$25,000 Shootout FE 600/f4 vs. FE 400/2.8

Started Aug 26, 2019 | Discussions thread
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dcstep Contributing Member • Posts: 921
$25,000 Shootout FE 600/f4 vs. FE 400/2.8

There's another thread questioning if an FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS, plus the FE 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters might be a better purchase than the FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS, plus the same converters. There's a great discussion, which basically concludes that it depends on your primary usage, such as indoor sports vs. birds in flight and wildlife.

I'm in a transition period, where I temporarily own both, so I thought that I'd try to demonstrate the relative image quality of these two excellents lenses.

I used my a7RIII as the mule and artificial light for consistent lighting (I failed slightly at that and made minor adjustments in RAW conversion to try to get EV comparable). The lenses were mounted on Induro's stoutest tripod, ISO 100, 1/125-sec. and off-camera lighting adjusted to account for various apertures.

Note that one thing that I haven't seen discussed is that the minimum focus distance of the 400mm is 9-ft, while the 600mm can only get as close as 15-ft. For those thinking of using the 400mm for some macro work (flowers, big bugs, etc.) I've shown in a shot taken with the 400mm at 9-feet, even though that is not a typical usage of these lenses.

In viewing these comparative images, go to the Gallery, select 100% and full-screen. I find that looking at the red lettering to the right is useful for me to see the differences. Note that the 400mm, plus 1.4x is the smallest image of the bill.

Here's the 400mm @f/2.8 and 9-ft:

Here's the 600mm @f/4.0 and 15-ft:

Note that you can get more magnification with the 400mm IF and only IF you can make use of its shorter minimum focus distance.

Here's the 400mm, plus the 1.4x at f/4.0 @ 15-ft:

Here's the 600mm, plus the 1.4x, at f/5.6, at 15-ft:

Here's the 400mm, with the 2.0x, at f/8 and 15-ft:

Just for fun, here's the 600mm, plus 2.0x, at f/8.0, at 15-ft:

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 dcstep's gear list:dcstep's gear list
Sony a9 Sony a7R III Sony a6400 Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM +8 more
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