Which big white for wildlife

Codebunny

Elil
Sep 5, 2018
802
807
Scotland
If you where to pick between the 200-400 f/4 and the 400 f/2.8 which would you go for. They are both right in my price range with only a few hundred £ between them. Almost all of my best pictures have been from my 300 f/2.8 and in that range a lot of my faves came from when it was attached to my 7d. I am always shooting animals like foxes, though occasionally drop down to squirrels. With the 400 f/2.8 I would likely be buying it will a 1.4x converter for those times where I need more reach.


300mm f/2.8 3Kg (current) | 400 f/2.8 III 2.8Kg | 200-400mm f/4.0 3.6Kg
 
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Codebunny

Elil
Sep 5, 2018
802
807
Scotland
How do you use the lens - hiking, hide, monopod, tripod etc?

The 300 f/2.8 I currently use is always on a gripped body and often hand held. I use a monopod for longer periods and tripod for stakeout. I have my 300 with me on my shoulder everyday for 10 year now. I also carry a second body and lens when I know I’ll be in tighter spaces.

My 300 is 3Kg. I am planning on getting a backpack for this one too so I can do some hiking.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Mar 25, 2011
16,633
1,590
It depends on the wildlife, how big, how close you get, etc. For birds in flight, 500 or 600mm many like 800mm. A 200-400 can extend to 560mm so its good for a wide range of subjects, but since the aperture is small, its not a low light lens like the 400mm f/2.8. Many like the 400mm DO for its portability.

I used my 600mm f/4 plus 2 TC's(2X + 1.6x) stacked and still could not fill the frame with some eagles that congregated locally. They did not seem very far away, they were in the bottom of a quarry, but the focal length just wasn't long enough and I had a Canon 1D MK IV with crop sensor at the time. 600mm was great for a blackbird perched in a small tree 20 ft away.
 

Codebunny

Elil
Sep 5, 2018
802
807
Scotland
It depends on the wildlife, how big, how close you get, etc. For birds in flight, 500 or 600mm many like 800mm. A 200-400 can extend to 560mm so its good for a wide range of subjects, but since the aperture is small, its not a low light lens like the 400mm f/2.8. Many like the 400mm DO for its portability.

I used my 600mm f/4 plus 2 TC's(2X + 1.6x) stacked and still could not fill the frame with some eagles that congregated locally. They did not seem very far away, they were in the bottom of a quarry, but the focal length just wasn't long enough and I had a Canon 1D MK IV with crop sensor at the time. 600mm was great for a blackbird perched in a small tree 20 ft away.

Really not interested in birds, I wont turn my nose up at one but also wont go out my way. Mostly I am foxes, badgers, wolfs, deer, hare, rabbits, and the occasional squirrel. I am getting out there much more often and diversifying too, but its unlikely I'll photograph things that are too small. I also live in Scotland which is where giving up the versatility of the 200-400 for the 400 f/2.8 is attractive. The 200-400 keeps appealing to me for its versatility, but the 400 prime keeps poking up with its wider aperture and I assume faster focus speed?
 

AlanF

Stay at home
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
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9,651
The 300 f/2.8 I currently use is always on a gripped body and often hand held. I use a monopod for longer periods and tripod for stakeout. I have my 300 with me on my shoulder everyday for 10 year now. I also carry a second body and lens when I know I’ll be in tighter spaces.

My 300 is 3Kg. I am planning on getting a backpack for this one too so I can do some hiking.
You can pick up a used 200-400mm for just over £5k from WEX (grade 9) as the prices of used big whites have tanked. Read http://www.birdsasart-blog.com/ for the low prices that they are going for on Art Morris's site. The 400 f/2.8 III is too new for a cheap used. But, you might like many be interested only in new. I've started buying used because there are real bargains from reputable dealers with warranties and 30 day returns.
 

Codebunny

Elil
Sep 5, 2018
802
807
Scotland
You can pick up a used 200-400mm for just over £5k from WEX (grade 9) as the prices of used big whites have tanked. Read http://www.birdsasart-blog.com/ for the low prices that they are going for on Art Morris's site. The 400 f/2.8 III is too new for a cheap used. But, you might like many be interested only in new. I've started buying used because there are real bargains from reputable dealers with warranties and 30 day returns.

First one I am buying new... It is my 35th birthday coming up and that is 15 years past my used by date. I also just finished clearing off £48,000 in debt and have all this money saving that I have never managed to save before. It is a once in a life time special thing. I want to open the box and enjoy a experience then go take pictures with it.
 

AlanF

Stay at home
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
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First one I am buying new... It is my 35th birthday coming up and that is 15 years past my used by date. I also just finished clearing off £48,000 in debt and have all this money saving that I have never managed to save before. It is a once in a life time special thing. I want to open the box and enjoy a experience then go take pictures with it.
Enjoy it then and good luck to you! At your age you can manage to cart these around. On safari, a zoom is essential for animal photography. If you are going to get close to your animals, then 400mm prime might be too long. Your experience will tell you. For my type of birding, I would buy the spectacular 400/2.8 and when on safari take a light zoom on a second body.
 
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Codebunny

Elil
Sep 5, 2018
802
807
Scotland
Enjoy it then and good luck to you! At your age you can manage to cart these around. On safari, a zoom is essential for animal photography. If you are going to get close to your animals, then 400mm prime might be too long. Your experience will tell you. For my type of birding, I would buy the spectacular 400/2.8 and when on safari take a light zoom on a second body.

I was thinking huge lens on a 1d body + a R body and the little fat 70-200 for surprise closeups.
 

