Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 26 of 26

Thread: Your thoughts on a 300mm

  1. #1
    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Central Maine, U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,406
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    9

    Your thoughts on a 300mm

    I'm considering a 300mm prime for an FX Nikon. I've looked at the new ones—the AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II —but jeez-louise they're expensive. From what I can tell, the model just before the most recent one is nearly the same lens (true?) and I'm wondering if I should be looking for a used one of those.

    Anyone with Nikon 300mm lens experience who can offer an opinion?

    Thanks!
    Tim

  2. #2
    Subscriber and Workshop Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2,803
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    Tim,

    Major advances have occurred with the newer telephoto lenses with regards to coatings and VR and AF speed. Yes they are extremely expensive should you need the speed.

    The 300 F4 is a wonderful lens if you are not chasing fast moving objects...ducks, birds in flight, motorsport. With decent light it works very well and allows one to carry a smaller lighter load.

    A couple of examples:

    Giraffes:

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/album....pictureid=1778

    Heron:

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/album....pictureid=1777

    Simple tripod without a Wimberly mount was used.

    The newer FX cameras can capture at decent ISO equivalent so the F4 is only problematic with a teleextender...5.6 the limit for AF. For most of my shooting I prefer the smaller lens.

    Bob

  3. #3
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,676
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    Hi Tim,

    As Bob has pointed out, the current Nikon 300 f4 is an exceptionally good performing lens. The current Nikon 200 f2.8 VR II is in a class by itself...simply amazing! The previous version which was a VRI had the latest Nano coating, so the only difference is the VRi vs VR II, which in m,y testing did provide a bit more monopod/handheld stability. If though you find a good price on the VR I, don't hestiate, if you're after the 300 f2.8 lens. Older non VR versions optically are near the equal but I found VR for my purpose was worth it. The current Nikjon 1.4x and the latest new 2x are amazing on the 300 f2.8 VR and this is coming from someone who generally dislikes teleconverters, esepcially 2x...but this new 2x and what its capable of, is remarkable.

    Dave (D&A)

  4. #4
    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Central Maine, U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,406
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    9

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    Thank you both for your reply. It's great to hear that the new f4 is a worthy (and less expensive) alternative. I am so knocked over by the ISO capability of the new FX sensor that I have to believe I can more than make up for that lost extra stop of aperture. There is the issue I suppose, of sacrificing the even narrower DOF that 2.8 brings. Still, doesn't the larger FX sensor yield more narrow DOF from the same lenses compared to DX?

    I still have my original 70-200, the version just prior to the VRII. I've always loved this lens and have a few muscles as evidence of carrying it around for all these years! I was surprised though, when I snapped it on my new FX body, to see the amount of vignetting at infinity and max zoom. It's apparent even through the viewfinder! Nothing that can't be worked around, but that is, at least in part, my reason for looking to a dedicated, longer, prime that will provide even coverage.

    Best,
    Tim

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    260
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    I own a d700 and have an older model 300mm af, I believe it was a $600 used. They say it is slow, I have not a need to test it out compared to other lenses, but it seems fast enough, especially when tracking and I don't place the focusing point somwhere else by mistake. It is sharp, like my 200mm and 105mm and 55mm manual focus lenses. The high ISO capability of the Nikon is amazing. I shoot daylight at either 800 ISO or 1600 ISO just to keep the shutter speed up when I am hand holding the camera, on a tripod it is uneccessary. I personally would save the extra expense and get this lens unless you have some special need. I have never seen anything on this lens when tripod mounted and mirror locked up that wasn't scary sharp. Edge to edge at any f/stop. Saying that, at f/32 it isn't as sharp as at f/5.6. But it is still "sharp". When I am hand holding it I shoot wide open most of the time and it is a brilliant lens. Joe

  6. #6
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,676
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    Tim,

    As good as the current Nikon 300 f4 is, it isn't as versitile as the 300 f2.8 VR...and depending on your use, may make a difference. The 300 f4 by itself is excellent in most all ways. It doesn't have VR, which may or may not be important, depending on how you use the lens. It works well with the Nikon 1.4x..loosing a little in resolution but now the lens is a f5.6 lens (and still no VR). The new Nikon 2x isn't recommended with this lens in my opinion..Af suffers if it does AF and optically quite a bit is sacrificed in amny situations.

