Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.
Second, whilst it's nice to have the 399 AF points, I actually found the central regional AF points managed by the LEA4 to be faster and more feature rich. For example, with the LEA4 I was able to use focus tracking which worked very well on moving animals. With the LEA3 I would find the AF would hunt more for some reason too. AF-A mode worked with the LEA4, and generally I was able to use the Tamron without frustration in low light, with moving animals and at full zoom. With the LEA3 it just seemed limiting and I was fighting it more than I cared for and after a couple of days I just swapped the adapter from the LEA3 to the LEA4. This significantly improved shooting accuracy, my willingness to trust the AF system including the awesome tracking feature, plus I could drive the Tamron like all of my native FE glass. the manual focus with AF override though sealed the deal for me with the Tamron and LEA4.
I've decided to approach "the long question" another way.
After considerable research I think I've determined the lightest, fastest, sharpest, and cheapest way to produce 300 and 500mm images with an A7.
Reading many discussions by birders and other long lens users, the limits of the 70400 options come up fairly often. The next steps are the great primes. The latest AF versions of these are extremely expensive and heavy, though great optically.
I enjoy MF and so autofocus is not mandatory for me. Enter the last great MF Nikon telephotos, prized by both press and wildlife shooters in the almost recent past.
It so happens the lightest 300/2.8 and the lightest 500/4, are exactly these, and in the case of the AIS ED 500/4 P, the lens is only a hair behind the best in world today, and that in the corners wide open. It supposedly will take a 1.4x TC with no visible loss in quality, which adds a great 700 to your choices with a 80$ Kenko 1.4x.
I already have the 300/2.8 and the 500/4 is in the post.
I've really taken to the 300, which can be shot handheld with a fast enough shutter:
Mountain Beach by unoh7, on Flickr
It's 2500 grams and the 500 is 3000 grams, mere feathers compared to other lenses that fast at those sizes.
A 300/2.8 will run $800 or so if you look around, and the 500/4 brings $1600 or so.
By comparison the latest Nikon 500/4 E, which is actually almost as light, is a mere 10K USD.
and the new Sony 500/4 G is only 12k
Last edited by uhoh7; 2nd October 2015 at 20:52.
I wanted to get a bit longer than the Sony 70-200/4 as well. I also think that while the Sony zoom lens is surprisingly sharp in the center, its quality does diminish somewhat in zones b and c. After doing a bunch of reading, and since I don't do a lot of shooting that requires autofocus, I just picked up a Leica R 180/2.8 apo that can use a 1.4x or 2x extender (it should arrive this week--tough to find the late model of that lens!). I also recently bought the R 280/4 apo (my credit card bill has been ugly lately) which I am enjoying a lot tho it is not light (4 pounds). It may be that some great autofocus long glass is coming for FE mount, but I am not confident that it is coming all that soon. I am not going to buy a fast 135 tho as I think that Sony will have to have a native solution at 135 that is fast and high quality eventually.
I'm pretty sure the new alpha 500/4 is the most expensive Sony prime at 12K, and that FL and speed is a major bragging right for these companies, and a requirement for a true pro system.
These are an outright steal:
Heavy Hitter by unoh7, on Flickr
One of the last and greatest Manual Focus Nikkors, made up to 2005
You can flick it about with your pinky on a gimble, and it can be handheld also (3000 grams).
DSC03169 by unoh7, on Flickr
Very similar character to the 300/2.8 AIS EDIF, but smoother yet. Outstanding bokeh, which as you know is not a given with the long choices.
I'm seriously smitten:
DSC03122 by unoh7, on Flickr
Baaaa by unoh7, on Flickr
It was 1600 with a fancy Nikon metal case and various tidbits. Arrived yesterday.
It famously good with teleconverters so I got a kenko 1.4x. too. For these shots I just rested it on my half open window.
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I am now using the 300mm nikon more regularly. Falling in love with it. Just posted some thoughts on it here http://jorgetorralba.com/2015/10/11/...ver-say-never/
Doug Herr http://www.wildlightphoto.com1 Member(s) thanked for this post
Finally caved into the urge for a long lens to use on the A7RII and picked up a Tamron 150-600 with a Sony LEA3 adapter. Works well on the A7RII although my initial tests in low light with high ISO led to slow AF. Here are a couple of snaps of some peeling bark near the top of a birch tree next to my deck shot at 400 and 600 mm. Sharpness looks good and also in the snap of the flower blossom at 500mm below.
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