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Archive 2013 · Nikon 300/2.8 VRI or Nikon 300/2.8 VRII for Birding ?
  
 
zesto
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Nikon 300/2.8 VRI or Nikon 300/2.8 VRII for Birding ?


Frogfish wrote:
Love the 'Tui' Zesto - gorgeous bird with a voice to match.


Thanks Frogfish. There's plenty of them where I live but I've always found them difficult to get close to.

If I could buy a 300 f/2.8 for $2,500 USD, I'd jump on it.




Apr 15, 2013 at 08:13 PM
Lance B
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Nikon 300/2.8 VRI or Nikon 300/2.8 VRII for Birding ?


I have both the 300 f2.8 VRII and the 500 f4 VR. Do not dismiss the 300 f2.8 VRII + TC's route, because up close, less than 10mts, that combo works brilliantly and gives my 500 f4 VR a run for it's money as far as IQ is concerned. Over 10-15mts, the 500 will be the better option, but the 300 + TC's still has exellent IQ.

The beauty of the 300 + TC's route is that you get the same minimum focus distance as the 300, but with the magnification of the added TC, so the 300 + 1.4 TC becomes a 420mm f4 but with a minimum focus of 2.2mts! With the 2x TC, this is a 600 f5.6 with a minmum focus of 2.2mts!

The thing to remember with many small birds is that they can be so small that still may not fill the frame enough at minimum focus distance of a 400, 500 or 600mm lens. So, using a TC actually gives you a benefit.

As a generally mainly bird and wildlife photographer I think the 300 is the most versatile lens I have and use it the most out of all of them and the IQ is simply superb, even with TC's attached.

However, using TC's you have to know how to get the best from them, and that is, generally, you stop down a stop and make sure you use high enough shutter speeds as you cannot fix motion blur. Ramp up the ISO if necessary as you can go a long way to fixing high ISO noise, especially with the D800 etc, but you can't fix motion blur. ALso, make sure your AF fine tune is spot on with the TC attached. Luckily, mine seem spot on with my D800E.

Just to show you the benefit of A TC, here is a shot of a Superb Fairy Wren (Australian bird) juvenile male not in full plumage yet. This bird is only 2" long from tip of beak to base of tail and even though I had my 500mm f4 VR with me, I decided to use the 300mm f2.8 VRII + 1.4x TCII as I was lucky enough to be able to get quite close to him. I basically lay down on the grass and stayed still and he approached me hopping about completely oblivious of me and he got to probably within about 2.5mts of me, which is well below the minimum focus of the 500 f4. D800+300+1.4xTCII, ISO360, f5.6, 1/2000sec.



Here is another shot, same type of bird, a Superb Fairy Wren, but with full adult male plumage. Shot in quite low light which meant the use of ISO3200, f6.3, 1/800sec with the D800+300+1.4xTCII



With this shot, I was lucky enough that the Eastern Yellow Robin was distracted getting this grub and I was able to sneak up on him and get close. Very low light once again as I needed ISO6400, 1/250sec, f5.6 on my D800+300+1.4x TCII combo.



Then he dropped it.



And then he looked at me as if to say, "Well, I dropped it. It happens to the best of us"



Even with the 2x TCII, the 300 performs very well, IMO.

D7000+300+2xTCIII, 1/250s f/8.0, iso400



D700+300+2xTCIII, 1/50sec, f9, ISO3200, monopod.



BIF shots as well:

Taken from a rocking boat in 6 foot swell bird flying at me:

D800+300, 1/1250s f/8.0, iso500



Summing up, the 300 is a gem of a lens and oh so versatile. It is magnificant for BIF, has superb IQ all over and is easy to use and I generally always have it in my backpack with my other lenses, 14-24 f2.8, Sigma 35mm f1.4, 85mm f1.4G, 70-200 f2.8 VRII, 1.4x TCII, 2x TCIII and maybe the 24-70 f2.8. This covers me from 14mm right up to 600mm! I only ever take the 500 if I am doing some serious birding or know that I can't get close to birds or animals.





Apr 15, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Andre Labonte
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Nikon 300/2.8 VRI or Nikon 300/2.8 VRII for Birding ?


Any of them will work. Pick the one closest to your budget.


Apr 15, 2013 at 11:54 PM
Frogfish
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Nikon 300/2.8 VRI or Nikon 300/2.8 VRII for Birding ?