    The 300 f2.8 VR takes the 1.4x amazingly well, which it then becomes a 420mm f4 lens with VR...and finially the new Nikon 2x also works exceptionally well optically, loosing very little in optical terms and turns the lens into a 600 f5.6 VR lens.

    Each lens has its place and depends more on how you are going to use the lens. I know some who actually own the 300 f4 and 300 f2.8 VR...since each tool is quite different (in use).

    The older 300 f2.8 lenses as pointed out are also optically excelelnt. Nikon has made small incremental improvements in the optics and of course added VR, SW and nano coatings in later versions.

    My comments above, regarding performance of the new 2x, apply to the VR versions of the lens.

    Let your intended use of the lens determine which of the many 300mm lenses available is right for you.

    Dave (D&A)

  7. #7
    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Central Maine, U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,406
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    9

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    As I expected, it's not going to be a simple decision. My gut reaction is to simply go for the latest 2.8 version and be done with it. But I have to work up to that mentally since it comes at quite a price. I'm going to sit awhile, watch what comes up for sale and maybe make the trek to a dealer and put my hands on one or two.

    Thanks to everyone for the great insights and advice.
    Tim

  8. #8
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    The 300/2.8 VR2 is a superb all around telephoto right at the top of what Nikon offers . The VR1 is the same optically . If you follow Thom Hogan s blog on the Nikon VR you will see that VR isn t recommended for most sports shooting (or when used on a monopod or tripod) . It handles perfectly on a monopod or hand held from a fixed position ...but its too heavy for a walking around lens.

    I have used it with the new 2X convertor with good but not excellent results .

    You might consider the new 70-200/2.8 which is in a class by itself . Huge improvement in color saturation and micro contrast over the prior version . It also pairs well with the new 2x convertor for a travel kit that you can actually carry. Another tip ..the new Think Tank 2 lens carry all (cant remember the name ) allows the 70-200/2.8 to work in vertical position. So when I work from a hotel or a car..I can carry the body and say a 35/1.4G and have the 70-200,85/1.4 and the 2X in a lens only bag .

  9. #9
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    5,672
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    Tim,

    I sold my 300m m F/2.8 VR at the end of last year. I looked at my LR3 metadata and came up with the following (note: a % of photos taken have been deleted). In 2008, I took 3,548 photos with it out of a total of 10,805. In 2009, I took 0 photos out of 7,109 total. In 2010, I took 148 out of 11,013 total.

    2008 was the year that I went photographing Grizzlies. 9,108 photos are left in LR3 from that trip (edited down from about 12,000). 3,452 of those were shot with the 300mm f/2.8. VR. It's a great tool for the right job. In this case, the speed was useful in the varying light conditions. The d___ bears kept moving around!

    Personally, I've given up on the big Nikon lenses as being too unwieldy for what i shoot (and want to carry). If, I was going after wildlife again, I'd get the new 200-400mm VR II (with a TC 20E-III) (had both for a while and sold them). I used the old 200-400 VR for 1,050 photos on the grizzly trip. The 200mm f/2 was used for 2,508 photos. The 500mm f/4 VR was only used for 408 photos on that trip. The 200-400mm VR II is big, but, at least it's versatile. Often, the fixed lenses were too much or too little for the shot.

    Smaller, lighter , zooms are where I'm ending up: 24-120mm f/4 VR and 28-300 f/3.5-5.6 VR. If you're in a zodiac, you can carry 2 bodies and 3-4 big lenses. I'm usually walking around with one body and lens, so, i want more versatility and less weight.

    Sorry, I've rambled on a bit.

    Cheers, Matt

    http://mdriscoll.zenfolio.com

  10. #10
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,676
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    Matt,

    I agree with most of what you mentioned, especially that the Pro Nikon lenses are special purpose/need lenses that one generally takes when a specific application is in store for a particualar shot...not a general carry along lens on a day's outing if something interesting by chance comes along the way (while shooting). In that case the Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VRII with botht he 1.4x and 2x fits the bill better...or possibly the 300 f4 (and maybe the 1.4x although that sometimes pushes it a bit).

