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Author Topic: Canon 300MM f/4 vs. f/2.8  (Read 16930 times)

daethon

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Canon 300MM f/4 vs. f/2.8
« on: May 23, 2007, 12:39:50 am »

I am in need (or want) of a long super telephoto prime.  I've started the process of saving for the Canon 300MM f/2.8, but encountered the f/4 at a store recently.  

The obvious "advantage" of the f/4 is that it is in the 1500 price tag range and the f/2.8 is in the high 3k range.  


My question is, does anyone know of a good comparison between the two, or have personal experience with both of them.  Obviously the 2.8 is a step faster, and in conjunction with the 1.4X extender that I have, it'll perform better, but is it worth me putting off the purchase of a long lens for 2 years to save up for it?

Presently I'm using my 180MM f/3.5L Macro + the 1.4X extender as my general wildlife lens.  I know that the 180 Macro isn't that sharp when focused to infinity, but it is what I have at the moment.  


Opinions?  Suggestions?  Links?  any and all would be appreciated!


Thanks in advance...
« Last Edit: May 23, 2007, 12:41:44 am by daethon »
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SecondFocus

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Canon 300MM f/4 vs. f/2.8
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2007, 09:04:39 am »

300 f4 lenses show up on KEH.com and eBay often at really inexpensive prices. You might buy one, use it, and continue to put some money away for the 2.8. If you decide to get the 2.8 later you can sell the f/4 on eBay for probably almost what you paid for it.
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Ian L. Sitren
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daethon

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Canon 300MM f/4 vs. f/2.8
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2007, 09:47:42 am »

I'm a bit wary on purchasing a lens knowing that I will be replacing it in the near future.  I also checked out the MTF charts on the f/4 this morning and was not very impressed by what I saw.  

So I was thinking...maybe there is a third option.  Any comments on this option would be greatly appreciated.  


Purchasing the 200MM f/2.8L lens

I own the 1.4X extender already.  I know that I would be giving up the IS capability of the 300 f/4, but I think that's something I'm willing to accept for now.  


Question is:  Optically, would I get a similar performance between the effective 280 f/4 (200 + 1.4X extender) and the 300 MM f/4?  

Everything I've read makes it sound like the canon extenders have very little effect on the optical nature of your shooting (save the obvious 1-2 f/stops).  Is this really the case?  

One thing I really like about this interim option is that it would motivate me to get the 2.0X extender to bring this lens up to a 400MM f/5.6, as well as be able to use it with my other telephoto lenses.  As a small plus, it'd also be cheaper to buy the 200MM + 2.0X extender than the 300 f/4.  

Thanks again for your advice/thoughts...
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stever

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Canon 300MM f/4 vs. f/2.8
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2007, 10:21:57 am »

i have a 300 f4 and tested the 2.8 with my 20D and 5D

at 300mm the f4 is sharp on the 20D and at least acceptable on the 5D - my copy at least is better at 5.6 although some say their lenses are just as sharp wide open

with a 1.4 extender, the f4 really needs to be shot at f8 for consistently good 13x19 prints with the 20D -- very little different from my 100-400 so i rarely use the 300 anymore.  i don't think the 300 with 1.4x and 5d is a very good combination

on the other hand, the 2.8 is sharp wide open with both the 1.4 and 2x extenders -- but it's too much to hand-hold

my conclusion is that the 300 2.8 with extenders is about the least expensive long lens for a full-frame camera

i continue to use the 20D with 100-400 and save the 5d for wide-to shot tele
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Hank

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Canon 300MM f/4 vs. f/2.8
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2007, 10:55:05 am »

We use both f/4 and f/2.8 300's in our pro shooting.  Nikon rather than Canon, but I can add perspectives from long-term use of both.  

In a nutshell, the f/2.8 is a PITA compared to the f/4 when you are traveling or spending long days with your gear hanging from your shoulder.  Terrific lens it might be, but it's much larger and heavier than the f/4.  You'll often find yourself leaving it home, while you'll often carry an f/4.

