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300 2.8 AF-S I, II, VR or 400 2.8 AF-S I ??

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Ray C., Dec 8, 2005.

  1. Ray C.

    Ray C.

    Nov 7, 2005
    Okay...I'm driving myself nuts here trying to decide what I want/need. Although "want" usually wins over "need" :wink:

    Anyway, I'm a newspaper staffer and shoot sports on the side. I need some longer, faster glass. The 300mm VR looks great, but new is $4500. I can pick up a used AFS I or II for much more reasonable prices, BUT its used, no warranty, possibly buying somebody elses problem etc. Then there's a used 400mm 2.8 AFS-I that also can be had for under the price of a new 300mm VR. A new 400mm 2.8 is OUT of the question. :frown: My wife would shoot me!

    How much difference is there between the 300mm AFS I and AFS II and is the new VR really THAT much better to justify the big $$$ increase?

    Also, does anyone have experience with the 400mm 2.8 AF-S I?

    And then there's the 200-400 VR....

    Ideally, I want to keep the purchase under $4000...But I'm a little paranoid about buying used. Any thoughts/suggestions?

  2. I own the 300VR and have found Bjorn's review to be right on the money. I think your determining factor will be whether you will be shooting handheld. The VR on the 300 works very well. I have taken shots at 1/30s with a TC17 attached that were satisfactory.

    OTOH, if you can shoot at high speed, use a tripod and $ is a factor then go for the AFS I or II. Shooting sports you should be able to use a tripod or monopod. Also, for action the VR will not help. In your shoes this is the route I would take.
  3. Ray C.

    Ray C.

    Nov 7, 2005
    Thanks Rory! I saw Bjorn's review and it really has me thinking about the VR. Plus, there's the security of buying new with the warranty etc. Money is a factor as well, but I've got good credit. :wink: Good point about handholding as well, as I've never been a big fan of monopods. Sure I use them when I have to, but if there's any chance of hand holding, I do it.

    I'm really torn...so many choices.
  4. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    I really can't see myself buying a long lens without VR now that I've used it. It's not just for hand-holding; if you're shooting from a monopod or even a tripod with gimbal head (loosened), the VR is still very useful. Many of the best photo ops will not be in bright sunlight, and shutter speed will be an issue.

    Of course sometimes there's no substitute for reach, and there are some folks on here who get great results with the non-VR big glass; but they've got better shooting techniques than I do, and I bet there are times when even they wish they had VR.
  5. Years ago I owned two big lenses at one time, a 400mm f/3.5 and a 600mm f/4.0. I was more into birds at that time. To my surprise, I almost always preferred the 600mm. It seems like bigger faster lenses takes one to a another world.
  6. I want long fast glass too...and frankly, if anybody were about to give me any one of the above options I wouldn't complain :smile:

    I've used the 300/2.8 II and 200-400VR; personally preferred the 300/2.8 for focusing speed and ultimate sharpness. 200-400 is longer and somewhat more difficult to balance; VR very useful; the lens also needs light for it to really do its stuff.

    Would be interested to know what you spring for in the end; I'm thinking of a 300/2.8 I, II or 400/2.8 MF or 500/4 P for birding...

  7. Ebay has some cheap used 100 day return, 300 f/2.8 AFS I lenses. I was planning on buying one, but opted for the Sigma 120-300 HSM. The Sigma long teles aren't half bad. Though I'm keeping anything under 200mm Nikon! :) 
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