Nikon 200-500

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Really really big lens

I had purchased a Nikon 70-300 and I loved taking pictures with it. Then you see that there is a lens that has even more focal length, and you think, this would be great. This is how I end up with a 2.5 kg monster lens hanging around my neck. And what you quickly learn is that there is not that much difference between 300mm and 500mm after all.

Do not get me wrong, I do not regret getting this lens, I love going to Zoos and taking pictures of animals, so the extra focal length comes in handy. But it is one of the least practical lenses. If you have this mounted, you probably need a second body with you or you will only be shooting things that are at least 10m away.

As it is heavy and rather specialized so it is a lens that you will not use very often. I had it on several trips, where it stayed in the trunk of the car the entire time. And sometimes you will not take it with you just because it weighs so much.

Some people may like it, but I also do not like as it attracts too much attention, you will be carrying a very prominent looking camera with you.

While it allows you to take pictures from quite a distance, it is not very good lens for taking pictures of people, as you will not be able to engage with them, you will be the creepy paparazzi stalker that roams the periphery.

Despite its weight, and it is considered to be slow (f/5.6), I have not much problem shooting with it hand held. It is certainly bulkier and heavier, but would still allow a determined person to shoot with it handheld.

My Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6
Price Expensive in general, but cheap for such a zoom
Weight Very heavy, 2'300g
Good for Animals, planes, maybe sports
New or used 1'200 new, I do not see it often used and then it is quite expensive, above 800, so probably better new.

Somehow, I think if you are going for the extreme focal lengths, APS-C is a better choice. Of course it works very well on full frame, but unless you are a professional, do not buy this for a full frame camera.

If you are a professional, you would probably want to go for a faster and more specific lens, then again this is probably not the right page for you.

On an APS-C camera, this lens effectively becomes 300-750mm. The only reason to use this lens is to get to extreme focal length, you should probably go with an APS-C. This is one of my favorite Zoo setups, but it is a lens that stays at home more often than not.


These pages are for Amateur Photographers and not really for seasoned photographers and professionals. I have no affiliation or commercial interest with any brand/make. I write from my own experience. I ended up using mainly Nikon, so I am more familiar with this brand than others. See price for notes on pricing as well as photography related links.