OLD vs Less old....300mm f2.8 afs and 600mm f5.6 ai/ais

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by johnsphotosnikon, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. johnsphotosnikon

    johnsphotosnikon TPF Noob!

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    Hello all,

    Has anyone used both the 300mm f2.8 afs and the 600mm f5.6 (or f4)??

    Need your wisdom.

    I like to shoot wildlife and birding and realized that my 70-300vr isnt cutting it as far as sharpness goes. Its actually great at 300mm, but a review of flickr's pics rendered from 300mm f2.8 is enlightening. So I have already considered the pros and cons of having, or not having, AF and VR etc. putting those concerns aside, can anyone comment on the sharpness and IQ of:
    600mm f5.6 ais, older manual focus lens.. how does the IQ sharpness compare to 300mm f2.8 (manual), 300mm f2.8 afs(nonvr), 300mm afs vr1, or 300mm afs vr2?

    From what I have read, (and visually reviewed on Flickr), the newer afs lenses, in general, have better IQ than the older ais lenses. just looking at flickr at the 600mm f5.6 (or 600mm f4) examples, they just don't seem to come close to a 300mm f2.8 variants such as the nonvr, vr1 or 2.

    so this is an old versus new, 300mm with or without TC, versus 600mm ai or ais manual focus type of question.
    (caveat...looking to buy a used lens, budget up to 2k)
    thanks.


     
  2. astroNikon

    astroNikon 'ya all Bananas I tell 'ya Supporting Member

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    I can't comment on all of those lenses you have a question on. Just remember VR isn't going to help on Shutter speeds above say 500 and should be turned off. Higher shutter speeds should not be used with VR on older VR systems. VR is good for slower shutter speeds and for still subjects. If subjects are moving VR doesn't really help.

    I had a 70-300VR and it didn't cut it for me either related to it messing up focus in relation to Contrast detection. I have an old thread about that. I did have a 300/4 AF though. It was nice and sharp though a slower long throw AF mechanical focusing lens, and had issues with chromatic abberation on slow shutter speeds of faster moving objects. Though I haven't had either for several years now.
     
  3. ac12

    ac12 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I use a 500 mirror (manual focus) when I need to reach longer than my 75-300 AF will reach.
    The problem is the manual focus.
    • Some/many people do not know how to manually focus or have a hard time manually focusing.
    • The screen on dslrs are not the best for manual focusing.
    • Focus tracking with a manual focus lens can be difficult/very difficult, depending on the speed of motion of the subject.
      • When I shot tennis, I had maybe a 20% hit rate, trying to follow focus on a tennis player. My DoF was only a couple/few feet.
      • If the subject is not moving or moving very slowly, then manual focus is doable.
    In my case, I do not shoot the LONG lenses enough to justify spending over $1,300 on an AF lens (Nikon 200-500 zoom). My 500 mirror costed me only $150.

    With a $2k budget, I would just get the Nikon 200-500 zoom, presuming 500mm is long enough for you.
     
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  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    This! The other consideration with AiS and AF-S lenses is that repairs are going to be difficult if not impossible. I finally sold my 300 2.8 AF-S because it needed some work and there were no parts with which to fix it. As I'm not shooting enough sports to justify a new one, I went with the 200-500 just so I had something long when I needed it. For me, it's basically a 'fun' lens, 'though I do use it for work on occasion, and it's a stellar performer. You cannot beat the bang for buck in long lenses. That said, if you need 2.8, then 5.6 isn't going to cut it for you, but with today's cameras, shooting out of doors, you should be able to m make up that 2 stops with ISO.
     
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  5. Destin

    Destin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The 200-500 is absolutely the answer here.

    If you really want a faster lens you could also look into a used 200-400 f/4 AF-S for around 2k. But that’s a lot heavier to carry and you lose 100mm.
     
  6. ac12

    ac12 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Caution when looking at Flikr for image quality, especially for older lenses.
    • #1 As I mentioned, did the photographer NAIL the focus. Because MF lenses can be difficult to focus manually.
    • Unless the images were done as AB comparisons, it can be deceiving to look at pix from different types of pictures and lighting and try to compare them. So did you get a true representation of the images possible from the lenses?
    • Did the photog do post processing enhancements to one or the other.
    • etc.
    BTW, are you shooting handheld or on a tripod?
    I found that I CANNOT hand hold my 500 mirror (no VR) steady enough for me. And I KNOW how to shoot with a long lens. But the 500 on a DX body is just too much magnification. That is like a 750mm lens on a FX body.
    Some people shoot the 200-500 hand held. But it has VR to help with camera shake.
    I shoot the 500 on a gimbal on a medium tripod, as it allows me to track a moving subject, yet keeps the rig steady. And this makes for a significant load to carry.
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I had the 300/2.8 AF-S Mark II for about a decade...this is the lighter-weight model with the magnesium barrel and the reallllly close minimum focusing distance; this came out before thw VR version, and was a stellar,stellar lens on sports. SUPER-fast focusing and super-reliable focusing on track and field and baseball, where I used it most, on the D1h, D70, D2x,and D3x cameras. Extremely reliable, and VERY crisp, sharp images, in a lens that was pretty easy to use on a monopod. very high optical quality, lot of contrast, very sharp, even at f/2.8. Around 7 pounds as I recall. MUCH better in every way, performance-wise, than the 300mm f/4 AF-S, which had focus reliability issues in challenging situations,and will sometimes nervously hunt and which was not that great on focusing performance with the 1.4x TC 14e-II added for a 420/5.6.

    The 300/2.8 was good with the TC14e-II added.

    I have not used the 600/4 Ai-S, but there's one for sale here in my area for $3,000. It's got a big front, on a pretty skinny tube.

    I think of the 600/4 as a "highly-compresed scene rendering" lens, useful more for wildlife/nature/sun ball type landscape shots, more than a birds in flight lens. It's a long focal length lens. if sheer length is the key need, this has that...and it's f/4 too.

    The 200-500 zoom I shot for just a bit, borrowed...seemed good, and "fairly small" for how long it is, and it's AFFORDABLE. Autofocusing, VR, good price, manageable weight...
     
  8. pendennis

    pendennis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I concur with those who recommend the 200-500 f/5.6. I've owned one for about a year, and it's a great lens for nature photography, and it tolerates a 1.4x TC very nicely (mine is a Tokina). It's a bit bulkier than my 80-400mm f/4-5.6, but sharper, IMHO. For $2K it's very hard to top.

    The only downside is the electromagnetic aperture, which may not work with some older DSLR's, and the F6. In those instances it shoots wide open @ f/5.6 only.

    This image was done using my D750 and the 200-500
    [​IMG]

    As was this one:
    [​IMG]
     

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