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Thread: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    If so, talk to me I am debating between both and would like to hear user impressions about image quality and focus performance, as well as how they work with the 1.4x and 2x extenders.

    Thanks in advance!
    Jack
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    I have been having similar thoughts. Take a look at:

    Nikon 300mm f/2.8 VR II Review

    He has comparisons with 200-400 & TC's

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Lens whore number 2 is at it again. LOL

    Hell he has more than me now. I'm moving into the 2 spot fast. LOL

    Than again there is Bob the silent one. I'm taking the 3 spot on faith, Bob may have all the mods. beat. Lol
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    You need to borrow or rent the Nikon 200 - 400mm Zoom for testing with extenders. The lens is popular among bird and sports photographers because it is convenient and performs well at moderate distances. My understanding is that it is not a strong performing lens at infinity and I would be surprised if it works as well with extenders as does the 300mm f/2.8 prime. In my experience the fast 300mm lenses from both Nikon and Canon are very hard to beat.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    This one is easy to describe but difficult to choose. The 300/2.8 VR2 is superior in every measure of IQ either with or without the extenders. In fact the IQ is stunning similar to the 200/2 . This is because the design did not compromise to keep size down .

    The 300/2.8 with the newest 2x AF is fast enough to shoot Polo . Its not as strong as the 600/4 but a heck of a lock more versatile and portable . Nikon needs a new 1.4extender as up to date as the 2x .....you would expect a big jump in performance (going from 2x to 1.4X but they seem similar ). I find few if any limitations to the 300/2.8 and the two extenders ......except its darn heavy .

    The 200-400/4 handles beautifully and is a joy to use . If you need to be in a fixed position (like a lot of telephoto work ) its pretty great to be able to frame precisely . The IQ is best between 200-300 and at distances short of infinity . It is a great lens for say tennis where you move from 200 on one end to 400 on the other .

    I do not like it with either of the extenders and just stop using them. Surfing required from 300mm to 560mm so using a 1.4x seemed perfect . Images just lost too much contrast .

    I enjoy the 300/2.8 and the 2 extenders much more than the 200-400. But when you need a zoom to frame ..you need one . The IQ is pretty close comparing the 300 + 1.4X to the 200-400 at 400 ..so you do have a choice.

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?


    I have no personal experience with either of those lenses, but Thom Hogan has this older review on the 200-400mm

    Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G Lens Review by Thom Hogan

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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Jack:

    I have never used the 300 F2.8 but have worked with 2 separate 200-400 F4 lenses, both had vr 1 of the VR. I have used both the 1.4 and 2.0x converters.

    Coming from Canon, the 200-400 is really an amazing lens. I found no fall off in sharpness with the 1.4x (which allows for AF) and just a slight amount with the 2.0x converter.

    I have used it at F4 to F11 so far mainly working smaller birds and the results are just amazing, as you will see detail into the facial feathers. This is also where the DX mode of the D800 is very handy. It allows you to go ahead and get the crop done while shooting. After all is done you still have a 15mp file to work with.

    Focus is sharp, even at F4 and the AF seems to be excellent. The Bokeh is joy to look at as the smoothness is great.

    I have worked with this lens on a tripod and hand held. You can get some excellent shots even at F4 1/400 with the lens. I was surprised at just how well it works hand held, but it does require some rest between series. All my hand held work as been from prone or sitting in a blind. I not worked with the lens standing but will assume it will be a lot harder to keep work with unless you have a monopod.

    My Tripod arrangement is currently no Wimberley type setup, so I am mainly using my RRS BH-55 and the RRS Arca replacement foot. Live view at night with the moon is wonderful. The details this lens will pull from the moon even with the 2x on is excellent, Aperture range F5.6 to F8.

    In the field I am not carrying it on the camera, but instead use the Nikon lens pack that comes with it. It's just too big and heavy to carry around in the woods. It's pretty fast to change out and the padded case is offers excellent protection (but is not waterproof so rainy day's are troublesome).