The only time the f/2.8 really shines and justifies itself is for shallow DOF shooting.  If you do a lot of that, then you'll put up with the extra weight and bulk.  We do probably 2/3 of our outdoor model shoots with the f/2.8, finding it provides a superb combo of shallow DOF and perspective.

In that light, the 200 f/2.8 might serve you well.  When really pressed to limit our loads we often simply carry our 80-200 f/2.8's for portraits and a 1.4 converter for a little more reach.

It all boils down to weighing your uses against weight, bulk and expense.  In our case there are ample reasons to own both, but I'd sure hate to have only the 300 f/2.8.
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daethon

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Canon 300MM f/4 vs. f/2.8
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2007, 03:11:01 pm »

Great!  

Thanks for everyone's input.  any other perspectives or agreement with before said would obviously still be appreciated but I think I've come to a conclusion.  (option 4 as it would be)


I'm going to go forward initially with the 135 f/2.0 and get the 2X extender (270MM f/4 equivilent).  Since I have the 180 Macro (mamoth of a lens), and my first lens lower than that is a 50MM, it'll provide a step in the middle as well as a smaller, easier to use/manuevar mid-telephoto.  

After that, I will get the 200MM f/2.8 which will give me access to a touch longer with the 1.4X and then 400MM.

This should serve me well for several years as I hone my skills to a level where I will really take advantage of the 300MM f/2.8 (and can afford the lens as I presently don't make really any money off of my photographs).


Thanks again!
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John Patrick

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Canon 300MM f/4 vs. f/2.8
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2007, 10:42:05 pm »

Quote
Great! 

I'm going to go forward initially with the 135 f/2.0 and get the 2X extender (270MM f/4 equivilent).
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=119237\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Does the 135/2 accept the Canon 2x TC?  I was under the impression that it didn't.

I own the 300 f/4 IS, and have been very pleased with it.  Am I drooling for a f/2.8?  Of course, but right now the f/4 is getting me great action shots for soccer, so I'm not complaining.

John
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daethon

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Canon 300MM f/4 vs. f/2.8
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2007, 08:30:31 am »

Quote
Does the 135/2 accept the Canon 2x TC?  I was under the impression that it didn't.

I own the 300 f/4 IS, and have been very pleased with it.  Am I drooling for a f/2.8?  Of course, but right now the f/4 is getting me great action shots for soccer, so I'm not complaining.

John
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=120172\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


According to Canon's Lens Chart, the 135 f/2L is the first one that will take the 2.0X Extender...
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rjgleason

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Canon 300MM f/4 vs. f/2.8
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2007, 10:34:27 am »

Quote
According to Canon's Lens Chart, the 135 f/2L is the first one that will take the 2.0X Extender...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=120201\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The 135 works well with the 1.4 extender.....poor results with the 2.0 (IMO unacceptable results)

The 300 4.0 is a quality lens and while the 300 2.8 is argubly the best sports lens (at a price for sure) the 300 4.0 is quick to focus and provides excellent results.  I have both and use both at baseball/football games given good lighting situations. (and sometimes when I need to move around a bit more than usual) I'll switch from the heavy 300 2.8 (monopod) to the 300 4.0 (handheld)
« Last Edit: June 02, 2007, 10:36:14 am by rjgleason »
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pathfinder

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Canon 300MM f/4 vs. f/2.8
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2007, 07:46:57 pm »

Daethon,

 You did not specify what type of wildlife shooting you are interested in.

If you are interested in birds, 300mm is too short.  

I would consider a 400mm lens as the minimum necessary for wildlife myself.  

The Canon 400 f5.6 is superb.  The 400mm DO lens is IS and 1 stop faster too.  The DO mounts with a 1.4 TC without difficulty.

For a small, light  walkabout lens with reach, the Tamron 200-500 can produce very serviceable images if mounted on nice tripod, and shot smaller than f6.3.  There are comments about chromatic aberrations with the Tamron SP 200-500 Di, but that has not been my experience using it on a 1DMkll or a 5D.

The 135f2 L is a stellar lens, but not a wildlife lens for me.
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