70-300 G vs 70-400 G1. Any real experience?

Started Sep 3, 2013 | Discussions
Shop cameras & lenses ▾
Condor Senior Member • Posts: 1,768
70-300 G vs 70-400 G1. Any real experience?

Preparing myself for a coming trip to Africa, and after accidentally buying (on sale) an A57 + 18-55 + 75-300 kit to which I add the 30 M 2.8 plus an external Sony flash, I'm looking now for a better telephoto for that trip.

First, my 75-300 is a grat lens for the price.

I checked the 70-300 G at my local sony store it indeed produces better outputs than mine 75-300.

My doubt now is if I just buy the 70-300 G or if I go for the expensive and heavier 70-400 G1.

Thanks in advance,

Ed

TheVoid Senior Member • Posts: 1,579
Re: 70-300 G vs 70-400 G1. Any real experience?
2

I rented the 70-400G1 for 1 week and took it to Yellowstone/Grand Teton, and later returned with my own newly purchased (but used) 70-300G. I found that the animals that were close enough to shoot with the 70-400G were also close enough to shoot with the 70-300G. Either one was great for shooting bison, small birds and mammals, elk, etc.  Neither one was adequate for the bears and wolves that were always too far away for anything except a spotting scope.

So for my purposes the difference in focal length was almost irrelevant - when it did matter, I could crop my 300mm photo and end up with something almost as good as a native 400mm shot.  So then the other differences must be considered: the 70-300G is lighter and easier to stow, and also can be used with a cheaper/lighter tripod, though a very sturdy tripod would still be recommended especially for low light or windy conditions.

Keep in mind the range from 70-200 will be extremely useful even after your trip, but do you really want to be mounting the bulky 70-400G (enormous with hood attached) for day-to-day shooting? For that reason, I have no regrets purchasing the 70-300G, which I got used for a little over $600. I think if I had spent $1000+ for the 70-400G1 (used) I would have a little buyers remorse because of it's portability issues and the conspicuous size/weight of that glass. It's a special purpose lens in my opinion, and can be rented for those rare occasions when you think it will be worth the expense and weight. The pictures certainly won't disappoint from either one.

-- hide signature --

Jeremy

 TheVoid's gear list:TheVoid's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Sony 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 G SSM Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM +2 more
TheVoid Senior Member • Posts: 1,579
Re: 70-300 G vs 70-400 G1. Any real experience?
2

One other point for what it's worth - the price of a new 70-300G is quite a bit more than a new Tamron 70-300USD, and folks on this forum rate the Tamron very highly. I haven't used it, but I think for the same price as the new Tamron you could find a good used copy of the Sony, and it will hold its value very well from what I've seen of the G series lenses... this is how I justified getting the Sony over the Tamron so maybe it'll work for you too! Good luck and make sure to post the pictures you bring back from Africa.

-- hide signature --

Jeremy

 TheVoid's gear list:TheVoid's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Sony 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 G SSM Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM +2 more
JPEG Shooter Contributing Member • Posts: 872
Re: 70-300 G vs 70-400 G1. Any real experience?

My whole reason for purchasing the 70-400G1 back in 2010 was for a trip to Africa. I have no experience with the other lenses you speak of but I can say that the G1 produced some amazing images and I was SO glad I had it. I did not use the lens hood, but rather a very high quality UV filter instead (for protection both against any dings but also for dust). I did not use a tripod or monopod (no room for such a contraption in the vehicle).

I have two dozen photos on my walls from that trip, actual photo size ranging from 12x16 - 20x30 (unmatted). That lens was worth every penny.

Besides the 70-400G1, I had my Tamron 18-250. It was good to have that shorter range for towns and villages.

Camera at the time was the a550.  I now use it on an a57.

-- hide signature --

JPEG Shooter
view my galleries at http://www.pbase.com/fotogrfr

 JPEG Shooter's gear list:JPEG Shooter's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 Fujifilm X-S1 Olympus Tough TG-3 Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 Sony SLT-A57 +2 more
headfirst
headfirst Contributing Member • Posts: 670
Re: 70-300 G vs 70-400 G1. Any real experience?

the 70-400 is also a wee bit quicker in aperture terms throughout a chunk of it's range than the 70-300 G & imo is a wee bit sharper too.

I also don't use the Sony hood but a rubber collapsing one.

 headfirst's gear list:headfirst's gear list
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D Sony Alpha DSLR-A200 Sony Alpha DSLR-A700 Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Sony SLT-A77 +8 more
JusLookN Veteran Member • Posts: 4,218
Re: 70-300 G vs 70-400 G1. Any real experience?

I've got both. I guess you could say I've got great copies of both of them. Thare are exactly alike until you get past 300mm. Really, I keep the 70-300G in my A-700 kit . And when I need reach of that sort for FF, I normally use the 70-400 with my A-99 kit! I haven't ever tried the 70-400 on my A-700 ,come to think of it.

-- hide signature --

Glenn
I'm kinda partial to video, but I'm hangin!

 JusLookN's gear list:JusLookN's gear list
Nikon D700 Sony Alpha DSLR-A100 Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 Nikon D3S Sony a77 II +1 more
Lensmate
Lensmate Senior Member • Posts: 1,223
Re: 70-300 G vs 70-400 G1. Any real experience?

Don't even think about getting the 70-300mm..........

Get the 70-400mm and save yourself the frustration............great lens, great price,.......you'll get use to the weight, and if used properly with a tripod, you'll reap the benefits this lens will provide you!

Its top gear!

-M

Condor OP Senior Member • Posts: 1,768
Re: 70-300 G vs 70-400 G1. Any real experience?

Thanks everybody. Based on your real users' experience I bought an A77 and 70-300. Great combination.

I'm in the first two weeks of the learning curve.

How do you do to keep the external flash in manual mode (Sony 43)? I need that to use it with my flash x-tender (better beamer) device, but even tough I set the flash unit to manual as soon as I press the shutter it changes to TTL and the menu don't offer manual mode when flash installed.

Thanks in advance,

Ed

dennismullen
dennismullen Veteran Member • Posts: 8,998
Re: 70-300 G vs 70-400 G1. Any real experience?

Condor wrote:

How do you do to keep the external flash in manual mode (Sony 43)? I need that to use it with my flash x-tender (better beamer) device, but even tough I set the flash unit to manual as soon as I press the shutter it changes to TTL and the menu don't offer manual mode when flash installed.

Is your camera in Auto Mode? This sets the flash to Auto.

Cheers,

-- hide signature --

"Those who would sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Ben Franklin.
You can see larger versions of my pictures at www.dennismullen.com.

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads