Nikon 400mm f/2.8 + 1.4 TC Vs Nikon 600mm f/4 VR

Started Mar 16, 2009 | Discussions
thanhuy Regular Member • Posts: 288
Nikon 400mm f/2.8 + 1.4 TC Vs Nikon 600mm f/4 VR

Hi

I'm thinking about getting 400mm f/2.8 VR + 1.4 TC = 560mm f/4 sometime in the next month or two but some of my friend told me that the image quality won't be as good as 600mm f/4 VR. I know the price differ about + - $1000 but it's O.K as long as the image quality produce by it is worth it, I will split the cost with my brother on purchasing this monster so not a big deal but what I'm concerned about is that the image quality between the two. Can someone share some experiences on how these two lenses perform with and without tele converter, how's the image quality of 400mm f/2.8 VR + 1.4 TC Vs 600mm f/4 VR?

Thanks so much

Daves602
Daves602 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,640
Re: Nikon 400mm f/2.8 + 1.4 TC Vs Nikon 600mm f/4 VR

I can't help you with the VR models but, I am under the impression that the 400f/2.8 AF-S 11 with 1.4 tc is just as sharp as the superseeded 600mm f/4.

The reason I purchased the 400 f/2.8 was that extra stop for sports photography. Even with the better ISO capacity in the latest round of cameras, the faster lens is always handy.
--
Warm regards, Dave.
Australian NPS member
http://www.dksphotography.smugmug.com

 Daves602's gear list:Daves602's gear list
Nikon D3 Nikon D300S Nikon D810 Nikon AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED +25 more
heavymeister Contributing Member • Posts: 534
Re: Nikon 400mm f/2.8 + 1.4 TC Vs Nikon 600mm f/4 VR

I think you will find good comparison examples with a search run over at the Nikon lens forum here.

katanaphoto Contributing Member • Posts: 783
Re: Nikon 400mm f/2.8 + 1.4 TC Vs Nikon 600mm f/4 VR

I shoot with 400mm f/2.8 + 1.4 TC all the time right now.

It is a great combo. I don't have the VR because when I purchased it was not available
and even now I don't see a reason to get one.

Here you can see few shots shot with this combo on D3.

more you can see here in Eagles and golf Galleries.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/katanaphoto/sets/

alain durand Regular Member • Posts: 262
If you plan to always use the TC, get the 600mm

I have not tried the 400mm VR, but I tried the 400mm AF-II and I now own the 600mm VR.

At the end of the day, it depends what you shoot. If you think you are going to use the TC all the time, I will strongly recommend you get the 600mm. I got great shots with the 400mm + TC, but not as sharp as with the 600mm.

If you think you need the 400mm focal length, for example for sport, this is a different issue.

  • Alain.

thanhuy wrote:

Hi

I'm thinking about getting 400mm f/2.8 VR + 1.4 TC = 560mm f/4
sometime in the next month or two but some of my friend told me that
the image quality won't be as good as 600mm f/4 VR. I know the price
differ about + - $1000 but it's O.K as long as the image quality
produce by it is worth it, I will split the cost with my brother on
purchasing this monster so not a big deal but what I'm concerned
about is that the image quality between the two. Can someone share
some experiences on how these two lenses perform with and without
tele converter, how's the image quality of 400mm f/2.8 VR + 1.4 TC Vs
600mm f/4 VR?

Thanks so much

 alain durand's gear list:alain durand's gear list
Leica CL Leica Summicron-T 23mm f/2 ASPH Leica T 55-135mm F3.5-4.5 Leica Summilux-TL 35mm F1.4 ASPH Leica TL 60mm F2.8 ASPH +2 more
da_Feeniks Contributing Member • Posts: 648
The 600/4 will never have f/2.8

As one poster has already mentioned, if you need the reach then the 600 is the only logical option. If, however, you will be shooting indoors or in very low light there is no substitute for bigger apertures.

Brendan
=====
I am the last sane person on earth.

Rory Veteran Member • Posts: 3,239
Re: Nikon 400mm f/2.8 + 1.4 TC Vs Nikon 600mm f/4 VR

I agree with both Alain and Grendon. The 400VR is an amazing lens - especially for sports, large mammals and large birds. The focus acquisition at f/2.8 is faster than f/4.

However, if you are after reach, then 560mm, especially on full frame, is not that much, and you will soon be wishing you had the 600VR + a TC.