    I purchased a used one as the price diff is about 2K. This particular lens was very clean but the AF motor is a bit noisy. Focus appear dead on and VR is as quiet as the other 200-400 I used extensively (however that lens was much more quiet with AF). I am still considering a return due to the AF motor but have 10 more days to consider it.

    I have not worked the lens as infinity except for night work of the moon (all focused with live view) Those shots were amazing. I hope to get it out tomorrow when the weather clears and shoot some static buildings at about 2 miles to check on infinity.

    If you like I can send you some raws all D4 or D800, mainly between F4 and F5.6 all hand held.

    Paul

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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    I have and use both the 300 2.8 vrgII and the 200-400 vr1, which I use mostly for sports. The 300 works very well with the 1.4 and 1.7 extenders. I have used the 300 plus 1.7 to shoot basketball coaches from the far end of the court, and it works as well as the 500 4. I have also used the 300 plus 1.7 hand held to shoot candid portraits of women watching Bar Mitzvahs at the Western Wall. See my book, Faces of Israel, on Blurb.com. I have used the 1.4 extender on the 200-400 for baseball, and the results were not bad. I try not to use any extender if possible since I have the 200, 300, 400, 500, and 600mm lenses and I feel that there is a reduction in focus ability if not image quality. The 2.0 ver 3 extender is optically very good, but detracts from the ability to focus, so I seldom use it. For trips to Israel, I have settled on the 300 vrg II and 1.7 as the best combination for me.

    Richard C. Lewis

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    Senior Member Joe Colson's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Jack,

    I've owned and used the Nikon 200mm, 300mm, 400mm, 600mm and 200-400mm lenses. When I stopped shooting wildlife, I sold them all. The primes are great when you are either shooting in low light, need the reach (600mm or 400mm), or absolutely need TCs. Personally, I hate TCs and would only use the 1.4x TC. You just give up too much IQ with a TC, IMHO. For versatility, the 200-400mm VR II is a jewel of a lens. I shot it wide open all the time and the IQ, as others have stated, was outstanding. My subjects were mostly small birds, and the lens resolved the feather detail extremely well. Unless you're planning to shoot sports, the 200-400mm VR II would be my choice. It's a lens I wish I still owned.

    Joe
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    This one is easy to describe but difficult to choose. The 300/2.8 VR2 is superior in every measure of IQ either with or without the extenders. In fact the IQ is stunning similar to the 200/2 . This is because the design did not compromise to keep size down .

    The 300/2.8 with the newest 2x AF is fast enough to shoot Polo . Its not as strong as the 600/4 but a heck of a lock more versatile and portable . Nikon needs a new 1.4extender as up to date as the 2x .....you would expect a big jump in performance (going from 2x to 1.4X but they seem similar ). I find few if any limitations to the 300/2.8 and the two extenders ......except its darn heavy .

    The 200-400/4 handles beautifully and is a joy to use . If you need to be in a fixed position (like a lot of telephoto work ) its pretty great to be able to frame precisely . The IQ is best between 200-300 and at distances short of infinity . It is a great lens for say tennis where you move from 200 on one end to 400 on the other .

    I do not like it with either of the extenders and just stop using them. Surfing required from 300mm to 560mm so using a 1.4x seemed perfect . Images just lost too much contrast .

    I enjoy the 300/2.8 and the 2 extenders much more than the 200-400. But when you need a zoom to frame ..you need one . The IQ is pretty close comparing the 300 + 1.4X to the 200-400 at 400 ..so you do have a choice.
    Roger has nailed all the major points quite accurately. After using the latest versions of both these lenses (with and without the Nikon 1.4x and their latest 2x), there is little to fault with the 300 f2.8 VR I and II (they are virtually identical except noth having the zoom/framing capbilities of the 200-400 f4.

