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Old Jun 10, 2013, 3:42 PM   #1
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Default Nikon 300mm f4 or new 80-400mm

I currently use a Sigma 150-500mm for bird photography, with fair results as long as I stay under 400m and have excellent light. I use a Nikon D7100. Looking for increased sharpness and possibly a little more reach, I am considering either the latest version of the 300mm f4 with 1.4TC, or the latest 80-400mm, which I understand also handles the 1.4 TC well. Comments from anyone with thoughts or experience with either of these lenses will be appreciated. One major concern that I have about the 300mm is that I have never used any long lens without VR.
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Old Jun 10, 2013, 5:46 PM   #2
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If you want "sharp", I'd say avoid using TCs.

If you want a good sharp long lens, consider one of the catadioptric lenses. They have fewer polished surfaces so they tend to be very sharp, and there's not much refracting going on so there's not much CA. The only drawback is that they're manual focus, but the depth of field is so large that you can generally guess the focus distance.

And they're cheap.

Use a fast shutter speed, and you won't have to worry about camera shake.
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Old Jun 10, 2013, 6:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutton View Post
I currently use a Sigma 150-500mm for bird photography, with fair results as long as I stay under 400m and have excellent light. I use a Nikon D7100. Looking for increased sharpness and possibly a little more reach, I am considering either the latest version of the 300mm f4 with 1.4TC, or the latest 80-400mm, which I understand also handles the 1.4 TC well. Comments from anyone with thoughts or experience with either of these lenses will be appreciated. One major concern that I have about the 300mm is that I have never used any long lens without VR.
Can't speak for the 80-400mm, as I've never owned one. However, I've read in more than one review that the 80-400mm is not recommended for use with TCs. The other issue I've read is that the lens is fine up to 300mm. Beyond that, you'll see significant softening.

The 300mm F4 AF-s, on the other hand, is sharp period. With or without teleconverters. I use the 300mm f4 with a TC14E, hand held, with a tripod
Oh, and my version does not have Vr. When using it hand held, I try to keep my shutter speed around1/600sec or higher.

The one thing, I wish Nikon would introduce is a 70-300mm f4. There are times when having the ability to change focal length would be ideal.

But, I'd never sell the 300mm f4. It's such an incredibly sharp lens for birding.

Zig
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Old Jun 10, 2013, 7:30 PM   #4
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I appreciate the input from both of you.
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Old Jun 10, 2013, 9:29 PM   #5
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Here is a review of the D7100 and new version of the 80-400.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIvK7ixsiEY

Looks very good!
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Old Jun 14, 2013, 5:05 PM   #6
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My 2 cents - Neither:

1. Can you live with a prime only? As when I shoot with a long prime I also carry a 2nd camera with a zoom...
2. It sounds like you need more reach too, so I don't see how you get to it by limiting your choices to 400~420mm options only from the 150-500mm that you already have...

IMO you should also consider the new Bigma 50-500mm as it comes with OS (i.e. VR). I have both the Canon and Nikon version, but it does cost more than your 150-500mm (but much less than the new 80-400 VR): http://forums.steves-digicams.com/ca...00-os-hsm.html

-> Follow the above link to see my Nikon's version of this lens. Also bear in mind that @ f/6.3 that's only a 1/3 stop less than f/5.6 (i.e. not noticeable) so the Bigma is definitely a better choice than adding a 1.4xTC to an 80-400mm which will be less fast and would slow down the AF as well.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 10:24 PM   #7
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the 300mm f4 with tc is your best bet and think about using a monopod or tripod. The 300mm f4 is a great lens.

Last edited by camano; Jul 6, 2013 at 10:42 AM.
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Old Jul 12, 2013, 11:01 AM   #8
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If you are willing to go old school and use manual focus the Tamron Adaptall SP 400/4 is the perfect birding lens in my book. Sharp as tack, even at 5.6, light enough to handhold and fast enough that adding a 1.4 TC will give you a nice ~600/5.6. Downside is of course the MF, even with focus confirmation I miss shots.

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Old Jul 24, 2013, 7:05 PM   #9
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Thanks to all for your thoughts. I am currently awaiting the arrival of the 300mm f4 and 1.4 TC.
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 6:30 AM   #10
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Congrats, on getting a fine lens.

Looking forward to seeing some of your shots with this new combo.
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