400 f2.8 vs 500 f4

Joined
Apr 20, 2007
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69
Location
Puyallup, WA
Wanted some additional reach that I can't get with my 200-400 w/o a TC, have have two choices and wanted some options: 400 with TC or 500. Cons on the 400: weight and a bit more $
Pros on the 400: tack sharp even with a TC

Pros on the 500: lighter whan the 400 and easier to tote around
Cons on the 500: slower, and even slower with TC

I would enjoy comments from users of these lenses.
 
Joined
Apr 20, 2007
Messages
69
Location
Puyallup, WA
Primary use would be my Africa trips. I found myself usings the 200-400 and pulling the TCs off and on during my past several trips. I wanted to try to stop the changing of lenses.
 
Joined
May 3, 2005
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Wasilla, Alaska
If you can swing the 500 f4, you might as well hit for the fences and get the 600mm and be done with it.:biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:
 
I

ipsofacto

Guest
If you find f4 is sufficient then listen to Matt and go all out for the 600, if you buy the 500 you'll be kicking yourself when you have to add TCs and lose even more light. I would usually say get the 400 2.8 because I love speed, but that's because I shoot sports at night, I think the 2.8 might come in handy at sunrise/sunset times if you find you only need f4 the 600 is calling you.
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2006
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5,355
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Placitas, New Mexico
I much prefer the 400 f/2.8 over the 500 f/4. I found it not only faster, but also a bit sharper. It also plays well with the 1.4, 1.7, AND 2.0. My 500 only worked well with the 1.4. I also have had the sigma 300-800. It's a great piece of glass, but not as fast, and definitely alot to carry around.
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2007
Messages
1,096
Location
London
I find the 500mm f/4 to be fine with the 1.4 & 1.7 TCs, but with the latter you do need good light to get fast AF. That said, when you get that light it is fast. I am using the older Mark I (for sale in the For Sale forum - shameless plug sorry!) and do not know if the newer Mark II has any improvements to the AF. The glass is the same though.
 
Joined
Aug 13, 2006
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Berlin, Old Europe
Primary use would be my Africa trips. I found myself usings the 200-400 and pulling the TCs off and on during my past several trips. I wanted to try to stop the changing of lenses.
Dumb question - when changing from a zoom to a prime you think you'll change lenses/TCs less often?
 
L

Logan

Guest
Dumb question - when changing from a zoom to a prime you think you'll change lenses/TCs less often?
im sure not, but with 2.8 you have more TC options and the 500 is altogether longer...
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2005
Messages
47
Location
south east Norway
I have used both. The 500 is unusable with Tc20, and very difficult with Tc17, but very good with the tc14. The 400 is very good with all of them.. In my experince this means that with the 500 you effectively have 500/4 and 700/5,6 with excellent IQ, with the 400, you have 400/2,8, 560/4, 680/4,8 (5,6 to get exellent IQ) and 800/5,6 ( sharp in center only - you need to stop down to 7,1 to get excellent IQ) Summing up on IQ only: the 400 gives you more- it is equal to the 500 where they overlap, but you have a fantastic lens at 400 + a very good one at 800 as well. I sold my 500, kept my 400The autofocus is superfast, and acurate even with converters, which seems to be rare in the digital age.

Pål
 
Joined
Apr 20, 2007
Messages
69
Location
Puyallup, WA
DanielD: Not a dumb question at all, when you consider my plan was to keep a 200-400 on one body and the larger prime fixed on another body. Then again, my command of english is far better than German.
 
D

Dan from New Jersey

Guest
I have the 500 f4 AFS and it is a dream to use, but, you must use a good tripod with it. The picture clarity is outstanding. A joy to use.

Dan
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2006
Messages
1,706
Location
New Zealand
my plan was to keep a 200-400 on one body and the larger prime fixed on another body
That seems to answer your question then. Get a 500/4 or 600/4.

If you need a longer lens it's usually better to go straight for the right lens. The 400/2.8 may be a great lens, but I find it hard to believe it performs better with TCs than a 500/4 or 600/4.
But don't listen to me, I've never shot with any of those lenses :smile:
 

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