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Author Topic: Would you sell a 500mm f/4 IS for a 300mm 2.8?  (Read 3837 times)

Maxaperture

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Would you sell a 500mm f/4 IS for a 300mm 2.8?
« on: August 29, 2013, 06:06:32 AM »
So having read the forum for a couple of years, finally have a question that needs your experienced opinions.

I had a 7D, and used it with my 500mm f/4.0 IS for shooting small birds (and big ones if they came along).
The combination was great, but I was never really happy with the IQ of the 7D.
However, with my other photography such as street and equine, I always felt that the images from the 7D were lacking a natural look, especially as I was cropping to 100-150%.

So I bought a 5DmkII, and I was blown away by the IQ, I loved it.
By the time the 5dMkIII had been out for a year, I'd stopped using the 7D, and had also swung towards the equine photography.

So, I now only have a 5D mkIII which I use 90% of the time with a 70-20mm 2.8 mkII, and a 500mm sat in the corner.
I have a 2x mkIII which I bought instead of the 100-400 to use with the 70-200, and it's awesome.

Should I exchange my 500mm for the 300mm 2.8 mkII, would the 300mm with the 2x mkIII give my IQ that near to the 500mm f/4? Considering it would be just for occasional use.

Such a hard decision, especially as I no longer have the crop factor of the 7D. If only the 7D mkII would appear with an 18Mp 1.3x crop sensor...... (similar to the 1D mkIV)

Opinions please.
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Would you sell a 500mm f/4 IS for a 300mm 2.8?
« on: August 29, 2013, 06:06:32 AM »

gferdinandsen

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Re: Would you sell a 500mm f/4 IS for a 300mm 2.8?
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2013, 06:26:22 AM »
The 300 f/2.8 II is an awesome lens.  With IS engaged, it's possible to handhold.  It's even possible to use as a macro with extension tubes.  I just evaluated the lens last week from CPS and fell in love, too bad I don't and extra $7500 laying around.

I also tested it with the 2x Tele-Extender Mark III and it still had good IQ.

The 300 is, in my opinion, a more useful focal length than the 500.

If I were you, I would swap lenses.
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Maxaperture

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Re: Would you sell a 500mm f/4 IS for a 300mm 2.8?
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2013, 06:33:17 AM »
Many thanks gferdinandsen, me thinks this thread is gonna cost me more money :-)
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nomad85

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Re: Would you sell a 500mm f/4 IS for a 300mm 2.8?
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2013, 07:17:43 AM »
I agree with above that the switch makes sense, but to keep IQ top notch, I would opt for an 1.4 TC extra.
The 300with 1.4TC gives 420mm, not quite the 500mm, but is a really good combi with the 300 if you look at IQ.

The 2.0 TC works good with the 300, but a 2TC by design will kill some of your IQ.....the 1.4 is less harsh on IQ.

I rather have a razor sharp 420mm, like I am used to having with the 70-200 2.8 IS II and 300 2.8, then a 600mm 5.6 that's OK, but not quite like the others.

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AlanF

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Re: Would you sell a 500mm f/4 IS for a 300mm 2.8?
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2013, 07:27:53 AM »
I agree with above that the switch makes sense, but to keep IQ top notch, I would opt for an 1.4 TC extra.
The 300with 1.4TC gives 420mm, not quite the 500mm, but is a really good combi with the 300 if you look at IQ.

The 2.0 TC works good with the 300, but a 2TC by design will kill some of your IQ.....the 1.4 is less harsh on IQ.

I rather have a razor sharp 420mm, like I am used to having with the 70-200 2.8 IS II and 300 2.8, then a 600mm 5.6 that's OK, but not quite like the others.

I regularly use the 300mm f/2.8 II with both the 1.4x III and 2xTC III on a 5DIII (that means is at least 1 day/week). The performance of both combinations  is awesome.

The 300 at 420mm with the 1.4x is at least as good as the 200-400mm at 400mm according to Canon MTFs and the TDP site, and the 300 at 600mm with the 2x is better than the 200-400mm at 560mm, with its TC kicked in.