James R wrote:
Bought a used 300 VRII (non-US version) or 4.2K a few years ago. The focus seemed snapper, but that might have been the "new lens" placebo effect. It does have the nano-crystal coating and the VRII functions better than VRI.


Thanks James. I may be wrong here but I have read that the VRI also has Nano-Crystal coating, can anyone confirm this ?
If the only/main difference between VRI and VRII is the extra stop in the VR (and Nikon have said the optics are identical) then the VRI is good enough for me since my current 500 (which I also use hand held) doesn't have any VR !



Apr 16, 2013 at 01:42 AM
Frogfish
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Nikon 300/2.8 VRI or Nikon 300/2.8 VRII for Birding ?


Superb set there Lance .. and you've made my mind up. I will buy the VRI and TC20EIII ( I have the TC14EIII already) and keep my Sigam 500mm (instead of selling it to fund the VRII purchase) for the long shots. That gives me the 120-300/2.8, 500/4.5 and 300/2.8 .... all with TCs, and should keep me content for the foreseeable future (the 200-400 being well out my pocket range) !

Thank you to everyone for your input, I appreciate all the comments and opinions.



Apr 16, 2013 at 01:47 AM
Frogfish
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Nikon 300/2.8 VRI or Nikon 300/2.8 VRII for Birding ?


Frogfish wrote:
I may be wrong here but I have read that the VRI also has Nano-Crystal coating, can anyone confirm this ?


A little more research and it seems the VRI also has the Nano-Crystal coating, meaning the VRII adds an extra stop of VR and the A/M switch and a focus limiter, all nice to have but not at twice/three times the price of a used VRI, YMMV.



Apr 16, 2013 at 02:21 AM
Lance B
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Nikon 300/2.8 VRI or Nikon 300/2.8 VRII for Birding ?


Frogfish wrote:
Superb set there Lance .. and you've made my mind up. I will buy the VRI and TC20EIII ( I have the TC14EIII already) and keep my Sigam 500mm (instead of selling it to fund the VRII purchase) for the long shots. That gives me the 120-300/2.8, 500/4.5 and 300/2.8 .... all with TCs, and should keep me content for the foreseeable future (the 200-400 being well out my pocket range) !

Thank you to everyone for your input, I appreciate all the comments and opinions.



My pleasure to help out and thank you very much for your lovely comments

Good luck with your purchase.



Apr 16, 2013 at 05:53 AM
rosella
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Nikon 300/2.8 VRI or Nikon 300/2.8 VRII for Birding ?


Those are stunning Lance. And all my local birds which naturally I do NOT have such quality photos of
Geez. Making me want to upgrade the 300/4 to a 2.8....



Apr 16, 2013 at 11:15 AM
Lance B
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · Nikon 300/2.8 VRI or Nikon 300/2.8 VRII for Birding ?


rosella wrote:
Those are stunning Lance. And all my local birds which naturally I do NOT have such quality photos of
Geez. Making me want to upgrade the 300/4 to a 2.8....


Thank you very much for your lovely comment, rosella!



Apr 16, 2013 at 01:34 PM
Frogfish
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · Nikon 300/2.8 VRI or Nikon 300/2.8 VRII for Birding ?


This was the media announcement from Nikon (16th September, 2004) for the 300/2.8 VRI :

AF-S VR Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G IF-ED— Features Nikon Vibration Reduction, focus preset, exclusive new Nikon Nano-Crystal AR (Anti Reflective) technology and newly developed Meniscus front element

TOKYO – Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce the introduction of the AF-S VR Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G IF-ED, a new high speed super-telephoto professional lens for Nikon digital and 35mm SLR cameras now with Vibration Reduction (VR) technology, focus preset functions, Meniscus front element and the first Nikkor lens to feature Nikon’s Nano-Crystal anti-reflective coating, all to deliver professional quality sports and action photography.

The new lens begins with Nikon technology that was incorporated into the AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G IF-ED II. With Silent Wave Motor Autofocus Performance, Internal Focusing, Nikon ED Glass for extra-low dispersion, and G design for use with Nikon SLR models that feature Command Dial and Sub-Command Dial control, the lens has been extremely popular among professional photographers.



Apr 16, 2013 at 01:54 PM
 

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Defy
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · Nikon 300/2.8 VRI or Nikon 300/2.8 VRII for Birding ?


You will be happy with the 300mm. I have a VRI and all three TC's. Also don't forget about your 70-200mm if you have one. I have the VR2 and that thing is awesome with the TC 2xIII it's like a mini 200-400!!


Apr 17, 2013 at 02:54 AM
Frogfish
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · Nikon 300/2.8 VRI or Nikon 300/2.8 VRII for Birding ?


Although I almost had my head tuned at the last moment by a used 200-400 (same price as the new 300) I ended up buying a new VRII and a TC20EIII, picked them today. Testing starts tomorrow but this could be the end of the line for the Sigma 500/4.5 from the few shots I took before the night closed in !


May 06, 2013 at 02:38 PM
Chris Dees
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · Nikon 300/2.8 VRI or Nikon 300/2.8 VRII for Birding ?


Congrats with your new lens, we'll be looking forward to the images.


May 06, 2013 at 02:53 PM
Frogfish
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · Nikon 300/2.8 VRI or Nikon 300/2.8 VRII for Birding ?


Chris Dees wrote:
Congrats with your new lens, we'll be looking forward to the images.


Thanks Chris .... I will surely post in the Nature forum



May 07, 2013 at 02:51 AM
Hardcore
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p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · Nikon 300/2.8 VRI or Nikon 300/2.8 VRII for Birding ?


I have found with my 300mm F2.8 VRII with 2x that to get the best sharpness, I need to stop down to F8. @ F8 though the results are very very good!


May 07, 2013 at 04:10 AM
Frogfish
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p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · Nikon 300/2.8 VRI or Nikon 300/2.8 VRII for Birding ?


Hardcore wrote:
I have found with my 300mm F2.8 VRII with 2x that to get the best sharpness, I need to stop down to F8. @ F8 though the results are very very good!


Thanks for the tip Corey ! I had a short run out with it after a meeting today. Light was poor but even wide open and with the x2 installed, it has impressive sharpness. I'm very excited to give this a full run out this weekend !



May 07, 2013 at 05:05 PM
VinnieJ
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p.2 #17 · p.2 #17 · Nikon 300/2.8 VRI or Nikon 300/2.8 VRII for Birding ?


pics! pics! pics!


May 07, 2013 at 05:31 PM
Frogfish
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p.2 #18 · p.2 #18 · Nikon 300/2.8 VRI or Nikon 300/2.8 VRII for Birding ?


VinnieJ wrote:
pics! pics! pics!


Ha ha - soon. Otherwise I refer you to Lance's wonderful series above



May 08, 2013 at 04:10 PM
bs kite
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p.2 #19 · p.2 #19 · Nikon 300/2.8 VRI or Nikon 300/2.8 VRII for Birding ?


I have owned three Nikon 300 f2.8's: manual focus back in the mid-1980's, a VR1 2 years ago and now the VR 2.

I can see no difference in the optics between the 3 of them.

A. However, you should pay the extra for the VR2.

Reasons why:
1. Everything wears out and everything requires maintenance.
2. When you pay Nikon to repair one of these exotics.....it is usually very expensive.
3. A new VR2 will definitely last longer than a used VR1. Isn't this common sense ?
4. If you do not think that numbers 1, 2 and 3 are true, then eventually you are in for a big letdown.

B. I believe there is no such thing as a $2000 used Nikon 300 f2.8 VR1, not unless there is something seriously wrong with it. As someone else said, it is more like $4000+......probably about $4400-$4600

Example: I bought a used VR1 from KEH a few years ago (as I recall it was $4700). I noticed it made an unusual noise when trying to autofocus if held in an upward direction. I sent it back with KEH's permission and they graciously accepted it. I bought a brand new one.

To see how sharp these lenses really are when compared to everything else out there......go the "the-digital-picture" and select tools and lens resolutions. Pick any lens and compare it to the Nikon 300 f2.8.....stopped down to f8, i.e. stop them all down to f8 and see what you think. From what I see this lens is the sharpest lens there is.......period. Maybe you will see something different.

I like your strategy, i.e. the TC's. I love the Nikon 300 f2.8....I'm crazy over it for several reasons. One big one is that is massive, compact and portable.....all in one.

Oh, there is one thing I do not like about the 300 2.8's: minimum focus distance (MFD). I wish it was more like the 300 f4 AFS, but it is what it is. And the f4 is crazy sharp too.



May 11, 2013 at 11:11 PM
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