300 f/4 AFS or 300 f/2.8 AFS (or maybe 200-400)?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by rsimms, Jun 29, 2005.

  1. rsimms

    rsimms

    89
    Apr 30, 2005
    Redondo Beach, CA
    Hello all,
    I have an assignment next month to shoot some running footage of a new passenger car. The shoot is currently scheduled to take place at or around dusk at California Speedway. According to the storyboards I will be postioned in the infield (near the start/finish line) shooting the car as it leaves turn 4 and approaches me down the front straight. I have shot Champ Cars there before in the daytime and used my 70-200(@200mm) but found that the reach was insufficient for capturing the cars exiting the turn.

    I want to know your opinion on using any of the following lens/tc combinations, keeping in mind I will be shooting at or around dusk.
    Price is not an issue at this time, the company will be picking up the price of the lens; but at the same time I don't want to spend more than I need to.
    • 300 f/4 +TC14
      300 f/2.8 + TC14 or TC17
      200-400 f/4 +TC14

    I was leaning towards the 300 f/4 +TC14 (420mm should be plenty) until I found out about the time of day, now I am worried that I won't be able to get fast enough shutter speeds between ISO 100-400.

    I'll be shooting my D2X using the full frame mode (the client insists on the full 12MP file).

    Your opinions will be greatly appreciated.
    thanks
     
  2. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    Randall,

    I'm sure that you know this, but the main thing that the 300 2.8 will give you over the 300 f4 is focusing speed, assuming that you are going to shoot the car at greater than f5.6. Once you get to 5.6, the lenses should both perform about the same. I say this based on the sharpness of shots that I have gotten with my 2.8 and seen others post here with their 300 f4 lenses.

    If OTOH you plan to shoot at a wider aperture, then the 300 2.8 is your only choice if you want to use the 1.4 TC since the 300 f4 will be 5.6 with that TC. The only other option in that case would be the 200-400VR with no TC.

    I really like my 300 2.8, and the 200-400VR is also excellent, but there is no denying the excellent performance of the 300 f4, especially in light of the large price difference. If you want to ultimate though, I'd go for the 300 2.8, or the 200-400VR.

    Hope that this helps a little.
     
  3. rsimms

    rsimms

    89
    Apr 30, 2005
    Redondo Beach, CA
    Frank,
    Honestly, I didn't even consider focusing speed, I was more concered with being stuck at f/5.6. I figure since both are AFS lenses that they would focus roughly the same. Is there really a significant difference in the AF speed? If so that might take the 300 f/4 out of consideration.

    thanks
     
  4. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    Randall,

    I haven't shot with both, but Harris (Backdoctor) has. He has shot with the 300 f4 for several months, and gotten excellent results, but he borrowed a 300 2.8 a couple of weeks ago and his comment was that it focuses about twice as fast as the f4. One reason undoubtedly is the wider max aperture (the cam opens the lens all the way while focusing, then closes it down to your setting just before opening the shutter).

    If you can afford the 300 2.8, or the 200-400VR, that would be the right choice. These are both wonderful lenses.
     
  5. bpetterson

    bpetterson Guest

    Randall;
    If you have a chance- go to the place where you will be shooting- also same time as when- take your light-meter and check temp-K and lumen's.

    Then duplicate at home under the same conditions with the 300mm f2.8 at the speed that you would use.

    It may be that you might need to use the 200mm f2 VR.

    Natch shoot raw.

    The 200-400mm VR f4 may be the best-- but use a wimberley. maybe with a beamer.

    Birger
     
  6. Strobe + pocket wizard if you're worried about lighting. Depending on color and background, cars are actually hard to shoot.
     
  7. rsimms

    rsimms

    89
    Apr 30, 2005
    Redondo Beach, CA
    Thanks for the advice guys, I decided to go with the 300/2.8 VR and handle the shoot in two passes. First with the 300 to get the late apex and exit, then use the 70-200 for panning/zooming as he car approached down the straight.
     
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