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#171058 3-Apr-2015 21:06
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I had a look/feel/play with Nikon's new AF-S 300mm f/4E PF (Phase Fresnel) ED VR lens yesterday.  (Photo and Video Chch had stock). I'm staggered by how small and light this lens was - it's tiny.  I've never seen Canon's 400 f4 "DO" which also has similar weight/size reduction (compared with a non "DO" lens of similar focal length/maximum aperture)  Rumour has it that the Canon "DO" is a bit less than stellar when used fully wide.  However, reviews are suggesting that the 300mm Nikkor is better performing wide than the extremely good 300mm AFS which it replaces, and even sharper than the professional 300mm f2,8 VRII at f4.  It's half the weight of the lens it replaces - yet includes VR.  DO/PF can produce unusual flare, but apparently this can be corrected in raw processing.
Now all they need to do is use "DO/PF" on more telephoto lenses, and work on the price (the 300 PF is expensive ~ $3k).  Perhaps in future the massive lenses seen on the sidelines at sporting events can be only half the size.

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  #1276912 3-Apr-2015 21:22
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The 70-200 F2.8 would be better if it was lighter. That's one heavy lens, in either brand, but not like a 300 2.8.



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  #1277009 4-Apr-2015 09:21
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timmmay: The 70-200 F2.8 would be better if it was lighter. That's one heavy lens, in either brand, but not like a 300 2.8.


Nikon already make a "better lighter" version - the 70-200 f4.  You lose one f-stop maximum aperture, but gain:

Weight reduction almost half.
3rd generation VR
Sharper at f4 200mm than the f2.8 lens at f4 - especially on FX (vs the second generation 70-200 f2.8).
No "breathing" - at close focus distance, the f4 version set at 200mm actually is 200mm, the f2.8 "breathes" down to about 130mm at close focus distances.

Similar to the Canon 70-200 f4 L IS, a beautiful compact pro-quality zoom lens, yet not particularly popular it seems.  I suspect some people don't buy it because it doesn't look "pro" enough, too small etc.


 
 
 
 


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  #1277023 4-Apr-2015 09:57
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I really like having F2.8.



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  #1277069 4-Apr-2015 10:59
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timmmay: I really like having F2.8.

I really like having 500mm and f2.8.


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  #1279093 8-Apr-2015 15:28
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Canon are onto the mk2 400/DO and have a 70-300 DO also

The mk1 400 lacked contrast at f4 but overall was a decent if not cheap lens.

Not sure its an entirely successful line but I guess with the mk2 canon are committed for a while longer.



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  #1279198 8-Apr-2015 18:36
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Yes - these lenses are really out of my price range for amateur use - and even then I don't know how often I'd use them.
I've "dipped my toes" into longer telephotos - bought an "as new" Tamron 150-600 for $1100 on TM.  I would have liked the Sigma 150-600 Sport, but the weight is just too much for me for hand-held use (I've tried - my limit is perhaps two minutes).
Anyway - up to around 400mm on FX/36mp, the Tamron is a truly stellar performer, sharp fully wide, with good fast silent AF, and seems to have very effective image stabilisation to boot, a little cumbersome but hand-holding is viable.  600mm is a bit soft - as expected. At 600mm my CF tripod with ball-head is basically useless (also as I expected), but used as a support, monopod-style, it actually seems to work quite well with stabilisation on.
There's no free lunch at these focal lengths, but at least somewhat reasonable / half decent performance for less than the price of a pretty good used car is possible now.

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  #1293994 30-Apr-2015 07:47
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The new version of the canon 400mm DO is supposed to have addressed some of the "wide open" issues.


I'm not surprised your having trouble hand holding those lenses, they have tripod collars for a reason :P 









 
 
 
 


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  #1294006 30-Apr-2015 08:35
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Fred99: Yes - these lenses are really out of my price range for amateur use - and even then I don't know how often I'd use them.
I've "dipped my toes" into longer telephotos - bought an "as new" Tamron 150-600 for $1100 on TM.  I would have liked the Sigma 150-600 Sport, but the weight is just too much for me for hand-held use (I've tried - my limit is perhaps two minutes).
Anyway - up to around 400mm on FX/36mp, the Tamron is a truly stellar performer, sharp fully wide, with good fast silent AF, and seems to have very effective image stabilisation to boot, a little cumbersome but hand-holding is viable.  600mm is a bit soft - as expected. At 600mm my CF tripod with ball-head is basically useless (also as I expected), but used as a support, monopod-style, it actually seems to work quite well with stabilisation on.
There's no free lunch at these focal lengths, but at least somewhat reasonable / half decent performance for less than the price of a pretty good used car is possible now.