    The one area I both agree and disagree with you (repectfully of course) is the 200-400 f4. It's a great, versitile lens and although not a walkout one, very manageable and begging to be used in a wide variety of applications. The one issue is optically it does fair to reasonably well with Nikon's 1.4x when used at close to short mid-distance range but other than that, teleconverters, especially the new 2x TC 20EII do poorly with this lens (and it's slightly updated sibling, the VRII version). Many have found the same thing and although the lens is a very sharp lens by itself, especially up to mid-distance range, something about it's optical design that doesn't interface well with teleconverters unlike the single focal length Nikon supertelephopto's or the exceptional newer 70-200 f2.8 VR II lens as Glenn mentioned above...all of which do well with both teleconverters. Just thought I'd add this bit of info, since Tim is contemplating his choices.

    I envy your having the chance to shoot the Grizzlies...something on my list of things I'd love to do. Was this in Alaska? Wherever it was, it must have been great!

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 20th March 2011 at 07:03.

  11. #11
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,676
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    I have used it with the new 2X convertor with good but not excellent results . .
    Hi Glenn,

    I'm surprised by this result. I generally dislike most teleconverters, especially any previous 2x I've tried with any lens, (since I am very particular about optical performance and degredation of image), but found the new 2x TC 20E III worked superbly with both the 300 f2.8 VRI and VRII. Used with the lens wide open (something I'd rarely do with a teleconverter), results were much more than acceptable (while being critical) and one stop down, slightly little of consequence, if anything was lost resolution wide, except lower contrast of the image. Although not 100% certain if that was Nikon's intent, but they released the new 2x along with the 300 f2.8 VRII simultaniously for the Olympics and the press to use, as sort of a matched "ideal" pair" and I was taken back in a suprisingly good way when I saw the results of my first tests with this pairing. So much so, it put on hold my other options in another longer Nikon Supertelephoto, for my partiular application. I completely agree with you, that both the 1.4x and new 2x work remarkably well on the newer 70-200 VRII zoom lens.

    Dave

  12. #12
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    5,672
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    Matt,

    I agree with most of what you mentioned, especially that the Pro Nikon lenses are special purpose/need lenses that one generally takes when a specific application is in store for a particualar shot...not a general carry along lens on a day's outing if something interesting by chance comes along the way (while shooting). In that case the Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VRII with botht he 1.4x and 2x fits the bill better...or possibly the 300 f4 (and maybe the 1.4x although that sometimes pushes it a bit).

    The one area I both agree and disagree with you (repectfully of course) is the 200-400 f4. It's a great, versitile lens and although not a walkout one, very manageable and begging to be used in a wide variety of applications. The one issue is optically it does fair to reasonably well with Nikon's 1.4x when used at close to short mid-distance range but other than that, teleconverters, especially the new 2x TC 20EII do poorly with this lens (and it's slightly updated sibling, the VRII version). Many have found the same thing and although the lens is a very sharp lens by itself, especially up to mid-distance range, something about it's optical design that doesn't interface well with teleconverters unlike the single focal length Nikon supertelephopto's or the exceptional newer 70-200 f2.8 VR II lens as Glenn mentioned above...all of which do well with both teleconverters. Just thought I'd add this bit of info, since Tim is contemplating his choices.

    I envy your having the chance to shoot the Grizzlies...something on my list of things I'd love to do. Was this in Alaska? Wherever it was, it must have been great!

    Dave (D&A)
    Dave:
    I do agree that the 200-400mm VR II is somewhat of a compromise lens. Optically, the new 70-200mm is far superior (even with TC's). As, you can see, I liked big lenses when I needed them. Just can't justify them gathering dust in a cabinet. You can rent a 300mm f/2.8 VR II for $338 for 10 days to take on "safari".

    Still not sure what Tim is intending to shoot with the 300mm?

    BTW, the grizzly bears were in the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary in Northern British Columbia. Incredible place.

    Cheers, Matt

    http://mdriscoll.zenfolio.com

  13. #13
    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Central Maine, U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,406
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    9

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    It's great that this discussion continues. You guys aren't making my decision any easier! I want all of it!

