My lens arrived earlier this week and I've not had a chance to really get out with it because by the time I get off work it's dark outside this time of year. I've taken some photos in the house and was impressed with image quality but today was the first day I took a few photos outside during lunch and am really impressed so far.
I attached it to the D750 + TC-14EII giving an effective focal length of 700mm @ f/8 and used flash because it was mostly overcast and gloomy. The photos shown here were shot freehand with the one exception of the top photo which was from a tripod with a loose head and with Vibration Reduction (VR) employed at 1/40s. The rest of these had a shutter speed of 1/250 except this one of the goldfinch which was 1/320.
The lens seems well-built and comes with a sturdy foot that I attached an Arca-Swiss compatible plate to for use on the tripod. For both tripod work and handheld it will take some practice to become proficient with, just like the 300mm f/4 did. I remember shooting with it (the 300mm) at first and thinking I made a mistake getting it because I couldn't get very good images with it. But, I was determined to keep practicing and eventually became pretty good with it. The same will take place with this lens. And this one has the benefit of VR which the 300mm f/4 doesn't have. The 200-500mm focused quite well on whatever I pointed it at but it's not a speedster so I'm curious how it will do for birds-in-flight.
Besides liking the image quality I've seen so far I really like the out-of-focus (OOF) areas too. They're smooth and creamy, not busy and jittery. This is a big plus because it helps one to focus on the subject and not get distracted with unpleasant OOF renderings.
No doubt it will change the way I've been shooting but only time will tell to what extent. I've been going out with the 300mm f/4 and then the 300mm f/4e PF almost exclusively for some time now and these are easy to walk around with all day and shoot handheld. I think I'll be going out with the tripod from now on and will use it in the field more than I have in the past. But I knew this up front and that's okay with me because I strive for and want the best, most pleasing image quality I can muster. I've got a ways to go but that's part of the enjoyment and learning experience. I'll report back on this subject when I've had some field time with it.