Nikon announces the development of 500mm f/5.6 PF ED VR lens, promising portability and performance


posted Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at 11:01 PM EST


Following up on their 300mm f/4 PF ED VR AF-S telephoto lens, Nikon has announced the development of their second lens featuring Phase Fresnel (PF) technology. The new AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens will be designed to offer "exceptional agility and optical performance in an incredibly compact and lightweight package."

While exact dimensions are not yet known, we do know that the lens will be a high-performance, super-telephoto lens and that it will be "significantly smaller and lighter" than similar predecessors thanks to the Phase Fresnel technology. Digging deeper into PF lens technology, it's a specialized lens developed by Nikon to compensate for chromatic aberration using diffraction. When combined with a normal glass lens, the PF element and normal element work together to compensate for aberrations. This task has traditionally required many more elements, which is why a PF lens can be lighter and more compact than comparable lenses which do not utilize a PF lens.

In the above image, we see the Nikon 300mm f/4 PF lens (top) and Nikon 500mm f/4E lens (bottom), which does feature a PF element. Note that these lenses are not to scale. Perhaps these existing lenses, particularly the 300mm f/4 PF lens, offer clues about the design of the upcoming Nikon 500mm f/5.6 PF prime.

To that end, Nikon promises a lens that will be small and light enough to comfortably shoot handheld, making it an interesting option for shooting fast-moving sports and wildlife, where a tripod or monopod could be limiting. It's unclear when you will be able to get your hands on the upcoming lens, as Nikon has not yet announced availability or pricing information.

Stay tuned to Imaging Resource for more information on the Nikon 500mm f/5.6E PF lens as it becomes available.