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Nikon 300mm f4 vs 300mm f2.8

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by PhotogWannabe, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. PhotogWannabe


    Mar 19, 2007
    Hi. I have tried searching using the title as the search string and it returns a message saying (f4) is too short to search on. What the heck? Anyway. I'm starting to lust a little for something a little longer than my 80-200 2.8D. A 300 f4 is about a third the price of an f2.8. I've seen the killer f2.8 pictures people have posted on here and some of them just take your breath away. What's the image quality like between the two. Any samples from the f4? What would happen to an f4 with a TC1.7 on it?
  2. Paul, this is an age old comparison. We always hope the 300 f4 is close enough and it really is in many, many situations. The 2.8 is 4 times the price for a reason. It's brilliant glass and the IQ proves it. It's also heavy and not practical to hand hold for very long - so it doesn't win on every comparison.

    The question is will you get enough pleasure/ROI (could be both) out of the 2.8 VR to make it a good purchase for you? If you opt for the 300 f4 you will not be disappointed, it's a very fine lens and will deliver professional results as well.
  3. Paul,
    The 300 f/4 gets along well with the Tc-14, but IMO starts to gag a bit with the TC-17. The problem is that the 17 bumps the
    aperture up to 6.8 and Nikon's AF really likes it to be f/5.6. It will work, but will be sluggish and at times a bit squirly,
    especially in less than bright light.

    Now, with that out of the way I think the 300 f/4 is a spectacular lens. It isn't as sexy as the 2.8 and won't give the creamy shots
    you sometimes see from that lens. But in what for me is real life shooting where you're not wide open all the time and
    not shooting night HS football or something similar the performance is great.
    Yes, when you pixel peep the 2.8 is the better lens, but by how much... I certanly can't say.
    One thing I can say, given the choice between which I would rather carry with me all day the f/4 is always going to win... hands down.

    If you are looking for a lens that will tolerate all the TC's, give the absolute fastest AF and the best IQ then the 2.8 is the
    choice. But if you want a great performer at 300 and a good performer at 420 with the TC-14 then don't discount the f/4.

    The shot below is with the 300 f/4 @ f/6.3
    I think the bokeh is very nice, sharpness is excellent and I comfortably carried the lens around the course on my shoulder.
    Another thing to think about. We're a picky bunch here. We study every aspect of a photo. The average person looking
    at your work doesn't. In the example my viewer sees the rider, the horese, the intensity... and some blurry background.
    They wouldn't have liked this shot any more if it was with the 2.8.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    BTW: I own both lenses.

  4. TheCommons


    Jul 2, 2008
    LA, CA ;)
    I may be completely spewing rubbish here, but:

    Is this because the f5.6 cross sensors stop working(become only lateral) after this?
  5. I think it is just the fact that there isn't enough light hitting the AF sensors for them to work efficiently.
    You'll see slower AF and a lot more hunting the less light there is coming in through the glass.

  6. Probably a big reason for it. This is the tech spec for the D700 (and probably the D3 and D300).
  7. Useful comments Don, thanks. The 2.8 VR is intended as my next lens once I sell my Canon 400mm 5.6 L. For the shooting I use the longer stuff for, wildlife and birds in Africa mainly, I am usually at f8.0 wide open, or f10, with the 1.4 TCon. Light is fine there if you prioritise shooting during the 'golden hours' morning and late afternoon. Results are very good indeed.

    So I get 560mm of great quality and AF remains very fast with the 1D pro bodies. So, my question is how does the 2.8 VR perform with a 2.0x TCon? A 1.4x is fine for many shots, and I intend using that mainly, but I really notice the reach difference when I am at 560mm and so I want solid AF and great IQ with the 2.0x as well. I shoot D700 and for next eyars trip will get the D300 replacement if there is one, possible the D3 replacement.

    Thanks for your assistance ...
  8. Dave,
    I don't have a 2x converter, but it shoud AF just fine. The 2x will make the 300 a 600 f/5.6 - within Nikon's (conservative) limits for AF.
    I have a 500 f/4 that I use with a TC-14 making it a f/5.6 and AF picks
    up and tracks birds with little problem.

  9. Dave, if I may...
    The 300 f2.8 VR will be happier with the 1.7x than the 2x on any body. Don't
    be so quick to toss the 400 f5.6L...I shoot both and the IQ's very similar but
    it's a dream to handhold all day. With the 300 VR I'm toast after a few hours. :biggrin:

    400 f5.6L wide open
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    300 VR w/1.4x f4.5
    View attachment 258220

    and a couple with the 1.7x f4.8, 5.6
    View attachment 258221

    View attachment 258222
  10. Cheers lads ... and Will I hear ya manm, the 400mm L is awesome, and I held on to it for my last Africa trip as I trusted it. I didn't want to go with a whole new body/lens set up and spend half the trip figuring it out. But having a foot in both camps is a bit of a pain, especially if one body goes, as it did on the last trip with a one guy and his 1D Mk III primary body. Is easy enough to adapt with two same brand bodies, but with two different brand bodies you are potentially up the creek lens wise. So time to commit to Nikon for the longer term. Nikon are weak on the longer/slower stuff ... unless you go 2.8 and big bucks there is little worth considering! Seems the 2.8 VR is the only realistic option.
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