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Archive 2013 · Canon 300mm f/2.8 vs f/4?
  
 
acaurora
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Canon 300mm f/2.8 vs f/4?


Hi there,

I am looking into getting in to the 300mm area for my photography and wanted to know (this may be more of an open ended question) if there are significant differences between the f/2.8 and the f/4 L versions of this lens. At nearly 7K brand new, the 2.8 II's price is very steep for me, whereas the f/4 can be easily had used for around $800. I have used a f/2.8 L non-IS and was very pleased with its performance. I would like to see if anyone out there has bought a f/4 L and in retrospect wish they had gone for the 2.8 version??

Thanks in advance.



Sep 07, 2013 at 01:55 PM
Ian.Dobinson
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Canon 300mm f/2.8 vs f/4?


other than size weight and price , id have the 2.8 anyday

if youve used a 2.8 non IS before (and are ok with the size/weight) then find a good used mk1 IS . still not cheap but less than the MK2 .

before the mk2 came out it was THE standard as far as 300mm goes in pretty much any system and is still a stunning lens



Sep 07, 2013 at 02:04 PM
lowa2
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Canon 300mm f/2.8 vs f/4?


The 2.8 IS is an awesome lens. It blew me away with it's sharpness, color and contrast. The f4, while ok was not in the same league IMO.

The af and ability to take converters on the 2.8 is another great advantage.



Sep 07, 2013 at 02:15 PM
sivrajbm
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Canon 300mm f/2.8 vs f/4?


A 2.8 IS MkI can be had for under $4k, excellent lens still...


Sep 07, 2013 at 02:49 PM
dwweiche
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Canon 300mm f/2.8 vs f/4?


I think it's important for you to describe your photography to get a fully informed answer. For example, if your photography is sports with challenging lighting conditions, you will need the extra stop. If you are shooting 300mm landscapes or daytime sports, the f/4 would work.


Sep 07, 2013 at 02:52 PM
thedutt
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Canon 300mm f/2.8 vs f/4?


I (still) have both, they are same focal length but very different lenses. As a general purpose super tele, the 300 f4 IS is a great lens, perfect for a lot of applications from mammals to butterflies and everything in between. With its light weight and build it in hood, it is very convenient as a hiking lens. Takes 1.4x well to have a 420mm f5.6 IS lens.

The 300 f2.8 IS V1 is the cheapest of the big boy super teles you can own that has IS. Takes 2.0x III remarkably well and AF is dependable even for many BIF applications, at least with 5DIII. Very versatile both for FL and F Stop. I used my 300 f4 maybe 3 times in the past year after getting the 300 2.8.

Lets put it this way, if I didnt have the 500 and I could only have 1 super tele, it would be the 300 f2.8

Also, canon refurbished in US had the newer version in stock for ~6k, you may want to look into that as an option.






Sep 07, 2013 at 02:58 PM
OntheRez
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Canon 300mm f/2.8 vs f/4?


It's a tradeoff between weight, cost, and aperture. Both the 300 f/4.0 and the f/2.8 are capable of excellent images. I have an early non-IS f/4.0 and I'm still regularly startled when I come across one of the 300mm images. Remarkably sharp. The non-IS version is a challenge to hold properly thus my keeper rate is lower than some lenses, but the ones I get are excellent. As Dan noted, what are you shooting? What do you want shoot? If you're trying to stop action in the dark (i.e. sports), then the f/2.8 version has a significant advantage. If you are doing landscape or wildlife in good light, the weight and cost of the f/2.8 may not be necessary. The f/4.0 is a lot easier to carry in the field.

There really is no correct answer here. What do you shoot? How much do you have to invest? Work those variables out and you'll have your answer. The 300 f/2.8 is NOT categorically better than the f/4.0. It's just better for some things.

Robert



Sep 07, 2013 at 03:10 PM
pjbuehner
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Canon 300mm f/2.8 vs f/4?


