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Thread: 300mm f2.8 or 500mm f4

  1. #1
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    Default 300mm f2.8 or 500mm f4

    I'm considering upgrading my lens, I have a 300mm f4 with 1.4TC on my D300 body. I am looking at the Nikon 500mm f4 (3.8kg) and the 300mm f2.8 (2.9kg). I'm currently favouring the 500mm.

    I'm very happy with my current set-up it is very light (I rarely use a tripod) but as any bird photographer I'm looking for more reach. The 300mm with a 2x TC gives 600m and the 500mm with a 1.4x TC gives 700mm but is heavier and more expensive.

    I know most people use Canon (I kinda wish I started with Canon too as the lenses are quite a bit cheaper...) but any advice would be greatly appreciated

    Thanks in advance
    Aus list 632 (Powerful Owl, Callala Bay, NSW, 01-05-2014, finally thanks Matt!)
    Year list 159 (Powerful Owl, Callala Bay, NSW, 01-05-2014)

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    Default Re: 300mm f2.8 or 500mm f4

    Personally i would definitely go the 500. You already have a 300 so to me you are spending a serious amount of money just to gain one stop of light. As i'm sure you're aware you can never have enough reach. You'll also be surprised how much more you get from 700 over 600. You also have the option of 2x converter to push it to 1000mm if you need to. So to compare max reach you gain 400mm over the 300 + 2X. Yes you are at f8 as opposed to f5.6 but these days the extra stop of iso you get balances that out.
    Everyone will have an opinion of course so the best thing to do is to try out both and make up your own mind.
    Also depending on how much you have invested in Nikon gear it might be worth swapping over if its alot cheaper? having said that the new Nikon bodies really are very good. ..did i say that out loud!
    Cheers, Dave

    www.davidstowe.com.au WORKSHOPS

    Aus Life List IOC= 688 - Carpentarian Grasswren
    "So God created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:21


  3. #3
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    Default Re: 300mm f2.8 or 500mm f4

    I like nikon stuff...... them big black lenses.......carbon fibre hoods ooooh, they just look awesome 8-)
    just go the 500 heyn and get a 1.4 or 1.7 tc or both reach is king and after getting over the initial shock you will love it. think you may find the tripod may get a bit more use... mike.

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    Default Re: 300mm f2.8 or 500mm f4

    If you're really serious about your bird photography (or think you will be in the future) don't stuff around and get at least the 500mm f/4.0. I wish I had done that. I own a Canon 300mm f/2.8 which is a fantastic lens but feel i should've purchased a 500 or 600 in the first place.

    Don't forget that you will need a decent head & tripod for those lenses which is obviously more $$s.

    very expensive hobby Heyn. Just go for it.
    Cheers,
    Geoff


    reposts welcome

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    Default Re: 300mm f2.8 or 500mm f4

    Oh to have that dilemma! Unless you're planning to sell your current 300 I don't see much point in duplicating focal lengths. Of course there are the other considerations of weight & price but it sounds like you are in the market for extra length.

    I have zero 1st hand experience, but I guess a 500 + 1.4 might have equal if not better IQ to a 300 + 2.0 combo? Plus the option to push it to 1000mm as Dave mentioned. I'm sure someone out here in the interwebs has done a test or two...

    Just my 2 cents built on years of dreaming....

    Oh & Dave... I've got some spare cupboard space if you need to store the canon gear somewhere local.
    Cheers

    Cameron

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    Default Re: 300mm f2.8 or 500mm f4

    I started with the Nikkor 300mm f/4 and ended up also getiing the Nikkor 500mm VR for the extra reach and versatility. It can be hand held with practise. I'm now considering the 600mm VR for the extra reach.

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    Default Re: 300mm f2.8 or 500mm f4

    Its all about reach, no matter what you get you will want more, especially if you are serious.

    I started with Oly gear, 200mm and 1.4, I soon realised its not long enough. I moved from Oly because 300 2.8 was the longest I could get and at the time $13k (no way). The Oly crop factor was also a consideration, but in the end, not good enough. Next choice was Nikon, but their lens's where just too dear, Canon was a much more realistic price, any better or worse, not sure, but doubt it, decision was purely made on price.

    More than happy with Canon, but wished I had purchased a 6oo as per Gerard, extra reach is the way to go. Or, more Mega pixels and crop is always an option.

    Weight and ease of use are the challenges you will face with a bigger lens, the bigger you get the heavier it is, and the more skills required to drive it. I would go for the 500, 600 if you can afford it and enjoy.

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    Default Re: 300mm f2.8 or 500mm f4

    I own both Canon versions. The 500 is used as my main small animal lens (including birds). The 300 does large mammals, and long landscapes.
    The 300 also doubles up as my travel lens because it takes TCs so well. I can have 300/2.8, 420/4 or 600/5.6

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    Default Re: 300mm f2.8 or 500mm f4

    If you are planning on keeping the 300mm f4 (it's great long macro lens as well) I would go for the 500mm, you can never have enough reach for birds, but remember to allow for a solid tripod and head.

