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Author Topic: Canon 300 f4 v 300 f2.8  (Read 8539 times)

tandlh

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Canon 300 f4 v 300 f2.8
« on: December 28, 2007, 01:28:21 pm »

Hi folks,
     Sorry to bother you with another what should I buy question, but I would like your advice.  I have a Canon 300 f4 (non IS) that I use on my 40D with the Canon 1.4 TC for raptor and wildlife photography.  I am very pleased with the quality of the 300 with the 1.4 TC and that is my baseline for photo quality and AF speed.  But, even with the crop factor this doesn't reach out quite far enough in many cases.  
     The Canon 500 f4 IS would be a natural choice for reach and the IQ I want, but my style of photography generally includes a lot of hiking and stalking.  The 500 doesn't seem conducive to that.  The 400 f5.6 would probably be a bit better IQ and AF speed than my present rig, but adds no length.
     In my thinking then, I'm left with perhaps just the 300 f2.8 (IS) to consider.  There is general agreement that it is among the finest lenses made.  With the 1.4 TC I might get a bit faster AF, the IS would be a definite plus, but otherwise I hear that the IQ of the 300 2.8 is probably not sufficiently greater than the f4 to justify the cost.   Unless.... the 300 2.8 with the Canon 2.0 TC II would give me comparable IQ to my present rig and sufficient AF speed for birds in flight.  That's where I need some advice.  I have the original canon 2x TC and it's marginal in IQ on my 300 f4.  Is the new 2x on the 2.8 acceptably sharp and AF fast?  Any other options you can think of?  

Thanks,

Ted
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Bill Caulfeild-Browne

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Canon 300 f4 v 300 f2.8
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2007, 06:41:19 pm »

Quote
Hi folks,
     Sorry to bother you with another what should I buy question, but I would like your advice.  I have a Canon 300 f4 (non IS) that I use on my 40D with the Canon 1.4 TC for raptor and wildlife photography.  I am very pleased with the quality of the 300 with the 1.4 TC and that is my baseline for photo quality and AF speed.  But, even with the crop factor this doesn't reach out quite far enough in many cases. 
     The Canon 500 f4 IS would be a natural choice for reach and the IQ I want, but my style of photography generally includes a lot of hiking and stalking.  The 500 doesn't seem conducive to that.  The 400 f5.6 would probably be a bit better IQ and AF speed than my present rig, but adds no length.
     In my thinking then, I'm left with perhaps just the 300 f2.8 (IS) to consider.  There is general agreement that it is among the finest lenses made.  With the 1.4 TC I might get a bit faster AF, the IS would be a definite plus, but otherwise I hear that the IQ of the 300 2.8 is probably not sufficiently greater than the f4 to justify the cost.   Unless.... the 300 2.8 with the Canon 2.0 TC II would give me comparable IQ to my present rig and sufficient AF speed for birds in flight.  That's where I need some advice.  I have the original canon 2x TC and it's marginal in IQ on my 300 f4.  Is the new 2x on the 2.8 acceptably sharp and AF fast?  Any other options you can think of? 

Thanks,

I too love the 300 f4 with the 1.4 extender. I too find the 500  too heavy for hiking. My solution is the 400 DO f4 IS which is half the weight and half the size of the 500 and works very well with the 1.4X. It is eminently hand-holdable.

In fact, I owned both the 400 DO and 500 for several years, and woke up one day to the realization that whenever I went bird-shooting, I always selected the 400 and not the 500. Hence I sold it.

Bill




Ted
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Paul Sumi

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Canon 300 f4 v 300 f2.8
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2007, 11:39:03 pm »

Quote
     In my thinking then, I'm left with perhaps just the 300 f2.8 (IS) to consider.  There is general agreement that it is among the finest lenses made.  With the 1.4 TC I might get a bit faster AF, the IS would be a definite plus, but otherwise I hear that the IQ of the 300 2.8 is probably not sufficiently greater than the f4 to justify the cost.   Unless.... the 300 2.8 with the Canon 2.0 TC II would give me comparable IQ to my present rig and sufficient AF speed for birds in flight.  That's where I need some advice.  I have the original canon 2x TC and it's marginal in IQ on my 300 f4.  Is the new 2x on the 2.8 acceptably sharp and AF fast?  Any other options you can think of? 

Thanks,

Ted
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Here's a shot a friend took with the Canon 300 f/2.8, 2X TC and the 1D Mark III:

[a href=\"http://www.pbase.com/image/90922391]http://www.pbase.com/image/90922391[/url]

And his gallery of shots with the 300 f/2.8:

http://www.pbase.com/sadja/300x2

Of course it's tough to judge from a web sized image that undoubtedly been sharpened, but the results look very usable.

