Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P review

For the provided lens Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P many thanks the store ProFotoSalewhere you can find many new and used lenses for different systems, including similar manual lenses.

Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P

Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P. increase.

In short

Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P is a super telephoto lens for Nikon F mount cameras. Manual focus only. This is Nikon's first 500mm prime for DSLR cameras. One of three lenses in the lineup Nikkor P (AI-P).

Interesting is the internal focusing, three ED elements in the optical scheme, a thoughtful focusing distance limiter, microprocessor contacts for full compatibility with modern cameras and good image quality.

There are few shortcomings, the main ones are high weight and tangible longitudinal chromatic aberration... The lens is inferior to contemporaries in terms of resolution, but is still suitable for certain types of photography.

Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P

Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P

About marking 'P'

'P' type lenses have a diaphragm control ring and microprocessor contacts, support automatic metering exposure with any Nikon interchangeable-lens digital camera (except Nikon D3400, D3500). You can even turn on the 'green zone' mode and everything will work fine. 'P' type lenses work in the same way as 'Nikkor AF / AF-S NON-G' lenses set to manual focus (the camera recognizes the lens as autofocus but set to manual focus).

The 'P' mark should not be confused with lenses AF-P (with stepping motor for focusing 'Auto Focus Press', eg, Nikon DX AF-P Nikkor 18-55mm 1: 3.5-5.6G VR) and Nikkor-P (where 'P' means'Penta', that is, a lens with 5 elements in the optical design, for example, Nikon Micro-NIKKOR-P Auto 1: 3.5 f = 55mm).

'P' type lenses are fully AI-S compatible... They are often called AI-P... In fact, Nikkor P is intermediate link between Nikon AI / AI-S and Nikon AF... Therefore, 'P' type lenses will work without problems on older film cameras.

Originally 'P' type lenses were designed to support 3D matrix metering... Most likely the letter 'P' in the lens name stands for 'Processor' or 'Programmed' (PASM mode 'P'). Microprocessor allows correct display and recording EXIF data, control the aperture through the organs of the camera, accurately meter the exposure.

To be able to control the value aperture lens Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P straight from the camera, you need to turn the aperture control ring to F / 22, after which it is advisable to fix it with a small special slider-blocker with an orange mark, which is located to the right of the marks aperture... If this is not done, then on a number of cameras, on the display, the error 'fEE' (ring aperture installed incorrectly). Some cameras with diaphragm rheostatallow you to control the aperture using the ring aperturebut only in metering modes exposure 'M' and 'A'. You can read more about this issue in the section on Non-G Lenses. Ring aperture rotates with clicks, it has F / 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22 (full stops) values, there are no intermediate values ​​between pairs of numbers. Intermediate values ​​can be set only through the camera menu.

Unfortunately, despite the presence of microprocessor contacts, with the Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4P lens Nikon SLR cameras do not work in focus trap mode (when the shutter release is only enabled for precise focusing). Precise focusing is indicated by only green dot in JVI or the corresponding display in EVI or on the Live View display. In any of the options no sound confirmation about a successful focusing.

НNikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P does not transmit the distance to the subject into the camera and is analogous to Nikon lenses of the NON-D (Non Distance) series. This can sometimes have a bad effect on accurate metering. exposureespecially when using flash (but who shoots at 500mm with a flash?).

It's important: Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P on cameras Nikon D3400, D3500 can only work in 'M' mode. These cameras simply do not work with lenses like AI-P... On all other Nikon interchangeable-lens Nikon digital cameras the Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P will function like any other NON-G lens on which autofocus is disabled. All camera modes such as P, A, S, M and any automatic modes will be available.

Important: functions of automatic correction of distortion (distortion, vignetting, etc.) with this lens do not work on modern cameras.

Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P

Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P


The Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P was introduced at the same time as a large number of the first autofocus solutions and became the only manual lens among the big announcement of AF optics. Most likely Nikon failed to implement autofocus in this version due to some technical problems and limitations.

