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kit-monster 17 3.7k 2 Singapore
17 Nov 2004 8:25AM
Just a few questions for those using 300 f2.8, 400 f2.8, 500 f4, or 600 f4.

Which have you got and why did you choose it?
Can you hand hold any of them?
How important is f2.8 / f4 over focal length?

Just doing some very early research. There will be a day when I quit the day job and sell toys and hopefully a few photographs. I get the most joy out of bird photography so I'm also concerned about closest focal distance. I'd also like to the lens for isolating subjects. Anyway, getting close to that big life changing day, so stories and answers welcome!
shooter 19 105 Canada
17 Nov 2004 5:53PM
300/2.8? Certainly it's hand-holdable, as you can use a very high shutter speed with that much light coming in. But you don't want to hand hold one for long, it's just too heavy...the solution is a monopod. It would be that much worse with a 400/2.8 and larger.
I chose it for shooting sports, where you need a fast shutter speed AND long reach AND are often in low light, for example inside a stadium, or an indoor ice rink, or even outside on winter grey days. Unless you need at least 2 of those factors at the same time, save your money (and muscles.)
kit-monster 17 3.7k 2 Singapore
18 Nov 2004 3:11AM
Thanks Alan. I know a monopod will be an essential part of using these big lenses. having the option to hand hold occasionally would be a big bonus. I'm leaning towards the 300 for it's close focus and on the camera I intend to get, cropping is an option.
18 Nov 2004 4:32AM
Hi Edward,

I am assuming that you have considered the 300 F/4 IS.

I suppose what really matters is how serious you are. You speak as though you really want to make a go of some serious photography so maybe the F/2.8 is worth it.

I don't have a huge amount of experience but have used these lenses. However, it is worth noting that the F/4 has the same close focusing distance, is about half the weight and about 1/4 of the cost of the F/2.8. All of these factors are huge considerations as you know and considering (I am assuming) you intend on shooting in relatively good light then the F/2.8 is perhaps not worth it.

Also, shooting handheld with the F/4 is very possible where as it would be a struggle with the F/2.8. You could end of getting some shots you would otherwise miss!

Just my thoughts and good luck with your choice. Are you intending on getting a 20D or a 1D II out of interest?

kit-monster 17 3.7k 2 Singapore
18 Nov 2004 5:09AM
Matt - that lens is certainly one I've thought long and hard about. What really appeals to me about 2.8 is the narrow dof. The ability to totally isolate a subject. Some of the shots I've seen with the f4 get pretty close though! I can only budget for one lens at the moment and the 300 2.8 with the option of using a 1.4 x makes more sense out of the four. On the f4, I think you'd be loosing too much light. I may well get the f4 before I go the full hog - the 2nd hand market for them is pretty healthy. As for Camera - neither! If I go for this, I'll be selling my house . . .
18 Nov 2004 6:20AM

Fair enough, I did wonder if it was the DOF issue as well. I've not seen that many results to compare the actual difference in practice.

As you say the second hand market is indeed fairly healthy, you should be able to pick up a mint 300 F/4 for 600-700 which might be a good starting point and wouldn't mean selling your house just yet! You could then decide whether or not you really needed the F/2.8 based on those results and sell the F/4 for much the same money if necessary.

The only real problem I suppose comes when using a 1.4x or more convertor as then the lens really would not be fast enough.


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