Nikon 200-500mm AF-S F5.6 V 300mm F4/D AF-S Prime

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 17,272
Re: Thought about trading my 300 f4D for a 200-500...

Adding a 1.4TC to the 300F4 was the only  good way to get 400mm and (good) sharpness from Nikon for under about $4000-8000 (200-400, 300F2.8 + TC, 400F2.8, etc.)   It's a very tried and tested combination.

Back in the day... I bought an 80-400 AF-D in 2009, and I was immediately unimpressed by the sharpness (especially wide open).  I was especially unimpressed by the first VR Nikon released with it.   A buddy came over one day to shoot some owl nests, and I did a side-by-side comparison with his combo (300f4 + Kenko 1.4TC) at all apertures.   That test convinced me that the 300+TC was better than the zoom, but especially wide open, and I had to shoot the zoom at F9.    Just going from F9 to F5.6 and getting equivalent sharpness was enough improvement to justify me getting my own 300f4 + (Nikon) 1.4TC.  I then did another side-by-side comparison against the older 80-400AF-D.

That was a comparison between an excellent 300f4 and a mediocre zoom.   I later did the same comparisons against the 80-400g, and that zoom was able to stack up to the 300+TC wide open, though the difference was getting pretty close.   The difference to the 200-500 is even closer, and the 200-500 will win almost any handheld comparison at lower shutter speeds due to VR.

If you use the 300+TC on a tripod, you will be pleased with the results.   You will also become familiar with the weaknesses of the combo, which are generally having to use the combo on a tripod, and slower autofocus from adding the TC.    Birds in flight can be a struggle here - you'll feel the loss of AF speed.

Optically though?   Should be as good as the newer 300PF and TC 1.4E-III, without some of the backlit issues affecting PF designs.

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Phoenix Arizona Craig
"I miss the days when I was nostalgic."

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