Between 300mm f4, 70-200mm f2.8 and 80-400mm which one would you choose and why?

Started 7 months ago | Discussions
Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 20,604
Re: Now - primarily the 80-400 G

The 80-400 has a reputation for being prone to collecting dust.

80-400 G 6 years internal dust

While not the end of the world - there is at least double the amount of dust than in any of my other Nikon lenses after a few years use.

What Nikon UK calls the lens collar (where the hood bayonets on) is very thin compared most other of the Nikon bayonet collar lenses I own - and can break.

Thin lens collar is easily broken in a minor impact.

I do not know when it happened - but it has happened.

The only other Nikon lens that does not have about 4 mm more more plastic behind the collar (usually including the Nikon gold ring) seems to be the 200-500.

The 80-400 G is close to the price of the 70-200 FL in the UYK.

The 300 PF can have "interesting flare" when the sun is near the edge of the frame.

Which combination you choose is personal choice - part influenced by your view on 5x zoom convenience v a single lens and converter.

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StephenMcCloud Regular Member • Posts: 274
Re: Between 300mm f4, 70-200mm f2.8 and 80-400mm which one would you choose and why?

70-200 for volleyball and basketball. 80-400 for softball.

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OP Dibyendu Majumdar Contributing Member • Posts: 784
Re: Between 300mm f4, 70-200mm f2.8 and 80-400mm which one would you choose and why?

threw the lens wrote:

If for some reason I had absolutely no idea what I'd be shooting, I'd take a 70-200 2.8 and teleconverters.

The 70-200 lenses are in a highly competitive field and you get a higher quality result for your money. Then you can put a teleconverter on it if you need 280mm or 400mm. I only tolerate the results from a teleconverter stopped down at least a stop, but this way is at least better than turning up to an indoor event with an 80-400 f5.6 ... very silly.

Y makes sense. I guess that combo is more flexible.

Thanks

OP Dibyendu Majumdar Contributing Member • Posts: 784
Re: Now - primarily the 80-400 G

Leonard Shepherd wrote:

The 80-400 has a reputation for being prone to collecting dust.

80-400 G 6 years internal dust

While not the end of the world - there is at least double the amount of dust than in any of my other Nikon lenses after a few years use.

What Nikon UK calls the lens collar (where the hood bayonets on) is very thin compared most other of the Nikon bayonet collar lenses I own - and can break.

Thin lens collar is easily broken in a minor impact.

I do not know when it happened - but it has happened.

The only other Nikon lens that does not have about 4 mm more more plastic behind the collar (usually including the Nikon gold ring) seems to be the 200-500.

The 80-400 G is close to the price of the 70-200 FL in the UYK.

The 300 PF can have "interesting flare" when the sun is near the edge of the frame.

Which combination you choose is personal choice - part influenced by your view on 5x zoom convenience v a single lens and converter.

Thank you - all good info.

threw the lens Senior Member • Posts: 2,760
Re: Between 300mm f4, 70-200mm f2.8 and 80-400mm which one would you choose and why?

Dibyendu Majumdar wrote:

threw the lens wrote:

If for some reason I had absolutely no idea what I'd be shooting, I'd take a 70-200 2.8 and teleconverters.

The 70-200 lenses are in a highly competitive field and you get a higher quality result for your money. Then you can put a teleconverter on it if you need 280mm or 400mm. I only tolerate the results from a teleconverter stopped down at least a stop, but this way is at least better than turning up to an indoor event with an 80-400 f5.6 ... very silly.

Y makes sense. I guess that combo is more flexible.

Thanks

... whereas if I were shooting in zoos or field games I would probably choose the 80-400 because then I wouldn't have to stop it down as much to get a good image.

Igor Sotelo Regular Member • Posts: 391
Re: Between 300mm f4, 70-200mm f2.8 and 80-400mm which one would you choose and why?

Dibyendu Majumdar wrote:

I am thinking of:

  • 300mm f4 PF.
  • 70-200mm f2.8 FL.
  • 80-400mm f4.5-5.6 AFS.

The 300mm attracts due to size.

The 80-400mm because of the range.

The 70-200mm because it is fast.

