200-500mm to replace 300mm f4 af-s non vr

Started 9 months ago | Discussions thread
StefanSC Regular Member • Posts: 315
Short version is very little and very little

So, let's start with a shot form about 15 meters distance between my 10 years old 300mm f4D and TC14 II and a brand new, hand picked 200-500mm f5.6:

There isn't much between the two setups when it comes to enlargement.

There is a little difference between sharpness but again, not much between them (I'd say that the 200-500mm f5.6 is has a bit better micro-contrast).

I don't have the shots handy, but without the TC, the 300mm f4D has much better image quality than the 200-500mm f5.6 wide open at 300mm.

When it comes to handling there are a few items of note:
1) The VR in the 200-500mm is very very good and increase the keeper shots at the limit.

2) The zoom ring on the 200-500mm is hard to use (you aren't going to from 200 to 500mm in one move).

3) AF of the 300mm f4 is faster than the 200-500mm. The 300 + TC is about on par with the 200-500mm.

4) The weight difference between the two is easy to feel after about an hour of shooting. Also, when zoomed all the way out, the 200-500mm feels front heavy.

5) The 200-500mm offers a 0.2x magnification while the 300mm f4 is about 0.3x, making it a bit more useful for shooting critters.

6) The 300mm f4 has a habit of it's AF motor breaking down after a while. And it can't be repaired anylonger.

Overall, I'd say the 200-500mm is a qualified upgrade over the 300mm f4 + TC. The biggest thing you are getting is VR, followed by a little reach and a slightly improved image qality. You are giving up ease of transport and some ergonomics, plus the increased magnification and extra image quality at 300mm f4 (and the f4 :D). 
I for one skipped this lens and I am gathering my pennies for the 500mm f5.6 (or an used 500mm f4).
One more note:
You could look at the Sigma 150-600mm C. It's cheaper than the 200-500mm f5.6, it is a bit lighter, about the same AF speed and the difference between 420mm and 600mm has a lot more impact than the one between 500mm and 420mm.
In the interest of full disclosure, I din pass my 150-600mm C on as I didn't like how it was inconsistent with the D500 in overall image quality, but I am tempted to give it another go.

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I hold the truth... A very specific, based on my experience and only relevant to me truth, but the truth nonetheless!

 StefanSC's gear list:StefanSC's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Nikon D810 Nikon D500 Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF +13 more
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