BTW I am shooting with the 600VR + TC17. There is a small amount of softness if you do not get everything right and tracking is sometimes challenging, but it can be made to work.

Here is an example of a 100% crop shot with D700 600VR and TC17 on a loose Wimberley at f/8, 1/200sec ISO 800 and VR on.

So it all comes down to your primary purpose: speed or reach?
--
Rory

daniel raithby Regular Member • Posts: 152
Re: Nikon 400mm f/2.8 + 1.4 TC Vs Nikon 600mm f/4 VR

Hi Katana

I have the same setup as you -- D3 and 400 AFS2 and concerters and the better beamer.

I think your images are amazing with incrtedible pop and contrast.

I find when i shoot eagles i tend to get a lot of shoadowing and nowhere near as deep colors.

Are you close enough that the flash is adding a lot of light that is helping or is the quality and angle of lighting.

Your definitely doing something right.

Daniel

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Nikon D3
sigma 15mm F2.8 Fisheye
50mm F1.4 Nikkor
85mm F1.4 Nikkor
24-70mm F2.8 Nikkor
70-200 F2.8 VR Nikkor
200mm F4 Nikkor Micro
200mm F2.0 VR Nikkor
400 F2.8 AFSII Nikkor
Nikon TC14E2 TC17E2 TC20E2
3 Nikon SB800's
SU800
Nikon R1 Wireless Macro flash
Fuji S3 Pro IR converted

katanaphoto Contributing Member • Posts: 783
Re: Nikon 400mm f/2.8 + 1.4 TC Vs Nikon 600mm f/4 VR

yes the better beamer works and the reach of the flash is much better I can finally get
some detail under the wings of the eagle not just deep shadows.
It take practice when shooting and post processing is important too.

The key to get blue water is too shoot one hour before the sunset and set your camera to 5100-5500K and your bird will be as shown.

The shots you see are 80-90% of the frame so that helps a lot, so I have lorn one think that you don't need the longest lens or mp but you need to find the way to get closer to the action. Finally this year I'm happy with my eagles shots, but I have spend
total 7 days shooting this year over 2 mounts period.

I would love to get 600mm but I don't think I want loose the F/2.8 so I think I will stick with 400mm for now.

By the way Daniel how is your 200mm f/2 lens you must love it.
This will be my next Nikon lens I hope soon.
I even think I might sell couple of my lenses to help finance this lens.

daniel raithby Regular Member • Posts: 152
Re: Nikon 400mm f/2.8 + 1.4 TC Vs Nikon 600mm f/4 VR

Thanks for the info that will help. Part of my problem is location. I shoot them in florida specifically cape coral when i stay with my parents during the winter for a family vacation.

The eagles are often in trees so a lot of the shooting is upwards.

It looks like you found a location on the water where you are about the same height. I'll have to try to find similar location there.

As for the 200mm F2.0, i love it.

I actually find that i use it way more than my 70-200mm now. I will just adjust my shooting style and distance so i can use the 200 and deal with weight cause the images it allows you to produce are breathtaking.

By the way are you shooting your eagles in Chicago? Where?

Daniel

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Nikon D3
sigma 15mm F2.8 Fisheye
50mm F1.4 Nikkor
85mm F1.4 Nikkor
24-70mm F2.8 Nikkor
70-200 F2.8 VR Nikkor
200mm F4 Nikkor Micro
200mm F2.0 VR Nikkor
400 F2.8 AFSII Nikkor
Nikon TC14E2 TC17E2 TC20E2
3 Nikon SB800's
SU800
Nikon R1 Wireless Macro flash
Fuji S3 Pro IR converted

Fostereast Contributing Member • Posts: 974
Re: Nikon 400mm f/2.8 + 1.4 TC Vs Nikon 600mm f/4 VR

Dave,

Out of curiosity, how often do you find yourself at:

1) f/2.8
2) Using a TC

Also, what is your main body.

