Travelling with Sony 400mm f2.8...

Started Jan 27, 2019 | Discussions
Robjwilli
Robjwilli Contributing Member • Posts: 536
Travelling with Sony 400mm f2.8...

I’m still dreaming about one day acquiring this lens but cost aside, the main question I have is around transportation and travelling with this lens.

I would use this primarily as a wildlife lens on my trips to Africa together with the 1.4 and 2x TC’s.  The weight isn’t too bad (similar to 150-600 Sigma Sport) but how about the bulk?  The lens itself doesn’t seem too big but if you use the proper carry case I’m sure it would start to get difficult on aeroplanes as carry on with other gear.

Anyone own or rented one of these lenses and have any experience to share?  Thanks.

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AZheaven Contributing Member • Posts: 998
Re: Travelling with Sony 400mm f2.8...

I have pro and semi pro friends (Canon) that only take a 100-400 lens to Africa. Now in all honesty, one friend is in Nepal to capture the Snow Leopards (he's a tour guide). They need the big guns. They shot wolves and Snow Leopards at 1/2 mile at 2000mm! I'm guessing you have done safaris before?

Phil Shaw Regular Member • Posts: 376
Re: Travelling with Sony 400mm f2.8...
2

My last trip to Botswana and Namibia I traveled with a Canon 600 f4 mk2 and a Nikon 180-400 f4 zoom in my back pack. Nobody uses the vanity cases that the manufacturers provide.  I am hoping one day soon to replace these with Sony lenses and these too will be transported in my backpack.

Robjwilli
OP Robjwilli Contributing Member • Posts: 536
Re: Travelling with Sony 400mm f2.8...

Phil Shaw wrote:

My last trip to Botswana and Namibia I traveled with a Canon 600 f4 mk2 and a Nikon 180-400 f4 zoom in my back pack. Nobody uses the vanity cases that the manufacturers provide. I am hoping one day soon to replace these with Sony lenses and these too will be transported in my backpack.

Thanks Phil

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Cyberdox2 New Member • Posts: 5
Re: Travelling with Sony 400mm f2.8...

Travelled to Australia from Canada and flew all over within Australia with 400 2.8 no problem no carry on issues also took the a9  plus A7r3 and the 100-400 gm  in two carry ons unfortunately had to have checked in luggage fot thripod etc.

Robjwilli
OP Robjwilli Contributing Member • Posts: 536
Re: Travelling with Sony 400mm f2.8...

Cyberdox2 wrote:

Travelled to Australia from Canada and flew all over within Australia with 400 2.8 no problem no carry on issues also took the a9 plus A7r3 and the 100-400 gm in two carry ons unfortunately had to have checked in luggage fot thripod etc.

Good to know! So now just a question of affordability 😁

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randomguy Regular Member • Posts: 479
Re: Travelling with Sony 400mm f2.8...

I check the carry on rules for the airlines I travel with before hand. Many have a ridiculous 8kg total carry on limit but looking at the other travelers I think many does not respect that.  But if they weigh your bag they could give you trouble. Some put extra cameras and lenses in jacket pockets (or a photo vest) to get the bag under the weight limit.

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Arcimboldo Regular Member • Posts: 418
Re: Travelling with Sony 400mm f2.8...

Besides the fact that with today's sensor telephotos don't have to be as fast as in the days anymore, I'd wait for a 500/4 which is pretty sure to come - much lighter and smaller.

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Gordon Norman Forum Member • Posts: 56
Re: Travelling with Sony 400mm f2.8...

Just returned from 3 weeks in Ecuador with 2 A9 bodies, 100-400mm zoom, and 400mm F2.8 telephoto, all fitting nicely inside my old Gura Gear Bataflae 32 with both lenses mounted on bodies.  No problem with overhead bin storage on 737s and Embraer regions jets.

I suspect the same is possible with most photo backpacks in 35-40L range.

Good luck!

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Robjwilli
OP Robjwilli Contributing Member • Posts: 536
Re: Travelling with Sony 400mm f2.8...

Good to hear, seems imminently portable then. Looking forward to getting my hands on one soon!

