400 F2.8 or 600 F4

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
SimpleUser
SimpleUser Regular Member • Posts: 208
Re: 400 F2.8 or 600 F4

Merlinator wrote:

I am in the market for a new lens. I currently shoot with a Sony A1 and 200-600mm lens for wildlife photography, mostly birds. I live in B.C. Canada and we have a lot of rain and gloomy skies in the fall and winter, which is the time I do a lot of local photography for birds in flight. In the spring I do a lot of Owl photography in the forests locally and in the interior of B.C. I usually do at least one trip internationally each year, though not in the last couple of years due to the current pandemic conditions.The 400 2.8 would suit me very well for owls and low light flight shots and I could get to 560mm with a 1.4 extender. I shot with a Nikon 600 before and really liked the shots it took. Price for both is very similar here in Canada, so that is not a factor. Size may be a factor for international flights. I'm wondering about weight as the 400 is lighter. Has anyone shot these lenses hand held? I'm 71 but have a lot of arm and upper body strength. Hope I haven't left out and pertinent details.Any suggestions or anecdotes about these lenses would be most welcome.

Looking at the specs, the 200-600 is 4.65lbs, while the 400 is 6.38lbs (actually, when translated into Kg it looks less daunting: 2115g vs. 2895g = 780g difference, which is a lot, and affects ones ability to stabilize handheld for a prolonged  shoot (for instance: you're waiting "on" a perched bird, for it to do something interesting..)

Between the 4000 f2.8, and 600 f4, and taking into account the low-light conditions that you described, I would probably get the 400 f2.8.

I shot a lot with my Sigma f4 500mm using an A99ii, to great effect (though the lens weight was 4150g)-also handheld, but I was almost 10y younger, and old injuries started to affect my ability to prop it up for extended periods of time.

I also worked both SLT and the mirrorless with the 1.4 TC. Handheld, and wildlife, the extended reach and non-appreciable degradation in sharpness outweighs  not using it.

-Hope this helps.

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NK88
Sony A9 | Sony FE 200-600 g OSS | Sony F2.8 70-200 GM OSS | Sony TCx1.4 || LA-EA5 | Tokina 19-35 ||Minolta AF f8 500mm mirror|

 SimpleUser's gear list:SimpleUser's gear list
Sony a9 Sony a7R IV Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS Sony 1.4x Teleconverter (2016) Sony 2x Teleconverter (2016) +4 more
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