300mm 4.0 PF is a speciality lens, meant to add 300mm to the lenses kit without too much size or weight.

I would go with a 70-200mm 2.8 FL. It’s currently the best DSLR 70-200 and very practical lens for portraits.

80-400mm 4.5-5.6 II is a good option too. Very versatile focal range, but it doesn’t focus close and isn’t built to pro standards.

If you go occasionally to 400mm, the 70-200 on a 2X will do fine and focus to 1.1m / 400mm, doubling as a macro lens. If you plan to go over 200mm very often, the 80-400mm is the more practical option.

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OP Dibyendu Majumdar Contributing Member • Posts: 784
Re: Between 300mm f4, 70-200mm f2.8 and 80-400mm which one would you choose and why?

Igor Sotelo wrote:

Dibyendu Majumdar wrote:

I am thinking of:

  • 300mm f4 PF.
  • 70-200mm f2.8 FL.
  • 80-400mm f4.5-5.6 AFS.

The 300mm attracts due to size.

The 80-400mm because of the range.

The 70-200mm because it is fast.

300mm 4.0 PF is a speciality lens, meant to add 300mm to the lenses kit without too much size or weight.

I would go with a 70-200mm 2.8 FL. It’s currently the best DSLR 70-200 and very practical lens for portraits.

Thank you for the suggestion. I am also beginning to think 70-200 is the best compromise. But since I use the Z6 mostly these days, using a TC on top of FTZ seems a bit too much. I think I should just wait for the Z mount lens. Nikon also has a 100-400mm Z lens in the pipeline - I would assume this lens will not have the short-comings of the 80-400mm.

80-400mm 4.5-5.6 II is a good option too. Very versatile focal range, but it doesn’t focus close and isn’t built to pro standards.

If you go occasionally to 400mm, the 70-200 on a 2X will do fine and focus to 1.1m / 400mm, doubling as a macro lens. If you plan to go over 200mm very often, the 80-400mm is the more practical option.

briantilley
briantilley Veteran Member • Posts: 5,205
Re: Between 300mm f4, 70-200mm f2.8 and 80-400mm which one would you choose and why?

Dibyendu Majumdar wrote:

Igor Sotelo wrote:

Dibyendu Majumdar wrote:

I am thinking of:

  • 300mm f4 PF.
  • 70-200mm f2.8 FL.
  • 80-400mm f4.5-5.6 AFS.

The 300mm attracts due to size.

The 80-400mm because of the range.

The 70-200mm because it is fast.

300mm 4.0 PF is a speciality lens, meant to add 300mm to the lenses kit without too much size or weight.

I would go with a 70-200mm 2.8 FL. It’s currently the best DSLR 70-200 and very practical lens for portraits.

Thank you for the suggestion. I am also beginning to think 70-200 is the best compromise. But since I use the Z6 mostly these days, using a TC on top of FTZ seems a bit too much.

I've tried it, and it is a bit cumbersome - but it does work.

I think I should just wait for the Z mount lens.

Just be aware that there are no Z-mount TC's yet - nor do any appear on Nikon's Z roadmap.

Nikon also has a 100-400mm Z lens in the pipeline - I would assume this lens will not have the short-comings of the 80-400mm.

80-400mm 4.5-5.6 II is a good option too. Very versatile focal range, but it doesn’t focus close and isn’t built to pro standards.

If you go occasionally to 400mm, the 70-200 on a 2X will do fine and focus to 1.1m / 400mm, doubling as a macro lens. If you plan to go over 200mm very often, the 80-400mm is the more practical option.

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OP Dibyendu Majumdar Contributing Member • Posts: 784
Re: Between 300mm f4, 70-200mm f2.8 and 80-400mm which one would you choose and why?

briantilley wrote:

Just be aware that there are no Z-mount TC's yet - nor do any appear on Nikon's Z roadmap.

That is sadly true.

Windancer
Windancer Veteran Member • Posts: 5,560
My Thoughts on the 3 lenses
2

Dibyendu Majumdar wrote:

I am thinking of:

  • 300mm f4 PF.
  • 70-200mm f2.8 FL.
  • 80-400mm f4.5-5.6 AFS.

