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Thread: Nikon 70-200 2.8 + 2TC vs Nikon 300 4 + 1.4TC on D800

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    Nikon 70-200 2.8 + 2TC vs Nikon 300 4 + 1.4TC on D800

    Hi all,

    I’m contemplating my next lens purchase for the end of the year. I currently have the Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 and Nikon 70-210mm f4-5.6 shooting on the D800. I’m looking at purchasing a telephoto for birding & sports (surfing most likely). I have two lens combos in mind:

    • Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 with TC-20EIII = 140-400mm f5.6 (~$3,500 based on DCW pricing)
    • Nikon 300mm f4 AF-S with TC-14II = 420mm f5.6 ($2,300 based on DCW pricing)


    The key criteria include image/optical quality, AF performance and price (I cannot afford the pro 2.8 telephoto lenses… I’m not a lawyer.. yet.. :P )

    Now I know that it is difficult to directly compare these two lenses as they are not the same. However, I’d be interested to know generally which lens has the better image quality and AF performance using their respective teleconverters at the long end (~400mm)

    The main benefits going with the 70-200 2.8 + 2x TC include the added flexibility with zoom, presumably faster AF, vibration reduction, weather sealing and using the lens without the TC gives an extra stop of light. Obvious drawback is the high cost and the fact that I already have an equivalent lens in focal length, being the 70-210 (although I find it to be rather soft, slow to focus and…. it has dead fungus inside >_<)

    Now the 300mm f4 + 1.4 TC gives slightly more reach at 420mm and is considerably cheaper. However, it apparently doesn’t have a ‘rear glass element' to stop dust getting deep inside, so poor weather sealing which is an issue for use at the beach. Key question is, however, does it offer superior IQ vis a vis the 70-200 2.8 combo at ~400mm?

    Given that the 70-200 2.8 combo is ~$1,200 more, which one would you pick and why?

    Thanks in advance for all suggestions. There isn’t much info on the net regarding these two competing directly, so hopefully people here have had some experience with them.
    Cheers, Troy

    D800; AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G; AF-S 50mm 1.8G; SB-910; || 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM 'S'; APO Teleconverter 2x DG || Phantom 2; H32D Gimbal; 5.8Ghz FPV LCD GS

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    Ausphotography Regular J.davis's Avatar
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    Have a look here at the quality of the 300 with TC

    http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...vioural-series
    Regards
    John
    Nikon D750, Sigma 105mm OS Macro, Tokina 16-28 F2.8, Sigma 24-105 Art, Sigma 150-600C,
    Benro Tripod and Monopod with Arca plates

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    Member salnel's Avatar
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    I have the 300f4 plus teleconvetor and I love this lens. It is a bit heavy for me so I use a monopod most of the time but can handhold it for a short time. I am still learning but here are a couple of shots that I was pleased with..

    Wallaby by salnel, on Flickr


    Brown Sparrow by salnel, on Flickr

    You can also use it for macro if you need to. This is a very heavy crop.


    3 bees in a line by salnel, on Flickr
    D610 and D90 with a 16-35mm f/4,a 70-200mm f/4 ,a 300mm f/4 +TC11 convertor, 18-200mmDX and 85mm micro Dx.

    Sally...CC always appreciated

    My Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/salnel

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    Hi Sifor,

    While I can't give any thoughts on the 2 lenses you are looking at, but you seem to be looking at long focal length. Have you looked at third party lenses?

    I have a Sigma 50-500 f/4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM on my D700 and have been very happy with shots of animals and birds in flight. I don't have any examples on me atm but will check for you when I get home.

    Cheers

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    Hi Sifor,

    Considering your current gear and budget, I would choose the Sigma 120-300/2.8 OS (maybe also a TCx1.4) for birding and surfing with the D800.

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    An excellent suggestion Sar, my very quick research shows that the Sigma 120-300 2.8 is sharper in the centre than the Nikon 300 f4, @300mm f4 so that's excellent. Indeed the Sigma is only a little bit softer than the Nikon 70-200 vr 2 @ 200mm (see this link).

    I'll have to have a look at more reviews, but on first appearance the Sigma seems to be pretty good... I've always dismissed third party lenses as being inferior but this may be quite wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sifor View Post
    An excellent suggestion Sar, my very quick research shows that the Sigma 120-300 2.8 is sharper in the centre than the Nikon 300 f4, @300mm f4 so that's excellent. Indeed the Sigma is only a little bit softer than the Nikon 70-200 vr 2 @ 200mm (see this link).
    With the 1.2x crop mode on the D800 and in the real world, you won't see any difference at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sar NOP View Post
    With the 1.2x crop mode on the D800 and in the real world, you won't see any difference at all.
    What do you mean 1.2x crop mode? I thought the Sigma is a full frame lens?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sifor View Post
    What do you mean 1.2x crop mode? I thought the Sigma is a full frame lens?
    To get rid of the softness on the corners of the frame (if you want good sharpness edge to edge). You'll still have an equivalent zoom of 144-360/2.8 with 25mpix.
    Anyway, when you shoot wildlife your main subject will be in the centre of the frame. So, corners sharpness is not very important.

