Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR Review

The Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens is a professional-grade telephoto lens built specifically for photographing animals, sports, and action. It is equipped with a wide variety of cutting-edge features, all of which contribute to its outstanding performance and image quality.

This lens has a focal length of 500mm, which provides a long reach, and a maximum aperture of f/4, which provides great low-light capabilities. As a result, this lens is a flexible instrument that can be used to capture amazing photographs in a variety of tough environments.

Key Specs

  • Lens: Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR
  • Focal Length: 500mm
  • Maximum Aperture: f/4
  • Lens Construction: 16 elements in 12 groups
  • Special Glass Elements: Extra-low Dispersion (ED)
  • Vibration Reduction (VR): Yes
  • Focus System: Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 11.9 ft. (3.6m)
  • Filter Size: 40.5mm (drop-in)
  • Diaphragm Blades: 9 (rounded)
  • Weight: Approximately 6.8 lbs. (3090g)
  • Dimensions (DxL): Approximately 5.5 x 15.2 inches (140.5 x 387.0mm)
  • Compatible Camera Mount: Nikon F-mount
  • Included Accessories: Lens hood, lens cap, lens case


Absolutely nothing short of astounding can be said about the performance of the Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens. Because of its fast f/4 aperture, it is possible to use quicker shutter rates, which allows for precise freezing of subjects that are moving quickly.

The lens makes use of high-quality optics, incorporating elements made of extra-low dispersion (ED) glass, which helps to decrease chromatic aberrations successfully and ensures pictures that are crisp, detailed, and have very little color fringing. In addition, the lens has a Nano Crystal Coat and a Fluorine coating, both of which are designed by Nikon to decrease flare and ghosting while also providing resistance to dust, water droplets, and smudges.

Autofocus System

The autofocus technology of the Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens is lightning quick, pinpoint accurate, and incredibly dependable. It is equipped with Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor (SWM), a technology that allows for silent and accurate autofocus performance. As a result of the lens’s ability to switch between numerous focus modes, such as Single-servo AF (S), Continuous-servo AF (C), and Manual focus (M), photographers are able to adjust their techniques to a variety of shooting situations.

In addition, the lens has focus limiting choices, which restrict the distance range that may be focused on in order to improve the speed of the autofocus and reduce the amount of focus hunting that occurs.

Vibration Reduction

When it comes to shooting handheld, the Vibration Reduction (VR) technology included in the Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens is a game-changer. It does an excellent job of compensating for camera shake, enabling photographers to take clear pictures even when the shutter speed is set to a slower value.

The lens is equipped with a number of distinct VR modes, such as Normal, Sports, and Tripod detecting mode, to accommodate a variety of diverse shooting contexts. As a result of the VR system’s ability to provide picture stabilization of up to four stops, it is now possible for photographers to take photos with more assurance, which also reduces the need for extra support equipment.

Build Quality

The Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens is designed to resist the rigorous use that is required in the photography industry. It has a sturdy and long-lasting design, and the lens barrel is made of magnesium alloy, which provides both strength and mobility without sacrificing weight.

Because it has weather-sealing, the lens is protected from dust and moisture, making it suited for use in outdoor photography in a variety of climates and circumstances. The front element of the lens has a fluorine coating applied to it by Nikon. This coating is designed to repel water, grime, and smudges, which makes it simple to clean and maintain.

Handling and Ergonomics

The comfort of the photographer was taken into consideration throughout the development of the Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens. Its well-balanced construction, which uniformly distributes the weight to alleviate strain over long periods of shooting, is one of its defining characteristics. Adjustments to the lens’s manual focus may be made easy thanks to the lens’s rubberized focus ring, which is also comfortable to use.

In addition to this, it possesses a focus preset button that permits a speedy transition between two different focus distances that have been selected. When used in conjunction with a tripod or monopod, the lens’s removable tripod collar, which offers both stability and balance, is included in the packaging.

Image Stabilization

The Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens has superb image stabilization qualities, making it an excellent choice for photographers. The Vibration Reduction (VR) feature corrects for blur caused by camera shake, enabling photographers to take clear pictures even when the shutter speed is set to a slower value. When photographing handheld or in conditions with low light, this is a really helpful feature to have.

The lens is equipped with a number of distinct VR modes, such as Normal, Sports, and Tripod detecting mode, to accommodate a variety of diverse shooting contexts. The VR system offers picture stabilization of up to four stops, so ensuring that captured photos are clear and devoid of a blur.

Shooting Experience

Photographers will have a wonderful experience when they use the Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens. You won’t have any trouble catching those fleeting, crucial moments thanks to the really high image quality as well as the incredibly quick and precise focusing of this device.

The lens’s large focal length of 500 millimeters enables you to go extremely close to your subjects, resulting in stunningly detailed photographs that fill the frame. The lens has a wide maximum aperture of f/4, which not only allows for quicker shutter speeds but also produces stunning bokeh, which separates your subject from the background in a way that is aesthetically pleasing.

Image Quality

The Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens has an impressively high standard for the image quality it generates. The lens has sophisticated optics, such as elements made of Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass and fluorite, which effectively eliminate chromatic aberrations and ensure that the image is extremely crisp and clear across its whole.

The lens also displays a low level of distortion, which makes it possible to capture the exact likeness of subjects. Flare and ghosting are minimized as a consequence of the combination of the Nano Crystal Coat and the Fluorine coating, which also results in pictures with high contrast and vivid colors.