I can assure that for photographing birds in the distance, the 300 at 600mm with the 2x gives better results than the 300 at 420mm with the 1.4xTC - any marginal loss in resolution (and it is a tiny loss) is far outweighed by the extra length of the lens. And, they are much lighter than the 500mm.
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Re: Would you sell a 500mm f/4 IS for a 300mm 2.8?
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2013, 07:47:07 AM »
I have not used the 500mm, BUT I also have a 70-200ii with the 2x iii, which I like. I tested a 300 f2.8ii at BH with a 2x iii, and was blown away by how sharp the lens was at 600mm f5.6 (with the TC). It was sharper than the 70-200 with TC.

The weight threw me off and since I do not make money off this hobby, I decided to delay gratification for now...

hope this helps.
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Apop

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Re: Would you sell a 500mm f/4 IS for a 300mm 2.8?
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2013, 08:00:26 AM »
I have done exactly this....

Changed my 500 f4IS to a 300 f2.8 IS II, without paying extra.

I do not regret it at all , the bare 300 is great and light, super fast AF  and f2.8
With a 1.4 converter it's hard to notice the difference in IQ and AF speed compared to the bare 300, it is faster than the 500 f4 was bare( sharper imo as well).

The 2xIII converter still gives quite fast autofocus , about on par what I had with the bare 500, but it sometimes hunts a bit more for BIF (1 cycle) , the IQ is still good as well. It's hard to quantify the differences in IQ , but I definitely feel it is equal or better than the 500 IS+1.4 converter.

It gives a lot of flexibility, I would not mind to pay a bit extra for the swap either.
The digital picture crops and online reviews of the performance with tc2III made me decide to try it.

420 f4 vs 500 f4
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=117&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=739&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=1&APIComp=0

600 f6.3 vs 500 f4
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=117&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=739&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=2&APIComp=3

700 f6.3 vs 600 f6.3
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=117&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=3&API=2&LensComp=739&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=2&APIComp=3

So if you can live with a little less reach I would definitely consider it !

here is a 100% crop from a falcon(? english term) i think.
600mm f6.3 ISO 400 1/2500



another 100% crop again 600mm 6.3 ISO 400


100% crop from naked lens


( I was battling a bit with uploading and converting to proper JPG size, Some ''quality'' may have disappeared )
« Last Edit: August 29, 2013, 08:06:56 AM by Apop »

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Re: Would you sell a 500mm f/4 IS for a 300mm 2.8?
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2013, 08:00:26 AM »

John

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Re: Would you sell a 500mm f/4 IS for a 300mm 2.8?
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2013, 08:28:56 AM »
i shoot with the latest version of the 300 f/2.8 all of the time and absolutely love the lens. i often use the 1.4x converter and i am very satisfied with the results. the AF is a tad slower and the IQ is not quite as good with the 1.4x, but the differences aren't all that much. i use the 1.4x a lot and get lots of very sharp great shots. in my opinion, there is definitely a difference however between the 300 alone and the 300 with the 1.4x. the IQ and focus speed is better without the 1.4x teleconverter on the lens. i find that the range of 300 to 420 (1.4x) is very useful to me. i have the 2x converter, but seldom use it. you lose 2 stops of light with the 2x and that is a lot of light when shooting sports late in the day as the light falls or at night under stadium lights. there are times when a 400 or 500mm lens would be awesome to have, but i would almost always rather have my 300 for most of the shots. the big lenses are heavy and i don't like to lug around more than one big lens to a game. i shoot with a 1DX so i have a FF camera. all in all, if i could only have one big lens then it would probably be the 300 f/2.8lens. if i were to get another big lens then it would be the 400 for what i do, but they are really expensive to get new. i use my 300 to shoot football, softball, baseball, and soccer. i don't use it for birding simply because i don't do much nature photography.

Maxaperture

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Re: Would you sell a 500mm f/4 IS for a 300mm 2.8?
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2013, 09:49:34 AM »
Brilliant replies folks, really appreciate your time.
Looks like the 500mm has to go....

