Nikon 500mm f/4G ED AF-S Vibration Reduction (VR II) Nikkor Lens (Black) - U.S.A. Warranty


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About Nikon 500mm F/4

The Nikon 500mm F/4 is commonly used for Sports/action, Wildlife photos and more.The Nikon 500mm F/4 is popular because customers like the following qualities of the Nikon 500mm F/4: Consistent output, Durable, Fast / accurate auto-focus, Rugged and Strong construction

Summary of Customer Reviews

Customers most agreed on the following attributes:
Fast / accurate auto-focus (6),Consistent output (5),Durable (4),Rugged (4),Strong construction (4),Easily interchangeable (3)
Heavy (5)
Best Uses:
Sports/action (4),Wildlife photos (4)
Reviewer Profile:
Photo enthusiast (3)

Nikon 500mm F/4 Features

  • Lightweight, convenient, Super Telephoto lens optimized for edge-to-edge sharpness on both the Nikon FX (23.9 x 36mm) and DX-format image sensors
  • Vibration Reduction (VR II) minimizes the effects of camera shake allowing photographers to shoot at as many as four shutter speeds slower than would otherwise be possible, assuring dramatically sharper images
  • New Tripod Detection mode reduces vibration that may occur due to shutter release when mounted on a tripod
  • Nikon's Silent Wave Motor (SWM) enables ultra high-speed autofocusing with exceptional accuracy and powerful, super-quiet operation
  • Exclusive Nano Crystal Coat and a meniscus protective glass element combine to further reduce ghosting and flare for even greater image clarity
  • Three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements control chromatic aberrations while enhancing color, sharpness and contrast, even at the widest aperture settings
  • Rugged, reliable, lightweight construction features a magnesium die-cast barrel and professional-grade dust and moisture resistance
  • New A/M focus mode provides secure switching between Auto and Manual focus operation

Nikon 500mm F/4 Specifications

11 Groups/ 14 Elements (3 ED Elements)
Camera Mount Type
Nikon F
Format Compatibility
Nikon FX/35mm Film
Nikon DX
Angle of view
4 degrees 10 minutes (35mm format),
2 degrees 40 minutes (Nikon DX-format)
F stop range
Closest Focusing Distance
Approx. 13.11 feet
Maximum Magnification
Dimensions (Length x Diameter)
15.4 x 5.5 in.
Approx 8.6 lbs.
Mfr #

Nikon 500mm F/4 Reviews

Review Snapshot®


(based on 22 reviews)


of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars



  • 4 Stars



  • 3 Stars



  • 2 Stars



  • 1 Stars



Most Liked Positive Review


The Boomstick

I think everyone considering this lens knows that it's a stellar piece of professional grade gear. Prior to using it there were a few questions on my mind that I will answer here. 1) Is the 500/4 hand-holdable? I use long primes mainly for bird-in-flight shots, and much prefer to dispense with a monopod or tripod. The answer is "kind of." At 6'5" and 250lbs, I have been able to hand hold the lens and get great results. I pay for it in sore muscles every time, and I have friends that simply ca...

View full Review

I think everyone considering this lens knows that it's a stellar piece of professional grade gear. Prior to using it there were a few questions on my mind that I will answer here. 1) Is the 500/4 hand-holdable? I use long primes mainly for bird-in-flight shots, and much prefer to dispense with a monopod or tripod. The answer is "kind of." At 6'5" and 250lbs, I have been able to hand hold the lens and get great results. I pay for it in sore muscles every time, and I have friends that simply cannot pull it off. Let's just say it's troublesome. 2) How does it work w/ teleconverters? Fantastic with TC17E-II or TC14E-II. I'm not a fan of the TC20E-II, noticeable softness with that option. 3) Is it a viable option to buy the cheaper 300mm f/2.8 VR and use the TC17E-II to achieve a 510mm f/4.8? Most definitely. I use this combination with outstanding results and can't really tell any difference between the naked lens and using the 1.7x teleconverter. The 300/2.8 combo is far more hand holdable too. Of course, with the 500/4 you can really reach out and reach 850mm with the same TC. The lens is world class, so if you can spend the money don't even hesitate. It is very large, but makes no sacrifices in quality.

Reviewed by 22 customers




from Honolulu, HI

Wow! When you think about the reach this lens has and the brightness of F4, it's a pretty small and light-weight package. I like to think of it as "my pocket 600F4" LOL It's sharp as a tack and the auto focus is right on the money. I don't believe I've used any other F-stop than F4... why would I? I use it on a whimberly gimbal and mainly for shooting Rugby and birds and sometimes surfing. It's so smooth and easy to aim on the gimbal head. I bought the Arca-swiss type foot to replace the factory foot so it mounts to the gimbal head. Beautiful!! Once in a while I will use this on a monopod, but of course the tripod is better, but it's doable. These were all shot with a D-4.


Fabulous lens


from Fargo, ND

The 500 is a fantastic lens. I have been using it now for a couple of years and I am 100% in love with this lens. It is great for wildlife.