The line of prime lenses for SLR cameras includes the following models:

Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P

Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P

Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P Main Specifications

Name of instances from review On the plate: Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P + serial number
Basic properties
  • FX (for Nikon FX) - lens designed for full frame cameras
  • MF (Mannual Focus) - manual focus only
  • P (AI-P) - contacts of the microprocessor
  • IF (Internal focusing) - internal focusing
  • Focus limiter - focusing distance limiter
  • ED (Extra low dispersion) - the use of special low dispersion elements in the optical scheme
  • NIC (Nikon Integrated Coating) - special integrated enlightenment of optics
  • Non-d (Non Distance) - without the possibility of transferring the focusing distance to the camera
  • Non-g (Non gelded) - the presence of a diaphragm control ring
  • Fixed tripod foot
  • Drop-in filters - internal light filters
  • Protective front glass
  • Protective front bumper
  • Lugs for carabiner or carrying strap
  • Professional lens
Front Filter Diameter
  • 122 mm outer
  • 39 mm inner
Focal length 500 mm
Zoom ratio 1 x (this is fix)
Designed by for cameras with Nikon F mount
Number of aperture blades 9 petals
  • marking on the focus ring with the focusing distance in meters and feet
  • depth of field scale, but only for F / 22 (orange stripes)
  • aperture ring
  • infrared mark (red dot)
  • three orientation marks of the tripod foot
Diaphragm F / 4 to F / 22
MDF (minimum focusing distance) 5 meters

Maximum magnification ratio 1: 9.1

The weight 3000 grams
Optical design 8 elements in 6 groups, three Nikon ED elements + protective front glass and light filter

optical design Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P

Lens hood External, with clips, Nikon HE-17
Period From March 1988 to 2005. In November 1994 it was supplemented with the Nikon 500 / 4D AF-I version.
Manufacturer country Lens made in Japan
Price New do not sell. In a variant B. at. about 1000 cu

For a 500 mm focal length, the maximum aperture ratio of 1: 4 is quite high.

Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P

Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P

Assembly, control, focus

The lens is large and heavy. The bulk of the weight comes from the front lens group. The front lens has additional protective glasswhich is not a lens from the optical circuit. Instead of a cover, a fabric cover is used on the front of the lens (hood).

The lens has a large rubber bumper... For transportation, the lens barrel has two massive ears under the belt. In front of the lens there is a recess for installing a hood. The hood is not bayonet type, but is installed in a similar way. The hood has a special clip with which it is fixed. The hood can be installed in the opposite direction. The hood has a small rubber bumper at the front.

Tripod foot non-removable, made in the form of a tripod ring / clamp with a small platform for the tripod. The fixing clip is large and convenient. The position of the presser foot is fixed with a special clamping screw. The foot rotates freely 360 degrees around the lens axis. There are 3 marks on the lens barrel for quick alignment of the lens and camera in a horizontal or vertical position. The foot has 2 standard tripod slots.

Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P uses internal filters (Drop-In filters)... The diameter of this filter is 39 mm (standard for such lenses). There is a special groove in the lens housing, into which the filter holder is inserted. To remove the holder, you need to push the locking button down and turn it counterclockwise. It is always recommended to use an internal filter as the optical design was originally designed for its permanent presence. Even if a filter is not needed, leave a ND filter. I used a l37c 39mm Nikon Japan internal filter lens. The lens can also use classic light filters, which are screwed into the thread near the front lens, however, the diameter of such filters is huge and is 122 mm.

Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P focusing ring rotates on 270 degrees (3/4 full turn)... Focusing internal type... When focusing towards the MDF, the angle of view decreases. I think that the 'focus breathing' of this lens does even a little to its advantage, increasing the effective focal length at short focusing distances.

The lens is equipped with a very functional focusing distance limiter... With his help any range of focusing distances can be set (from MDF to infinity). The stopper is made in the form of a ring with a locking screw. In the installed (fixed) state, the limiter ring works as an additional focusing ring... The stop ring does not completely block rotation up to the set value, but makes the transition between the extreme positions with a click and a little effort. It's better to twist it yourself and understand how it works, rather than try to describe it.

Focus ring and stop ring rubberized hard rubber or similar material. The diaphragm ring is not rubberized, but has a corrugation.

The minimum focusing distance is 6 meters, and the maximum magnification ratio is 1: 9.1.

The diaphragm consists of nine petals... The aperture ring is much wider than most lenses.

The body has a focusing distance scale, depth of field scale and a mark for working in the infrared spectrum. F / 22 aperture value orange corresponds to orange DOF bars and orange aperture ring lock.