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    I would buy the Nikkor 70-200/2.8 II + TC2xIII grey and save about $1K off the rorting DCW local price. Another option, buy a mint used sample of both from a reputable USA/Canadian seller and save a bit more.

    Based on DWI (HK) prices, there is no sensible reason to pay $1000 more for it locally, esp as Nikon still offer worldwide glass warranty and DWI are quite reputable.
    The 70-200/2.8VRII = AUD$2028 - http://www.dwidigitalcameras.com.au/...idProduct=2292
    The TC20EIII = AUD$460 - http://www.dwidigitalcameras.com.au/...idProduct=2708

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sar NOP View Post
    To get rid of the softness on the corners of the frame (if you want good sharpness edge to edge). You'll still have an equivalent zoom of 144-360/2.8 with 25mpix.
    Anyway, when you shoot wildlife your main subject will be in the centre of the frame. So, corners sharpness is not very important.
    I guess that could be achieved via cropping in PP as well though? It'd be the same optical effect correct?

    And yes I was thinking that centre sharpness is critical (in which the Sigma seems to be very good at all apertures & focal lengths) while the edges not so much, especially given that it'll probably be blurred out thanks to DOF anyway.

    Thanks for your help too Sar, I really appreciate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    I would buy the Nikkor 70-200/2.8 II + TC2xIII grey and save about $1K off the rorting DCW local price. Another option, buy a mint used sample of both from a reputable USA/Canadian seller and save a bit more.

    Based on DWI (HK) prices, there is no sensible reason to pay $1000 more for it locally, esp as Nikon still offer worldwide glass warranty and DWI are quite reputable.
    Mm I'm not that keen on buying grey glass, especially from DWI (Whirlpool'eans seem to either have a great or terrible experience with them). Although you say Nikon has worldwide glass warranty? Seems hard to believe Nikon would basically promote the grey trade by doing that.. will have to check with Nikon I think. Don't get me wrong, grey products have their place and I intend on buying an SB-910 from a grey supplier.

    Out of interest, any reason you'd go with the Nikon 70-200 over the Sigma 120-300? It would seem as though the 70-200 with 2x tele will be inferior in most elements compared with the 120-300 with 1.4 tele. Without teles it seems as though the Nikon has the advantage of presumably faster AF (by how much is the real question) and better corner sharpness, in addition to better weather sealing. Thank you Wayne for your help here!
    Last edited by Sifor; 17-08-2012 at 9:57am.

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    Ausphotography Regular swifty's Avatar
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    Still gray, but DD Photographics in Sydney have supplies in Australia with GST included as oppose to HK based suppliers where goods will be subjected to import duties (goods over $1k) that in my experience have always cost me more than the 10% GST.
    It's usually somewhere between Aussie local pricing and HK sellers like DWI.

    I have a 70-200 but no TC. If I was in your situation I'd strongly consider SAR's suggestion of the Sigma 120-300/2.8. But I hear it's a pretty big lens but probably nothing for the guys with super teles.
    Nikon FX

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    Quote Originally Posted by swifty View Post
    I have a 70-200 but no TC. If I was in your situation I'd strongly consider SAR's suggestion of the Sigma 120-300/2.8. But I hear it's a pretty big lens but probably nothing for the guys with super teles.
    Mm I am certainly considering the Sigma, however given the lens is 3kg, add a D800 and you're looking at 4kg, I'll probably have to buy a carbon fibre monopod for any serious outings. I was pretty amazed with DCW's price on the Sigma (who really aren't always that good...) only $100 more than grey: http://www.digitalcamerawarehouse.com.au/prod7328.htm

    Also Sigma's TCs are pretty cheap which is good for a future 'upgrade' for the lens. Since my photography is only a hobby, I guess absolute pin sharp corner quality isn't going to happen without forking out for a Nikon 2.8 prime.

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sifor View Post
    I guess absolute pin sharp corner quality isn't going to happen without forking out for a Nikon 2.8 prime.
    You said it, and that is one of the reasons I would recommend the Nikkor over the 3rd party glass. Focus speed is something to look at as well if you plan on tracking fast movers erratically.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    You said it, and that is one of the reasons I would recommend the Nikkor over the 3rd party glass. Focus speed is something to look at as well if you plan on tracking fast movers erratically.
    Yeah I'll consider renting both the Nikon 70-200, and if possible, the Sigma, to see some real world results.
    Last edited by Sifor; 17-08-2012 at 7:42pm.

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    The Sigma 150-500 OS is optically excellent and should be considered for surf photography. It wont focus quickly from it's extremes but that doesnt matter because you're on the beach far enough away from the surfer and the focus wont be adjusting itself by much. Forget putting TC on a 500mm lens.

    You will need a monopod or tripod whatever lens you buy for surfing. It does not need to be carbon fibre.

    The NIkon 300/4 is my favourite NIkon lens but it really needs VR. The next version will have it if there is a next version. It doubles very well as a macro lens.

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Film Street View Post
    Forget putting TC on a 500mm lens.
    This should read "Forget putting any TC on a 500mm Sigma lens"
    The Nikon 500/4VR is an exceptional lens with TC's, the Canon is as well.
    These Sigma big guns are slow to focus at the long end in all but good light, so for moving subjects, the earlier options and sacrificing 100mm of length with the 70-200/2.8VR + TC is a better option.

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