    However, I think I'm most surprised by the overwhelming support for the 70-200 VRII. My perception was that it wasn't all that different from the previous version of that lens, which I own and love.

    My sort-of plan was to keep my existing 70-200 and add a longer prime. Maybe I should be thinking of trading my lens for the new version and adding TCs.

    Believe it or not, I want to shoot portraits with the longer lens. I'm not really talking about the ability to frame close but looking instead for the oof stuff and isolation the longer FL provides. All theoretical, but hey, once I got that idea in my head I can't seem to shake it loose.

    Tim

  14. #14
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,676
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    Tim,

    If you're using a FX body (which I think you indicated), then the new 70-200 f2.8 VR is significantly improved vs. the version you already have...especially on the sides and corners. The TC also wrok better too, especially the new 2x. So if its for portraits and occasional longer focal length use, this may be the way to go. One of its weakness though is when using teleconverters and shooting very long distances...this is where the single focal length super telephoto's, like the 300 f2.8 do much better (at very long distances, with or without TC's.

    Matt, I've heard alot about the Grizzlies in the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary in Northern British Columbia. There were a couple of photographers I used to converse with (especially on technical matters) that also ran photo tours in that neck of the woods specifically to photograph these bears. I can't wait for the day I have the opportunity to do so. Yes, must have been an incredable place. Thanks!

    Dave

  15. #15
    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vancouver, WA
    Posts
    5,803
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    564

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    Tim,

    If you're using a FX body (which I think you indicated), then the new 70-200 f2.8 VR is significantly improved vs. the version you already have...especially on the sides and corners. The TC also wrok better too, especially the new 2x. So if its for portraits and occasional longer focal length use, this may be the way to go. One of its weakness though is when using teleconverters and shooting very long distances...this is where the single focal length super telephoto's, like the 300 f2.8 do much better (at very long distances, with or without TC's.
    ....

    Dave
    My experience is the same with the new 70-200 VR II vs I - noticeably sharper on FX especially in the corners. Vignetting wasn't so much of an issue for me but definitely better. I had no joy with the TC 20EIII with my 200-400VR and stick with 1.4x or 1.7x at a pinch if I need it. Somehow for me the 2x was weaker than expected, although MUCH better than the older version. On my 600VR it worked extremely well though, ditto 200/2VR. On the 70-200VR II, I wasn't that impressed but maybe I was hoping for too much as I was hoping to relinquish the 200-400 and have a more manageable 70-200 with the TC20EIII but the native 400mm on the 200-400 VR was much better (not a huge surprise really).

    With respect to the new 300/2.8 VR, I'd make sure that you can get it from stock or used because I suspect that an order from Nikon will be a long time coming due to events in Sendai.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

  16. #16
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    3,623
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    I am also a fan of the new 70-200/2.8VRII. I never liked the first version of the lens and sold it for primes.
    I had the 200/2.0VR which is a beautiful lens but at least on a 12MP D700 the 70-200VRII came so close in IQ at a quite smaller size that I decided to sell the 200/2.0 and give up that one f-stop.
    I hope the 70-200 will do as good on a future higher resolution sensor.

    Regarding first vs second version of the 200 and 300 primes. Personally I found the first version of the 200 so exceptional that I wouldnt see much room for improvement. The 300 is said to be at least as good (with a slightly different character maybe).
    If I had to choose one of those I would buy a used mint first version of the 300VRII if you want f2.8
    If f4.0 is fine I would prefer the more flexible 70-200VRII with TC1.4

  17. #17
    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Central Maine, U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,406
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    9

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    I'm getting the idea that, at a minimum, I should be trading my old 70-200 for the new one. If I'm at all reluctant to accept that, it probably has more to do with the less-than-exciting prospect of going through the sale and purchase cycle only to end up with the same focal length. But, it does make some sense. Especially now with the uncertainty of supply.

    Thanks,
    Tim

  18. #18
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,676
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    I'm getting the idea that, at a minimum, I should be trading my old 70-200 for the new one. If I'm at all reluctant to accept that, it probably has more to do with the less-than-exciting prospect of going through the sale and purchase cycle only to end up with the same focal length. But, it does make some sense. Especially now with the uncertainty of supply.