Thanks

I went kind of nuts trying ot pick a 400 or 500 several months ago. I use a d3 and am leaning toward the 500

Daves602 wrote:

I can't help you with the VR models but, I am under the impression
that the 400f/2.8 AF-S 11 with 1.4 tc is just as sharp as the
superseeded 600mm f/4.
The reason I purchased the 400 f/2.8 was that extra stop for sports
photography. Even with the better ISO capacity in the latest round of
cameras, the faster lens is always handy.
--
Warm regards, Dave.
Australian NPS member
http://www.dksphotography.smugmug.com

IMAGEPOWER Regular Member • Posts: 106
Re: Nikon 400mm f/2.8 + 1.4 TC Vs Nikon 600mm f/4 VR

I bought the 400 VR together with the D3 in October 2007 and have used it extensively ever since, usually in soccer, gymnastics and wildlife photography (plz look at http://www.imagepower.de ). For wildlife and soccer I sometimes needed further reach and attached the TC-14E. Quality is still very good due to the basic excellent quality of the 400 VR. Yet, AF speed slows down distinctively, esp. if light also wanes. After some tests I additionally purchased the 600 VR and after half a year of use my findings are as follows: the 600 VR has about the same resolution/sharpness and contrast as the 400 VR. If you use a D300 on the 400VR and a D3 on the 600 VR you will have difficulty seeing any difference between the photos (showing 600mm in both cases) if you don't know which combo was responsible for which photo (ISO 200, sturdy tripods etc). In my opinion the 400VR has a slight edge if you compare sharpness and contrast. However, the 600 shows a whole lot more vignetting wide open than the 400 VR. I tested 3 samples, all were the same. AF speed of the 600VR is a little slower than of the basic 400VR, this may be due to f/4, I don't know. Usually you won't realize the difference. But AF speed of the 600 is clearly better than 400 VR AND TC-14E. So is image quality, if you compare photos side by side. I ended up using the 600VR as often as possible with my D3 because I prefer the effects of longer telephotos for my photographic subjects. Anyway you will have to work very carefully with telephotos around 600mm in order not to blame the lenses for your own faults. I know photographers who dislike teleconverters simply because they found that quality was degraded too much. On closer examination they underestimated facts such as vibrations of the combo or the tripod or even passing by lorries on concrete streets...

hope this is of any help

Michael Weber
IMAGEPOWER

Fostereast Contributing Member • Posts: 974
Re: Nikon 400mm f/2.8 + 1.4 TC Vs Nikon 600mm f/4 VR

Nice comparison.

Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,788
Splitting Hairs

thanhuy wrote:

I'm thinking about getting 400mm f/2.8 VR + 1.4 TC = 560mm f/4
sometime in the next month or two but some of my friend told me that
the image quality won't be as good as 600mm f/4 VR.

In a strict sense, that's true, but the real question is whether you will ever see that small difference in your photos. I use the 400 VR with the TC-14, TC-17, TC-20, TC-20 + TC-14 stacked and TC-20 + TC-17 stacked, even on high-res sensors such as the D300's. The lens is incredible, seeming to have no limit to how far you can stretch its resolution.

Many poor experiences with TC's are due to pairing them with inferior lenses. In the case of the 300mm-600mm supertelephotos, however, the lens is designed to work with TCs, and provides excellent results. I sold my AIS 600/4 because the 400 + TC-14 has better optical quality (although the 600 VR is better than the older AIS 600, of course).

If you are willing to use manual focus, then the 600 VR may be more practical if you need effective focal lengths up to 1200mm, and you do not need f/2.8 speed. On the other hand, if you need to use AF and stay with f/5.6 or faster maximum aperture, the 400 VR plus TC's will give you four focal length options, versus the 600 VR's two.

Personally, given the 400 VR's performance with TC's, I could not justify the purchase of a 600mm.

sting Veteran Member • Posts: 4,970
Re: Splitting Hairs

Marianne Oelund wrote:

and stay with f/5.6 or faster maximum aperture, the 400 VR plus TC's
will give you four focal length options, versus the 600 VR's two.
Personally, given the 400 VR's performance with TC's, I could not
justify the purchase of a 600mm.

The price difference is about $900 (BH Photo). If you have an FX Nikon, you can also get a DX (D90 or D300) for the price difference. Personally, I like the flexibility in focal length range as well as having an excellent 400mm. Given the stability issues at 300+ mm , I'm wondering if the better way to zoom would be to go to a higher resolution sensor with a D3X.

sting Veteran Member • Posts: 4,970
Re: Splitting Hairs

Marianne Oelund wrote:

In a strict sense, that's true, but the real question is whether you
will ever see that small difference in your photos. I use the 400 VR
with the TC-14, TC-17, TC-20, TC-20 + TC-14 stacked and TC-20 + TC-17
stacked, even on high-res sensors such as the D300's.

