November 27, 2014, 12:41:15 AM

Author Topic: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...  (Read 18106 times)

Ken B

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Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« on: January 02, 2014, 01:13:55 PM »
OKee.. Here's the scoop. I have the 70-200 2.8L IS USM. But it just doesn't have the reach I want. I put a 2X on it and it gets me closer but still is short at 400mm.

Now if I get a 300mm 2.8 It will get me to 600 with the 2X but will it make me happy or not?

Since I can get to 400mm with the Zoom-2X combo,  would I just be better off with the 600mm that can get me to 1200mm if I ever want to?

I am certain others have gone down this which to get path before so I can only ask for thier guidence. Fortunatly I have time before I buy. We have a Camera-imaging Expo coming to Phoenix next week and I plan on going to play with some big lenses to see how I like them.
Ken B
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Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« on: January 02, 2014, 01:13:55 PM »

mrsfotografie

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Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2014, 01:28:08 PM »
OKee.. Here's the scoop. I have the 70-200 2.8L IS USM. But it just doesn't have the reach I want. I put a 2X on it and it gets me closer but still is short at 400mm.

Now if I get a 300mm 2.8 It will get me to 600 with the 2X but will it make me happy or not?

Since I can get to 400mm with the Zoom-2X combo,  would I just be better off with the 600mm that can get me to 1200mm if I ever want to?

I am certain others have gone down this which to get path before so I can only ask for thier guidence. Fortunatly I have time before I buy. We have a Camera-imaging Expo coming to Phoenix next week and I plan on going to play with some big lenses to see how I like them.

I would try to go for the focal length you need natively, that way you're assured of best possible image quality at that focal length. The 300 mm however may be more flexible. Tough choice.
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takesome1

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Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2014, 01:41:04 PM »
You didn't provide enough information for anyone to really give you a good recommendation.

We do not know what you shoot. We do not know if what and where you shoot if the size and weight of a 600mm set up could be used. We do not know what will make you happy.

As a general rule use the focal length that suits your needs, which appears to be the 600mm. From that rule you can make compromises.

mackguyver

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Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2014, 01:46:20 PM »
I have gone down this path and ended up with the 300mm f/2.8 IS II, but I'll admit that even with the 2x III, I sometimes wish it were longer.  I also took the 800mm for a spin (as a CPS loaner) and frequently found it to be too short, even with extenders.  Yes, you read that right.  With my shooting (everyone is different), I find my subjects are either in the 70-200 range (often with 1.4x) or in the 300-600mm range.  Beyond 600mm, I really need a 2000mm or something as they are way too far away.  Plus, here in Florida, the heat mirages and humidity really much up shots beyond about 50 yards in good times and beyond 50 feet in the middle of summer.  With the extenders, you have an amazing 300mm, excellent 420mm, and very good 600mm (esp @ f/8). 

The other key for me was portability.  The 300 2.8 is a lens you can carry with you and hand-hold, while the 600mm is one you lug with you really need a tripod (and gimbal) for in most situations.  I often hike in or stalk my subjects and this is really important to me.  If I was shooting out of blinds, from a vehicle, or stationary position most of the time, the 600mm would be my choice, no question.  It's definitely a lot more effort to get close to your subjects, but one of the things I love about wildlife photography is the very challenge of getting the shot.

Also, the 300mm leaves me with enough spare cash to buy a 1Dx one of these days.

Of course, there's always the 200-400 1.4x, that gives you more options, but is still large and heavy.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2014, 02:04:12 PM »
I shoot birds, have the 600/4L IS II, and almost always use it with the 1.4xIII, occasionally with the 2xIII.
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Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2014, 03:07:45 PM »
I had the option of getting the 400 2.8 with a 2x TC or the 600 F4.  Decided on the 600 with 1.4 TC and never looked back.  This often falls short.  I typically do not lug this around and set up in one location for the day.  Not sure if this helps you or not, what are your primary goals?
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Bob Howland

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Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2014, 03:32:53 PM »
You didn't provide enough information for anyone to really give you a good recommendation.

We do not know what you shoot. We do not know if what and where you shoot if the size and weight of a 600mm set up could be used. We do not know what will make you happy.

I'll second that! You say that you don't have enough reach. OK, how much do you have to crop to get the images that you want and what focal lengths would give you those images?

For example, the first time I went to Watkins Glen, it was with an EOS-3 film camera and a 100-400. Looking at how much I had to crop, I decided that I needed 800mm or its equivalent. Now I use a 7D with either a 100-400 or a 300 f/2.8 with 1.4X and 2X TCs. By next spring, I'll probably own a 200-400 zoom.

FWIW, Sports Illustrated photographers typically prefer the 400 f/2.8 with 1.4X and 2X TCs over a 600 f/4 with a 1.4X TC.

