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Thread: 300mm 2.8 AFS vs 300mm F4 AF-s for Safari.. for a Leica user :)

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    300mm 2.8 AFS vs 300mm F4 AF-s for Safari.. for a Leica user :)

    Hi there,

    I would like some help here. Long long time Leica user, I decided to join again on the SLR ranks, the D800e is a mermaid with a strong chant... So my wife and I are going on a Safari in a month ( Tanzania ) and I bought myself the D800e and now.. .for the lens I have two options :

    - 300mm f2.8 AF-S ( 1st version, used ) + 1.4 TCIII
    - 300mm f2.8 AF-S ( 1st version, used ) + 1.7 TCII

    or

    - 300mm F4 AF-S + 1.4 TCIII

    I know that the differences in aperture and that I will be ending with either a 420mm f4.0 or a 500mm F5.6 from the big mama... OR ... a 420mm 5.6.

    My questions are :

    - is the F4 setup, since is lighter, therefore easier to use ? I will be doing a private safari, so just me and wife in the Land Rover. But it was many many moons ago since I used a 300mm ( back in the days that I had SLR before coming to Leica and that was when the D1x was new - and I still have a D1X almost spanking new ) ... and I'm worried about technique. I know that either lens will be ruthless with bad technique - but I'm under the impression that since the F4 300mm is lighter ( 1.5kgs vs 3kgs ) it should be easier to get better technique - or I'm mistaken ?
    - yes, this is my maximum budget. No VR 300mm 2.8 lens is going to fly
    - nope, I dont like the 80-400mm. Not even the new one ( well I do but its too expensive at that price )
    - yes the wife is almost cool with me buying a 300mm 2.8. Were "almost" is the operative keyword in that sentence.
    - no, I'm not considering a 70-200 with TC's. I want the best image quality bang for buck, so is either 300mm F4 or 300mm 2.8

    so please share your thoughts & ideias about this. I can stretch finantially until the 300mm 2.8 and I think that with a 1.4 or even 1.7 will be fine for a safari and then we have the D800e that will allow me to crop quite a bit and still mantain super high image quality. Oh the high iso's.. dear lord, that thing is clean as a baby bottom, I was shocked to develop in LR a 6400 D800e file.. that looked like a 400 iso from my M9's...

    anyway, thanks in advance !
    Leica M9 | 50mm Summilux ASPH | www.proenca.eu

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    Re: 300mm 2.8 AFS vs 300mm F4 AF-s for Safari.. for a Leica user :)

    The 300 F 4 is a wonderful lens.

    I would not rule out the newest 80 - 400 some say it rivals many of the bigger lenses and you have quite a bit of versatility when and if you are closer up.

    The 300 F 4 is a wonderful lens and quite a bargain...easy to monopod mount or shoot off of a beanbag. I personally would prefer it over the 1st version of the 2.8.

    Just a thought.

    Bob
    Last edited by docmoore; 30th June 2014 at 12:24.

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    Re: 300mm 2.8 AFS vs 300mm F4 AF-s for Safari.. for a Leica user :)

    You can also crop quite a bit on the D800E for more distant subjects.

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    Re: 300mm 2.8 AFS vs 300mm F4 AF-s for Safari.. for a Leica user :)

    Here are a few samples from the 300 F 4 and 300 F 4 1.4 TCii combination....


    NIKON D3 300F4/1.4 TCII












    Thanks,

    Bob

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    Re: 300mm 2.8 AFS vs 300mm F4 AF-s for Safari.. for a Leica user :)

    NIKON D3 300 F4

















    Thanks,

    Bob

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    Re: 300mm 2.8 AFS vs 300mm F4 AF-s for Safari.. for a Leica user :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jan Brittenson View Post
    You can also crop quite a bit on the D800E for more distant subjects.
    Might consider a m43 camera/Nikon adapter as a backup and extender as it will give a 2x crop, has decent live view and could allow casual photos without attracting too much attention.
    Should your primary camera go down you have something to shoot with.

    Bob

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    Re: 300mm 2.8 AFS vs 300mm F4 AF-s for Safari.. for a Leica user :)

    If I would be in your shoes I would go with the new 80-400! Simply because it is MUCH MORE VERSATILE than any of the fixed 300's with whatever TC. On safari you should be able to react fast and there the zoom is the best solution. Maybe IQ from any fixed combination is a tick better (maybe 10%) but you loose 30-50% of shots because you are not ready.

    I used the 70-200VRII with latest TC20 2 years ago as unfortunately the new 80-400 was not available at this time and I did not want to go for the old model as it has really some inferior IQ. But even the 70-200 and TC20 combo produced decently good results. No question the new 80-400 would be my preferred solution today. So if I would go on Safari soon, I would sell my 70-200 and TC20 and get the 80-400 instead.
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    Re: 300mm 2.8 AFS vs 300mm F4 AF-s for Safari.. for a Leica user :)

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    If I would be in your shoes I would go with the new 80-400! Simply because it is MUCH MORE VERSATILE than any of the fixed 300's with whatever TC. On safari you should be able to react fast and there the zoom is the best solution. Maybe IQ from any fixed combination is a tick better (maybe 10%) but you loose 30-50% of shots because you are not ready.

    I used the 70-200VRII with latest TC20 2 years ago as unfortunately the new 80-400 was not available at this time and I did not want to go for the old model as it has really some inferior IQ. But even the 70-200 and TC20 combo produced decently good results. No question the new 80-400 would be my preferred solution today. So if I would go on Safari soon, I would sell my 70-200 and TC20 and get the 80-400 instead.

