Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR Review

This high-performance telephoto zoom lens from Nikon is designed to work exclusively with Nikon DSLR cameras. It has a maximum aperture of f/5.6 and a focal length range of 200–500 millimeters. Because of its outstanding focus range of 200-500mm, it is ideally suited for photographing distant scenes in exceptional detail and sharpness.

This lens offers exceptional image quality and a wide range of applications, making it an excellent choice for capturing distant scenes such as animals, sports, and other topics. In this review, we are going to look into a number of different areas of the lens, including its performance, autofocus system, build quality, handling, image stabilization, shooting experience, picture quality, teleconverter compatibility, and more.

Key Specs

  • Mount Type: Nikon F-Bayonet
  • Focal Length Range: 200-500mm
  • Zoom Ratio: 2.5x
  • Maximum Aperture: f/5.6
  • Minimum Aperture: f/32
  • Format: FX/35mm
  • VR (Vibration Reduction) Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Lens Elements: 19
  • Lens Groups: 12
  • Diaphragm Blades: 9
  • ED (Extra-low Dispersion) Glass Elements: 3
  • Super Integrated Coating: Yes
  • Autofocus: Yes
  • AF-S (Silent Wave Motor): Yes
  • Internal Focusing: Yes
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 7.2 ft. (2.2m)
  • Focus Mode: Manual, Manual/Auto
  • Filter Size: 95mm
  • Compatible with Nikon AF-S Teleconverters: Yes
  • Approx. Dimensions: 4.2 in. (108 mm) x 10.5 in. (267.5 mm)
  • Approx. Weight: 81.2 oz. (2300 g)


The Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens delivers nothing less than excellent performance in every aspect imaginable. It has a broad aperture range, going all the way from f/5.6 to f/32, which makes it possible to manage the depth of field creatively and shoot well in low light. Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass components have been used in the lens in order to reduce chromatic aberrations and maintain picture quality that is both crisp and high-contrast over the whole zoom range.

In addition, the lens has Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat and Super Integrated Coating applied to it. These coatings help eliminate flare and ghosting, which ultimately results in an image that is clearer and more accurate in terms of color.

Autofocus System

The autofocus technology of the Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens is lightning-quick, pinpoint precise, and completely dependable. It makes use of Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology, which makes it possible for the autofocus action to be nearly silent and smooth.

The lens also features a number of different focus modes, such as AF-S (Single-Servo AF), AF-C (Continuous-Servo AF), and Manual Focus. These modes provide photographers with the ability to select the focusing approach that is the most appropriate for their specific shooting requirements. In addition, the lens possesses a focus limiter switch that enables users to define a certain focus range, so enhancing both the speed and accuracy of the focusing function.

Vibration Reduction

Image stabilization of up to 4.5 stops is provided by the Vibration Reduction (VR) technology that is built into the Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens. This lens has a focal length range of 200-500mm. When shooting handheld or in difficult lighting situations, this function is very helpful since it helps to minimize the effects of camera shake and produces photos that are clearer.

The VR system may be utilized in either the Normal or Sport mode. The Normal mode is perfect for hand-held photography in most situations, while the Sport mode was developed with the express purpose of capturing fast-moving action, such as that found in wildlife or sports photography. When VR is enabled, photographers have the confidence to shoot at slower shutter speeds without sacrificing the overall quality of their images.

Build Quality

The Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens has a solid construction that ensures it will last for a long time. It has a structure that is weather-sealed, which protects against dust and moisture, and this makes it suited for usage in a variety of different outdoor conditions. Because the lens barrel is constructed out of high-quality engineering-grade plastic, the lens’s total weight is kept to a bearable level without sacrificing the lens’s structural integrity.

This is made possible by the lens barrel’s telescoping design. Additionally, the lens has a tripod foot that can be removed and replaced, which enables it to be mounted securely on a monopod or tripod. The lens, as a whole, has a satisfyingly weighty feel in hand and is designed to withstand lengthy usage under difficult shooting situations.

Handling and Ergonomics

The handling and ergonomics of the Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens have been thoughtfully considered during its development. The lens is quite small and lightweight, weighing just about 2.3 kilos but has a significant focal length range. It has a nice rubberized zoom ring and a separate manual focus ring, both of which allow smooth and precise operation.

