Earlier this year, Nikon filed a patent for a new AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens. Now the company has officially announced the development of this FX-format lens, promising splendid optical performance in a compact and lightweight package.
Nikon writes that the new 500mm f/5.6 lens will be significantly smaller and lighter than its predecessors. However, it’s not specified how much the size and the weight will change compared to the AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR. What we do know is that the reduction in size and weight are possible because the lens will adopt the same type of Phase Fresnel (PF) lens element as in the AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR.
The company explains that Phase Fresnel lens element “effectively compensates for chromatic aberration utilizing the photo diffraction phenomenon.” It allows attaining a remarkably compact and lightweight body with fewer lens elements.
What does this all mean? Well, the use of Phase Fresnel lens element will make the 500mm lens compact and light enough to use it hand-held in different situations. It will allow you to successfully work with unpredictable and fast-moving subjects, such as shooting sports and wildlife. And if you feel like experimenting, you can also shoot portraits with it.
When it comes to the pricing and availability, Nikon doesn’t give much information about it yet. More detailed specifications and pricing will be announced “later this year,” the press release states. But considering that the NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR retails at nearly $10,300, you can use this number as an approximate reference until we hear more. And perhaps start saving up.