Nikon 200-500 f/5.6 First Day

Top of a telephone pole in midday light. On the D7100, 500mm looks like 750mm.

Top of a telephone pole in midday light. On the D7100, 500mm looks like 750mm.

Marketing-wise, I do not fall into the category known as “early adopter.” I usually get cameras and lenses after they are well-documented by thousands of users. But when Nikon announced the 200-500 f/5.6 a few months ago, I threw caution to the wind because if this is what it appears to be, I’ve been waiting for this lens a very long time. I pre-ordered impulsively, and then completely forgot about it until I got a shipping notification.

There weren't many birds in the backyard during the few minutes I had to try the lens, but there was  a moon.

There weren’t many birds in the backyard during the few minutes I had to try the lens, but there was a moon. Hand-held, wide open at f/5.6.

And what does it appear to be? A relatively inexpensive, Nikon-quality birding lens. Heck, based on my experience photographing Trombone Shorty with a 70-200 and TC17, this might even serve as a stage performance lens in professionally lit venues.

Pretty high up in a eucalyptus tree. I'm concerned about the focusing, but as I say in the text, I need time to use this lens with appropriate shot discipline.

Pretty high up in a eucalyptus tree. I’m concerned about the focusing, which hunted a bit and got stuck occasionally, but as I say in the text, I need time to use this lens with appropriate shot discipline.

What remains to be seen, of course, is whether this is what it appears to be.  So far, I don’t know, because it arrived in the middle of a work day and I’ve only had a few minutes to make these captures, hand held. This weekend I’ll bring some shot discipline to the task, and try the lens on both the D7100 and D610. Stay tuned.

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Filed under Camera Gear, Nature Photography

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