 February 2016 10:05 PM
> To: 
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Nikon 200-500mm lens review
> Interesting comments Graeme,
> I have long thought that the longer focal length lenses, 500-600, are
> totally unsuited for field photography, especially for the smaller
> bush/mallee birds.
> Sensor technology has improved so much in the last couple of years that
> shorter focal length lenses really come into their own, especially combined
> with reasonable teleconverters.
> I have been using the older Nikon 300/F4 with a 1.4tc, no VR, for years now
> and combined with the newer bodies ie D7200 crop or D810 full frame they
> make a great, light, rig with outstanding results.
> So combine the newer 300/F4 with a D500 body and I agree that you have close
> to the ultimate birding field setup.
> Of course the big prime telephotos have their place and are magnificent
> lenses in their own right but in most field scenarios I don't believe they
> are the right tool for the job.
> Interested to hear other comments on this.
> Regards Rick Nash
> On 23/02/2016 6:15 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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