Nikon Announces A Lightweight Handheld Super Telephoto 500mm lens

Super telephoto lenses are specialized pieces of equipment. They tend to be large, heavy and practically impossible to use without a tripod... unless you want to break the mount off your camera.

Nikon just announced the AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR, a super telephoto lens that's small, lightweight and able to be used handheld. By using a Phase Fresnel Lens Element Nikon was able to keep this lens to a length of 9.3 inches and a weight of only 3.2 lbs. For comparison's sake, a similarly priced Canon super-telephoto like the Canon EF 500mm F/4 weighs 8.5 lbs and is 25.5 inches in length! Yes, that lens is 1.6 stops faster, but there's no way you could use it as a handheld lens comfortably if at all. I mean just look at the new Nikon 500mm on a camera, that's managable.


Don't think the smaller form will detract from your images either. The PF element combined with three ED glass elements will give you sharp images with a lot of detail. If you're worried about PF lens diffraction or flares, don't be, as Nikon used brand new PF components to reduce the likelihood of PF flares.


The shortness of the lens has other benefits as well. The autofocus is now much faster than previous 500mm and many on the market because the lens elements are placed together in tighter groups. This is especially helpful in sports or action photography where it's so easy to lost focus on a subject that's moving fast in a long lens.

To help make this a truly hand-held super telephoto, Nikon has fitted the lens with a VR mechanism that according to them:

"that offers camera shake compensation equivalent to a 4.01-stop increase in shutter speed. The SPORT VR mode that has been adopted is especially effective when photographing fast-moving and unpredictable subjects such as wild birds, or in scenes such as sporting events. The stabilization of the image displayed in the viewfinder is also an effective feature for recording movies. "

If you want to slim down your profile even more, the 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens can be used with the Mount Adapter FTZ and fitted to the brand new Nikon Z 7 and Z 6 cameras with no change to the focal length.

Nikon is also announcing the Dot Sight DF-M1, which is essentially a red dot in the center of your viewfinder that makes it easier to track subjects within the frame when they're moving.

If you're a fan of Nikon, then today is not just Christmas, it's the last three Christmases combined.


  • Compatible Mounts: Nikon
  • Focal Length: 500mm
  • Maximum Aperture: F/5.6
  • PF lens element
  • 9.3 inches in length
  • 3.2 lbs
  • Moisture and dirt Resistant
  • VR Mechanism
    • 4.01-stop increase in shutter speed camera shake compensation


The AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR will be available on September 13th 2018 with a MSRP of $3599.95. With the Dot Sight DF-M1 for $174.95