Mikehit

EOS R6
Jul 28, 2015
3,332
533
If birds in flight are at the lower end of your interests I would tend towards the 200-400, especially as the ever-improving ISO capabilities of modern sensors overcome many of the reasons for needing the wider apertures.
However, it may be worthwhile going through your photo selection and seeing if a fixed 400mm would be too long for many of your favourites, and whether a narrower aperture of a 200-400 would reduce the impact of your images.
 

Codebunny

Elil
Sep 5, 2018
802
807
Scotland
If birds in flight are at the lower end of your interests I would tend towards the 200-400, especially as the ever-improving ISO capabilities of modern sensors overcome many of the reasons for needing the wider apertures.
However, it may be worthwhile going through your photo selection and seeing if a fixed 400mm would be too long for many of your favourites, and whether a narrower aperture of a 200-400 would reduce the impact of your images.
If birds in flight are at the lower end of your interests I would tend towards the 200-400, especially as the ever-improving ISO capabilities of modern sensors overcome many of the reasons for needing the wider apertures.
However, it may be worthwhile going through your photo selection and seeing if a fixed 400mm would be too long for many of your favourites, and whether a narrower aperture of a 200-400 would reduce the impact of your images.

This image is from my 300mm when I used my 7d. This is kinda the framing I like and I was close enough to fill the frame. Going over my pictures, the ones on my faves are 200mm, 300mm, or 480mm(on the crop). I do have some pet pictures below this range that I take with my 24-70. I have non in 71mm to 199mm. And have nothing over 480mm, though that is due to a lack of having a lens to use.
 

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StoicalEtcher

EOS RP
CR Pro
Jan 3, 2018
403
347
Yorkshire
Codebunny, depending upon where you are in Scotland, you might want to consider renting the len(s) to try out? WEX (for example) have lens rentals available in Edinburgh and Glasgow. 200-400 is typically around £85/90 a day - not cheap, but in the scheme of the cost of a new one, not bad. (And I have no idea, but they may even allow you to offset the rental cost against the purchase price if you subsequently bought one through them?)
Good luck.
 

Codebunny

Elil
Sep 5, 2018
802
807
Scotland
Codebunny, depending upon where you are in Scotland, you might want to consider renting the len(s) to try out? WEX (for example) have lens rentals available in Edinburgh and Glasgow. 200-400 is typically around £85/90 a day - not cheap, but in the scheme of the cost of a new one, not bad. (And I have no idea, but they may even allow you to offset the rental cost against the purchase price if you subsequently bought one through them?)
Good luck.

I have tried both and loved both, but can only buy one. When it comes to the 600, I know when I would need a 600 and can rent it for those days.
 

Codebunny

Elil
Sep 5, 2018
802
807
Scotland
I bought myself a Nikon Z 6 and 200-500mm for not very much at all due to a sale. Along with a Canon 90D for my current Canon glass. I'll be using the Nikon with those 1.8's for my walk about and find out what focal ranges I use on the 200-500mm then buy a Canon big white with a R5 or 1D body.
 

Labdoc

EOS 90D
Mar 23, 2016
136
26
61
USA
Unpopular answer, Sigma 150-600. I have the 400, the 200-400 and they stay on the shelf. You will need the reach for wildlife and anything over 400 in Canon is very expensive. I have sold many pics using this lens and unless you pixel peep quality is excellent. Comparison to the canon equivalent isn't fair IMO due to the price difference. I know you asked for big white, just wanted to share my experience.
 

Codebunny

Elil
Sep 5, 2018
802
807
Scotland
Unpopular answer, Sigma 150-600. I have the 400, the 200-400 and they stay on the shelf. You will need the reach for wildlife and anything over 400 in Canon is very expensive. I have sold many pics using this lens and unless you pixel peep quality is excellent. Comparison to the canon equivalent isn't fair IMO due to the price difference. I know you asked for big white, just wanted to share my experience.

It is a good option, but not for a deliberate once in a life time purchase.
 

AlanF

Stay at home
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
8,054
9,651
Beats me why you bought a Nikon 200-500 to go on a Z6 to see what focal lengths you would use. A Sigma 150-600mm C on the 90D you also bought makes a far better combination for wild-life photography. I speak as someone who shoots both Nikon and Canon with telephotos. The 200-500 is slow focussing on the Z6 and outresolved by a factor of 2 by the 150-600mm on the 90D, with which it pairs well.
 

Codebunny

Elil
Sep 5, 2018
802
807
Scotland
Beats me why you bought a Nikon 200-500 to go on a Z6 to see what focal lengths you would use. A Sigma 150-600mm C on the 90D you also bought makes a far better combination for wild-life photography. I speak as someone who shoots both Nikon and Canon with telephotos. The 200-500 is slow focussing on the Z6 and outresolved by a factor of 2 by the 150-600mm on the 90D, with which it pairs well.

I never considered the sigma, but would want to pair it will a full frame. Otherwise I would be thinking I always use 300mm when in fact I am using a 480mm. Though the main reason for the Z6 is the really heavy discounts on it and the 200-500 being under £1000.
 

AlanF

Stay at home
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
8,054
9,651
I never considered the sigma, but would want to pair it will a full frame. Otherwise I would be thinking I always use 300mm when in fact I am using a 480mm. Though the main reason for the Z6 is the really heavy discounts on it and the 200-500 being under £1000.
I don't understand about the 480mm-300mm thing. You usually just frame with a zoom rather than look at the focal length. Nikon is a peculiar company, it gets some things better than anyone else, like the D500 and D850 and its PF lenses are a joy, but it's weak on zooms. Some Nikon wild-life photographers are using the Z50 as a back up as it has faster focussing and a very nice sensor.
 
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