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Nikon 500mm f/4D IF-ED AF-S II Nikkor

Review Date: Aug 16, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Superb optics ; very fast AF ; built like a tank ; works well with Nikon 1.4 TC ; super-sharp even at F4

I got the AF-S I version a couple of years ago to shoot mostly surf and never looked back, my other option was the Sigma 300-800 since the 400 2.8 and 600 F4 are too expensive and heavier.

The image quality i get at F4 ( or F5.6 with 1.4TC) is great, and at F5.6 it's super-sharp up to F8. It focuses really fast with the D200 and even better with the D2Hs, the only significant difference is when the 1.4 TC is used and then it works better and consistently with the D2Hs.

It's usually mounted on a heavy-duty Manfrotto tripod and gymbal-type head which is a must to get absolute sharpness, specially on higher-res bodies like the D200 or D2X. On a monopod it can be used with good results, if the light is there to keep the shutter speeds up.

It fits nicely on a Lowepro 600 AW bag with a camera attached, making it easy to carry on walks or when travelling by plane.

Most of the photos on these links were taken with the 500 F4 :