Nikon's new 200-500mm super-telephoto has a price we didn't expect

Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6

Nikon has announced three new FX format lenses for its full-frame DSLRs such as the D750 and D810, though all three can also be used on smaller format DX Nikons like the D7200, They consist of a telephoto super-zoom, a replacement for the long-running 24-70mm standard zoom and a new wide-angle prime (fixed focal length) lens.

AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR

This is the most exciting of the three by far. It offers the extended zoom range you need for wildlife, sports and aviation photography, for example, but at price far lower than any comparable Nikon lens so far.

It's designed to work with the larger sensor area of a full-frame Nikon, but it can also be used on DX format cameras, where the effective focal length becomes 300-750mm. Until now, if you wanted this kind of range at anything like affordable prices, you had to go for third-party Sigma or Tamron alternatives, but the new Nikon 200-500mm is in the same price bracket.

Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6

The new Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 offers huge range at a competitive price.

The new lens has a constant maximum aperture of f/5.6, maintained even at its maximum focal length. If you fit a Nikon 1.4x teleconverter, this will reduce the maximum aperture, but only to f/8, and many of the newer and more advanced Nikon bodies have autofocus systems which can work down to f/8.

In fact, this is the longest fixed-aperture zoom lens in Nikon's line-up. It comes with a VR (Vibration Reduction) system rated at 4.5 stops, and it has a SPORT VR mode for following fast action.

The new 200-500mm also uses Nikon's new electromagnetic diaphragm control. This gives more stable exposure control during continuous shooting and is more reliable than conventional mechanical linkages.

The AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR will cost £1,180/US$1,400 (about AU$1,890), but availability is yet to be confirmed.

AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR

At the same time, Nikon has announced a new 24-70mm f/2.8 standard zoom for its full-frame cameras. It has the same specs on paper as its predecessor, which Nikon says was the most widely used pro lens in its line-up, but a brand new optical construction, a sturdier build designed to withstand years of hard daily use and an electromagnetic diaphragm mechanism.

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8

Nikon's new 24-70mm f/2.8 now has VR built in.

The key difference, though, is the addition of Nikon's VR image stabilization system. The old lens didn't have this, and it was starting to look like a major omission in such a popular and prestigious lens.

The new Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR goes on sale from 27th August 2015, but the bad news is that it will cost £1,850/US$2,400 (about AU$3,240), which is around 50% more than its predecessor is currently selling for.

AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.8G prime lens

The last in the trio of new lenses is a 24mm f/1.8 prime lens. Nikon already makes a 24mm f/1.4 lens, but it's more than twice the price of this one, which is also lighter and more compact.

Nikon 24mm f/1.8

The Nikon 24mm f/1.8 joins the existing f/1.4 lens, but at half the price.

You can use it as a wide-angle lens on a full-frame Nikon DSLR, or as a 36mm equivalent semi-wide lens on a DX model. The fast f/1.8 maximum aperture gives it useful low-light capability and the potential for attractive shallow depth of field effects.

The 24mm f/1.8 comes with a lens hood and a soft pouch and will cost £630/US$750 (about AU$1,010), but there's no news yet on availability.

Rod Lawton is Head of Testing for Future Publishing’s photography magazines, including Digital Camera, N-Photo, PhotoPlus, Professional Photography, Photography Week and Practical Photoshop.