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Nikon 500mm, f4 VR telephoto lens test — in real world conditions!

September 3, 2012

Mr. I poses with the Nikon 500mm, f4 telephoto before gametime. Photo by Scott Hill.

A full-frame, no crop view of the two coaches conversing at midfield taken from the corner of the endzone.

I got the rare opportunity to borrow one of Nikon’s big king pieces of glass over the weekend; the Nikon 500mm, f4 VR super-telephoto. Wow what a thrill! I was also able to secure a sideline pass for a Liberty U. vs. Wake Forest football game at BB&T field in Winston Salem, NC. What a lens! I had the lens attached to a full-frame D3 Nikon body, and most of the time, no matter where the action was on the field, it usually filled up my viewfinder. Did I mention what a sweet piece of glass this is? Two things impressed me the most about the 500: first, boy did it focus fast! It was also almost totally silent too. The other impressive feature was how moisture-resistant the lens really is. For you see, throughout most of the first half of the ballgame, a steady rain was falling. I never even attempted to cover up either the lens nor the camera. I did take a towel out and wipe it off from time to time. All the other photographers were scrambling to put bags over their equipment or quit shooting all together and seek shelter. I stood my ground.

The lens performed flawlessly. And did I mention; I really like this lens! The game was a 6:30pm start, so the stadium lights were on from the start. My ISO was on 1600 at kickoff and I slowly had to increase that to 6400 towards game’s end. The viewfinder image was always bright and contrasty, and so were the files coming out of the camera; almost too contrasty though. Probably need to tone the contrast down a bit. Anyway it was a great night to shoot the kickoff of the college football season! LU led most of the game, but gave up a 4th quarter interception for a touchdown and Wake ended up winning 20-17. I guess Liberty will have to wait another season to upset a FBS foe.  As for this lens; my only question is how to come up with the $12,000 it takes to purchase one?

 

 

Liberty U’s SirChauncey Holloway escapes a Wake defender and scores a touchdown early in the third quarter of Saturday’s football contest. Photo uncropped by Mr. I.

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