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Author Topic: What the 300mm f/2.8 II did for me  (Read 2557 times)

AlanF

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What the 300mm f/2.8 II did for me
« on: May 16, 2013, 09:14:09 AM »
Justin, after some forthright comments from me, challenged me to do a review of the 300mm f/2.8 II. I am not up to writing a review but I will say why I bought the lens and give a few examples of how it has performed for me. Perhaps this thread will encourage others to submit their thoughts and photos.

I drifted into bird photography after going on safari 3 years with a 7D and brand new 200mm f/4 L IS, then progressed to a 400mm f/5.6 L and then 100-400mm f/5.6 L. After a birding holiday in Brazil, I was introduced by a Belgian to the birdpix.nl site where I submitted photos. Most were rejected for being too soft, and I was astounded by the quality of the mainly Dutch amateurs with their big white primes, usually 500mm but with the occasional 600mm or 400mm f/2.8, plus teleconverters. I needed to upgrade my gear.

After much thought and studying all the websites I plumped for the 300mm f/2.8 II, which is not the favourite lens of bird photographers, for my personal following reasons. Firstly, I do not use a tripod but always do hand held as I like to wander around with my camera swinging from my hand or sit in a hide.  The 300mm is far lighter than the big 400, 500 or 600mm and is very easily carried all day. It is heavier than the f/4 400 DO but that is the same price and has little better IQ than the f/5.6 400mm and only two stops of IS. Secondly, the Canon MTFs and the TDP tests showed that the lens was exceptionally well matched to the new 1.4x and 2x TCs. So, the 300mm with the 2xTC is an exceptionally light and effective 600mm lens, and f/5.6 isn't too slow.

I collected the lens from Jessops on a Saturday morning a year ago and immediately rushed out before AFMAing and took some bird shots. The following full size (reduced to 1200x800 for uploading) and 100% crop from the middle (800x880) was about the 10th photo I took and just blew my mind as I had got no where near this quality before. It is of a sedge warbler collecting insects for its nest - 300mm, f/2.8 Canon 7D. I'll follow these with examples with the 1.4x and 2xTC.

I hope these show that the 300mm f/2.8 II provides us with outstanding 300, 420 and 600mm primes.



5D III, EOS-M, Powershot SX50, 300/2.8 II, 1.4xTC III, 2xTC III, 70-200/4 IS, 24-105, 15-85, 100-400 II, Sigma 10-20, EOS-M, 18-55, f/2 22.

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What the 300mm f/2.8 II did for me
« on: May 16, 2013, 09:14:09 AM »

AlanF

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Re: What the 300mm f/2.8 II did for me
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2013, 09:20:24 AM »
The sedge warbler was taken as a jpeg with no sharpening or processing. The next are all from RAW files form my 5D III, with minimal sharpening and noise reduction. This pair of full size then 100% crop are of my grandson playing cricket last weekend. I used the 1.4xTC and f/4. Every shot was focussed spot on. For those of you who don't know cricket, the boundary is quite a distance from the wickets and you need a super telephoto lens.

Again, the full image reduced to 1200x800, followed by a 100% crop. This is a good 420mm lens for sport.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2013, 09:36:33 AM by AlanF »
5D III, EOS-M, Powershot SX50, 300/2.8 II, 1.4xTC III, 2xTC III, 70-200/4 IS, 24-105, 15-85, 100-400 II, Sigma 10-20, EOS-M, 18-55, f/2 22.

AlanF

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Re: What the 300mm f/2.8 II did for me
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2013, 09:26:32 AM »
Normally, I use the 2x TC for bird photos. You'll see from these examples that it was opinionated twaddle that all 2x TCs are rubbish. The pair here are of a Dunnock. The first was taken last year with the 100-400mm on the 7D. It was the best of 10 shots and passable, but the fine details are lost. The second is with the 300m x2 at f/5.6 on the 5D III. Both are 100% crops.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2013, 09:33:30 AM by AlanF »
5D III, EOS-M, Powershot SX50, 300/2.8 II, 1.4xTC III, 2xTC III, 70-200/4 IS, 24-105, 15-85, 100-400 II, Sigma 10-20, EOS-M, 18-55, f/2 22.

AlanF

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Re: What the 300mm f/2.8 II did for me
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2013, 09:32:45 AM »
Finally, nothing special - just a photo I took over the weekend at 600mm and f/5.6 of a kingfisher. The bird is just a small blob in the centre. A 100% crop gives a reasonable photo. With the 100-400 or the 400mm f/5.6, it would just have been a blur as a crop.

Well, as far as I am concerned, the lens was worth the price as the improvement over existing lenses was more than incremental. And, it is good enough for me and I shan't be buying the 200-400mm or the bigger whites. But, a new 100-400mm might tempt me!
« Last Edit: May 16, 2013, 09:34:18 AM by AlanF »
5D III, EOS-M, Powershot SX50, 300/2.8 II, 1.4xTC III, 2xTC III, 70-200/4 IS, 24-105, 15-85, 100-400 II, Sigma 10-20, EOS-M, 18-55, f/2 22.

Q8-MC

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Re: What the 300mm f/2.8 II did for me
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2013, 09:56:34 PM »
Thanks for the great review. Canon 300mm f/2.8 ll is my next plan.

expatinasia

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Re: What the 300mm f/2.8 II did for me
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2013, 10:43:52 PM »
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

There was no need for a challenge, and if indeed there was one, then that's a pretty childish thing to do.

I do not think there is any doubt about just how great the 300 f/2.8 mark ii is, and as you say it works great with the mark iii TCs. I keep looking at the 300, as it is cheaper than the 400, but I know deep down that it is the 400 f/2.8 mark ii I want and need, and if I splurge on the 300 then it will be even longer before I get the 400 so am trying to resist the "cheaper" option  ;).

For lens reviews I love TDPs efforts, as he covers everything you could possibly want to know about lenses.
1D X + backup + different L lenses etc.

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Re: What the 300mm f/2.8 II did for me
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2013, 10:43:52 PM »