    Now if you look at current prices you could get a Canon 7D and 500mm f4L and have enough left over for your tripod for the current asking price of a 500mm VR, based on current prices at digi-direct:

    Canon 500 f4: $7194
    Canon 7D : $1798

    Nikon 500VR: $10370

    Leaves : $1378 left over towards your tripod and head. You could pick up a Canon 300mm f4L IS off Flea bay for about $1100 and sell your Nikon gear. Now off course that is now, when the new Canon 500mm comes out their prices may jump significantly.
    Chris Ross
    Helensburgh NSW
    www.aus-natural.com
    Instagram: @ausnaturalimages

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    Default Re: 300mm f2.8 or 500mm f4

    Thanks for the reply everyone! Really a lot to think about! Think I'm convinced regarding a 500mm lens (600mm is too heavy (1.2kg heavier) and I don't see myself using a tripod all the time) Now all I have to do is convince myself that it's ok to spend that much on a lens....

    Thanks for throwing a spanner in the works Chris, yeah it would be cheaper to get a Canon 7D and the 500mm....All my gear is Nikon though, Lenses, the Converter, extra batteries and Memory cards, car chargers etc.

    I would definately keep the 300mm f4

    I have a tripod, Monfrotto (not sure which one --is in car and I'm too lazy) it was about $300-400 so I probably need a better one, any recommendations.
    Aus list 632 (Powerful Owl, Callala Bay, NSW, 01-05-2014, finally thanks Matt!)
    Year list 159 (Powerful Owl, Callala Bay, NSW, 01-05-2014)

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    Default Re: 300mm f2.8 or 500mm f4

    Quote Originally Posted by heyn
    Thanks for throwing a spanner in the works Chris, yeah it would be cheaper to get a Canon 7D and the 500mm....All my gear is Nikon though, Lenses, the Converter, extra batteries and Memory cards, car chargers etc.
    No problem, all part of the service.

    Quote Originally Posted by heyn
    I have a tripod, Monfrotto (not sure which one --is in car and I'm too lazy) it was about $300-400 so I probably need a better one, any recommendations.
    Have a look at this one: http://www.photovideo.com.au/gitzo-g...b39244f404c107. I have the previous model equivalent (the 1325) and it's given me 10 yrs of dependable service and rock solid support so far.

    Then there's the head, a 500mm will work OK on a ball head if it's solid or you can look at gimbal heads, only issue is the gimbal is really only useful for the 500, a ball head can be used with your other lenses. The best head these days is generally reckoned to be the really right stuff BH-55. http://reallyrightstuff.com/Items.as...head55&key=cat
    Chris Ross
    Helensburgh NSW
    www.aus-natural.com
    Instagram: @ausnaturalimages

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    Default Re: 300mm f2.8 or 500mm f4

    Thanks Chris you are a wealth of information.
    Aus list 632 (Powerful Owl, Callala Bay, NSW, 01-05-2014, finally thanks Matt!)
    Year list 159 (Powerful Owl, Callala Bay, NSW, 01-05-2014)

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    Default Re: 300mm f2.8 or 500mm f4

    Sounds like the 500 is the right way for you to go. I would just point out that, of course, the type of lens you will like best depends on what type of photography you do. I have a 300/2.8 (often used with 1.4X converter) and absolutely love it. It is, for what I do, perfect. I don't complain about not having extra reach. However, I suspect that is just me and the style of photography I do. As I said, sounds like the 500 is the right way to go, they are surprisingly light (especially in comparison to the 600s!)
    Tobias Hayashi
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    Default Re: 300mm f2.8 or 500mm f4

    In regards to tripods Heyn i would worry about it after you get the lens. Try out the gear you have and see how you go. i had my 500 for ages before i went for a new setup -Gitzo carbon fibre and Mongoose gimbal head. THe new setup is definitely better of course but you make do with what you have if you don't want to spend more money. As Chris mentioned having a gimbal is only good for the big lens but to be honest when you are carrying that around you won't bother carrying around lots of other gear at the same time i reckon, so its not really a big issue for me. I do have a really lightweight ball head that fits in my vest if i really need to take a landscape shot etc.
    Cheers, Dave

    www.davidstowe.com.au WORKSHOPS

    Aus Life List IOC= 688 - Carpentarian Grasswren
    "So God created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:21


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    Default Re: 300mm f2.8 or 500mm f4

    Thanks for that Dave, I thought the same thing. My current Tripod legs can carry the weight, I just need a ball head and I need to get used to a tripod or maybe go to the gym.....
    Aus list 632 (Powerful Owl, Callala Bay, NSW, 01-05-2014, finally thanks Matt!)
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