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Thread: Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 lens versus 500mm f4 af-i.

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    Default Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 lens versus 500mm f4 af-i.

    So for a little background; I previously used a Nikon d7100 matched with a Sigma 150-600 Contemporary lens with mediocre results, which I blamed primarily on operator short comings in technique. I also came into an older Nikon 500mm f4 af-i lens, which performed well with the d7100. I have since moved to a Nikon d500 and began with the Sigma lens, with so-so results. I had not used the 500 f4 with the d500 before today. For the past few months I acquired and have been using a Nikon 200-500 f5.6 lens with decent results, but still convinced myself that the limiting factor was still my technique. I have been considering selling the 500 f4 because I have been enjoying the new lens so much and didn't really think I was giving much up by do so.
    Today, I had eyes on a Coopers Hawk in my backyard so I decided to break out the 500 f4 and hand hold it! I forgot out heavy and cumbersome that lens really is. However, I practically was peeing all over myself once I locked focus on the hawk and began clicking away! The additional stop of light entering the lens and quickness of the focus was remarkably better than with the 200-500 f5.6. Now I know that a prime lens is always going to offer the best optics but I figured the newer technology would win out over the 20+ year old mammoth of a lens.
    I do really like having a zoom for bird photography and I like being mobile. However, after re-using the 500 f4 lens once again I am now questioning how and when I would use it in the future. It is so big and heavy and almost always must use a tripod which is not an opportunity I get very often. I am just surprised at how under-impressed it makes me feel about the optics and focusing of the 200-500 f5.6 lens. (It's funny but the person I bought the 200-500 lens from claimed it was not a fast enough lens for their use, which was primarily waterfowl in action.)

    Maybe my strong desire for an affordable, enthusiast level zoom lens to be better than what I would ever need is not to be. Has anyone else experienced this syndrome?
    I feel I would have better off if I had never used a 500 f4 autofocus lens in the first place! Curious if others have experienced anything similar?

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    yes have both lenses tend to grab to 200-500 mm more often due to less wight if process images makes a strong statement however the 500 mm outshines to 200-500 mm in bouquet with bg. also important to have a
    lens alignment done to insure good focus.

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    ps talk about light weight the nikon 300 mmpe lens makes me grab that lens so often but not as good for flight images.must have lens alignment

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    Yes, I agree that the weight difference is huge. I am not typically able to be very mobile or very spontaneous with the large 500 f4 lens. The smaller size and weight of the 200-500 lens makes me want to make this my exclusive birding lens but as I mentioned before I just have not found the sharpness to be of my liking yet. As you say perhaps I will need to look into performing an alignment procedure. Its kind of funny because I sold my Sigma 150-600 Contemporary lens as I found the Nikon 200-500 to provide sharper images. I suspect it is still more about operator skill more than anything. However, I do say that better equipment can provide better pictures.

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