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Author Topic: 300 f2.8 Ser 1 vs. Ser 2?  (Read 3754 times)

jonathan7007

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300 f2.8 Ser 1 vs. Ser 2?
« on: January 07, 2013, 02:25:14 PM »
All,
There's a used 300mm f2.8L Series 1 available used in my local area for $1200. What were the sharpness improvements in the Ser 2 that I will be giving up? The price seems almost too good. I am planning to get together with the owner carrying my laptop and 5D's for a real-time test of the image sharpness. But Since I already have an OK 300mm f4L (admittedly a pretty old lens, too) I have to feel that selling that and paying another $500-600 for the f2.8 is worth it.

I have no regular work that demands the f2.8 speed right now, but I have had assignments where the extra stop would have been a benefit. However, except for the wow factor of the lens' appearance, no client here on my kinda out-of-the-way Hawaii island would have knowingly paid me a dime more for what I would have delivered for that extra stop, now that I think of it... <grin>

I do have the excellent 70-200 ser2 and a sharp shot at 200 can be enlarged a bit... Hmmm, I seem to be talking myself out of a bid on the 300f2.8.

(My next purchase was to be the Sigma 35mm f1.4, arguably filling a bigger hole in the glass I have.)

Aloha All,
jonathan7007

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300 f2.8 Ser 1 vs. Ser 2?
« on: January 07, 2013, 02:25:14 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: 300 f2.8 Ser 1 vs. Ser 2?
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2013, 02:41:37 PM »
There's a used 300mm f2.8L Series 1 available used in my local area for $1200. ... The price seems almost too good. I am planning to get together with the owner carrying my laptop and 5D's for a real-time test of the image sharpness.

Yes, it does.  They normally sell in the $3K's or more.  You know what they say about a deal that's too good to be true.  Be careful...
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DanoPhoto

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Re: 300 f2.8 Ser 1 vs. Ser 2?
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2013, 05:00:47 PM »
+1 on Neuro's comment/warning...price is way too good to be true (even for a 2.8 non-IS model)...
« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 05:02:43 PM by DanoPhoto »
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Lnguyen1203

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Re: 300 f2.8 Ser 1 vs. Ser 2?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2013, 05:37:16 PM »
agreed with the price too good to be true.  I paid ~ $3700 for a "like new" 300F2.8 Mrk I IS 1 year ago.  The lens is incredibly sharp at 300mm and takes the 1.4X TC well.  $1200 would be a steal unless something is really wrong with it.
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KyleSTL

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Re: 300 f2.8 Ser 1 vs. Ser 2?
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2013, 06:28:27 PM »
Just for clarification, are you talking about the non-IS Ver. I?  If so, that price seems on the low side of reasonable.  If that is the case, I would be cautious, though.  The focusing is electronic for the early telephotos, and the parts for them are all long discontinued.  If it is a version I non-IS it was made between 1987 and 1999 (when the IS version I was annouced), and its electronics are not likely to last much longer, and when they go out, that's it - no more focusing (autofocus or manual).

If it is an IS version 1, I would also be cautious as to its condition as well as its legitimate ownership (read: it might be stolen).
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TexPhoto

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Re: 300 f2.8 Ser 1 vs. Ser 2?
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2013, 09:02:18 PM »
Aloha Jon,
                 As others have said, it's hard to know what model lens you are talking about.  At that price it sounds like it might be an FD lens.  (Pre EOS)  It also might just be a good deal. 

Do you have a better description?  Do you have a Photo?

All that said, 300mm f2.8s are awsome but heavy.  You will love it or hate it.

-B

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Re: 300 f2.8 Ser 1 vs. Ser 2?
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2013, 03:28:55 AM »
This original 300mm 2.8 was a great lens. It is hands down the lens I most regret selling. Actually it's the ONLY lens I regret selling. Not that any of the other lenses I've sold or traded over these many years were bad, just that their replacements were as good or better.

But this lens was special. If you like to manual focus like I do, this lens has the best "feel" of any Canon lens I have used. There is the drawback that even manual focusing sucks on the battery, coupled with the poor guarantee of available repair parts, but the touch of this lens is awesome. Being confined by finances to the used market for this type of lens, I would seriously consider purchasing a copy of this lens even knowing it may take a second copy for donor parts to fix later.

My opinion is that the optical superiority, if any, of the first IS version over this lens is minimal, and the removable tripod collar on the IS version becomes gritty and stiff over time (based on at least two copies I have rented) and can allow the lens to dislodge from the collar and hit the ground at an inopportune time. My 300mm f/4.0 worked loose as I was carrying it on a monopod over my shoulder once, and it was sheer luck that it happened in tall, soft grass and not on the hard gravel I had been on just ten steps before. The original version 300mm 2.8 has a secure, permanent collar that stayed smooth the entire 12 years or so I used it.

