Nikon is Developing an Ultra-Portable 500mm f/5.6 PF VR Lens

Nikon has announced the development of an AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR, an ultra-portable super-telephoto full-frame FX lens.

“The AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR will deliver exceptional agility and optical performance in an incredibly compact and lightweight package,” Nikon says.

The portability comes thanks to Nikon’s Phase Fresnel (PF) technology , which was first launched in the 300mm f/4 PF back in 2015 .

Including a Phase Fresnel element inside the lens allows it to be both light and compact — fewer lens elements are needed — while reducing chromatic aberration. The downside to using this type of element is that strong light sources can produce colorful ring-shaped flares — Nikon’s solution is a feature called “PF Flare Control” in its Capture NX-D RAW software, which helps reduce these rings.

But the benefits of Phase Fresnel technology are great: Nikon’s 300mm f/4 became the world’s lightest full-frame autofocusing 300mm lens when it was announced, and it was 52% lighter (1.66lb/0.755kg vs 3.17lb/1.44kg) and 30% shorter (5.81in/14.75cm vs 8.76in/22.25cm).

Nikon’s upcoming 500mm will have similar size and weight savings.

“Despite its 500mm focal length, the lens is small and light enough to use hand-held in a wide variety of situations where a photographer must capture unpredictable and fast-moving subjects, including sporting events and wildlife photography,” Nikon says.

Pricing and availability for the upcoming AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR have yet to be announced (the 300mm f/4 PF lens costs $2,000).


Note: The silhouettes in this article are illustrations and are not indicative of what the upcoming Nikon 500mm will look like.

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