WOW, that's a list of TCs. Marianne, how much do you have to stop down on the 400VR to make the TCs behave their best? I'd like to understand this because stopping down to gain sharpness too often drops my shutter speed, which gives back the sharpness.

Billx08 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,373
Re: Splitting Hairs

sting wrote:

Marianne Oelund wrote:

and stay with f/5.6 or faster maximum aperture, the 400 VR plus TC's
will give you four focal length options, versus the 600 VR's two.
Personally, given the 400 VR's performance with TC's, I could not
justify the purchase of a 600mm.

The price difference is about $900 (BH Photo). If you have an FX
Nikon, you can also get a DX (D90 or D300) for the price difference.
Personally, I like the flexibility in focal length range as well as
having an excellent 400mm. Given the stability issues at 300+ mm ,
I'm wondering if the better way to zoom would be to go to a higher
resolution sensor with a D3X.

The portion of the D3x's sensor corresponding to the D300's sensor has (IIRC) only about 10mp (FX) vs 12mp (DX), so you wouldn't be zooming in to get more detail. What the D3x would allow you to do is more like zooming out, getting a wider FOV without really giving up much detail. If you crop the D3x's images to get the same FOV as the D300, the stability issues should be nearly the same for the same print size.

Daves602
Daves602 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,640
Re: Nikon 400mm f/2.8 + 1.4 TC Vs Nikon 600mm f/4 VR

I use the D3 and the D300 with the 400mm. I find during summer shooting field sports that I am using the D300 with MB D10 grip more than the D3. Depending on the size of the field I will use the tc. If I am doing "sports portraits, ie the batsman on his own I use the D300, 400 + tc. This gets me in close and I shoot at f/4 in this case.

I shoot 400 on either of the bodies if I want a few more people in the frame and I use F/2.8 as the sun gets dim in the late afternoon or if it becomes overcast I try to maintain 1/2000th second shutter for cricket photography which is my main sport to shoot. I play with iso as well but try to keep below ISO400, sometimes going to ISO1000.

When I am at Eastern Creek, the TC is invaluable with the D300 for long shots as the bikes come under the bridge on corporate hill and then the 400 on the D3 on the hairpin below it.

The 500mm lens has a pretty respecable MTF and is lighter to carry....a very good option as is the 200-400.

Nikon make a heap of lenses and just 1 to do all for you is a big ask but, there will be one that does most of what you want it to, lol.

It comes down to if you do repetative work at one venue in which case the choice is easier or...if you want a do it all long lens in which case I would buy either a 300 f/2.8 and a couple of TC's or the 500 and 1.4 tc or 200-400 and a 1.4 tc.
Good luck and I am sorry that I don't have a hard and fast answer for you.
--
Warm regards, Dave.
Australian NPS member
http://www.dksphotography.smugmug.com

 Daves602's gear list:Daves602's gear list
Nikon D3 Nikon D300S Nikon D810 Nikon AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED +25 more
Livio Spallone Regular Member • Posts: 380
Nikon TC stackable?

Hi , I didn't know Nikon TC were stackable, can You please confirm?

Regards
--
Lisperit

 Livio Spallone's gear list:Livio Spallone's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon Z7 II Sony a1 Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm F2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III +10 more
Grevture Veteran Member • Posts: 4,188
Some samples with 400mm f/2.8 + 1.4 TC

I would definately go for the 400 over the 600, first it offers f2.8, second it gives you much more flexibility and thirdly, even with a TC14 it produces a image quality that is just ... stunning.

Some samples from last summer ... All with 400/2.8 and a TC14

Rugby

D3 at f5.6, 1/3200, iso 800

D3 at f5.6, 1/3200, iso 1250

Speedway

D3 at f5.6, 1/1250, iso 1000

D3 at f4.5, 1/400, iso 100

Soccer

D3 at f4.5, 1/2000, iso 1250

D3 at f4.5, 1/1250, iso 1250

Tennis

D3 at f5, 1/4000, iso 1250

D3 at f5, 1/1600, iso 800

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I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every moment of it!

By the way, film is not dead.
It just smell funny

 Grevture's gear list:Grevture's gear list
Nikon D70s Nikon D3 Nikon D3S Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D ED-IF +7 more
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