    Thanks,
    Tim
    Yes, I would completely agree with your assessment. I would start by moving from your current 70-200 f2.8 VR I to the newer 70-200 f2.8 VR II and make use of it and at least the 1.4x. As Graham mentioned, the new TC-20 EIII 2x is decent on the newer 70-200 VR II lens but it isn't quite as stellar "optically" as using one of the 300 f2.8 VR lenses with the 1.4x, or the native 200-400 f4 lens at 400 but with the 70-200 f2.8 VRII, its quite useable. Once you make this intial move, you can at that point determine if it's sufficient for your needs or have to move on or add to what you already have. Just some suggestions.

    Dave

  19. #19
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    etrigan63's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Earth, Sol System (near Miami, FL)
    Posts
    2,501
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    21

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    Don't mean to blaspheme here but have you looked at the new Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 zoom? It's engineered for FX bodies and I've heard some pretty good things about it. It's about $3199 @ B&H.
    Carlos Echenique | Carlos Echenique Photography |Olympus OM-D E-M1 MK II | Olympus Pen-F - M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8, Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS, M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO, M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO

  20. #20
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,676
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    Quote Originally Posted by etrigan63 View Post
    Don't mean to blaspheme here but have you looked at the new Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 zoom? It's engineered for FX bodies and I've heard some pretty good things about it. It's about $3199 @ B&H.
    Hi Carlos,

    Actually interesting choice as is the recently and just discontinued Sigma 100-300 f4 . The 120-300 f2.8 is a good performer and takes pretty well to Sigma's 1.4x but not their 2x. I used this lens (the 120-300 f2.8) for many years and early ones were known to backfocus badly on Nikon bodies (especially in days when Af fine tuning wasn't possible). It's a very compentant performer and a great zoom range, but the Nikon 300 f2.8, 200-400 f4 and 70-200 f2.8 VR II (up to 200mm) equal and many times surpass it optically in most demanding situations The 100-300 f4 is a real gem...excellent on full frame, takes well to the 1.4x (slightly behind the 120-300 f2.8 with the f1.4x) and is compact for what it is. At times I even have prefered it to the 70-200 VRII with 1.4x.

    Sigma is supposed to release a VR version of the 120-300 f2.8 any day now but I hear optically its supposed to be similar to the previous model.

    Anyhow, Tim has so many good choices.

    Dave

  21. #21
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    Dave

    The biggest issue I ve had with the 300/2.8 and the new 2x is a very ugly bokeh. I was shooting polo with the combination last week and the background sometimes went to a nervous pattern...which is definitely an issue.

    This is most visible when the subject is at a distance Like the far side of a polo field.

    Next week I will shoot again with the 600/4 so I will have a direct comparison.

    The other issue is the 2 stop loss of speed with no gain in DOF . On a very bright day this pushed me to iso 800 @f6.3 to achieve over 1/2000. This combination works fine for baseball.

    The 200-400/4 is an excellent lens at close to mid distances(like tennis) but not very good even with the 1.4x at distances.

    Of course using any lens in the 400-600 range requires some real effort to achieve precise focus and avoid camera motion.




    QUOTE=D&A;300004]Hi Glenn,

    I'm surprised by this result. I generally dislike most teleconverters, especially any previous 2x I've tried with any lens, (since I am very particular about optical performance and degredation of image), but found the new 2x TC 20E III worked superbly with both the 300 f2.8 VRI and VRII. Used with the lens wide open (something I'd rarely do with a teleconverter), results were much more than acceptable (while being critical) and one stop down, slightly little of consequence, if anything was lost resolution wide, except lower contrast of the image. Although not 100% certain if that was Nikon's intent, but they released the new 2x along with the 300 f2.8 VRII simultaniously for the Olympics and the press to use, as sort of a matched "ideal" pair" and I was taken back in a suprisingly good way when I saw the results of my first tests with this pairing. So much so, it put on hold my other options in another longer Nikon Supertelephoto, for my partiular application. I completely agree with you, that both the 1.4x and new 2x work remarkably well on the newer 70-200 VRII zoom lens.