As someone who has owned all of them at one point or another I agree with the very early posts, really depends what you will be shooting. All are very sharp lenses and are worth having.

I have replaced my 300/4 with A 300/2.8, i still have my 70-200/2.8 but since I have gotten rid of my 80-400.

First off the 300/4 is a super lens but it has it's restrictions. For birding the 300 is too short and the F4 really doesn't cut it. Even my huge 300/2.8 is too short although works much better with a 2x TC. I do use the 70-200/2.8 a lot mainly for the reason you mentioned "Speed" and is a very sharp lens. I would never get rid of it.

The 80-400 is a fine lens but older, somewhat slower and something I personally don't like a variable aperture. Just me though....

Once again it all comes down to what you want it for. As I said 300 is a little short IMO for birding, the 80-200 does have some speed for shooting larger mammals, landscapes etc. The 80-400 is longer but slower. It all comes down to what you want to do with it.

Just my thoughts......

Terry

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OP Dibyendu Majumdar Contributing Member • Posts: 784
Re: My Thoughts on the 3 lenses

Windancer wrote:

Dibyendu Majumdar wrote:

I am thinking of:

  • 300mm f4 PF.
  • 70-200mm f2.8 FL.
  • 80-400mm f4.5-5.6 AFS.

As someone who has owned all of them at one point or another I agree with the very early posts, really depends what you will be shooting. All are very sharp lenses and are worth having.

I have replaced my 300/4 with A 300/2.8, i still have my 70-200/2.8 but since I have gotten rid of my 80-400.

I have considered older 300mm f2.8 - even manual versions. Problem is I think these lenses get heavily used and knocked about so I can't trust used equipment when it comes to pricey lenses. And new ones I cannot justify buying.

First off the 300/4 is a super lens but it has it's restrictions. For birding the 300 is too short and the F4 really doesn't cut it. Even my huge 300/2.8 is too short although works much better with a 2x TC. I do use the 70-200/2.8 a lot mainly for the reason you mentioned "Speed" and is a very sharp lens. I would never get rid of it.

Yes that is why I thought 70-200 is best compromise. It is fast and super optically. So I can potentially get longer reach just by cropping to DX format anyway.  I understand that TC combo (1.4x III) however makes it worse than the 80-400 or 300mm prime.

The 80-400 is a fine lens but older, somewhat slower and something I personally don't like a variable aperture. Just me though....

Once again it all comes down to what you want it for. As I said 300 is a little short IMO for birding, the 80-200 does have some speed for shooting larger mammals, landscapes etc. The 80-400 is longer but slower. It all comes down to what you want to do with it.

Just my thoughts......

Thank you for sharing.

Hilifer
Hilifer Senior Member • Posts: 1,153
Re: Between 300mm f4, 70-200mm f2.8 and 80-400mm which one would you choose and why?

Igor Sotelo wrote:

Dibyendu Majumdar wrote:

I am thinking of:

  • 300mm f4 PF.
  • 70-200mm f2.8 FL.
  • 80-400mm f4.5-5.6 AFS.

The 300mm attracts due to size.

The 80-400mm because of the range.

The 70-200mm because it is fast.

300mm 4.0 PF is a speciality lens, meant to add 300mm to the lenses kit without too much size or weight.

I would go with a 70-200mm 2.8 FL. It’s currently the best DSLR 70-200 and very practical lens for portraits.

80-400mm 4.5-5.6 II is a good option too. Very versatile focal range, but it doesn’t focus close and isn’t built to pro standards.

If you go occasionally to 400mm, the 70-200 on a 2X will do fine and focus to 1.1m / 400mm, doubling as a macro lens. If you plan to go over 200mm very often, the 80-400mm is the more practical option.

Note that the 70-200/2.8 FL isn’t as affected by focus breathing as the VRII version, if you are especially interested in close ups. I acknowledge, though that the OP seems to be  more interested in the long view.

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calson Forum Pro • Posts: 10,454
Re: Between 300mm f4, 70-200mm f2.8 and 80-400mm which one would you choose and why?

For wildlife photography the 80-400mm is my lens of choice. I prefer it to the 200-500mm and any of the 150-600mm lenses as it provides a more usable zoom range regardless of the size of the animal and the distance.