    This latter lens is quite impressive at close to mid focusing range throughtout its various focal lengths but does grow somewhat optically less impressive when subject distances approach infinity. As Roger mentioned, it's also strongest at 200-300mm, but is still quite capable at 400mm, but again, when subject distances are within mid range or closer. As Je mentioned, many have obtained impressive detailed shots with this lens. The trick is to play to its strengths. I too was not impressed with use of a teleconverter with this lens, except perhaps the 1.4x when shot at close range. The zooming capabilities of the 200-400 are seductive, but if you can live without that, the 200 f2.8 VR does not disappoint, with and without both converters and short of a 600 f4, is an impressive way to get long reach.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Senior Member Joe Colson's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    This latter lens is quite impressive at close to mid focusing range throughout its various focal lengths but does grow somewhat optically less impressive when subject distances approach infinity.
    I agree, but can't think of a single instance when I shot subjects with this lens at infinity. Even the Alaskan brown bears were mid-range, although at times we wished they were at infinity.

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    As Roger mentioned, it's also strongest at 200-300mm, but is still quite capable at 400mm, but again, when subject distances are within mid range or closer.
    Agreed, but in most cases not a practical limitation. And if one needs 400mm most of the time (for example, shooting football from the sidelines), then the 400mm prime is the right choice.

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    As Joe mentioned, many have obtained impressive detailed shots with this lens. The trick is to play to its strengths. I too was not impressed with use of a teleconverter with this lens, except perhaps the 1.4x when shot at close range.
    In low light, the f/4 lens and the 1.4x (or 1.7x or 2.0x) TC don't play nice. Did I say I hate TCs.

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    The zooming capabilities of the 200-400 are seductive, but if you can live without that, the 200 f2.8 VR does not disappoint, with and without both converters and short of a 600 f4, is an impressive way to get long reach.
    But the 200mm simply isn't long enough for most wildlife photography. 300-400mm gets you in the game. 600mm is the ultimate tool for the job. And if you're shooting wildlife, you're likely not going to be carrying more than one of these monsters in your bag. Another advantage of the 200-400mm VR II is that it can be shot handheld. I've done it with good results (for a very limited period of time of course).

    Joe
    Last edited by Joe Colson; 16th September 2012 at 08:16. Reason: Corrected spelling
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Jack... I have both the Nikon 200-400 f/4 VRI and Nikon 300mm f/2.4 AFS II (Not a VR).
    The 200-400mm is sharp as much as you want for bigger animals and big birds with or W/O TC 14 E2. The TC 2.0 E3 is also OK but AF doesn't work. The zoom is very convenient. VR is great. I am small but can handhold it for 10-15 minutes.
    The Nikon 300mm f/2.4 AFS II is sharp with both TC 14 EII and TC 20 EIII. I don't like the TC 17 EII I also have at all. It works very well with handholding but more commonly with monopod or tripod.
    Although the Nikon 300mm is good, I like the Nikon 200mm f/2 VR I with TC 14 E2 and TC 20 E2 better.
    The next lens from here would be 600mm which can reach up to 1, 200mm FF with TC. Cannon 600mm IS is great and cheaper than Nikon.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Thanks for the great info so far, huge help! What you've all collectively stated is the reason I'm struggling LOL! I don't shoot much wildlife or sports any more, but want a lens that will be in the car and can be pressed into service when something presents itself. I also like longer lenses to compress features on certain landscapes or even lifestyle shoots. Clearly the 200-400 is more versatile, but the excellent IQ of the 300/2.8 is very compelling and at this point probably the overriding factor.
    Jack
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    If I want the quality of the images and don't shoot wildlife, I would absolutely choose the Nikon 300mm f/2.8 VR myself.

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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    I had the 200-400 VRI and as much as I enjoyed it I like the 300VR better. One of the problems with the 200-400 is shooting far-away subjects, up close it's excellent.
    Not sure if the VRII is better.

