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Thread: 200-400 or 300 f/2.8?

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    200-400 or 300 f/2.8?

    I've got a greenlight for Christmas but which lens. I'm favouring the 300 and then a TC
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    I'd take either, but would probably take the 200-400 first. I've had no experience with either lens except envy

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    200-400 is a nice range

    300 fixed would be my next buy (with a 2x)

    buuuuut what do you shoot? and which would better suit you??

    all those amazing questions

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    According to this guy, the new tc works better with the 300 2.8.
    http://www.naturalart.ca/artist/fiel...c_series3.html

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    I recently bought the 200-400 and while it is a great lens with very useful zoom range on FX during most of the day hours, it is somewhat limited once it gets dark if you intend to shoot any fast moving objects. Using it with TC's is almost pointless in any but the best light for moving subjects, especially with the TC17/20's. I plan to sell the 200-400 now. If it suits your shooting style, it is a great lens. I also think that for less money, as long as you don't want more than 400mm most of the time, the 200/2 with any of the TC's is a great combo. Super fast f2, razor sharp, with excellent Bokeh and even with 2xTC it is still only f4@400mm, same as the 200-400 and the zoom advantage is not that great IMHO over the 200 prime.

    I have decided while we have such a good AUD/USD to get the 400/2.8VR as it will still only be f/5.6@800mm on FX with the TC20EIII, and still only f4@560 with the TC14EII. The 300mm/2.8 would be my choice if I couldn't stump up for the 400 for the same reasons albeit the focal length is slightly less when using the TC's obviously.

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    what he said
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    Thanks that's some really good info. My concerns on the 200-400 are about what's been said. Hadn't considered the 200 f/2. I'm wanting it for wildlife and some sports.

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    200 f/2 is too short for wildlife imho, and a lot of outdoor sport, even with a 2x tc

    even 500 f/4 is an option

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    I use the 200-400 exteand recently put on a 1.4 and was amazed quick af great quality this shoutdoor dressage over 5 arenas
    with beiso performance D3s I shoot at 12500 iso wgood results and think for out door sports
    the deapth of feild at F4 is much better
    cheers jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    200 f/2 is too short for wildlife imho, and a lot of outdoor sport, even with a 2x tc

    even 500 f/4 is an option
    I'd considered the 200-400 for its versatility but that was all - everyone seems to have a love hate relationship with even the new version. You're right 200 f/2 wouldn't give me much so I hadn't considered it. I'm really starting to think 300 f/2.8 and a TC20 EIII for when I need more reach these sem to go well together.

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    There are a few people here with the 300/2.8 and TC combos, take a look at some of Lance's threads recently from his purchase, some great shots. I also recall one of the guys shooting sports with it, and again great images, it will take any TC very well. If you are looking at wildlife, then Kiwi's suggestion of the 500mm or even a 600mm would be a better choice, however these do cost somewhat more. When you think about the current AUD/USD, then these super-tele's have never been more affordable. If you were to buy a 300/2.8VRII at about $6K (the 200-400VRII is even a bit more), it is not that far away from the price of the 400/2.8 & 500/4, and even a used mint 600/4 AFSII (No VR) is within this price range.

    I always wanted the 400/2.8, but struggled with the thought of all that $$ tied up in a lens that I really don't get that much time to use out here in the bush, so I held off buying it, then, the 200-400 came along for a song so I grabbed it. I don't regret buying the 200-400 as it is a fantastic lens (version 1 is much greater value than the $6500 version2) as long as you don't need to shoot fast moving subjects in low light @>400mm. With the FX rates so far in our favor, I am biting the bullet for the 400/2.8 as there may never be a more affordable time to buy. With a purchase of this size, unless you are swimming $$, I can only suggest that plenty of careful consideration be given to any purchase before you commit yourself.

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    Just acquired the 200-400 for the same reason as Wayne. Got it used from a local seller (so i could try before buying), and the price was well below new, and well below a 300/2.8. Main use will be motorsport, Will be trying it out for the first time at the track tomorrow. One thing about being in WA light is never really a problem...

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    Gordon, did you just buy that one from Ebay? last week? If so I didn't think he was going to get his starting price for it with the current exchange rate....

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    Wayne, yes that's the one. There was a nice sweetener with the deal too. Given the condition the lens is in, the saving on new was well worth it IMHO. Local stock is still at pre near parity vs $US so a $3k saving appeared well worth it. Nikon are replacing the bag as it is under a recall, so get a new bag too

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    Thanks again for the replies, I'm in no immediate rush to buy and the US pricing is much better at present than the AU. So plenty of time for a little more research. The 300mm still seems to suite best. I've had a play with the 300 as well as the 400 and 600 but haven't used a 200-400 yet.

    I'm also trying to squeeze in an overseas trip in the next few months and will spend a day or two in Singapore if I do.

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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    I was in the very same dilemma a month or so back and I went for the 300mm f2.8 VRII because it works better with TC's and especially the 2x TCIII and is also a smaller and lighter lens than the 200-400. There is no doubt that a zoom is useful, but I can live without the zoom advantage. The 300 f2.8 VRII is exceptionally sharp even with the 2x TCIII attached or the 1.4x TCII you'd be hard pressed to see an IQ degredation, in fact, I find it hard to detect any degredation even with the 2x TCIII. The only issue with the 2x TCIII is that it slows the AF a tad, but that's all. The colour rendition and bokeh of the 300 f2.8 is quite special, too. Also, read the link that Lani (above) linked to as it is a good read and what helped make my mind up. I couldn't be happier with the 300 f2.8 VRII. Some samples with and without TC:

    Without TC's:
    Click on the photo to see the original photo to get the best idea of the quality.



    Creamy bokeh



    with 1.4x TCII





    with 2x TCIII








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    Quote Originally Posted by dmdigital View Post
    Thanks that's some really good info. My concerns on the 200-400 are about what's been said. Hadn't considered the 200 f/2. I'm wanting it for wildlife and some sports.
    If I shoot most of the times at f/2.8, I will choose the 300/2.8 or 400/2.8 without hesitation.
    But for wildlife, reach is more important than fast f/stop. So IMHO, the 200-400 is the best choice especially on a DX sensor.
    The prime will perform better with TCs but cannot match the reach of the big zoom (with x1.4 or 20EIII).

    Even with the new TC-20EIII attached to the 200-400, I still manage to use AF on fast moving subject :





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    Forgot to mention main body is a D3s. My backup is still a D200 but this may change in the next year to a newer DX model.

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    here's one I prepared earlier D300 and 200-400, exif is intact for the peepers. Lens was mounted on a monopod, VR was on.


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    Just an update I agonised over this but kept coming back to the 300mm f/2.8. So I ordered one last week and the TC-20EIII. Got a very good price on a local one so fully Nikon Australia warranty. Couldn't have done much better overseas. Now I wait for it to turn up

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