Nikon developing a 500mm super telephoto with compact Fresnel design

Super-telephoto ordinarily means a super-sized lens — but Nikon has a 500mm up its sleeve that’s compact enough to shoot without a tripod. The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR will be designed with both high performance and portability in mind. The lens has yet to see full release details, but Nikon confirmed the lens development on Thursday, June 14.

Longer focal length lenses are typically heavier because they require more glass components to support the telephoto capabilities. The Nikkor 500mm, however, uses fewer glass elements because of what’s called a Phase Fresnel design, designated by the PF in the lens name. A Phase Fresnel lens uses diffraction to help cut down chromatic aberration, which is where the edges of objects have an odd color fringing, an image flaw most common in high-contrast edges.

While a typical lens uses multiple glass pieces to combat chromatic aberration, a Fresnel lens uses a single piece. Fewer pieces mean a lighter lens, which is a big deal when working with extremes like 500mm. Nikon hasn’t said just how lightweight the lens will be, but says the lens will be small enough for handheld use with fast subjects, such as sports and wildlife. Since longer lenses require faster shutter speeds to prevent shake, that “faster subjects” designation on that claim is important — a tripod will probably still be required for scenes that require a slower shutter speed.

Nikon says that the longer the lens is, the more challenging it is to combat chromatic aberration, which is why a lightweight 500mm lens is a significant announcement for the Nikon lens lineup.

The upcoming 500mm will use Nikon’s FX mount, which is designed for full frame cameras (such as the Nikon D850) but can also be used with a crop sensor DX mount, adjusting the focal length for the smaller sensor. Pre-release details on the upcoming lens are slim, but by the name of the lens, the 500mm will also have image stabilization, designed by that VR. The ED also indicates the use of extra-low dispersion glass, another lens element that fights chromatic aberration.

The 500mm follows the 300mm Phase Fresnel lens introduced in 2015. At the time, the AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4E ED VR was the lightest full-frame 300mm on the market, weighing 1.7 pounds. Nikon’s current 500mm lens is an AF-S Nikkor 500mm F/4E FL ED VR, which also made claims for a lower weight than competing options with similar features. That lens weighs almost seven pounds and costs more than $10,000.

So far, Nikon has only announced the development of the lens, so photographers will have to wait for more details on price, specifications, and the launch date. Nikon expects to announce final specifications and pricing sometime during 2018.

Product Review

There's no such thing as the perfect camera, but Nikon's D750 is damn close

The Nikon D750 DSLR is an excellent example of what full-frame cameras can do. It produces beautiful photos and videos. But does it justify its high price? Yes, it does -- and the camera's age means an even better deal.
Photography

Irix gets up close with the 150mm Macro in new, lightweight Dragonfly finish

Deviating from the company's original ultrawide lenses, Irix has announced a new 150mm macro lens. The Irix 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 is the start of a new Dragonfly line that uses a unique construction for a lighter, durable body.
Smart Home

Amazon gives the Ring Stick Up Camera a 1080 HD upgrade

Amazon revealed an update to the Ring Stick Up Camera that includes a new body design and an improved, 1080 HD camera to livestream any action that crosses in front of the lens. The new model comes in wired and battery-powered versions.
Photography

All about that bokeh: Meet the Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master with updated autofocus

The Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master lens uses primary XD elements at the front and rear of the lens for better chromatic aberration suppression and smooth bokeh. The 30th native E-mount lens, the 24mm also uses a new autofocus motor.
Product Review

Canon Pixma Pro-10 review

If you plan to put those digital high-resolution images you’ve shot with a DSLR onto paper, Canon’s Pixma Pro-10 will deliver gallery-quality prints. Just don’t expect it to be speedy.
Photography

To post or not to post? Here's when you should put up a picture on the 'Gram

Let's be honest, the majority of us care about the popularity of our Instagram posts. There is a sweet spot, however, if you're looking to boost the number of likes and comments you receive. Here's what you need to know.
Social Media

Instagram could separate hashtags for less annoying posts

Just what features will Instagram add next? One enthusiast reverse engineered the app to uncover several potential features the app could be testing, including a dedicated spot for hashtags and geofencing.
Photography

Canon crams more resolution and speed in the 65x zoom PowerShot SX70 HS

The new Canon PowerShot SX70 HS keeps the same notable 65x zoom lens, but adds resolution, speed, and 4K video while lightening the camera body. The bridge camera is a much-needed update to the 4-year-old SX60 HS.
Photography

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses - something no phone…
Social Media

Instagram feature that lets you reshare others’ posts may be on its way

Despite constant calls from many of its billion-plus users, Instagram has always refused to offer an option that lets Instagrammers reshare others' posts that appear on their feed. New reports suggest this could be about to change.
News

Photography News of the Week: Fujifilm creates A.I. for use in designing albums

Spending too much time culling photos and designing albums? Fujifilm is developing artificial intelligence that could help. The A.I., new camera bags, and extreme weather camera protection are in Photography News of the Week.
Photo Galleries

Leica continues instant film trend with the classically styled Sofort camera

While the name may sound funny -- Sofort is German for immediately -- the Leica Sofort immediately pops out film photos. The company's first instant film camera uses classic Leica styling but adds a mirror for selfies.
Photography

When you're ready to shoot seriously, these are the best DSLRs you can buy

For many photographers the DSLR is the go-to camera. With large selection of lenses, great low-light performance, and battery endurance, these DSLRs deliver terrific image quality for stills and videos.
Photography

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.