Both of these rings are independent of one another. In addition, the lens has a focus distance window that has been strategically placed so that it may offer rapid visual feedback on the current focus distance. In addition to this, the lens comes with a lens cover that can be removed when not in use. This hood efficiently cuts down on stray light and guards the front element against unintentional damage. In general, working with the lens is a delight, and the level of comfort it provides during photography sessions of any length is impressive.

Image Stabilization

When shooting handheld, the Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens is equipped with an efficient image stabilization mechanism that considerably improves the clarity of the captured images. Vibration Reduction (VR) is a technique that helps correct for blur caused by camera motion, enabling photographers to capture photos that are razor-sharp even when using longer lens lengths.

The virtual reality (VR) system features two distinct modes that may be selected depending on the shooting situation. The Normal mode is appropriate for general photography and provides stability while using slower shutter speeds. On the other hand, the Sport mode was developed expressly for the purpose of photographing subjects that are moving quickly and provides increased tracking capability as well as stability. When the VR feature is on, photographers get the confidence to shoot at slower shutter speeds without having to worry about blurring their images due to camera shake.

Shooting Experience

A pleasure to use for both amateurs and pros alike, the Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens offers a shooting experience that is exceptional throughout its entire focal range. The lens has a variable focal length range, which enables photographers to snap images of a wide variety of topics easily. It is ideal for photographing animals, sports, and other outdoor activities due to its zoom range of 200 to 500 millimeters, which enables photographers to get closer to distant subjects without actually going closer to them.

Because of the Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology, the lens can swiftly and correctly focus, guaranteeing that you will never miss an important moment in action. The lens has an aperture range of f/5.6 to f/32, which allows significant control over the depth of field, enabling photographers to generate creative effects and separate subjects from their surroundings. The Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens provides a satisfying experience for photographers because of its high-caliber picture quality, dependable autofocus mechanism, and user-friendly design.

Image Quality

Image quality is greatly improved when using the Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens, which performs exceptionally well in this regard. Throughout the entirety of the zoom range, the lens maintains its sharpness, contrast, and color accuracy because of the inclusion of Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass elements. These components work to reduce chromatic aberrations. The technologies known as Nano Crystal Coat and Super Integrated Coating add further to the reduction of lens flare and ghosting, which ultimately results in images with great clarity and a reduction in undesired artifacts.

Because the lens creates images that are crisp all the way to the edges and have a high level of detail, it is suited for use in professional settings. The rounded diaphragm blades of the lens are responsible for the attractive and smooth bokeh, which refers to the quality of the parts of the image that are out of focus. Impressive picture quality can be reliably obtained with the Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens regardless of the subject matter being photographed, whether it is animals, sports, or landscapes.

Teleconverter Compatibility

Because it is compatible with teleconverters, the Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens may expand its reach and broaden its application scope. When coupled with a Nikon teleconverter that is compatible with the lens, such as the AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III or the TC-20E III, the focal length of the lens may be expanded by 1.4 times or by 2 times, respectively. Because of this, photographers are able to obtain an even larger magnification, making it a terrific option for photographing things that are further away.

When utilizing teleconverters, it is important to keep in mind that, depending on the camera and teleconverter combination, there may be a modest reduction in maximum aperture as well as a potential influence on focusing performance. This is something that should be taken into consideration. Nevertheless, the compatibility of this lens with teleconverters broadens the scope of applications for which it may be used and gives photographers more leeway in the ways in which they approach their shooting activities.

Comparison with Competitors

In contrast to its rivals, the Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens maintains its position atop the industry thanks to its extraordinary performance and exceptional pricing. In terms of picture quality, it produces results that are crisp and detailed and are equivalent to those produced by lenses with price points that are higher. Because the focusing technology of the lens is both rapid and precise, it makes it possible to acquire and track subjects quickly.

Because of its effective ability to eliminate camera shake, its image stabilization feature enables photographers to take clear shots while shooting handheld. In addition, the lens has a solid build quality and is weather-sealed, which ensures that it will last for a long time and is suitable for use when shooting outside. The Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens delivers an attractive combination of performance, picture quality, and price. This makes it a very competitive option for wildlife, sports, and telephoto photography. While there may be alternatives available on the market, the lens offers an attractive combination of performance, image quality, and affordability.


