I bought this lens after reading many reviews on lenses longer than 300mm. I had recently bought a Nikon D700 and was rather annoyed at the amount of “reach” my 70-200 and 70-300 had. So those lenses were sold and I bought this. It cost me NZ$1629, but this is still far cheaper than a 400 or 500mm prime.
In terms of image quality, this is better than the Nikkor 70-300mm VR by a whisker. Sharpness is best somewhere around f/8 to f/11. Given that depth of field at 500mm is a bit too small to be useful at anything wider than f/8 this should not be an issue.
I used this mostly for shooting stage shows and kids sports. It meant I could get some good shots in when working shows. Being able to reach the other side of a sports field has its benefits too.
This is a heavy lens. If you’re happy with a tripod or monopod then it won’t be an issue. The optical stabilisation works a treat, but if you’re not comfortable lifting and holding a bit of weight (a bit more than a 70-200mm f/2.8) then you’ll love the reach.
Stage shows have lights in all sorts of odd places. That means if the lens you’re using is susceptible to flare you’re going to be in for a difficult post processing session. The flare reduction is this lens has been brilliant. I can get away with shooting with light sources in the frame.