Sony 200-600mm vs Nikon 200-500mm: Why Would You Pay The Extra Price?
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Sony 200-600mm vs Nikon 200-500mm: Why Would You Pay The Extra Price?

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These days choosing and buying a lens can be quite a painstaking task. Especially, when there’s a vast number of them to satisfy the smallest needs of a consumer.

The Sony 200-600mm is a high-end option that shoots photographs delicately and has been launched not so long ago. The Nikon 200-500mm was launched as a competitor to the budget-oriented Tampon and Sigma telephoto lens variants.

These lenses are both fine in their terms when it comes to photographers who frequent hiking to take photos as a hobby or for professional purposes. This article is a guide to resolving the sony 200-600mm vs Nikon 200-500mm dilemma.

Sony 200-600mm vs Nikon 200-500mm: Quick comparison chart

Some key differences between Nikon 200-500mm vs Sony 200-600mm:

FeaturesNikon 200-500mmSony 200-600mm
Aperture Blades11 9
Focal Length200-500mm200-600mm
Maximum image magnification0.22X0.2X
Viewing angle12.2 degree to 5.0 degree (FX-format) 8.0 degrees to 3.1 degrees (DX-Format)12.5 degrees to 4.2 degrees (Full-frame) 8.0 degrees to 2.7 degrees (APS-C)
Releasing dateSeptember 2015August 2019

What are the Key Differences Between Nikon 200-500 vs Sony 200-600mm?

I’ll be looking at the key differences between the two lenses and discuss the various features both provide.

The Price

There is almost a $400 difference between the two lenses.

The Nikon 200-500mm is priced at approximately $1600.

On the other hand, the Sony 200-600mm’s price is set at around $2000.

The Sony lens is a bit more recent but the Nikon lens does not waver in performance and is a good fit to be a competitor considering it is priced lower among the two.

The $400 margin makes the Nikon 200-500mm a clear winner in this regard.

Design and Size

The Sony lens is a bit more compact and lightweight, making it very good for wildlife photo shooting compared to the larger Nikon lens which is also heavier.

The Sony 200-600mm has internal zoom which makes it so it does not extend at all which makes it more comfortable to hold at 500/600mm. It also helps to reduce dust and moisture accumulation.

The Nikon 200-500mm does not have internal zoom so it extends and changes length. The weight distribution also changes to the tip of the lens which makes it uncomfortable to hold for longer periods.

Here is a quick visual comparison of their size. (Fully extended)

The Sony 200-600mm is enveloped with a magnesium shell. Sony did not bargain to build it with cheap parts as it gives a premium feel when held.

The Nikon 200-500mm comes with a plastic body to reduce manufacturing costs and to set the product at a lower price in the market.

Both lenses have a plastic hood. But the Nikon lens’ hood shape does not let it fit properly into a bag. Sony provides a bag for its lens but Nikon does not.

Considering all of these I will give a plus to Sony.

So Sony 200-600mm is the winner.

On-hand experience

The main purpose of these lenses is to shoot in the wild where there is constant action or to shoot athletes during games.

Sony usually makes compact cameras so the downside of using its lens is that it does not fit large hands well and creates stabilization issues but works great with small to moderately large hands.

Nikon with its bulky cameras when used with its lens makes it easier and more comfortable to work with.

Sony’s lens captures photos with near-perfect accuracy and sharpness that even when cropped, as wildlife photographers tend to crop their photos quite often to get the perfect frame, the photo does not get pixelated.

Nikon here struggles a bit when the photos are cropped to match the photographers’ likings.

So to measure and give them points in terms of real-life experience The Sony 200-600mm gets the upper hand.

The resolution

Here is a photo that was taken with both lenses to demonstrate the resolution at 200mm with f/5.6.

The resolutions for both lenses are identical. But The Sony lens delivers a sharper image.

Looking at the fur and eyeballs, there is a clear distinction in color.

At 200mm f/8 however, the results flip.

Nikon provides a sharper image at 200mm f/8. Increasing the aperture only makes the Sony lens look worse and Nikon comes out on top.

When I examine Nikon at 500mm and Sony at 600mm with f/6.3 Sony takes the lead and this is the most common focal length that these lenses will be used since both are telephoto lenses. Here’s a demonstration.

The purpose of a telephoto lens is to shoot subjects that are very far away so that the frame doesn’t lose focus and is sharp. With this comparison, Sony deserves another point.

Nikon 200-500mm vs Sony 200-600mm: Which One To Choose?

The Sony 200-600mm comes packed with the necessary ingredients for the more perfect photo. In overall comparison from sharpness to stabilization, Sony beats the Nikon lens, even if by a small margin.

Nikon 200-500mm is no cheap shot either. It is a close competitor to the Sony lens but thinking about the long term, the Sony lens gets more points.  

Bearing in mind that the Sony 200-600mm lens costs $400 more than the Nikon 200-500mm, it’d be a wise investment to get the Sony lens instead.

Prime vs Zoom Telephoto Lens?

Telephoto lens used to be only prime in variant. A fixed focal length to hold position and take photos.

To take photos with prime telephoto lenses the user had to move around physically to get into position. Since wildlife is unpredictable and constantly filled with action it sometimes becomes problematic.

That’s where the zoom telephoto lens comes in. Because the focal length can be changed it can draw out the more versatile action during a photoshoot and produce better results in certain situations. Not to mention these zoom lenses come in cheaper than the prime ones.

Final Words

That concludes the article on which to buy between the Nikon 200-500mm and the Sony 200-600mm. I hope you have found what you have been looking for.

If the budget gets in the way, then by all means go for the Nikon 200-500mm as it will not affect your needs that terribly.

But you will have to give up on sharper and more stable image quality. On the flip side, the Sony 200-600mm is recommended wholeheartedly.

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