Mount TypeNikon F-Bayonet
Focal Length Range200 – 500mm
Zoom Ratio2.5x
Maximum Aperturef/5.6
Minimum Aperturef/32
Maximum Angle of View (DX-format)8°00′
Minimum Angle of View (DX-format)3°10′
Maximum Angle of View (FX-format)12°20′
Minimum Angle of View (FX-format)5°00′
Maximum Reproduction Ratio0.22x
Lens Elements19
Lens Groups12
VR (Vibration Reduction)Yes
Diaphragm Blades9
ED Glass Elements3
Super Integrated CoatingYes
AF-S (Silent Wave Motor)Yes
Internal FocusingYes
Minimum Focus Distance7.2 ft. (2.2m)
Focus ModeManual, Manual/Auto
Filter Size95mm
Accepts Filter TypeScrew-on
Compatible with Nikon AF-S TeleconvertersYes (refer to the product manual for details)
Approx. Dimensions (Diameter x Length)4.2 in. (108 mm) x 10.5 in. (267.5 mm) Based on CIPA Guidelines
Approx. Weight81.2 oz. (2300 g) Based on CIPA Guidelines

Pros and Cons


  • An impressive focal length range, ranging from 200 to 500mm, allows for a wide variety of shooting possibilities.
  • Superior visual quality in terms of sharpness, contrast, and color fidelity throughout.
  • Vibration Reduction (VR) technology that is both effective and capable of achieving up to 4.5 stops of picture stabilization.
  • Durability in harsh environments is achieved by sturdy construction quality and comprehensive weatherproofing.
  • For extended periods of photography, a design that is both comfortable to hold and ergonomically sound is essential.
  • The lens’s ability to work with teleconverters expands both its range and its flexibility.


  • Fixed maximum aperture of f/5.6, which may limit the capabilities of the camera while shooting in low light.
  • The size and weight of the lens may prove to be troublesome for certain users, particularly when shooting for lengthy periods of time handheld.

Price and Availability

When its performance and focal length range are taken into consideration, the pricing of the Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens is found to be very reasonable. At the time this article was written, the lens was available at a wide variety of authorized dealers as well as online venues. There is a possibility that the price will change based on the location as well as any active specials or discounts.

It is recommended that you check with local merchants or visit the official website of Nikon in order to obtain the most recent pricing information. Because of its widespread use and favorable cost-to-benefit ratio, the lens occasionally has difficulties in its supply, particularly during times of strong consumer demand. Nonetheless, any interested photographers who are patient and persistent in their quest can discover this lens at a price that is within their budget.


The Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens is a telephoto zoom lens that specializes in performance, image quality, and adaptability. The lens has a maximum aperture of f/5.6 with a focal length range of 200 to 500 millimeters. It provides a focal length range that is well-suited for wildlife, sports, and outdoor photography, and it enables photographers to capture distant scenes with very high levels of detail and clarity.

The autofocus system of the lens is both quick and precise, and the Vibration Reduction (VR) technology that it incorporates offers reliable picture stabilization even when shooting handheld. Photographers who are looking for a telephoto lens that strikes a balance between performance and price will find the Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens to be a satisfying option. Its solid build quality, easy handling, and superb picture quality make it an ideal choice for such photographers.

Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR FAQs

Q. Is the Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens compatible with all Nikon DSLR cameras?
A. Yes, the lens is designed for Nikon DSLR cameras and is compatible with both full-frame (FX) and APS-C (DX) sensor formats.
Q. Can the lens be used handheld without a tripod?
A. Yes, the lens features Vibration Reduction (VR) image stabilization technology, which helps to reduce camera shake and allows for handheld shooting at slower shutter speeds. However, using a tripod or monopod is recommended for extended periods of shooting to ensure maximum stability.
Q. Does the lens have a built-in autofocus motor?
A. Yes, the Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens features an autofocus motor, specifically the Silent Wave Motor (SWM), which provides fast, accurate, and silent autofocus performance.
Q. Is the lens weather-sealed?
A. Yes, the lens has a weather-sealed construction, providing protection against dust and moisture. This makes it suitable for shooting in various outdoor environments.
Q. Can I use teleconverters with this lens to extend the focal length?
A. Yes, the lens is compatible with Nikon AF-S teleconverters, such as the AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III and TC-20E III. These teleconverters can increase the focal length by 1.4x or 2x, respectively, allowing for even greater reach when photographing distant subjects.



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