    +1

    The new 80-400 on D800E is my favorite long lens for wild life.
    Mine only needs a microadjustment of +1.
    I typically shoot it wide open and with an ISO above 1000.
    It's tac sharp in the center, a tad soft in the corners, no problem for wild life.
    VR works very well. Also not too heavy to handhold.

    BTW for 400 mm on D800E it has 3% better resolution than a 300 mm lens on the E-M1, and of course a significantly larger field of view.
    Last edited by k-hawinkler; 30th June 2014 at 16:12.
    With best regards, K-H.
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    Re: 300mm 2.8 AFS vs 300mm F4 AF-s for Safari.. for a Leica user :)

    I debated a 2.8 vr and the f4 AF s and finally decided to go with the F4. I also purchased the new TC14 and the combination is outstanding even wide open. I've not owned the Nikon 300 2.8 but had the Canon and the Nikkor f4 is better than my Canon L was. It's actually very close to the 200 1.8 that I owned. I'd say it's 98% as sharp as the 200 1.8 L canon.
    The f4 is small and light and very easy to manage where as a 2.8 is pretty bulky and heavy. I enjoy shooting the f4 much more than I did my 2.8 canon. It's just so easy to carry and use and focus is positive and fairly fast.

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    Re: 300mm 2.8 AFS vs 300mm F4 AF-s for Safari.. for a Leica user :)

    TC-14EIII is not available until Aug, 2014.
    You may have some connection with Nikon I don't...I'm on pre-order for this.

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    Re: 300mm 2.8 AFS vs 300mm F4 AF-s for Safari.. for a Leica user :)

    Hi there,

    Thanks for everyone that chimed in.

    In the end I just bought ( just now lol ) the 300mm AF-S f2.8.

    Bigger , much heavier lens but the price was very nice, the condition is next to mint and like someone said to me - at this price, if you resell it after the Safari, you will get 100% of your money back or a 5% loss - just think as a rental fee.

    Here in Portugal, the 300mm 2.8 is easier to sell - its a lens always in short supply, lot of photographers want it and some freelancer journalists as well. The 300mm F4 is just a hobbist lens and much harder to sell.

    It would be fun getting frrom a M9 and a Lux to a D800 with a 300 2.8.. oh my arms...
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    Re: 300mm 2.8 AFS vs 300mm F4 AF-s for Safari.. for a Leica user :)

    You may call the 300-4 a "hobbyist" lens, but many wildlife photographers use it successfully. I use it for birds and surfing. It is very sharp even with a tele-converter and has nice bokeh.

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    Re: 300mm 2.8 AFS vs 300mm F4 AF-s for Safari.. for a Leica user :)

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBrew View Post
    You may call the 300-4 a "hobbyist" lens, but many wildlife photographers use it successfully. I use it for birds and surfing. It is very sharp even with a tele-converter and has nice bokeh.
    nonononono... I'm sorry, I perhaps explain myself wrong.

    The PERCEPTION here in Portugal, is that a 300 F4 is a hobbyist lens.

    Therefore is much harder to sell 2nd hand - and people who want it, can afford it new.

    I have nothing against the 300mm F4 AF-S, a superb lens, no question asked.

    But having the chance to buy a 300mm f2.8 AF-S for the same money and is as new as a new 300 F4, its a no brainer
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    Re: 300mm 2.8 AFS vs 300mm F4 AF-s for Safari.. for a Leica user :)

    My experience

    Light is usually very good in Africa

    I used the AFS 300mm f4 hand held - (it is just a pity that the lens has not been upgraded to VR) ...... but it is a stellar lens and very good wide open
    I use it with TC14Ell on a tripod ....... with the TC20Elll the IQ suffers

    The Nikon 300mm f2.8 VR is far too heavy and you will miss shots and "hate" using it "hand held" ........ it is a big lens to man handle

    The new AFS 80mm 400mm VR is supposed to be very good ...... and I think I may get that for next years visit to Africa

    the Nikon 200-400mm f4 G VR II AF-S ED Lens is also sometimes recommended - but it is 5k new

    The 70mm 200mm f2.8VR is good for general shots but too short for nature

    A good light weight tripod is very handy - I have a Redged CF which is very good

    In the canoe I use a Nikon 70mm 300mm f4.5/f5.6 VR ....... as it can get wet

    I use a DX body, D7100 and D300 for the x 1.5, (plus sometimes the extra x1.3 on the D7100) ..... but the res on the D800 should give as good results when cropped

    You always have to watch the weight of your cabin bag as well as the luggage limit

    for the experience to be a pleasure and effective you have to be comfortable with the weight of your gear hand held

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    Re: 300mm 2.8 AFS vs 300mm F4 AF-s for Safari.. for a Leica user :)

    I have the d800e with the 300mm f/4. It is a slower focusing lens, birds are more difficult. As for it being a light lens it is north of 3 lbs and it is tiring to hand hold. It is as sharp a lens as can be made in that focal length. With a tele extender it is difficult to manage any lens of that length. I use it frequrntly and have had a hit or miss experience with that lens. But in truth birds are hit or miss anyways. I go out with my wildlife friends and they are all specialized with very long lenses and tripods with gimbals. But when they go out without tripods they usually use 200mm lenses that are more manageable and live with the difference. Good luck.

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    Re: 300mm 2.8 AFS vs 300mm F4 AF-s for Safari.. for a Leica user :)

    the AF-S 300mm f4 Nikon is not heavy

    200mm is far too short for wildlife ……. almost a waste of time

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    Re: 300mm 2.8 AFS vs 300mm F4 AF-s for Safari.. for a Leica user :)

    Depends on the camera and the wildlife. I photograph shore birds sometimes and the 200mm is perfect. Other times the 300mm does not have enough reach. But in general I would agree that you can never have enough mm's for wildlife.

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