    Dave[/QUOTE]

  22. #22
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,676
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    [QUOTE=glenerrolrd;300415]Dave

    The biggest issue I ve had with the 300/2.8 and the new 2x is a very ugly bokeh. I was shooting polo with the combination last week and the background sometimes went to a nervous pattern...which is definitely an issue.

    This is most visible when the subject is at a distance Like the far side of a polo field.

    Next week I will shoot again with the 600/4 so I will have a direct comparison.

    The other issue is the 2 stop loss of speed with no gain in DOF . On a very bright day this pushed me to iso 800 @f6.3 to achieve over 1/2000. This combination works fine for baseball.

    The 200-400/4 is an excellent lens at close to mid distances(like tennis) but not very good even with the 1.4x at distances.

    Of course using any lens in the 400-600 range requires some real effort to achieve precise focus and avoid camera motion.


    QUOTE=D&A;300004]

    Hi Glenn,

    I would agree with you that the bokeh is not stellar with the 300 f2.8 VR I or II and the new 2x. Resolution is remarkably good with the 2x using this combination...far better than I would have hoped for. With certain backgrounds though as you pointed out, the bokeh can be distracting if the background is filled with distracting objects such as fences, trees, etc. Capturing Birds in Flight with this combo, from a kayak for a wildlife project is where bokeh took a back seat to other concerns.

    Yes, the 200-400 f4 lens doesn't do well at distance, especially if the 1.4x is used (which is only used in a pinch with this lens)....and don't even think of using the 2x in any situation with this lens.

    I briefly used the new 2x with both the 400 f2.8 VR and 600 f4 VR at seperate times and with the 400 f2.8, it was a match made in heven..but had only fair-good but not definitely not stellar results most of the time with the 600 f4...which does much better in my opinion with the 1.4x . Problem may have been stability as much as anything else. All the postings in this thread have been great insight into some remarkably capably equipment.

    Dave (D&A)

  23. #23
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    Dave

    I need to do much more testing to get my technique down with the 600/4 VR. I shot surfing yesterday and polo today. Series 5 Gitzo monopod . Even at 1/2000 camera motion can be an issue . Next I will try the 5 series tripod with a Gimbel head to see if that helps.

    Surfing is actually not too difficult...its obvious where they are going and you can smoothly pan with them. Polo is a real test . The 300/2.8 and the 2X compares favorably with the 600/4 but its a full stop slower . The 600 s AF is faster (or appears to be) . The bokeh on the 600 is about the same ..must be the highlights in the trees as the surfing shoots are all fine.

  24. #24
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    260
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    The 300mm f/4 AF has superb bokeh. But it seems that you have shifted from a prime to a zoom. I haven't used a VR lens so I cannot comment on the bokeh of the newer lenses, but at ISO 800 which the Nikon certainly excels at, camera motion certainly isn't an issue in daylight. Joe

  25. #25
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    Lloyd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    10,398
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    Hi Tim,

    I made the jump from the 70-200 VRI to the VRII version, and am more than pleased. Not only is the vignetting no longer an issue (which I really didn't care about for portraiture), but I think that the lens is superior in other ways: sharper, better contrast, color, etc. I still have the VRI version, but only use it on my D300, always opting for the VRII on the D3 or D3s. I do agree with the 200-400 VR comments here. I love mine, and use it occasionally with the 1.4x converter, but never with the 2x.

    I had the 200/f2, and it was a wonderful lens, but I found that I too often opted to shoot the 70-200 to justify keeping both. I loved the look of the 200/2 wide open, but there were other things to put the $$ into as well.

    If you really want the 300mm focal length, I've been more than happy with the VRI version of the 2.8. It really is a wonderful lens, and I don't think I've ever not shot it wide open. For me, that's why I want the lens, and it really is a performer.

    I've never owned, but have shot the 300/4. Love the size, and the bokeh is wonderful. Cost is right as well.

    I don't envy you the decision. Good luck!

  26. #26
    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Central Maine, U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,406
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    9

    Re: Your thoughts on a 300mm

    This discussion has been very helpful. Clearly those posting have put their time in with this group of lenses and the shared advice is like going to school. Thanks a ton. If I ever quit waffling, I'll post a picture with my lens of choice.

    Best,
    Tim

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •