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Thread: nikon 200 - 500 5.6 or the new nikon 300f4 pf ed vr with a 1.4 teleconverter?

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    Ausphotography Addict feathers's Avatar
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    nikon 200 - 500 5.6 or the new nikon 300f4 pf ed vr with a 1.4 teleconverter?

    Having had some lucky success with my tamron 70 -200 getting a bird or two. Have started to look at lenses with a bit more reach. Camera nikon 810.

    Of recent the nikon 200-500 has impressed me with some great images, and good value for price. The new 300f4 pf vr has had some good reviews too, and thought it might go well with a 1.4 tele converter? price is the issue with the latter, but more versatility thought? Any other things to consider?....... some thoughts please? Cheers.

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    Faced this exact quandry over the last 6 months Feathers. Tried them both out at the Digital Expo. Ended up with 200-500 in my kit though in the end. Extraordinary reach and will still take a 1.4 tele. That VR on it is just brilliant! Not a wickedly fast focus but using the focus limiter helps. The 300mm is a very sweet lens too and fantastic for travelling with I will admit. I don't think you can go wrong with either. It would just come down to reach, fixed and how often you work with tele's and travel needs. I even put my D800e into DX crop view too with my zoom. We are very spoilt for choice these days!

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    Quote Originally Posted by oneeyedphoto View Post
    Faced this exact quandry over the last 6 months Feathers. Tried them both out at the Digital Expo. Ended up with 200-500 in my kit though in the end. Extraordinary reach and will still take a 1.4 tele. That VR on it is just brilliant! Not a wickedly fast focus but using the focus limiter helps. The 300mm is a very sweet lens too and fantastic for travelling with I will admit. I don't think you can go wrong with either. It would just come down to reach, fixed and how often you work with tele's and travel needs. I even put my D800e into DX crop view too with my zoom. We are very spoilt for choice these days!
    Thanks oneeyedphoto Something to mull over, as l do plan to travel for some months at the end of the year. Cheers.

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    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant mongo's Avatar
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    Mongo is going out to shoot some birds but, having used both lenses and the AFS 300 f4, would like to give a detailed view on this question later today if you are interested.
    Nikon and Pentax user



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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    I have the 200-500 and it is an excellent zoom, I like it very much! It is sharp, has great colour rendition, great bokeh for this type of zoom and is very well built. he AF of the 200-500 is not what I would call fast, but mediocre or adequate in good light dropping off in low light.

    I purchased it as a lighter weight zoom for traveling when I want to do birding as well as the usual holiday/travel landscape photography etc. My usual birding lens is thew 400 f2.8 to which I add TC's as required which also gets me 560mm f4 with the 1.4x TCIII, 680mm f5 with the 1.7x TCII and to 800mm f5.6 with the 2x TCIII. However, this set up is usually too large and heavy for travel and thus the 200-500 purchase. So, if you are going to use this as a primary birding lens then the Sigma Sport is possibly a slightly better option simply because of the extra reach and it is supposed to be a tad sharper at 500mm as well as 600mm. It is slightly heavier than the 200-500, though, and would need to be factored into any decision. I did try the Sigma Sport in the shop and it is also well made, but noticeably heavier and has a very heavy lens hood. Personally, I just didn't like the feel of the Sigma lens. However, if I was going to go for a lens that would serve me as my primary birding lens, then I would possibly get the Sigma due to the extra reach and the fact that it is supposed to be a tad sharper - relying on reviews for this assumption.

    A good review at Photography Life which also has a comparison to the Sigma Sports (and others) on the sharpness front:

    https://photographylife.com/reviews/...0mm-f5-6e-vr/3

    A good review of the comparison between the other "Super Zooms" here:

    https://photographylife.com/nikon-20...ma-150-600mm-c

    Just remember that this is at one specific camera to subject distance which doesn't mean that the sharpness is the same at other distances. In other words, these test chart sharpness results are only a guide and do not reflect the particular lens's overall performance.

    The 300 f4 PF is also an excellent lens, stupid sharp bare and still extremely sharp with the 1.4x TC attached for 420mm f5.6 and also sharp with the 1.7x TC attached for 510mm f6.7. It is ridiculously light and easy to handle and if you are after lightness and compactness and can forgo the slightly more versatile zoom, then I would recommend the 300 PF and use TC's.

    My 200-500 gallery:
    http://www.pbase.com/lance_b/nikon_200_to_500

    300 f4 PF gallery - this is not my lens but one I borrowed to try out:
    http://www.pbase.com/lance_b/nikon_300_f4_vr

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    Quote Originally Posted by mongo View Post
    Mongo is going out to shoot some birds but, having used both lenses and the AFS 300 f4, would like to give a detailed view on this question later today if you are interested.
    Yes please? Thanks mongo

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Lance B View Post
    I have the 200-500 and it is an excellent zoom, I like it very much! It is sharp, has great colour rendition, great bokeh for this type of zoom and is very well built. he AF of the 200-500 is not what I would call fast, but mediocre or adequate in good light dropping off in low light.

    I purchased it as a lighter weight zoom for traveling when I want to do birding as well as the usual holiday/travel landscape photography etc. My usual birding lens is thew 400 f2.8 to which I add TC's as required which also gets me 560mm f4 with the 1.4x TCIII, 680mm f5 with the 1.7x TCII and to 800mm f5.6 with the 2x TCIII. However, this set up is usually too large and heavy for travel and thus the 200-500 purchase. So, if you are going to use this as a primary birding lens then the Sigma Sport is possibly a slightly better option simply because of the extra reach and it is supposed to be a tad sharper at 500mm as well as 600mm. It is slightly heavier than the 200-500, though, and would need to be factored into any decision. I did try the Sigma Sport in the shop and it is also well made, but noticeably heavier and has a very heavy lens hood. Personally, I just didn't like the feel of the Sigma lens. However, if I was going to go for a lens that would serve me as my primary birding lens, then I would possibly get the Sigma due to the extra reach and the fact that it is supposed to be a tad sharper - relying on reviews for this assumption.

    A good review at Photography Life which also has a comparison to the Sigma Sports (and others) on the sharpness front:

    https://photographylife.com/reviews/...0mm-f5-6e-vr/3

    A good review of the comparison between the other "Super Zooms" here:

    https://photographylife.com/nikon-20...ma-150-600mm-c

    Just remember that this is at one specific camera to subject distance which doesn't mean that the sharpness is the same at other distances. In other words, these test chart sharpness results are only a guide and do not reflect the particular lens's overall performance.

    The 300 f4 PF is also an excellent lens, stupid sharp bare and still extremely sharp with the 1.4x TC attached for 420mm f5.6 and also sharp with the 1.7x TC attached for 510mm f6.7. It is ridiculously light and easy to handle and if you are after lightness and compactness and can forgo the slightly more versatile zoom, then I would recommend the 300 PF and use TC's.

    My 200-500 gallery:
    http://www.pbase.com/lance_b/nikon_200_to_500

    300 f4 PF gallery - this is not my lens but one I borrowed to try out:
    http://www.pbase.com/lance_b/nikon_300_f4_vr

    Thanks very much Lance appreciated. Will go through the imfo given Looked at the sigma, but the weight put me off. Cheers.

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    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant mongo's Avatar
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    Firstly, Lance has made some very good points and given some hands-on samples - all of which should be considered as part of any examination of the overall question raised by this thread.

    It seems to Mongo that the question being asked in this thread is really "what are my best options for a good quality 300mm plus focal length lens for my Nikon camera ?" The lenses considered are 300mm f4 PF, AFS 300mm f4 and the nikon 200-500mm f5.6



    The differences between these three lenses. Size and weight, cost , performance. As all three lenses can use the 1.4 tele converter, Mongo will base the above on this.


    Size and weight
    The 300 mm PF lens (abt. 750grams + converter) is about 1/3 of the weight and size of the 200 – 500 mm (2.2kgs + converter) and about 1/2 the weight of the AFS 300mm (1.4kgs + converter). So if size and weight is an absolute issue, the PF is your best option. Additionally, be aware that both the 300mm lenses can be used with a 1.7 tele converter very effectively to give a 500mm focal length.


    cost


    The AFS 300 mm cost approximately $1400 new. A good secondhand copy can be purchased for between 650 and $900.


    The 200 – 500 mm costs approximately $1800 new. There are few if any secondhand copies of this lens selling for approximately $1400.


    The 300 mm PF cost approximately $2500. There are few if any second hand copies of this lens.


    The 1.4 and 1.7 Tele converter is a common price factor therefore not correctly relevant except the following extent. The 200 mm - 500 mm lens covers the extended range to 420 mm and 500 mm without the cost or weight of a converter. In this case, the cost and weight of the teleconverters must be factored in.


    Performance


    Dealing first with the 300 mm lenses, their general performance is excellent. Overall, there is little if anything between them. The PF Lens is a hint sharp in some respects and vice versa for the AFS lens in other respects. Whilst Mongo has had limited experience with the PF lens (borrowed from a friend), he feels he has had sufficient use of it, with an without converters, to say this to his satisfaction.


    Mongo purchased his AFS 300 mm in mint condition second hand from an AP member. If he did not own this lens and had to choose purchasing a 300 mm PF or AFS, he would not hesitate to purchase a very good used copy of the AFS lens as the best overall means to 300 mm with potential to be used with 1.4 and 1.7 Teleconverters with excellent results. Indeed, he has kept this lens despite purchasing 200 – 500 mm.


    Autofocus is very good and responsive in both 300mm lenses. That performance is slowed a little by the addition of the teleconverters but still performed well enough.


    The only other aspect is that the PF version has VR. Mongo is not at all concerned with this on a 300 mm lens and its absence has never bothered him. It does start to become a little more useful when increasing the focal length through the use of converters and handheld work. If this is something that you're used to or need, then the PS version should be your choice of 300s. Mongo as always used a monopod so lack of VR has been of no consequence to him.


    So, in summary, between the two 300 mm lenses, given cost, size and weight and performance, Mongo thinks that the PF lens is overstated and overpriced. The AFS represents excellent value and performance in a reasonable sized package (unless weight and size is your absolute criteria).


    Even having picked the best of the 300 mm lenses for your needs/purposes, is the 200 mm – 500mm lens still a better option for you?


    Mongo purchased the 200 mm – 500mm as a convenient 500 mm lens which was transportable. It has the potential to zoom down to 200 mm but this feature is virtually never used. The weight and size (although quite small when collapsed to the 200mm position) is probably at the limit for what might be considered a convenient travel lens. The cost of this lens represents good value for performance and focal lengths. It is a touch slower to acquire focus in comparison to the other lenses; especially for moving subjects. However, with proper fine tuning and familiarity with the lens’ characteristics, is a solid performer. VR is also a useful feature although it has its own peculiarities that you must get to know in order to get the best results.


    Having had the 200mm – 500 mm lens for a while now and having fine tuned it, the impression Mongo gets is that the lens is probably every bit as sharp as either of the 300 mm lenses at all focal lengths OR so close as to not matter. Whilst the contrast in this lens is reasonable, it tends to be a little bit less contrasty than he would like or as the other two 300 mm lenses. However, this is minor and easily overcome in post processing as Mongo has done now for many months without a thought to it.


    So, to try and summarise the overall situation from Mongo’s experience, if Mongo did not own any of these lenses and needed to get a lens to work well for his tele purposes ranging from 300mm and above, he would simply purchase the 200 mm - 500mm lens (again, unless weight and size are critical to you).


    The final point to mention would be that if you are in the market for a tele zoom approximately 200 mm – 500 mm, you should also consider the other reasonable Tamron and sigma offerings.


    In a perfect situation, as always, if you are lucky enough to try any of these before you buy them, that may give you invaluable information to make the best choice for yourself.


    Happy to try and answer any questions if Mongo can.

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    Ausphotography Regular J.davis's Avatar
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    Don't forget that the Sigma lenses have a USB Dock, that allows fine tuning of the focus, throughout the entire focal range, as well as other adjustments.
    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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    Hi Lance, mongo & john. I had read your whole post lance, as well as the sites this afternoon and again this evening. Then went through yours mongo, and john.

    Wrote a long reply, almost finished, then managed to accidently wipe it all out . Will try again tomorrow.(think l need my nanny nap or a beer?...} Cheers.

    And thanks again

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    Gentlemen
    There was a lot to think about? Firstly John, l looked at the sigma 150-600 sports, and even though it shines in the 600mm range above the rest, it's too heavy for me l feel. Trying to put it into perspective in my mind, its like attaching the rough equivalent of 7cans of baked beans to the end of my camera.

    lance, very useful info The nikon 200-500 excels in the 500mm range against its contemporaries , but again it's the weight, even though not as heavy as the sigma. I have mainly used small primes until recently when l purchased the tammy 70-200. The photo's you produced with the 300 pf vr, look pretty good to me, and the fact that you can use all three converters, added to your comment of it being insanely sharp has me tempted

    Mongo. a lot to mull over as well,..thanks I agree about the pricing for the new 300f4 but at the same time the older version is prone to getting dust apparently from the rear element, so l don't know if l want to chance a used copy? if new, its suggested to leave a converter on at all times eliminating this issue. Also it appears that only the 1.4 converter works properly on this lens? The way l looked at it was when travelling, l'd have the camera next to me ready to take a shot. So small is good.

    When l get back, might start saving for the 200-500 if l find the other as a birding lens wasn't up to scratch.

    Thank You again

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    Ausphotography Regular axle01's Avatar
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    I would so love to have a Sigma 150-600.

    Al

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    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant mongo's Avatar
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    Feathers, just to clarify a couple of things:-

    1. the rear element dust issue is an overstated nonesense. Have never had an issue yet after years of intense use nor does it look he will ever have such an issue

    2. Also, Mongo regularly used the AFS 300 with a 1.7EII wide open with excellent results which have been posted along the way. Even used it with 20 EIII teleconverterwith with very good results
    Last edited by mongo; 16-04-2016 at 6:22pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mongo View Post
    Feathers, just to clarify a couple of things:-

    1. the rear element dust issue is an overstated nonesense. Have never had an issue yet after years of intense use nor does it look he will ever have such an issue

    2. Also, Mongo regularly used the AFS 300 with a 1.7EII wide open with excellent results which have been posted along the way. Even used it with 20 EIII teleconverterwith with very good results
    There you go, so much for research Thanks for clarifying that for me mongo. They definitely look good for the money and size wize not too bad either.

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    I also have had the AFS 300 f4 for about 4 years and have not had any dust issues.

    With the 1.4 T/C I cant see any real loss in IQ.

    I even tried it with two T/C's, one on top of the other, and the other one was a Tamron T/C. See here .... http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...-stacked-T-C-s

    I don't know how it compares with the new VR version but the new one would need to be good to top it.
    Cheers
    Kev

    D800 & GAS

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    I should have added that I wouldn't consider getting a new lens for birding etc without VC, OS, IS or whatever.

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    Thanks Kev

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    Ausphotography Regular J.davis's Avatar
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    I was referring to the Sigma 'C' model, which I have, and am quite capable of using handheld.
    Feathers, have a look at my FB page for results of this lens.

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    Feathers, if weight is a consideration, don't forget the humble old monopod. I have one with a good quality monopod head and it works just fine with my VC lens.

    Mine has a foam leg cover and if your lens plate has retainers, you can carry it on your shoulder like a swag.
    Last edited by Cage; 17-04-2016 at 5:29pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.davis View Post
    I was referring to the Sigma 'C' model, which I have, and am quite capable of using handheld.
    Feathers, have a look at my FB page for results of this lens.
    Thanks John. Will do

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Cage View Post
    Feathers, if weight is a consideration, don't forget the humble old monopod. I have one with a good quality monopod head and it works just fine with my VC lens.

    Mine has a foam leg cover and if your lens plate has retainers, you can carry it on your shoulder like a swag.
    Thanks Kev Yes, mongo mentioned the same thing. Cheers.

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