Just got to find £1k to cover the difference, looks like I'll be doing some overtime.
I don't make money from photography, but there's something about being a bird photographer that has brought out the pixel peeper in me, even though I mostly shoot the various equine disciplines.
Funnily enough, it's clarity and colour that I'm more interested in than sharpness, especially as my subjects are now so much larger.
I even bought a Pro-1 printer, just to be satisfied that the prints I give away to people are the best I can manage (I know, I'm nuts). The printer really is everything that people say it is.

I'm really looking forward to doing the swap.
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Re: Would you sell a 500mm f/4 IS for a 300mm 2.8?
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2013, 10:15:50 AM »
I use both the 300 2.8II w the 2X III or 1.4X III and the 600 4.0II with extenders on either a 5DMKIII or 1Dx. When I want to go for a hike and capture wildlife (dual mission), the 300 w the 2X gives me a hand held, low weight option that has quite good IQ - the contrast is lower than the bare lens (or the 600 f4) and flare is worse if backlit, but overall I find the images useable. I still lug the 600 around when I'm in serious birding mode (w 1.4X), but having a light weight option is nice. In addition, the 300 2.8II is the sharpest lens I own and it is great as a macro w extenders (per comments above).
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Jeffrey

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Re: Would you sell a 500mm f/4 IS for a 300mm 2.8?
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2013, 12:12:11 PM »
I bought the 300 f/2.8 after reading many reviews from people who actually know what they are talking about. I shoot a lot of wildlife and some car/motorcycle racing. There is simply nothing like the 300mm f/2.8. I do on occasion use the 1.4x III extender tube and love the combination. The sharpness of the lens is unequaled in quality. The friends who I give prints to are astounded at the image quality and the sharpness of the detail.

In my humble opinion and after considering the 500mm and 600mm lenses, the 300mm f/2.8 won hands down and was the correct decision for me.

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Re: Would you sell a 500mm f/4 IS for a 300mm 2.8?
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2013, 12:19:55 PM »
The 300mm is a super lens, but going from a crop camera to FF, you need a longer lens to get the same FOV.
 
Make sure 300mm is right for you.  On FF it is too short for most wildlife, even 500mm on FF is marginal.
 
 Since you cropped your 500mm images on the 7D severely, I'd say you should get a longer lens.  Putting a 2X TC on a 300mm is not a very good solution, and even with that, you won't equal the FOV of your 7D + 500.
 
You will need 800mm to have the same FOV, which means you will still need to crop or add a TC.

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Re: Would you sell a 500mm f/4 IS for a 300mm 2.8?
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2013, 01:27:19 PM »
What the 300mm will not do for you, that the 500mm will, is give you decent IQ at 700mm with a 1.4x attached.

If you are a serious bird photographer the 500mm is going to be the winner in this IMO.

I would only go with the 300mm if you find that 300mm or 420mm usually long enough and on occasion 600mm would be necessary. The 300mm is much more portable, easily hand held and has many uses that the 500mm doesn't qualify.

Since you say your interest changed to equine, I think the 300mm will be the choice for you. You did say the 500mm sits in the corner and gathers dust. It appears that "serious" bird photographer does not apply.

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Re: Would you sell a 500mm f/4 IS for a 300mm 2.8?
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2013, 01:27:19 PM »

Maxaperture

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Re: Would you sell a 500mm f/4 IS for a 300mm 2.8?
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2013, 02:44:46 PM »
What the 300mm will not do for you, that the 500mm will, is give you decent IQ at 700mm with a 1.4x attached.

That is my only issue.

Since you say your interest changed to equine, I think the 300mm will be the choice for you. You did say the 500mm sits in the corner and gathers dust. It appears that "serious" bird photographer does not apply.

Indeed, no longer serious about the birds, hence my consideration and want for opinions.

Thanks to you all, so many great replies, it seems the 300 is a real champion.
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Re: Would you sell a 500mm f/4 IS for a 300mm 2.8?
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2013, 02:44:46 PM »