I've had not so wet dreams about the Big-ron when it was released, but have never got round to accepting something I would so rarely use ... I can think of 2 reasons to use it - shoot the moon, shoot a bird that somehow happens to be still, at my eye level, but that ain't gonna happen

Can it track birds in flight? (mind  you doing that without a monopod should be near impossible ... right?)




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  #1294197 30-Apr-2015 11:55
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timmmay: The 70-200 F2.8 would be better if it was lighter. That's one heavy lens, in either brand, but not like a 300 2.8.


Yep. I have the Mk2 version of the Nikkor 7-200 f2.8 and it is heavy. I had the 300 f2.8 but sold it.

I usually work with a 17-35 2.8 on one body and the 70-200 on the other.





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  #1294200 30-Apr-2015 11:57
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timmmay: I really like having F2.8.


Agreed. I won't work with anything that is not that or faster.

Probably a film hangover but that is just the way I am.







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  #1294689 1-May-2015 00:48
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joker97: 

I've had not so wet dreams about the Big-ron when it was released, but have never got round to accepting something I would so rarely use ... I can think of 2 reasons to use it - shoot the moon, shoot a bird that somehow happens to be still, at my eye level, but that ain't gonna happen

Can it track birds in flight? (mind  you doing that without a monopod should be near impossible ... right?)


I've had a few weeks use of the lens since I bought it.  I haven't tried shooting birds in flight - it's not my cup of tea, and to do well, would require a lot of practice.  The AF seems pretty decent - it's no 70-200 (even at the 150mm end) but doesn't strike me as slow either.  At the long end, using AF-C with delay-on set to zero, shutter set to release only, AF-ON to hold on the subject, there is some audible jitter.  That seems to be common to long telephotos with USM.  In my opinion, and contrary to some expert advice, at longer focal lengths, AF-S is better unless you actually need AF-C for a moving subject.

At 600mm and infinity in most conditions, you can forget pin-sharp.  Atmospheric effects seem to have far more impact than I'd have expected - when you can even see the "shimmer" through the viewfinder (most of the time shooting during the day), if the subject is more than a few hundred metres away, you'll lose much more through atmospherics than due to lens quality imperfections - which are also there.


larger image here

That's shot at 500mm, 1/400th, f8, hand-held.  Hand-held at 500mm / 1/200th is quite easy, at or below 1/100th, it's hit and miss. IMO the "VC" is very effective.  On the larger version (UHD size on the link above), you can see the atmospheric shimmer in the distance on the water above the rower's head.  I'm guessing that the rower is about 3-400m distant.  The rower is pin-sharp.  If you'd told me a couple of years ago that I'd be able to (easily and repeatedly) shoot at 500mm hand-held, I would not have believed it. I revise the opinion I expressed in my earlier post that it's good up to 400mm - make that 500mm instead.


At shorter focal length (320mm) it's stellar.


UHD sized version here

I've printed a 16x24 from that.  (not exactly the same as the quick web-version above, and with the full 36mp).  From a lens quality perspective at that size enlargement, the image is flawless - even with reading glasses on and your nose almost touching the paper.  


The lens only weighs 400g or so more than an f2.8 70-200, so carrying it in a backpack isn't an issue if you're used to carrying one of those.  Retracted and with hood reversed, it could fit in the same compartment.  Extended of course there's more weight hanging out front.  I've used it monopod style with a light CF tripod, with "VC" on.  That works fine - as would a monopod.  Flare resistance is extremely good. Forget using an inexpensive filter - and a high quality multicoated 95mm filter will cost serious $$$.  AF seems to work fine on a D300 and D3100 body I put it on. With thorough checking, I don't need any af fine tune adjustment on the D800E body I've been using.  YMMV on that - I hear very many stories, and choose to believe very few of them.  
How much use I'll make of it - I don't know.  As a "new toy", the focal length range is a blast to use - IOW "fun" for now. For the price, if interested, just buy one.  If you don't like it - sell it again.  If you don't like it because of focal length and practical use considerations, then you'll have learned something first hand that you can't experience in a review or from a forum post.  If you do like the focal length, but want better optical performance, you're going to need a very understanding bank manager and swmbo.
If you want the reach, but for web / snaps / small prints only, it's probably overkill, there are much cheaper and less cumbersome options.


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  #1295452 2-May-2015 06:17
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yeah i guess we have different purposes for this long thing. i wouldn't want to shoot infinity landscapes due to the atmospheric hazing.

my use for these sort of thing is the moon and making animals fill my sensor and everything else buttered into oblivion.

but animals don't stay still ... !!!

and i have a feeling getting the moon to fill my CCD is a one time excitement with permanence (ie how many times do i want to shoot the moon!)




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  #1295467 2-May-2015 08:14
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Could get a star tracker, theres a lot more of them to shoot :P





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  #1295933 2-May-2015 22:34
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With a telescope maybe ;p




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