If you could pick only one would you get the 80-400mm AFS VR or the 300mm 2.8 VR I?

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I'm debating between the two. I know the pros and cons of both. For my work, both will be very useful. The 80-400mm VR makes a better daytime/travel lens, while the 300mm 2.8 VR will be an excellent bokeh and lowlight lens. There are times when I need both, but I can only have one. Help me choose!

Thanks for any insight!
 
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I'm debating between the two. I know the pros and cons of both. For my work, both will be very useful. The 80-400mm VR makes a better daytime/travel lens, while the 300mm 2.8 VR will be an excellent bokeh and lowlight lens. There are times when I need both, but I can only have one. Help me choose!

Thanks for any insight!

the 80-400 AF-S VR for sure. Had the 300/2.8 VR and it's an awesome lens, but the zoom is lighter and more useful because you can zoom it.
 
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When you need 2.8, its going to be hard to get from that 80-400. The 300 2.8's take TC's so nicely I'd go with the 300, pretty easy to get 400+ out of it and still have a workable F stop. Only downside I've seen with the 300 2.8's are size and weight, they are not what I would call "handy".
 
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I would wait for the pending Sigma Sports version of the 120-300/2.8 before making any final decision....if I had to do it now, however, I would opt for the 80-400 given the most positive comments from others on the Cafe. Also, I had the chance to play with one yesterday, and was amazed at how lightweight and well-balanced it is on the D800.
 
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When you need 2.8, its going to be hard to get from that 80-400. The 300 2.8's take TC's so nicely I'd go with the 300, pretty easy to get 400+ out of it and still have a workable F stop. Only downside I've seen with the 300 2.8's are size and weight, they are not what I would call "handy".

I had the 400mm, but it was a pain in the butt to use at work. The 300mm is much smaller and will be easier for me to manage. The 80-400 AFS VR is super awesome too. I tried one out the other day and fell in love! :Love:

Let me put it another way, if there was only a $900 difference between the two lenses which would you pick? Both will be useful for different scenarios and I can equally make money with either lens.

I can also say heck with it and opt for the 300mm f/4 AFS and just pocket the money!
 
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I would wait for the pending Sigma Sports version of the 120-300/2.8 before making any final decision....if I had to do it now, however, I would opt for the 80-400 given the most positive comments from others on the Cafe. Also, I had the chance to play with one yesterday, and was amazed at how lightweight and well-balanced it is on the D800.

I considered that, but at that price I'm already in used Nikon 300mm 2.8 VR territory. If it was under $3k, I'd get one easily. At $3600, I'd rather go Nikon.
 
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If you can't decide between f/2.8 and f/5.6, why not split the middle and take f/4 (300mm). Much cheaper, too.

Maybe because it doesn't have the flexibility of a zoom or the advantages of a f/2.8 prime.

To the original question, for me flexibility is the tie breaker so I'd pick the zoom. I hate futzing with TCs in the field.
 
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I sold my 300/2.8 as it was too heavy to trek with (age is catching up with me) and got a lighter zoom ....
 
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Some random thoughts...

Does the extra 100mm of reach make a difference or will you be able to crop a 300 shot as if it were taken with a 400?

Subject isolation (and bokeh) will be better with the 2.8 lens....

The 300/1.4 combo brings it close to the FL of the zoom but it's still a stop faster. A 300/1.7 combo is still quite good and better than the 80-400/1.4 combo from the reports I read.

The 300 is obviously larger and heavier than the 80-400 but it's also far less weighty and smaller than your previous 400/2.8. But if it's going to be a pain (or PITA) to lug around you'll be tempted to leave it behind.

I'd think a 300/2.8 with 1.4 and 1.7 (and possibly the 2.0) TC's give you longer reach flexibility but at the expense of futzing with TC's....if speed is of the essence then the zoom makes sense.....
 
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Some random thoughts...

Does the extra 100mm of reach make a difference or will you be able to crop a 300 shot as if it were taken with a 400?

Subject isolation (and bokeh) will be better with the 2.8 lens....

The 300/1.4 combo brings it close to the FL of the zoom but it's still a stop faster. A 300/1.7 combo is still quite good and better than the 80-400/1.4 combo from the reports I read.