Teleconverter Compatibility

The versatility and range of the Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens may be expanded with the company’s teleconverters, which are compatible with the lens. If you attach the AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III to the lens, it will turn into a lens with a focal length of 700mm and an aperture of f/5.6.

If you attach the AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III, it will become a lens with a focal length of 1000mm and an aperture of f/8. The focusing capabilities of the lens are not compromised by the use of teleconverters, which enables photographers to capture distant scenes with more accuracy.

Comparison with Competitors

When compared to other lenses of its kind, the Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens stands out as having superior performance, picture quality, and construction quality. Because of its quick maximum aperture, excellent optical design, and highly effective image stabilization, this camera is often considered to be the best option for professional photographers specializing in wildlife and sports photography.

Because the focusing technology of the lens is extremely sensitive and accurate, you will never lose an opportunity because of it. When shooting in difficult situations, the peace of mind provided by its dependable structure and weather sealing is invaluable. Although there are other telephoto lenses available for purchase, the Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens has a superior mix of features and performance that distinguishes it from its rivals.


Mount TypeNikon F-Bayonet
Focal Length500mm
Maximum Aperturef/4
Minimum Aperturef/22
Maximum Angle of View (DX-format)3°10′
Maximum Angle of View (FX-format)5°00′
Maximum Reproduction Ratio0.14x
Lens Elements16
Lens Groups12
VR (Vibration Reduction) Image StabilizationYes
Diaphragm Blades9
Nano Crystal CoatYes
ED Glass Elements3
Fluorite Elements2
Fluorine CoatYes
Super Integrated CoatingYes
AF-S (Silent Wave Motor)Yes
Internal FocusingYes
Minimum Focus Distance11.9 ft. (3.6m)
Focus ModeManual, Manual/Auto, Auto/Manual, Memory Recall
Filter Size40.5mm
Accepts Filter TypeSlip-in
Compatible with Nikon AF-S TeleconvertersYes (refer to the product manual for details)
Approx. Dimensions (Diameter x Length)5.5 in. (140 mm) x 15.2 in. (387.0 mm)
Approx. Weight109 oz. (3090 g) based on CIPA Standard

Pros and Cons


  • Outstanding image quality, with very little in the way of chromatic aberration or distortion.
  • A system with rapid and precise autofocus.
  • Vibration Reduction (VR) technology works effectively, allowing for crisp handheld photos.
  • Construction that is both rugged and weather-proof to provide long-lasting use in outdoor conditions.
  • Compatible with the teleconverters that Nikon offers so that you may increase your reach.


  • Large and weighty lens, which may necessitate the use of supplemental support equipment.
  • Due to its high price point, it is best suited for use by professional photographers as an investment.
  • With a maximum aperture of just f/4, this camera may not be ideal for use in environments with very little available light.
  • Because of its long focal length, it isn’t easy to manage successfully and requires a lot of experience.

Price and Availability

Because of its status as a high-end telephoto lens, the Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens has a price tag that reflects its level of quality. It may be purchased via authorized merchants who sell Nikon products, including internet sellers.

There is a possibility that the price will change based on the location as well as any active specials or discounts. This lens is of the professional standard. Therefore, it is designed for use by serious photographers who have high expectations for both its performance and its image quality.


The Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR Lens is a wonderful piece of Optical Engineering That gives amazing Performance, picture Quality, And Handling. The lens is a wonderful piece of optical engineering that gives an amazing performance, picture quality, and handling. This lens is an excellent option for professional wildlife photographers, sports photographers, and action photographers because of its long focal length, its quick aperture, and its sophisticated features such as vibration reduction.

Its rugged design and weather-sealing ensure that it will remain intact in a variety of shooting settings, and the fact that it is compatible with Nikon teleconverters allows for an even greater extension of its reach. The Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens is a tool that enables photographers to take magnificent photos with excellent detail and clarity. Because of this, it is an option that should be considered by photographers who emphasize both quality and adaptability in their work.

Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR FAQs

Q. What is the maximum aperture of the Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens?
A. The maximum aperture of this lens is f/4, allowing for excellent low-light performance and shallow depth of field.
Q. Does the Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens have image stabilization?
A. Yes, this lens features Vibration Reduction (VR) technology, which helps to minimize camera shake and produce sharper images, especially when shooting handheld or in challenging conditions.
Q. What is the minimum focus distance of the Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens?
A. The minimum focus distance of this lens is 11.9 ft. (3.6m), allowing you to capture close-up details of your subjects from a reasonable distance.
Q. What type of autofocus system does the Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens use?
A. This lens utilizes a Silent Wave Motor (SWM) autofocus system, providing fast, precise, and near-silent focusing performance, which is particularly beneficial when photographing wildlife or sports.
Q. Is the Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens compatible with all Nikon cameras?
A. Yes, this lens is designed for Nikon F-mount cameras, making it compatible with a wide range of Nikon DSLRs and mirrorless cameras with an appropriate adapter.



Peter is an accomplished and passionate photographer whose captivating images have garnered global recognition. With a remarkable ability to capture fleeting moments and convey profound emotions, his work transcends boundaries and tells compelling visual stories. From stunning landscapes to intimate portraits, Peter's expertise in various genres of photography showcases his artistic vision and technical mastery.