    Make sure you view this on "Original" and you can see how sharp it is

    http://www.pbase.com/dbellyk/image/118151526/original

    And this is with the 300 VRI I borrowed for the event

    http://www.pbase.com/dbellyk/image/145380777

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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    The problem is that you want the best lens to use for: some landscapes, lifestyle shoots and on occasion wildlife/sports----- no perfect solution. If you remove the wildlife parameter (or only need rarely) then i think the 300/2.8 with the 1.4 and 2.0x TC would be a better choice. Here is my reasoning (not based on actual use).

    1) lighter and smaller
    2) Gives you f2.8 that might be useful in lifestyle shooting
    3) Can always use TC with decent results (as noted) as needed.
    4) If you decide you want to consider wildlife in the future add a 500 or 600mm.

    Another option would be to get the 300/4 (works well with the 1.4x -- have not tried the 2x yet) and a 500mm/4 VRII. THe 300/4 would work for landscapes (light and can be handheld even without VR), and the 500/4 would work for wildlife.

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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Quote Originally Posted by mark1958 View Post
    The problem is that you want the best lens to use for: some landscapes, lifestyle shoots and on occasion wildlife/sports----- no perfect solution. If you remove the wildlife parameter (or only need rarely) then i think the 300/2.8 with the 1.4 and 2.0x TC would be a better choice. Here is my reasoning (not based on actual use).

    1) lighter and smaller
    2) Gives you f2.8 that might be useful in lifestyle shooting
    3) Can always use TC with decent results (as noted) as needed.
    4) If you decide you want to consider wildlife in the future add a 500 or 600mm.

    Another option would be to get the 300/4 (works well with the 1.4x -- have not tried the 2x yet) and a 500mm/4 VRII. THe 300/4 would work for landscapes (light and can be handheld even without VR), and the 500/4 would work for wildlife.

    And the 300 f/4 is great with tubes. Check out Ronnie Gaubert work, he was one of my favourite nature photographers but unfortunately passed away last year from
    Lou Gehrig’s disease, please take some time and look through his work...It's amazing!

    Ronnie Gaubert's "Nature of Louisiana 2007" Photo Gallery by Ronnie Gaubert at pbase.com

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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Colson View Post



    But the 200mm simply isn't long enough for most wildlife photography. 300-400mm gets you in the game. 600mm is the ultimate tool for the job. And if you're shooting wildlife, you're likely not going to be carrying more than one of these monsters in your bag. Another advantage of the 200-400mm VR II is that it can be shot handheld. I've done it with good results (for a very limited period of time of course).

    Joe
    Hi Joe & All,

    Joe, excellent comments! In my post which you quoted, I mistakenly wrote 200mm at one point, when I was actually referring to the 300 f2.8 VR and completely agree that 200mm isn't all that useful or long enough for shooting mostn wildlife.

    Jack, based on your stated goals for one of these lenses, I would personally suggest the 300 f2.8 VR The VR I version is fine as it has nano coating like the VRII version and is optically identical. Only difference is maybe 3/4 stop increase in useable VR.

    With regards to various comments made in various posts in this thread, although The 400 f2.8 is often used on the sidelines, the 200-400 is both versatile and popular for such purposes. For
    Arger wildlife (mammals and large birds) etc.) the 200-400 again is a excellent lens for their capture. It does perform well at 400mm especially when shot at closer range but as a whole, resolution and acuity noticeably drops off for those whom whatever reason choose o shoot distant landscapes of attempt to bring in distance subjects at or near infinity. This is where the 300 f2.8 really shines, regardless of subject distance and unlike the 200-400, does extremely well with the 1.4x and latest 2x converters. I too am not a fan of the 1.7x .

    It's not just the slow speed of the 200-400 with any converter that's the issue, but optically it's just not impressive with them.

    Think of the 300 f2.8 in many ways like the 200 f2 in terms of performance....that close whereas the 200-400 is quite impressive at close to mid range and although may not quite match the 300 f2.8 in shear clarity, is still impressive, especially at mid and close range.