The 300 is obviously larger and heavier than the 80-400 but it's also far less weighty and smaller than your previous 400/2.8. But if it's going to be a pain (or PITA) to lug around you'll be tempted to leave it behind.

I'd think a 300/2.8 with 1.4 and 1.7 (and possibly the 2.0) TC's give you longer reach flexibility but at the expense of futzing with TC's....if speed is of the essence then the zoom makes sense.....

agree with Geof
if it were me, I'd think long term and go for the faster 300
if you still need zomm range down to short telephoto, I'd plan to add in a 80-200 or 70-200, at a later date
if budget demanded, that could be an older 80-200 2.8 ED AF, which I've seen around for under $400 (for the push pull), and also works better that i expected with a TC
the extra stop gets more important, in my opinion, with longer focal lengths. not just for the DOF and subject separation, but faster shutter speeds are more important with long lenses
but its your choice in the end. if total size and weight for the kit is higher priority, then the 80-400 may be more practical for you
 
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Maybe because it doesn't have the flexibility of a zoom or the advantages of a f/2.8 prime.

Yes, but aparently he does not require a zoom or f/2.8 or he would not have asked. You do need to fiddle with TC for 400mm, but the bare lens has better IQ and subject isolation than the zoom, yet is far lighter than the f/2.8.
 
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I've pretty much eradicated any waste from my kit to the bare essentials. This is what I have:

D800
D700

24-70G
50/1.8G
70-200VRII
??? + 1.4 TC

There is some overlap if I get the 80-400 VR-II (with the 70-200 VR-II ), but I'll most likely mount that to the D700 (better response speed) and leave the 70-200 with the D800.

If I get the 300 2.8 VR, I'll put the D800 on that lens (maximize reach with resolution) and the 70-200 VR-II on the D700.

I can see the 80-400 VR-II being a better day-to-day lens that will see daily use, but the 300 VR is that kind of lens when I need it...I will really need it and will be kicking myself when I don't have it!
 
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Joined
Mar 4, 2005
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Some random thoughts...

Does the extra 100mm of reach make a difference or will you be able to crop a 300 shot as if it were taken with a 400?

Subject isolation (and bokeh) will be better with the 2.8 lens....

The 300/1.4 combo brings it close to the FL of the zoom but it's still a stop faster. A 300/1.7 combo is still quite good and better than the 80-400/1.4 combo from the reports I read.

The 300 is obviously larger and heavier than the 80-400 but it's also far less weighty and smaller than your previous 400/2.8. But if it's going to be a pain (or PITA) to lug around you'll be tempted to leave it behind.

I'd think a 300/2.8 with 1.4 and 1.7 (and possibly the 2.0) TC's give you longer reach flexibility but at the expense of futzing with TC's....if speed is of the essence then the zoom makes sense.....

It really comes down to weight/flexibility vs lowlight/bokeh. The 80-400 VR-II I know would be an awesome daytime lens and I could totally see making my money back on that lens easily. The 300mm 2.8 VR is more a long term investment and will give me that same reassurance as the 400mm VR I had, just in a smaller package!
 
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It sounds like the 300/2.8 is the way to go - perhaps down the line pick up the 80-400. They each have pro's and cons so I don't think owning both is stupid....

If you buy a used AF-S VR I you're not going to take much of a bath on it if you decided to resell it down the road.
 
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The 80-400 VR-II I know would be an awesome daytime lens and I could totally see making my money back on that lens easily. The 300mm 2.8 VR is more a long term investment and will give me that same reassurance as the 400mm VR I had, just in a smaller package!

Personally if I make my living doing this, I'd pick whatever makes me more money. If that's the 80-400, then that's what I'd pick. You can then keep saving up for the 300 2.8 as you go.
 
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I can see the 80-400 VR-II being a better day-to-day lens that will see daily use, but the 300 VR is that kind of lens when I need it...I will really need it and will be kicking myself when I don't have it!

Why not buy the 80-400 and try renting the 300/2.8 for the odd occasion when you need it?
 
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Do you normally carry two bodies with you? Then I'd definitely go with the 300/2.8 if I were you, since you already have the 70-200.
 

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