An earlier poster commented that the "electronics are not likely to last much longer." I don't know that this is true. These lenses are still fairly common on the used market and in use in the field, and I don't recall ever hearing of any electronic failure that did not result from a drop or other damage. Assuming you get one in good condition, I'd expect years of value out of it, especially if it's not in everyday use.

As for the specific copy referenced by the original poster, definitely agree with others who have cautioned to examine it very carefully for proper function and good condition and ensure non-problematic provenance (be sure it's not hot), but I can't say enough good about this lens in general. The price does seem a bit too good to be true, but in my opinion, the price of this lens should be moderated by the lack of repair parts availability.
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Re: 300 f2.8 Ser 1 vs. Ser 2?
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2013, 03:28:55 AM »

Michael_pfh

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Re: 300 f2.8 Ser 1 vs. Ser 2?
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2013, 08:54:41 AM »
I would also consider $1,200 to be too cheap to be true for a decent copy.

However, I can highly recommend the Mark 2, IQ, sharpness, bokeh are amazing and it's comparably light, can carry it around all day with ease. I am mainly using it for shooting candid portraits while exploring a city. The perfect tool for that purpose...
1DX | 14 2.8L II | 16-35 2.8L II | 24 1.4L II | 24-70 2.8L II | ZE 35 2.0 | ZE 50 2.0 | 85 1.2L II | 100 2.8L IS | 135 2.0L | 70-200 2.8L IS II | 200 F2.0L IS | 300 2.8L IS II | 400 2.8L IS II | 500 4.0L IS

jonathan7007

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Re: 300 f2.8 Ser 1 vs. Ser 2?
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2013, 12:19:58 PM »
Thanks, all. The current owner and seller gives a date code (UV1019) that he says places manufacture in October 2007. (I don't have any reference for date codes, anyone got a link to such a chart?). It is an IS-equipped Series One. His ad includes a photo of all the gear, and the Canon box is in the shot with the printed "300mm f2.8L IS" showing. The question of parts availability is interesting. I will have to call Canon tomorrow to ask about parts and the date code. I know FD's... that was my previous Canon pro time: F-1's and FD lenses. 71-91: Film, baby. Kyl, the history info is good to know.

Yeah, I figured it'd be heavy out in front. That is something I like about the 300 f4L I recently found: light weight for the reach.

I will respond to the ad and see how much hassle it will be to meet the seller. Somewhere public. The photo shows all the cases, hoods, tripod collar, filter drop-in. The photo itself is setup and lit like a product shot. The lens serial number is listed. So I don't think stolen. We'll see.


I just need the 35mm f1.4 more right this very second.

Again, thanks, all.

jonathan7007

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Re: 300 f2.8 Ser 1 vs. Ser 2?
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2013, 12:30:19 PM »
There have been quite a few supertele scams on CL, where an authentic looking photo is used.  But if legit, it's an amazing deal.  If a local meet in a safe location can be arranged, go for it!!  You imply that you haven't contacted the seller.  Don't be too surpirsed if the response mentions things like a secure escrow account for payment, etc., i.e. the hallmarks of a scam.
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jonathan7007

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Re: 300 f2.8 Ser 1 vs. Ser 2?
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2013, 12:38:33 PM »
Oh, yeah... it's for a Nigerian prince down on his luck. I sent a message to the seller a few minutes ago. The day just starting here... but it may be sold as it was advertised all yesterday.

BTW, Neuro, others, where is a date code chart available? I have wanted one for a while.

jonathan7007


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Re: 300 f2.8 Ser 1 vs. Ser 2?
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2013, 02:39:34 PM »
Way too good to be true.  Even a Nigerian prince down on his luck could easily get high $3000s to low $4000s if it was legitimate.

Be very, very careful.
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Re: 300 f2.8 Ser 1 vs. Ser 2?
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2013, 02:39:34 PM »

TexPhoto

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Re: 300 f2.8 Ser 1 vs. Ser 2?
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2013, 03:39:41 PM »
If that is a Series I IS, there is no worry about parts or service, at least not in the next several years.  That is a pro lens discontinued only a year or so ago.  Canon will support that for quite some time, and 3rd party repair for even longer.

I think the dire warnings issued earlier in this post assumed it was a series I non-IS, making it 3 generations old.

Anyway, as the others have said, amazing deal if real, be careful.

jonathan7007

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Re: 300 f2.8 Ser 1 vs. Ser 2?
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2013, 11:40:05 AM »
No answer from owner, ad not in CL anymore, so who knows? Snapped up right away? Scam? Nigerian prince deported? We'll never know...

 (fade to black, drama over.)<grin>

Thanks for the info and history, everyone.

jonathan7007

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Re: 300 f2.8 Ser 1 vs. Ser 2?
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2013, 11:40:05 AM »