    If you expect to do a fair amount of shooting at or close to 600mm, then in my opinion, there is only one choice when choosing between these two lenses.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Senior Member Joe Colson's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    Clearly the 200-400 is more versatile, but the excellent IQ of the 300/2.8 is very compelling and at this point probably the overriding factor.
    Damn it! Now I'm convinced, too. I just ordered the 300mm f/2.8 VR II. The cash from selling my Leica stuff had to go somewhere.

    Joe
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Colson View Post
    Damn it! Now I'm convinced, too. I just ordered the 300mm f/2.8 VR II. The cash from selling my Leica stuff had to go somewhere.

    Joe
    LOL! Joe what goes around eventually comes back around (a variation on the usual saying, knowing you used to use lots of long Nikon glass)....and I can fully identify with your enthusiam. As you well know, the 1.4x is a must for ultimate versility of this lens and knowing how much we both generally dislike teleconverters, you won't be disappointed in the use of the 1.4x on the 300 f2.8 VRII. Even the new 2x does well with this lens but then some relatively small to moderate compromises has to be expected.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    I haven't pulled the trigger yet, but the 300/2.8 is in my sights
    Jack
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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    You will enjoy the 300/2.8VR2 . A large lens but one that you can keep in the car . Very mobile and gets you to 400 -600 with the extenders. Quite a lot of capability in a manageable package .

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    Workshop Member Bryan Stephens's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Jack

    I have shot both over the summer for various sports projects, and am impressed with both lenses. Of course, the 300 2.8 is the better of the two lenses (I might be displaying a small amount of bias as I owned one until recently), but as it is a fixed focal length, you don't have the flexibility that you do with the other. For sports, you can't beat the 300 2.8 and I think it is a staple in every sports photojournalists arsenal

    I shot the 200 - 400 when I shot the Arnold Classic bodybuilding event and it was extremely low light, but on my D3s at ISO 800 i was able to shoot with a monopod and capture great images.

    I used the 1.4 converter on the 300 for a recent football game in the spring and again, the 300 performed as expected.

    I guess it depends on your needs. The 200 - 400 is more versatile, but is a slower lens.
    Just my 2 cents....
    Bryan

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    Workshop Member Bryan Stephens's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Roger, the new 300 is not quite as large as you might think, especially compared to the older 300 2.8 (which I had to lug around for three days at the US Open back in 1992). It actually is not much larger than the 70 - 200.
    Bryan

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    Workshop Member Bryan Stephens's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Lens whore number 2 is at it again. LOL

    Hell he has more than me now. I'm moving into the 2 spot fast. LOL
    Good thing I haven't let you see my camera cabinet...... With my two Zeiss lenses that I just purchased, I think my lens count is now up to 14 Nikon lenses.
    Bryan

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan Stephens View Post
    Jack

    I have shot both over the summer for various sports projects, and am impressed with both lenses. Of course, the 300 2.8 is the better of the two lenses (I might be displaying a small amount of bias as I owned one until recently), but as it is a fixed focal length, you don't have the flexibility that you do with the other. For sports, you can't beat the 300 2.8 and I think it is a staple in every sports photojournalists arsenal

    I shot the 200 - 400 when I shot the Arnold Classic bodybuilding event and it was extremely low light, but on my D3s at ISO 800 i was able to shoot with a monopod and capture great images.

    I used the 1.4 converter on the 300 for a recent football game in the spring and again, the 300 performed as expected.

    I guess it depends on your needs. The 200 - 400 is more versatile, but is a slower lens.
    Just my 2 cents....
    Bryan,

    You are of course bringing both to Zion with you?


    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Workshop Member Bryan Stephens's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    LOL. I wish I had them. If I did, you know I would bring them.

    I owned the 300 2.8 VR until last year when I sold it to fund the purchase of my, ahem.....tech cam equipment.

