Is the 400MM 2.8 VR the right lens for me?

Spesh

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I am looking to get a super tele to shoot waterskiing as my 70-200 VRII plus 1.4 TC doesn't offer the reach that I require. However I am torn between the 300mm 2.8 and the 400mm 2.8, so am after some advice on which focal length would be best for me. Below is a shot taken at 280mm using the 1.4TC and the shot below that is a crop of the same photo, which indicates the framing that I would like to achieve without having to crop.





And the crop.....





Obviously the advantage with the 400mm would be that I could use it with the TC and get out to around 600mm. But advice would be greatly appreciated, as I don't want the framing to end up too tight.
 

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I'd say go for the 400mmm f2.8.

You want and clearly need the reach and the difference between 280mm and 300mm isn't massive so if you did get the 300mm chances are you'd be using a TC on it the whole time anyway. Budget wise the 300mm f2.8 is cheaper so if its a budget concern then the 300mm f2.8 + TC will work very well as a pair.

The other option is to consider the 200-400mm - whilst you don't get the same wide f2.8 aperture, there is a good chance that at those long ranges you'll be using f4 or f5.6 for depth of field over the subject anyway. Furthermore it gives you the ability to vary the focal length without having to have a second camera body present. That said only you know if you need that prime long reach all the time or if a zoom would suit you more so.
 
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Yes I was thinking exactly the same thing about the 300mm not offering enough reach. If I'm going to be at circa 400mm anyway using the TC with it, then it does make sense to just go with the 400mm 2.8 instead.

I discounted the 200-400 because according to Thom Hogans report, he said that it did not perform so well right out at 400mm and seeing as I will be out at that focal length most of the time, it didn't seem to make sense. I would also lose too much light using it with a TC for shooting waterskiing. But with the 400mm, this would not be the case.
 

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A 400 might get you closer, but it won't fix the underexposure problem with the image, or lack of interesting light. So if you're hoping for better photography, that has to do with decisions you make when you press the button, not the equipment. Equipment is just a tool. In this case you would have gotten a closer shot of an underexposed water skier with no light. But if closer is all you want, then the thousands are worth it.
 
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A 400 might get you closer, but it won't fix the underexposure problem with the image, or lack of interesting light. So if you're hoping for better photography, that has to do with decisions you make when you press the button, not the equipment. Equipment is just a tool. In this case you would have gotten a closer shot of an underexposed water skier with no light. But if closer is all you want, then the thousands are worth it.

Oh I agree, the exposure is horrible, but the lighting conditions were terrible last night when I shot that photo. It was late evening and this was a quick snap that I took just to post up here to get some advice on focal length.
 
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Tony S

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Shooting at 2.8 instead of f4 with a TC will give you more room to set your exposures to get more light. Go with the 400.
 
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Shooting at 2.8 instead of f4 with a TC will give you more room to set your exposures to get more light. Go with the 400.

Yes that is also true. The 400mm produces beautiful images at 2.8.
 

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Take into consideration the weight difference. If you are shooting from a boat the 400 would be a huge disadvantage, trying to work from a monopod, with the 300 you can hand hold it and keep more control over the movement of the boat and lens. Both are great lenses though.
 

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I have used the 400mm f2.8 when I shoot PGA, Nascar or Indy. I can say that its very heavy to cary around all day incase you have other needs down the road. Since you are on a boat shooting this, you should be fine. I suggest the 500mm f4 - around 5k for an AFS model - no need to worry about the VR - 7500+. You should be able to hand hold a 500mm since you are shooting a high shutter speeds.
 
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Oh I'm not shooting from a boat. I am on the bank by the side of the lake, so a monopod would be an obvious necessity. Weight is not a concern.
 

brian_f2.8

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I think you would be happy with the 500
 

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Buy a boat and keep your current lens :). it might be cheaper... and a lot more fun
 
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Only the ski boat is allowed on the lake while people are skiing, for safety reasons. I'm shooting from a scaffold tower anyway, to gain better perspective.
 

brian_f2.8

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Ultimately its going to come down to your own liking. Why are you wearing Nike shoes and not Under Armour? Why are you driving a Honda and not a Nissan. Try renting a lens for a weekend. I would start with a 500mm f4.
 

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