Again...300 f/2.8 or 200-400 f/4?
I know this is a constant source of angst for Nikonians, but I'd appreciate your recommendations for my circumstances.
I lead two or three wildlife-focused trips to exotic locales each year. I just returned from Madagascar, and I'm heading for Kenya and Rwanda in February and Botswana next fall. Then it's Denali and the Inside Passage in Alaska (I've already done all of these before).
Because of the frequency of my trips, I've moved from the "I-just-want-to-get-a-picture-of-a-lion" mode to "I-want-to-get-a-very-special-lion-shot-to-blow-up-and-hang-on-a-wall." In other words, I'm now looking for half-a-dozen keepers out of a trip, not the 200 I wanted ten years ago.
So...I want to improve my medium-long optics (my lens collection is 10.5mm; 17-35mm; 28-70mm; 85mm f/1.4; 70-200mm f/2.8VR; Sigma 80-400mm OS).
I've settled on a maximum of 400mm, because I'm not a fanatical birder and anything else that I need something longer for is most probably a compromise shot that wouldn't be a real keeper anyway. So I'm thinking about the 200-400 or the 300 f/2.8 VR. I like how the 300 is more compact, and I can get it for $1,000 less than the 200-400. f/2.8 is nice, too. But when you're in a Land Rover with five other people toting everything from point-and-shoots to classic rangefinders, you can't always get them to stop exactly where your 300mm lens wants you to...especially when you're the leader and supposed to be accommodating the others. I also got real frustrated one year trying to shoot whales with a Canon 300mm, because whenever the breached without warning I ended up cutting off heads or tails because of the lack of zoom flexibility.
The 200-400 helps in that regard, but it's bigger, tougher to get on little planes in carry-on luggage, more difficult to maneuver inside a vehicle, slower, and $1k more expensive.
Advice, please (and thanks for reading all of this!)...
#1. "RE: Again...300 f/2.8 or 200-400 f/4?" | In response to Reply # 0JonK Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004Fri 27-Oct-06 09:42 PM
You aree absolutely right about the compactness of the 300mm, but I wonder if the added reach is sufficient. The 200-400mm is so much longer, so much more versatile, and oh so sharp. Airplane and travelling logistics aside, I think that's the way to go.
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#2. "RE: Again...300 f/2.8 or 200-400 f/4?" | In response to Reply # 0jaytheman Registered since 14th Aug 2004Fri 27-Oct-06 10:10 PM
Why don't you look around for a good 400mm f/2.8 used? I would think you can cover the closer stuff with the 70-200mm + 1.4 TC. I think if you buy used and later decide to change you will not be out that much.
#3. "RE: Again...300 f/2.8 or 200-400 f/4?" | In response to Reply # 0petrieme Registered since 29th Jan 2007Fri 27-Oct-06 10:39 PM
WOW-- we have the same lenses cept your Sigma of course-- nice taste
If the Canon 300mm didn't get it done due to being fixed, then why would the Nikon? The 200-400VR would be an AWESOME way to round out your collection-- a stable of the finest steeds one can hope to find!
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