    I rented the 300 2.8 VRII this summer as well as the 200 - 400 f4.

    I wish I had the disposable funds to get another 300 2.8. It was my favorite lens for sports (which is what I used to primarily shoot) and in its place I now use the 200 f2. (which will be coming with me to Zion.)
    Bryan

    “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” — Ansel Adams

  28. #28
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan Stephens View Post
    Roger, the new 300 is not quite as large as you might think, especially compared to the older 300 2.8 (which I had to lug around for three days at the US Open back in 1992). It actually is not much larger than the 70 - 200.
    Agree I have one and with the exception of this year ..I shot at the US Open the last three years . Its getting to the point though that I might need an IV to handle 6-8 hrs .....so I am more conservative than I once was .

    In Florida ..I just take the focal length I need ..the car is always close by ..but if I am moving around the long primes ..even the 200/2 is a load .

  29. #29
    Workshop Member Bryan Stephens's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    .even the 200/2 is a load .
    I love the looks I get from people when I mount that monster on my camera. They are like "what is that?"
    Bryan

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  30. #30
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan Stephens View Post
    LOL. I wish I had them. If I did, you know I would bring them.

    I owned the 300 2.8 VR until last year when I sold it to fund the purchase of my, ahem.....tech cam equipment.


    Yup. Maybe, just maybe *I'LL* have the 300/2.8 in Zion
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Poor boy in the crowd .... Sigma 120-300 2.8

    When I made my choice,

    The IQ of the 300 2.8 non-VR nikon was just a tiny bit better than the Sigma.

    However, as an all rounder, being able to zoom is just sooo handy.

    Especially if you don't know what is just round the corner.

    I was birding at a state park, stumbled onto a mama gator with babies all around her, and she was on the bank. The 300mm + TC and 400mm shooters were all in the lens change mess, and I just zoomed.

    It was handy.

    Dave

  32. #32
    Senior Member Joe Colson's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    I haven't pulled the trigger yet, but the 300/2.8 is in my sights
    Not only did I pull the trigger on the lens, but I fired both barrels and bought the 1.4x and 2.0x TCs. The UPS guy has beat a path to my door.

    Go ahead Jack. Make my day [spoken in my best Eastwood voice].

    Joe
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  33. #33
    Super Duper
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    It's does get fatiguing to lug either one of these lenses around all day, especially when used on the job and there is little time to take a break. The physical size of the 300 f2.8 VR as discussed is actually quite compact, but like it's little brother the 200f2, is quite dense in terms of mass and thus the fatigue. For fast moving sports and large wildlife in good light, I actually prefer the 200-400 for it's quick framing/zooming capability...but for everything else I much prefer the 300 f2.8 with both teleconverters.

    Now if Nikon would cut the price of each in 1/2, I'd say get both .

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 19th September 2012 at 23:04.

  34. #34
    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Interesting read ... I'm surprised that noone has mentioned the vignetting with the 200-400VR.

    I owned and used this lens for a number of years and certainly wide open it required correction of light fall off. An absolutely stellar lens overall for versatility with some limitations at infinity. For wildlife in particular it is superb. For compressive landscapes it also is extremely useful and I used it for this extensively although it wasn't as good as either 200 or 300 prime at infinity.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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

  35. #35
    Senior Member Joe Colson's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    Interesting read ... I'm surprised that noone has mentioned the vignetting with the 200-400VR.

    I owned and used this lens for a number of years and certainly wide open it required correction of light fall off. An absolutely stellar lens overall for versatility with some limitations at infinity. For wildlife in particular it is superb. For compressive landscapes it also is extremely useful and I used it for this extensively although it wasn't as good as either 200 or 300 prime at infinity.
    Graham,

    I believe that was fixed with the VR II version, just as it was with the VR II version of the 70-200mm zoom. Someone with more recent experience may be able to confirm that. I sold my 200-400mm VR II (with which I never experienced vignetting) after a bout with sciatica, but wish I still had it. I just ordered the 300mm f/2.8 VR II. Maybe I can get my wife to carry it around.

