300mm F4 + TC1.7 or Tamron 200-500mm for sports

Started Jan 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
Keith Aitken Veteran Member • Posts: 6,574
Re: 300mm F4 + TC1.7 or Tamron 200-500mm for sports

There are some static wildlife contributors here at dp who get wonderful results from the 300 f/4 plus 1.7TC combo but for sports action you would not find the AF fast or reliable enough, although panning for running or sports in one plane of direction might be satisfactory.

Agree w/ Andy that a better TC might be the 1.4, even though that only gives you 420mm max, compared with your current 500mm max.  With the 1.4, you can still use the lens at f/5.6 but it is better stopped down. The 300 f/4 is wonderfully sharp wide open, and would give you better images than your current lens at 300mm. I mostly find that cropped 300mm images are better than ( say ) an equivalent image from the 300 f/4+1.7 TC.

Anyhoo, your present Tamron is ideal if you really, really need the zoom. It is roughly the same size and weight of the 300 f/4. Another thing you can do to explore your need is to do some analysis on how many sport images you shoot betw 400 and 500mm. Maybe you don't need 500mm

I do prefer the 300 f/4 prime for sports, compared with a zoom because I have less to think about to get the shot. ( I use the Nikon 200-400 for some sports - bigger

Final thought : I would keep the Tamron as it seems to work for you, and means no cash outlay, although the 300 f/4 is one of Nikon's best, and well worth the cash. It functions best with the 1.4 TC. When used with the 1.7 TC, keep in mind that this lens/TC combo goes to f/6.7 wide open, and for best results should be used at f/8 or beyond, so that might limit your shutter speed and AF operation, however, there are many other things to recommend the 300 f/4, an absolute gem.

You don't mention whether you are using a tripod. If you have some sharpness problems and are using the lens betw 400 and 500mm, a tripod could improve your percentage of great shots. Many zooms like the Tamron can show a dropoff in IQ as you get into longer ranges. Consider a monopod.

Good luck in your research


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