400 2.8 or 500 pf?

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PerfectPoms
PerfectPoms Senior Member • Posts: 2,208
400 2.8 or 500 pf?

Of course the 400 2.8 is about 3 times the weight of the 500 pf (depending on which model of 400 2.8 you compare) - but I'm wondering which lens will give me a 'better' image - the 500 pf, or the 400 2.8 and I crop the image from the 400mm a bit. (both images taken at the same distance from the subject)

I'm thinking of spending ALL the money I have at the moment to pick up a Nikon 500mm pf f5.6 - and I appreciate the tiny size and weight of this lens - but I'm wondering if the (practically best lens in the Nikon lineup) sharpness of the 400 2.8 will allow me to crop a 400mm image to the size equivalence of a photo taken at 500mm with the pf lens, and still get a better image from the 400 2.8.

(And better is a rather complicated concept, because there is so much more to an image quality than just sharpness.)

I'm cognizant of the fact that there is a HUGE difference in depth of field between f2.8 and 5.6. I'm not clear, however, if when you crop a 400mm f2.8 image, does it APPEAR to change depth of field? (I might answer that question myself when I read this:

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4025824#forum-post-58017853but I was out today with the pups and took almost 5,000 photos - so my brain is a little mushy at the moment.    (As much as I've been able to absorb from that thread so far is that cropping increases APPARENT depth of field?)

I just thought I would try to get feedback from you guys before I plunked down my money on a 500 pf tomorrow.  I'm HOPING to be able to afford a 120-300 2.8 Nikon lens - some day - and I've thought that the 500 pf on a second camera body would make a nice pair of lenses to carry on two bodies when your subjects are different distances away from you - AND - I've had sort of a stupid wet dream that I MIGHT someday be able to add a 400 2.8 lens to the 120-300 and 500mm lens set, for a three camera/three lens setup to cover 120mm up to 500mm - but this leads me to wonder, setting aside totally the massive weight difference of the 400 2.8 and 500 pf - does the 400 2.8 lens with images cropped from it make the 500 pf redundant?

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