Sharp lens!


from Missouri, USA

I use this lens for birds and wildlife on a Nikon D800, sometimes with a 1.4 Nikon teleconverter and also without it. It is a fast focusing lens even on the D800. I mounted it on a friends D3 and it is superfast! I love the lens and am glad that I went ahead and made the investment.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


As good as advertised.


from Central Ohio  -  Photo Enthusiast

Used for sports photography (football) daytime and at night with a Nikon D3 camera body. During daylight the lens performed perfectly at f up to 22 at 400 ISO. At night under lights I cranked the ISO up to 6400 with good noise reduction from the D3 and used f4 aperture preferred. The shots were incredibly clear even with the fastest action when well focused and stabilization enabled. Auto focus was not really helpful during fast action shots but very quick over all. Very well balanced on the monopod mount using the D3.

(14 of 14 customers found this review helpful)


One Word: Outstanding!!!


from Austria

I have been using plenty of long tele lenses already, primarily zoom lenses, including the Nikon 200-400 VR, so I thought that I knew what excellent contrast rendition and sharpness looks like. Obviously I have been mistaken! The Nikon 500mm VRII is even better than I have expected. I am using it with my Nikon D7000 and J1 for birding, moon shots and sports photography and I am still amazed at the details that can be rendered, even with tele converters or my J1 + FT1 adapter, having a pixel density of roughly 70MP FF. The autofocus foccuses nearly instant and is very accurate and the handling is not much different from my Nikon 200-400 VR. I can use it hand-held and the VRII is even more effective than VRI has ever been. I hope Nikon will produce professional cameras without mirror in the future, because the only problem using such long prime lenses is the mirror causing vibration. With my J1 I do have 1350mm and each movement, even a minor one, has adverse effects on sharpness, but due too the J1 being mirrorless, I can get better results than with my DSLR on far off subjects. Speaking of distance shots, the Nikon 500mm VRII is far better than the Nikon 200-400 VR in this regard, although the Nikon 200-400 is better for macro photography. I wish the closest focusing distance would be similar, but one can use extension tubes for that purpose anytime. All in all I am very pleased with this lens and I am looking forward for a 500mm VRIII.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


Excellent, as expected!


from New York, NY  -  Photo Enthusiast

I've been waiting for years to be able to acquire this lens, and as I had hoped, I am thrilled with the results. Its well worth the wait and the weight. If you're serious about sports/ wildlife photography, there is none better.

(5 of 7 customers found this review helpful)


Excellent wildlife lens


from Jacksonville, FL, USA

Very fast focus, extremely sharp, and the VR allows for hand held photography of flying birds. I have owned several long lenses and this is the fastest focusing and sharpest lens I have owned.

(10 of 10 customers found this review helpful)


This lens is the best for the buck


from Rotterdam, NY

Very wll made. Well Balanced Sharp, fast, great color saturation. Love the bokeh at lower f-stops. My experience using a tripod is great, except when tracking birds too far off center. For that, I hand hold, to avoid tripping over the legs. My hand-held shots are incredibly sharp, and I love this lens no end. The image below was shot at ISO 400 f/4 1/125 1-1/3 overexposed. I wanted to see what it would do with poor light and hand held at the above settings.

(6 of 10 customers found this review helpful)


Perfect size and great quality


from Shoreview, MN, USA

I wanted some long glass that I could wield on a monopod. This fits the bill nicely. I can hike all afternoon with this lens on my monopod with the D7000 attached. It's not light but it's a whole lot lighter than the 600f4. The focusing is super fast...even faster for birds in flight when I set the focus limiter. I get tack sharp images easily when on a tripod and a high percentage of sharp images on a monopod at 1/800 sec. It works great with the TC1.4eII. I see no loss of quality in prints or on the computer.

(12 of 12 customers found this review helpful)


fast focus - poor tripod mounting ring


from Tucson, AZ

Great lens except for one thing. After using this lens for the first time the mounting ring cracked. After the fact I then found out from others that this is not an uncommon problem with the original equipment on the large Nikon lens. Nikon would not warranty it saying that it was improperly used. I was not happy but had to pay for a new tripod mounting ring. I shoot along side several other photographers that use their long lenses in the same way that I use mine. I have been using the 500mm lens with the new ring for over a year now and the new ring is performing as it should. Nikon said that the lens should never be picked up by the tripod mount or left on the tripod when moving the camera and attached lens. I have never seen a photographer do it any other way.


Questions & Answers Powered by TurnTo®

Questions about this item:

Russ G  Looking to upgrade from my D300 to a FX model, I take mostly photos of wildlife, what would be suggestions on what camera to upgrade to?
PHILIP E. F  I use a D800E for bird photography. It is fantastic. I could use a few more shots per second, but the image quality more than makes up for it.
Russ G  Does the Nikon 500mm F4 work on either a DX or FX camera?
WILLIAM B  Russ - yes the lens will work on both cameras - I have used it on an older Nikon D80 body (DX) as well as on a D600 (FX). In DX format you will get the additional impact of cropping that will make the lens effectively a 750mm focal length. For birds at distance this can be an advantage, for larger animals in closer proximity maybe not. Its a fabulous lens.

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