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Adrian Cho
Adrian Cho Forum Member • Posts: 70
Re: Travelling with Sony 400mm f2.8...
2

Great to see this thread. I have the 400 f2.8 on order and have been preparing for how I will travel it. I’m a super-disciplined packer and travel all over the world with a 30L camera pack and a 30L duffle bag as carry-ons with A7RIII, A9, 100-400, 70-200 f2.8, 1.4x and 2.0 teleconverters, Loxia 21, Sony 24 1.4, and a bunch of other stuff including gimbal and tripod. When I’m sometimes alongside other photographers (often Canon and Nikon shooters) I find I am often by far the lightest packer yet I can still do a ton with my Sony gear.

I don’t have the 400 yet but I’ve analysed the heck out of this and I believe it’s still possible to carry the 400 f2.8 in my packs but I would have to take it instead of the 100-400. I’ve always figured I would not travel with the lens in the included case. It would take up a ton of space and in some planes, I might not be able to bring it on board along with my other gear.

Some of the considerations I had when analysing this for carrying it in my packs:

Make sure you have a pack with enough length. You would need a pack that lets you carry a long lense vertically in the pack instead of horizonally. I have a Mindshift Backlight 26L and it has enough length to carry not only the 400 but even have it mounted on a camera.

Make sure you have a pack with enough depth. I actually don’t have the actually diameter of the lens itself (ignoring the lens foot) but from photos I’ve estimated it at about 13cm. I’m wondering if anyone here with the lens can confirm.

Even if you can fit the 400 lens itself (ignoring the lens foot), the design wastes a bunch of space because the lens foot is not easily removable. You can replace it with the Wimberley AP-609 foot which is lower profile. This will just save you some space in the bag but you could still even use the original foot and just pack around it.

You can leave off the lens hood and instead get a LensCoat Travel Hood.

The thing for me has been deciding whether I could take the 400 instead of the 100-400. There are some pros. Having that and the 70-200 would allow me to just have a constant aperture setup. I shoot manual exposure all the time and having to adjust when I zoom in and out on the 100-400 slows me down. Also, I don’t like how the 100-400 zooms externally. Often I am shooting in falling snow or rain and although I will pull out the raincover when it’s really heavy, sometimes I won’t and I sometimes worry about what happens to the moisture when you retract the zoom in. The 70-200 doesn’t have this problem and I love it for that. Similarly I wouldn’t have to worry about that with the 400.

I do use my 100-400 at 400 alot (and at 560 with the 1.4x) however there are times when having the zoom is invaluable. For example, I recently photographed swans, as I described in this video, and I was constantly zooming in and out. If I had had a 400 I would have had to switch back and forth between it and my 70-200 (probably with the 1.4x).

Robjwilli
OP Robjwilli Contributing Member • Posts: 536
Re: Travelling with Sony 400mm f2.8...

Glad you are also getting some useful information. Personally, I intend (purchase depending) on carrying 70-200 f2.8, the 400 f2.8 and both the TCs. The 400 would replace the 100-400 for me. (I’ll keep it for other uses but not together)

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Adrian Cho
Adrian Cho Forum Member • Posts: 70
Re: Travelling with Sony 400mm f2.8...
1

Arcimboldo wrote:

Besides the fact that with today's sensor telephotos don't have to be as fast as in the days anymore, I'd wait for a 500/4 which is pretty sure to come - much lighter and smaller.

I think it depends on how you shoot and the scenarios. For me personally, if there was a 500 f4 today I’d still choose the 400 f2.8. I’ve been in situations alongside people with 500s and 600s and they got stuck when something came too close. I’d personally prefer to have the 400 and then use the teleconverters, or crop in post with the A7RIII or in-camera with the A6500. Although Sony cameras are fantastic at high ISO there’s still no comparing an image shot at say ISO 10000 to one shot at a quarter of that.

Adrian Cho
Adrian Cho Forum Member • Posts: 70
Re: Travelling with Sony 400mm f2.8...

Robjwilli wrote:

Glad you are also getting some useful information. Personally, I intend (purchase depending) on carrying 70-200 f2.8, the 400 f2.8 and both the TCs. The 400 would replace the 100-400 for me. (I’ll keep it for other uses but not together)

Yep I’m with you. The other thing to think about is having redundancy. I am always cogniscent of what might happen if I travel all the way to some long place and my 100-400 fails or gets damaged. However I’ve tried the 2x on the 70-200 f2.8 and it’s actually pretty damn good as a backup. I had to test this unexpectedly once and I was happy with the results (you can see in these images) .

