Street Photography with the Nikkor 500mm Reflex lens

keith kennedy
7 min readJul 25, 2021
Spirit Guardians. Nikon Z50, Nikkor 500mm f/8 Reflex. Photo by author.

Perhaps I’m developing a “style” or something but much of my street photography is starting to look the same. For example, if I was to replace a block of color or swap a head from one pic to another, I’m not sure I’d notice later. While I can’t say yet if I think it is a good thing or a bad thing, the sameness is something I observed recently while working on my website. Frustrating at first, it became a catalyst to try new things and a few old things but with new perspectives. Eventually, I came up with a plan, something that required me to first analyze what I was currently doing.

Normally, I aim for wide shots. Fuji X100F, 23mm.

My typical setup for a street session is ridiculously easy: bring one camera. A Fuji X100F rangefinder… maybe a bag to carry it in. The small, mirrorless camera is the most versatile of all the digitals I own, despite being locked to a 23mm lens. While out on a session, the X100F is either invisible to those around me or it’s a conversation-starter with it’s classically smart looks. 24 megapixels of sensor resolution come in handy as I typically shoot to crop later. Technique wise, I’m either riding shotgun in a car, lining up snaps perpendicular to the subject or I’m on foot and waiting for someone to walk into my focusing zone.

Shot from nearly two blocks away and three floors up. Nikon Z50, Nikkor 500mm f/8 Reflex. Photo by Author.

When crafting my plan to change things up, I researched a bit by observing what others were doing. I watched lots of videos of Youtubers with the 80–200mm lens and liked what I saw. I jumped online and found a used, 1980s old-school Nikkor 80–200mm AF ED lens that weighs 30 pounds but has a push-pull sleeve to adjust zoom. The barrel also works to adjust focus, which I need as the lens is attached to a Nikon Z50 (the Z50 can power lots of autofocus lenses fine, but because the mirrorless body needs the FTZ (Nikon F-mount to Z-mount) adapter, the autofocus feature goes out the window).

keith kennedy

Polymath, jack of all trades or just really, really bored. You can find more examples of my bored at And please, check out my Series!


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