The 70-200mm f/2.8 is my lens for landscape photography. It was a must have lens when I photographed weddings and it is a good outdoor lens for portrait photography invovling individuals and couples.

I have the 500mm PF and along with the 80-400mm lens I have the perfect combination for 80% of my wildlife photography.  The other 20% entail the use of a 600mm f/4 and a 200mm f/4 micro lens.

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Windancer
Windancer Veteran Member • Posts: 5,560
Re: Between 300mm f4, 70-200mm f2.8 and 80-400mm which one would you choose and why?
2

calson wrote:

For wildlife photography the 80-400mm is my lens of choice.

I would agree this is a fine lense and you certainly wouldn't go wrong with it. My opinion only.........

Terry

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briantilley
briantilley Veteran Member • Posts: 5,205
Re: Between 300mm f4, 70-200mm f2.8 and 80-400mm which one would you choose and why?

calson wrote:

For wildlife photography the 80-400mm is my lens of choice. I prefer it to the 200-500mm and any of the 150-600mm lenses as it provides a more usable zoom range regardless of the size of the animal and the distance.

We seem to be getting off-topic somewhat.

The OP has already stated he doesn't want the lens for wildlife:

Dibyendu Majumdar wrote:

I wanted the longest possible focal length without it being too big a lens. Because I know I would never take it with me if its too big. Ideally a modern 400 f5.6.

Price is a constraint too. All three I mention are within the budget so to speak.

As for type of photography - not wildlife or sports - but general photography.

Obviously zoom is preferable. Initially I was planning on the 80-400mm but I am undecided now because of reviews saying its performance at 400mm is weakest.

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Hilifer
Hilifer Senior Member • Posts: 1,153
Re: Between 300mm f4, 70-200mm f2.8 and 80-400mm which one would you choose and why?

briantilley wrote:

calson wrote:

For wildlife photography the 80-400mm is my lens of choice. I prefer it to the 200-500mm and any of the 150-600mm lenses as it provides a more usable zoom range regardless of the size of the animal and the distance.

We seem to be getting off-topic somewhat.

The OP has already stated he doesn't want the lens for wildlife:

Although the OP did express this, the question is “Between [three lenses] which one would you choose and why?“

I would choose the 70-200 as it complements my kit of primarily wider-angle manual focus. I use the zoom for shooting my sons’ soccer games and for longer reach when I travel (back in the pre-COVID-19 days...). It’s an excellent lens for my needs, delivering fast focus, sharp images and great IQ. When I need to go a little longer, I have a 1.4 and 2.0 TC-III, though th latter doesn’t get much use.

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Parry Johnson
Parry Johnson Senior Member • Posts: 1,855
Re: Between 300mm f4, 70-200mm f2.8 and 80-400mm which one would you choose and why?

Hilifer wrote:

briantilley wrote:

calson wrote:

For wildlife photography the 80-400mm is my lens of choice. I prefer it to the 200-500mm and any of the 150-600mm lenses as it provides a more usable zoom range regardless of the size of the animal and the distance.

We seem to be getting off-topic somewhat.

The OP has already stated he doesn't want the lens for wildlife:

Although the OP did express this, the question is “Between [three lenses] which one would you choose and why?“

I would choose the 70-200 as it complements my kit of primarily wider-angle manual focus. I use the zoom for shooting my sons’ soccer games and for longer reach when I travel (back in the pre-COVID-19 days...). It’s an excellent lens for my needs, delivering fast focus, sharp images and great IQ. When I need to go a little longer, I have a 1.4 and 2.0 TC-III, though th latter doesn’t get much use.

My thoughts still go towards the 70-200, as again you can still crop to DX to get more reach if necessary, and photos still look great.  The 16MP crops on my D800 are still better than those I took at full resolution on a D300 or D2XS.  On the OP's Z6, this shouldn't be a problem either.  Because it's available now, even if another Z mount lens comes out later, this lens will still be very useful.  A 70-200 is also easy to re-sell without much loss if it doesn't pan out like expected for the long-term, as they're always in high demand.