One of the implicit advantages of telephoto lenses with a maximum aperture of 1: 4 is the ability to use them with teleconverters. If you use teleconverter 2X with Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P lens on mirrorless cameras Nikon 1 Series, then you can get EGF 2700 mm (500 * 2 * 2.7), and the maximum opening is F / 8.0.

Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P

Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P

Image quality

The Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P is optically pretty good, but with a few significant drawbacks.

Longitudinal chromatic aberration (frigging), which in the out-of-focus area paint contrasting elements green or red / purple. The lens can lose a lot of contrast when working with backlighting, it is best to always use it with a hood.

Sharpness at F / 4 is not bad. Even on a cropped sensor with a high pixel density (24 MP), the lens holds up well. Still, there is an overall improvement in sharpness and contrast at F / 5.6.

The distortion is minimal, the vignetting in the full frame is small.

Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P

Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P

Sample photos on Leica SL

Sample photos specifically for the Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4P from this review and the camera Leica SL shared one of the readers of Radozhiva.

You can download the original photos in RAW format ('.DNG') at this link (10 photos, 400 MB).

Sample Photos on Nikon D4s

Examples and sources on Nikon D4s shared photographer Dmitry Zubkov... You can look at this link.

Sample photos on Nikon DX (APS-C)

Examples on Nikon D3200 with 24MP APS-C sensor with AA filter. Easily convert original RAW files with the original Nikon Capture NX-D v 1.4.6 utility. Standard Picture Control SD (with default settings, 3, 0, 0, 0, 0). I didn't use a lens hood during the shoot. All photos were taken using an inexpensive monopod.

You can download the original photos in RAW ('.NEF') format at this link (30 photos, 600 MB).

Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P

Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P

My experience

Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P is rare and interesting. Optically, it significantly lags behind modern solutions, but nevertheless, the combination of 500 mm and f / 4 in many cases allows you to shoot at fairly fast shutter speeds and get good results.

Personally, I expected better resolution from the Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P, but I was quite pleased with what it has. For example, Nikon AF-S 300 / 4D in conjunction with the same Nikon D700 + Nikon D3200 proved to be a significantly sharper and more contrasting lens at f / 4.

The 'P' line is a transitional one, especially the Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P - this is Nikon's first 500mm prime for SLR cameras (excluding rangefinder solutions and mirror-lens solutions). And if their first 500 shows a similar result, then its subsequent versions should be just perfect.

With the Nikon AF Teleconverter TC-16A 1.6X, the Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P lens can acquire autofocus and transform into 800 / 6.4.

For the provided lens Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P many thanks the store ProFotoSalewhere you can find many new and used lenses for different systems, including similar manual lenses.

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Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram.

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Comments: 12, on the topic: Nikon ED NIKKOR 500mm 1: 4 P Review

  • Trueash

    The lugs for the belt quite hold up to the title of "swivel": D

  • Linar

    It even works without a screwdriver?

    • Arkady Shapoval


      • Sergey Popov

        Pleased, in that case, with the statement about autofocus with a teleconverter). The humor is understood)

        • Arkady Shapoval

          I didn't try to humor, TC-16A turns any lens into an autofocus lens (more precisely, a bundle of lens + converter). For such long-focus lenses, TC is very relevant

          • Nik

            To use the TS 16a on a digital mirror, you need to modify it (the soldering iron to climb into the circuit.)
            Without modifications, it does not even work on f100 and f80.

  • Irina

    What a brutal fellow :) In general, quite an interesting lens, thanks for the review :)

  • Victor

    Arkady, a very interesting remark about the TC-16A! Do you have any experience with this converter? Could it be that with it it will be possible to reach infinity with the M42 optics ?!

  • Jankowsky

    There is still hope that during our lifetime we will all witness a review of 300-800 \ 5.6 APO ...

    By the way - on the Flea market, two of these for 230000 are lying around - for Kenon and Nikon - you can throw off the whole photo community and they will be common, for free, go here and there for free)))

  • koba

    I have never used such long-focus lenses, but from the presented pictures it seems that its sharpness even when open is sufficient for normal operation.

  • B. R. P.

    By the way, a small typo) is an extra letter m in the title.

    • Arkady Shapoval


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