    Joe
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  36. #36
    Workshop Member Bryan Stephens's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    I used the VRII version of both over the summer, and can say that I believe you are correct Joe, although for what I shot with the two lenses, I usually crop the frame a bit
    Bryan

    “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” — Ansel Adams

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Well, we can see why I'm having trouble choosing -- the "choice" is versatility versus ultimate IQ... Obviously, a great argument can be made for owning both, but money aside, the issue I see with that approach is my past history. That has been, EVERY time I had a similar choice to make with larger glass, the lens I left behind OR the one that was NOT mounted at the critical instant, was ALWAYS the one that would have been the better choice to use.

    Current thinking is go for ultimate IQ with the realization that having 36MP does allow for a moderate amount of post cropping if necessary
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  38. #38
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    while just a low level member here, i can offer this for what's it worth:

    the 200-400 has advantages--great for sports during the daytime however not as sharp as the 300 or 400 2.8 lenses in my experience. I owned all three but ended up opting for the 400 2.8. several working nikon shooters i shoot with went with a 200-400 but now want to trade back for a 2.8. The 300 2.8 I owned was super sharp and held a 1.7 converter well. For what I do, the 400 2.8/D4 gets used 90% of the time and can't be beat.

    btw, you can rent both at keeble and draw your own conclusions.

  39. #39
    Super Duper
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    Well, we can see why I'm having trouble choosing -- the "choice" is versatility versus ultimate IQ... Obviously, a great argument can be made for owning both, but money aside, the issue I see with that approach is my past history. That has been, EVERY time I had a similar choice to make with larger glass, the lens I left behind OR the one that was NOT mounted at the critical instant, was ALWAYS the one that would have been the better choice to use.

    Current thinking is go for ultimate IQ with the realization that having 36MP does allow for a moderate amount of post cropping if necessary
    Jack of course one can make the case for either of these two lenses endlessly. At the end of the day although one lens or the other may be missed in certain circumstances, if you analize the majority of types of shooting you'll do with the lens, it's moderately straight forward which one to select.

    1. If you think you'll find yourself wanting or needing 600mm at any point, it's a no brainer (the 300 f2.8 with the 2x)

    2. If you think you might fairly often shoot in low light, again it's the 300 f2.8

    3. For relative compactness in size, esepcially while its in some sort of case or backpack, the 300 f2.8 gets the nod.

    4. If you'll be shooting larger wildlife, then the versitilty of the zoom cannot be underestimated, therefore the 200-400.

    5. For those times where you might be in close relative to your subject distance, I did fine the ability to zoom back to200mm a help.

    6. If you know you would be satisfied staying in the range of 200-400mm in decent light and not often shooting subjects at great distances, I would definitely opt for the 200-400, regardless of slight light dropoff when shooting wide open. The lens comes into it's own within these parameters. Anything outside this rannge, and performance can precipitously drop off and herefore would make the 300 f2.8 plus teleconverters the prefered choice.

    Dave (D&A)

  40. #40
    Senior Member stngoldberg's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    I am surprised when reading that many contributors don't find the Nikon 200-400 sharp with the 1.4 extender attached at 400mm. Here is an image taken at Bosque last November-razor sharp-550mm using the 200-400 on a D3, 1/1250 sec at f5.6. ISO 1600.
    I hand hold the 200-400mm finding that my percentage of keepers are much higher than using a tripod
    Stanley
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  41. #41
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    FIrst off, a huge thanks to everybody who responded -- you gave me the data I needed. Ironically, in the end I ended up going an entirely different direction -- at least for the interim. I found a good deal on a demo Sigma 120-300/2.8 APO ED OS. I demoed it and at 300mm wide open, it is stellar centrally to 90% out from center, very good from there to the edges, then falls off to a little soft at the extreme corners. And extreme corners are not usually a concern for me when I'm using a 300. It is also excellent back at 120 wide open, but perhaps not quite as good as at the 300 mark. Anyway, I was very impressed and decided to let it serve in the interim. I am certain the Nikon 300/2.8 prime is a better optic, but equally certain this Sigma is an incredibly good lens for the money so will be using it until I jump on a larger Nikon prime -- which means I may now move right up to the 400 or 600.