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Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2014, 03:32:53 PM »

Jack Douglas

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Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2014, 03:39:54 PM »
I have gone down this path and ended up with the 300mm f/2.8 IS II, but I'll admit that even with the 2x III, I sometimes wish it were longer.  I also took the 800mm for a spin (as a CPS loaner) and frequently found it to be too short, even with extenders.  Yes, you read that right.  With my shooting (everyone is different), I find my subjects are either in the 70-200 range (often with 1.4x) or in the 300-600mm range.  Beyond 600mm, I really need a 2000mm or something as they are way too far away.  Plus, here in Florida, the heat mirages and humidity really much up shots beyond about 50 yards in good times and beyond 50 feet in the middle of summer.  With the extenders, you have an amazing 300mm, excellent 420mm, and very good 600mm (esp @ f/8). 

The other key for me was portability.  The 300 2.8 is a lens you can carry with you and hand-hold, while the 600mm is one you lug with you really need a tripod (and gimbal) for in most situations.  I often hike in or stalk my subjects and this is really important to me.  If I was shooting out of blinds, from a vehicle, or stationary position most of the time, the 600mm would be my choice, no question.  It's definitely a lot more effort to get close to your subjects, but one of the things I love about wildlife photography is the very challenge of getting the shot.

Also, the 300mm leaves me with enough spare cash to buy a 1Dx one of these days.

Of course, there's always the 200-400 1.4x, that gives you more options, but is still large and heavy.

Exactly my thoughts, with no regrets.  With patience and creativity 600 works and 300 X2 is pretty good IQ.  I would never give up portability because that's half the fun - hiking, smelling, observing, going on the water, ......

The 300 X2 tucks into the crook of my arm beautifully, while holding my Jobu lens mount and is great hand held, allowing me to duck through the underbrush!

If a 7D2 type camera has say 24 MP that may offer reach with IQ similar to FF for good lighting, and so that may be my solution to "longer" in the future, when it's hard to fill the frame.


Jack
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Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2014, 03:58:14 PM »
I went from 500 f4L IS to 400 f2.8L IS II, with 1.4xIII/2xIII extenders, but moved to 600mm f4L IS II, to get the extra quality at 840mm and have the option to go to 1200mm. The 600 will stay with me for as long as I can carry it. I later added the 200-400 f4L IS 1.4x, so overall I am well covered for sports, wildlife and birds. The 600 is combomed with the 1.4x about 80% of the time.

I have been thinking about the 300 f2.8L IS II for some time, it is a phenomenal lens, with AF and IQ like no other, but I doubt it'll happen. The promised 7DII may be an interesting option for the extra reach though, if the AF is good enough.
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scyrene

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Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2014, 04:04:36 PM »
I went down a similar path. Tamron 70-300, then with 2x teleconverter, then Canon 70-200 f/4 + teleconverter, then 500 f/4 (+1.4x, then +2x). If it's birds you're after, get the 600. Of course, price is a major factor - here in the UK the price difference is considerable (£4-5k for the 300 f/2.8 IS II, maybe £8-10k for the 600), but like others here, I find even the bare lens (500 in my case) is hardly ever enough. I shoot at 1000mm in good light, 700mm in poorer light (or even 1400mm with stacked extenders if I can't get close). The old mantra 'never enough focal length' is really true, especially for songbirds in the wild.

Having said that, I'd love a 300 f/2.8 too, to plug the middle gap (or more realistically the 200mm f/1.8 for now). As for the weight, that some have mentioned, I am of decidedly average strength, but the 500mm lens is not too bad once you get used to it, and the 600 isn't too much worse judging by the specs.
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Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2014, 04:10:15 PM »
I recently purchased 300mm f2.8 IS II. There is no doubt the 300 is considered as "THE LENS". However, I returned the 300mm and settled with 400mm f2.8 IS II for more reach. I do quite a bit indoor shooting, therefore, f2.8 is what I really after. Otherwise, 600mm sounds awesome.

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Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2014, 04:10:22 PM »
I shoot birds, have the 600/4L IS II, and almost always use it with the 1.4xIII, occasionally with the 2xIII.

Ditto

kirispupis

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Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2014, 04:24:51 PM »
I recently had a similar decision and wound up purchasing a 200-400/1.4x.  Although I have had it only a week so far I do not regret this decision at all.  While the 600/4 has more reach, the 200-400/1.4x is far more flexible.
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Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2014, 04:24:51 PM »

AlanF

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Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2014, 04:37:29 PM »
If you are strong and want to sit in a hide (blind) for hours with your gear on a tripod, then go for the 600mm. If you want to walk or hike with a camera at the ready, and also use a hide with a hand held,  go for the 300mm f/2.8 II with a 2xTC III. If you are rich, go for both. It is as simple as that.
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mackguyver

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Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2014, 04:44:37 PM »
If you are rich, go for both. It is as simple as that.
I like that last bit of advice :)

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Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2014, 04:44:37 PM »