Paul
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Shutter

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Canon 300 f4 v 300 f2.8
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2007, 02:44:25 pm »

Have you considered the Sigma 4.5/500mm?
As far as I've heard it's way better than a 2.8/300mm+2TK and it's quite compact and rather light.
The only real "problem" is the aperture of 4.5 which means of course the loss of AF with an extender on certain cameras. And you wouldn't have IS but I wouldn't use a lens with more than 300mm without a tripod anyway...
But you'd still be better off with the Sigma, even with a 2.8/300 and a 1.4 extender you'd end up having 'only' a 4.0/420mm.  
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Eldor

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Canon 300 f4 v 300 f2.8
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2007, 09:30:56 am »

Quote
Hi folks,
     Sorry to bother you with another what should I buy question, but I would like your advice.  I have a Canon 300 f4 (non IS) that I use on my 40D with the Canon 1.4 TC for raptor and wildlife photography.  I am very pleased with the quality of the 300 with the 1.4 TC and that is my baseline for photo quality and AF speed.  But, even with the crop factor this doesn't reach out quite far enough in many cases. 
     The Canon 500 f4 IS would be a natural choice for reach and the IQ I want, but my style of photography generally includes a lot of hiking and stalking.  The 500 doesn't seem conducive to that.  The 400 f5.6 would probably be a bit better IQ and AF speed than my present rig, but adds no length.
     In my thinking then, I'm left with perhaps just the 300 f2.8 (IS) to consider.  There is general agreement that it is among the finest lenses made.  With the 1.4 TC I might get a bit faster AF, the IS would be a definite plus, but otherwise I hear that the IQ of the 300 2.8 is probably not sufficiently greater than the f4 to justify the cost.   Unless.... the 300 2.8 with the Canon 2.0 TC II would give me comparable IQ to my present rig and sufficient AF speed for birds in flight.  That's where I need some advice.  I have the original canon 2x TC and it's marginal in IQ on my 300 f4.  Is the new 2x on the 2.8 acceptably sharp and AF fast?  Any other options you can think of? 

Thanks,

Ted
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Hi Ted,

Of all my Canon lenses (and believe me, I've got a lot) the 300 f2.8L IS is my absolute favorite.  I did have the 300 f4L IS earlier but sold it a couple of years ago.  I almost always shoot the 300 wide open at 2.8 as I just love the "instant background" that gives.  The bokeh is superb!  I've used the lens for nature, sports and fashion shots and before getting my 500 f4L IS, I often used it with a 1.4xII (sometimes 2xII) converter and I was quite pleased with the results.

As far as the size of this lens (or the 500 f4L IS) goes, all I'll say that it really depends on what you get used to.  When you first get the 300 2.8 you think it's a monster, but after using the 500 4 for awhile and going back to the 300, you think it's tiny.  

I've often hiked (only a few hours) with my 500 and while it fits nicely into a backpack, I prefer to carry it over my shoulder attached to my tripod (with Wimberly).  The tripod legs have padding at the top and once you get used to it, carrying it this way isn't all that bad.  Really depends on what you get used to and how far you're going.  And I like having the rig pretty much ready to go while I'm carrying it.

The 500 is an incredible lens and it works really well with both 1.4 and 2x II converters.  And these things really seem to hold their value so if you can find one used you'd probably be able to sell it later for what you paid for it.

Cheers!
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tandlh

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Canon 300 f4 v 300 f2.8
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2007, 10:23:36 am »

Eldor,
    Thanks for the feedback.  I've been reading all that I can in the past week and came to the same conclusion that you just confirmed.  With some pointers from a gentlemen on LL I found links on other classified forums for used 500 f4 ISs.  It seems like they hold their value at about $4,700.  I've found a like new one that I'm purchasing for $5,100 (still under warranty).  I figure that I'm splitting the depreciation cost with the original owner.  I finally came to the conclusion that if I don't get the 500 and went with a 400 DO or the 300 2.8 with a 2X II tele I'd always wonder about how much better the 500 would be.  So, for as long as I can still lug it around the mountains and valleys I'm getting the 500, a BushHawk 320D shoulder stock for it (for birds) and then a better tripod system for the over the shoulder lugging you mentioned.  If I do decide to sell it later and go for portability I should be fine, the depreciation shouldn't be too much more and I should have gotten my moneys worth of keeper photos out of it in the mean time.

Thanks to all for your advice,

Ted
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