    The one nit on the Sigma is it won't accept Nikon extenders with the tab. So I either need to grind the offending part of the mount tab on the Sigma to fit, or grind the tabs off the extenders. Have not decided which way to go yet. If I grind the tab on the Nikon 2xIII, I could conceivably stack the 1.4x in front of it. While I know IQ will be seriously deteriorated, I used to do it with my Canon's when the extra length was more important than absolute IQ.
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."
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  42. #42
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Just don't zoom in on me. That would seriously affect IQ in a negative way. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  43. #43
    Super Duper
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    Re: Any users of the Nikon 200-400/4 VRG and 300/2.8 VRG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    FIrst off, a huge thanks to everybody who responded -- you gave me the data I needed. Ironically, in the end I ended up going an entirely different direction -- at least for the interim. I found a good deal on a demo Sigma 120-300/2.8 APO ED OS. I demoed it and at 300mm wide open, it is stellar centrally to 90% out from center, very good from there to the edges, then falls off to a little soft at the extreme corners. And extreme corners are not usually a concern for me when I'm using a 300. It is also excellent back at 120 wide open, but perhaps not quite as good as at the 300 mark. Anyway, I was very impressed and decided to let it serve in the interim. I am certain the Nikon 300/2.8 prime is a better optic, but equally certain this Sigma is an incredibly good lens for the money so will be using it until I jump on a larger Nikon prime -- which means I may now move right up to the 400 or 600.

    The one nit on the Sigma is it won't accept Nikon extenders with the tab. So I either need to grind the offending part of the mount tab on the Sigma to fit, or grind the tabs off the extenders. Have not decided which way to go yet. If I grind the tab on the Nikon 2xIII, I could conceivably stack the 1.4x in front of it. While I know IQ will be seriously deteriorated, I used to do it with my Canon's when the extra length was more important than absolute IQ.
    Jack,

    One of the reasons I didn't mention the Sigma 120-300 f2.8 OS as a possible choice is I thought I recommend it in the past to you (or maybe it was Guy)and I thought you might have tested the previous version of this lens with is sans OS. Correct me if I'm wrong?

    In any case it a remarkable little performer for what it costs when all things are taken into consideration. I switched over to their discontinued 100-300 f4 which is a stellar lens and I often prefer it to the Nikon 70-200 f2.8, espcially when the Nikon is used with the 1.4x and the Sigma 100-300 f4 is kept "native". The SIgma 100-300 f4 actually does fairly well with their 1.4x, making a reasonably performing 140-420 f5.6 lens that clearly outperforms all their (Sigma's) 150-500 type lenses.

    Regarding the 120-300 f2.8, I tested the non OS version extensively with Sigma's own 1.4x and 2x. It of course doesn't come close to a Nikon 300 f2.8 with or without the Nikon converters, but the Sigma with Sigma's own 1.4x does extremely well and with the 2x, the central part of the frame is quite good. I'm not sure one would want to take this any further and stack converters with this lens...but thats just me.

    I knew someone who ground down the nibs on the Nikon converters and used them with the 120-300 f2.8 and thought they might have held the edge vs. Sigma's own converters, but I'm not sure by how much. I also believe you may or may not get correctly working AF. I know if you try a Sigma 1.4x on certain Nikon lenses, the lens simply "hunts".

    Lastly if I was to gring down anything, I would do it on the converters, not the lens, but again thats just me.

    Dave (D&A)

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