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Hilifer
Hilifer Senior Member • Posts: 1,153
Re: Between 300mm f4, 70-200mm f2.8 and 80-400mm which one would you choose and why?

Parry Johnson wrote:

Hilifer wrote:

briantilley wrote:

calson wrote:

For wildlife photography the 80-400mm is my lens of choice. I prefer it to the 200-500mm and any of the 150-600mm lenses as it provides a more usable zoom range regardless of the size of the animal and the distance.

We seem to be getting off-topic somewhat.

The OP has already stated he doesn't want the lens for wildlife:

Although the OP did express this, the question is “Between [three lenses] which one would you choose and why?“

I would choose the 70-200 as it complements my kit of primarily wider-angle manual focus. I use the zoom for shooting my sons’ soccer games and for longer reach when I travel (back in the pre-COVID-19 days...). It’s an excellent lens for my needs, delivering fast focus, sharp images and great IQ. When I need to go a little longer, I have a 1.4 and 2.0 TC-III, though th latter doesn’t get much use.

My thoughts still go towards the 70-200, as again you can still crop to DX to get more reach if necessary, and photos still look great. The 16MP crops on my D800 are still better than those I took at full resolution on a D300 or D2XS. On the OP's Z6, this shouldn't be a problem either. Because it's available now, even if another Z mount lens comes out later, this lens will still be very useful. A 70-200 is also easy to re-sell without much loss if it doesn't pan out like expected for the long-term, as they're always in high demand.

It seems that I’ll soon be in remote shores of the northern Yucatan (Yum Balam and Rio Largartos), with plenty of flamingos, pelicans and several hundred other species of birds. Forgive the hijack, but this thread has been clearly helpful to me in considering which tele to include in my kit... although I’m still unable to make a choice. I own a 70-200 VRII, and the latest 1.4 and 2.0 TC versions. I’m inclined to go with this, but that little voice we all hear from time to time (more often than others...) is whispering the 300 PF, followed by the 200-500. I’m pretty sure the latter won’t make the cut (or, likewise, the 80-400G), if for no other reason than I’d be unlikely to sneak into my kit under a particular pair of eyes, and certainly less so at our destination...

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Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 20,604
Re: Between 300mm f4, 70-200mm f2.8 and 80-400mm which one would you choose and why?
1

Hilifer wrote:

I own a 70-200 VRII, and the latest 1.4 and 2.0 TC versions. I’m inclined to go with this, but that little voice we all hear from time to time (more often than others...) is whispering the 300 PF, followed by the 200-500. I’m pretty sure the latter won’t make the cut (or, likewise, the 80-400G), if for no other reason than I’d be unlikely to sneak into my kit under a particular pair of eyes, and certainly less so at our destination...

The 300 PF auto focusses well with either of your converters on either your D850 or your Z7.

You have not mentioned the 500 PF - which is similar in size and looks but is distinctly lighter than your 70-200 f2.8. The 500 autofocuses respectably with the 1.4 on your D850, and adequately with the 2x on your Z7.

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Leonard Shepherd
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Hilifer
Hilifer Senior Member • Posts: 1,153
Re: Between 300mm f4, 70-200mm f2.8 and 80-400mm which one would you choose and why?

Leonard Shepherd wrote:

Hilifer wrote:

I own a 70-200 VRII, and the latest 1.4 and 2.0 TC versions. I’m inclined to go with this, but that little voice we all hear from time to time (more often than others...) is whispering the 300 PF, followed by the 200-500. I’m pretty sure the latter won’t make the cut (or, likewise, the 80-400G), if for no other reason than I’d be unlikely to sneak into my kit under a particular pair of eyes, and certainly less so at our destination...

The 300 PF auto focusses well with either of your converters on either your D850 or your Z7.

You have not mentioned the 500 PF - which is similar in size and looks but is distinctly lighter than your 70-200 f2.8. The 500 autofocuses respectably with the 1.4 on your D850, and adequately with the 2x on your Z7.

Thank you, Leonard. I’ve followed a bit of conversation on the 500 PF and clearly it would be ideal. However, it’s above my salary range. My thoughts are to start my mornings with a tele on my D850 and either my Voigtlander 75 or 125 on the Z7.

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