Also, I expect the 400 f2.8, especially with the A9, to be blazing fast on AF. There are times, for example with really fast birds and non-stop action, where I’ve noticed how much faster certain pieces of gear are than others.

One thing you might want to think about with your possible purchase is the delivery timeframe. It’s a bit frustrating as it seems very hard to get estimates and some people have been waiting a while. See thread here .

Cyberdox2 New Member • Posts: 5
Re: Travelling with Sony 400mm f2.8...

Having the 2.8 400 and tge 100-400 the former is no comparison to the latter in optical quality etc. I epuld defintely take it with the both tc s for any wildlife photo trip....

carry on is a non issue if you have 2 people traveling ...

Adrian Cho
Adrian Cho Forum Member • Posts: 70
Re: Travelling with Sony 400mm f2.8...

Cyberdox2 wrote:

Having the 2.8 400 and tge 100-400 the former is no comparison to the latter in optical quality etc. I epuld defintely take it with the both tc s for any wildlife photo trip....

carry on is a non issue if you have 2 people traveling ...

I agree. I sold my 100-400 once I got my 400 2.8. I am always traveling by myself but I have since found that I can carry three Sony bodies, the 400 f2.8, 70-200 2.8, and two other lenses, and other stuff in a 40L backpack or a Nanuk 935.

Robjwilli
OP Robjwilli Contributing Member • Posts: 536
Re: Travelling with Sony 400mm f2.8...

Thanks to all for the feedback.  I’ve finally taken the plunge and have my order in place 😊

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PWPhotography Veteran Member • Posts: 9,729
Re: Travelling with Sony 400mm f2.8...

Robjwilli wrote:

Thanks to all for the feedback. I’ve finally taken the plunge and have my order in place 😊

Personally I am more interested in future FE 500/4.0 GM. In general, 400/2.8 is more suitable in sport and low light while 500/4.0 is better for wildlife, birding etc. I'd try to avoid 2.0x TC as it will have some compromise, noticeable even with excellent 400/2.8 GM from what I have heard. Hope future 500/4.0 GM will be further lighter and cheaper than 4002/8 GM. It will be still tack sharp and AF very fast with 1.4x TC at 700mm/F5.6, even with old Canon 500L/4.0 IS and 1.4x TC III.

Years ago I carried Canon 500L/4.0 IS (mark I that weighted 8.5 lb alone), 70-200L/2.8 IS II, 24-70L/2.8 II and three cameras (1D III, 5D III and 5D II) into Africa trip. I put camera bags (two) in a small folding luggage cart that rolled all the way in entire two week trip with safari (Masai Mara) as the last stop without much problem. They all can fit into airplane cabin. My next trip will likely be much smaller/lighter with FE 100-400 GM, FE 70-200 GM on A9 and A7r III.

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Adrian Cho
Adrian Cho Forum Member • Posts: 70
Re: Travelling with Sony 400mm f2.8...

The 2x is better with the 400 than with the 100-400. However even with the 1.4x, which is stellar, you’re still getting 560 at f4 and yet you also have the benefit of f2.8 when you need it. I shoot mostly wildlife and there are times when the light is low. I have some shots of things like lions hunting and killing, or rarely seen animals, such as a serval cat, that were taken really early or really late and they are pretty much useless at ISO 12800 or more. I so wish I had had f2.8 for those situations. But each to their own.

pepsijunior
pepsijunior Senior Member • Posts: 1,049
Re: Travelling with Sony 400mm f2.8...

Adrian Cho wrote:

Cyberdox2 wrote:

Having the 2.8 400 and tge 100-400 the former is no comparison to the latter in optical quality etc. I epuld defintely take it with the both tc s for any wildlife photo trip....

carry on is a non issue if you have 2 people traveling ...

I agree. I sold my 100-400 once I got my 400 2.8. I am always traveling by myself but I have since found that I can carry three Sony bodies, the 400 f2.8, 70-200 2.8, and two other lenses, and other stuff in a 40L backpack or a Nanuk 935.

I’m about to receive the 100-400 today but have the 400 on order. As long as it comes within the month, I will return the zoom. More so because of the costs it will take to fund the prime. It takes a long time to make this lens and Sony is having a tough time meeting the demand, even at 12 grand. It must be stellar.

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