In my humble opinion, I would say that the differences between the two are significant:

obvious differences: weight, cost, aperture

more subtle but very important in certain applications (BIF, sports): AF speed (2.8 much faster IMO)
Weather sealing and build (the 2.8 is a tank and can handle rough treatment and bad weather (if paired with a similar built camera)

I owned the 300 F4 several years back and had it for about a month and found it lacking. The 2.8 on the other hand has been my constant companion (sports shooting).

Both good lenses but the 2.8 is simply in another category. If you can handle the weight and cost, you will be very pleased with your purchase.

Good luck



Sep 07, 2013 at 03:31 PM
Garylv
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Canon 300mm f/2.8 vs f/4?


Some excellent advice here for the OP or anyone else who might be wondering about those lenses or a similar choice.

If you start to lean toward the 300 f2.8, make sure you go handle one first if at all possible. Mine has been sitting at home more often since I haven't been shooting sports lately. Carrying it around while walking a lot is just not fun anymore. It was at first, years ago, new lens excitement, etc.

I've cancelled my idea of buying a Canon 500 f4 because of the way I feel about carrying unnecessary weight now. Especially for casual photography. I've even gone back to carrying just a constant f2.8 Lumix superzoom as well as the Lumix LX7 with the f1.4 lens. Both small, both very light.

Anyway, make sure the size & weight is something you'll want to use regularly. For the money you'll invest, I'd think you'd want to get plenty of use from it.






Sep 07, 2013 at 03:39 PM
StillFingerz
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Canon 300mm f/2.8 vs f/4?


A question to the Super Telephoto gang...besides the cost, weight, faster aperture, faster AF response, etc. isn't one of the huge differences between the lower cost and higher cost lenses the 'actual' glass used in each.

Lower end models like the 300 f4L use UD elements while the professional grade teles, 300 f2.8L use/include Fluorite elements in their construction. Fluorite helps reduce CA, UD does as well but not to the same extent, I'll hazard a guess that contrast/sharpness are affected as well...

Comments please
Jerry



Sep 07, 2013 at 07:05 PM
 

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Jefferson
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Canon 300mm f/2.8 vs f/4?


Here’s a shot from a 5Dc with the 300 f/4L IS + 1.4x II…
Shot in RAW… imported into LR4 as a .dng… only post was lens correction…

ISO 400… shot @ f/5.6 (wide open with the 1.4x)… 1/250
Manual exposure mode… center focal point… hand held (420mm, IS, and easy to hold).

I use this lens... and this combination... to shoot motorsports, so I carry it a lot along with another lens and often another body with a lens on it. The 300 f/4 makes life much easier…

http://jeffersonposter.smugmug.com/Photography/Something-Different/i-NBDsFhK/0/X2/ButterFlys-24-X2.jpg



Sep 07, 2013 at 07:30 PM
Tony B
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Canon 300mm f/2.8 vs f/4?


300 f2.8mkI, original, whatever, handheld, 600mm on 5DIII (2 x Kenko).
No doubt others could provide better samples.





Figbird -female. crop







Figbird -female.Full size



Edited on Sep 08, 2013 at 01:20 AM · View previous versions



Sep 07, 2013 at 09:57 PM
Jefferson
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Canon 300mm f/2.8 vs f/4?


The 300 f/2.8 excells at what it is... f/2.8 and exotic glass...

If I were to shoot an indoor event... under contract... and needed the best results possible under those conditions... I renting a 2.8...unless you use a ND, shooting at 1:30pm in bright sunshine you'll probably
be shooting f/4... f/10 anyway.

With a 30D and 300f/4L IS... at 2:20pm...
f/8... ISO 100... 1/30... so it does track well...IMHO
http://jeffersonposter.smugmug.com/Category/13-NASA-Road-Atlanta/i-fD3KSpp/0/X2/%2713%20NASA-555-X2.jpg

Another point about the f/4... MFD = 5ft / 1.5m

with 1.4x II
http://jeffersonposter.smugmug.com/Photography/Something-Different/i-FhKzrFX/0/X2/ButterFlys-117-X2.jpg

Also tracks objects coming at you at high velocity...

5Dc + 300f/4L IS @ f/11... ISO 50... 1/250 (no 1.4x)

http://jeffersonposter.smugmug.com/Category/Bikes/i-LcNLdSF/0/X2/untitled-1-2-X2.jpg

Note: With subjects like this, approaching at speed... consideration has to be taken about the distance covered during shutter operation to ensure sharpness, and also be able to show speed of suject...

If your going to spend... because you want the best you can get... the 2.8 is the way to go... if that's the case... might as well get both...

Jefferson



Edited on Sep 07, 2013 at 11:04 PM · View previous versions



Sep 07, 2013 at 10:32 PM
StillFingerz
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Canon 300mm f/2.8 vs f/4?


A Vette's backside, hand-held, 40D, 300 f4L IS...the IS does help this aging, shaky cripple
The f4L is great with extension tubes as well as T/C's; the Mark III T/C's are a bit sharper and faster AF wise.
I'm glad Canon makes these slower, lighter 'L' teles...am looking forward to perhaps using the 400 f5.6L as well.






Edited on Sep 07, 2013 at 11:10 PM · View previous versions



Sep 07, 2013 at 11:00 PM
Jefferson
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Canon 300mm f/2.8 vs f/4?





Sep 07, 2013 at 11:05 PM
stanj
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Canon 300mm f/2.8 vs f/4?


Is it the f4 or the 2.8 IS II, and nothing else? There's the non-IS, and the IS mk1, both of which are very capable lenses at a fraction of the cost of the mk2. Having owned the f4 and having extensively used the non-IS and the IS mk1, I can say that the f4 would be my last choice unless for reasons of size / weight (at which point I'd probably still prefer the 100-400, 70-200 with TC, or many other options).


Sep 07, 2013 at 11:29 PM
mitesh
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Canon 300mm f/2.8 vs f/4?


The last one is as good as they get, Jefferson


Sep 08, 2013 at 12:26 AM
Jefferson
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Canon 300mm f/2.8 vs f/4?


Thanks mitesh...

Super bikes come out of turn one just off of the front straight... hauling...
The 300 f/4 IS is perfect for this... very short time to aquire target... between the eyes... You don't see the bike 'till he's right there...

You have to pre-focus on where you think he'll be... put the center point between the eyes... frame and shoot... not rapid fire... one frame at a time... over about a second and a half time frame... then get ready for the next shot...

The weight and handleing of the 300 f/4 IS lets you do that... These bikes travel in packs ypu know...

I'll shoot 10 to 20 mins in a location depending on action... then move to another track location... for about 1200 shots a day for two to four days in a row...

Love it....




Sep 08, 2013 at 01:00 AM
Garylv
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Canon 300mm f/2.8 vs f/4?


Jefferson showing readers that unless you really need the f2.8 aperture, the f4 version is more than capable for most photography. Really nice.

I may pick up that f4 version after selling my 300 f2.8, I like that size & weight. Another lens that will interest me is if Canon releases a 100-400 Mk II version soon. Nearly all of their updated L zooms & primes seem to have jaw dropping image quality. Their R&D department must be hitting on all cylinders. If they do it, I'm sure it will be a really nice lens with the newer lighter material.



Sep 08, 2013 at 01:40 AM
Tony B
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Canon 300mm f/2.8 vs f/4?


Garylv wrote:
Jefferson showing readers that unless you really need the f2.8 aperture, the f4 version is more than capable for most photography. Really nice.

I may pick up that f4 version after selling my 300 f2.8, I like that size & weight. Another lens that will interest me is if Canon releases a 100-400 Mk II version soon. Nearly all of their updated L zooms & primes seem to have jaw dropping image quality. Their R&D department must be hitting on all cylinders. If they do it, I'm sure it will be a really nice lens with the newer lighter material.


Excellent photos indeed.Horses for courses. Rebels also take good general photographs but many still buy 5DIII & 1DX etc. Whatever rocks your boat. A 300 f4 is not on my radar whatever photographs it produces hence an f2.8.


Edited on Sep 08, 2013 at 02:46 AM · View previous versions



Sep 08, 2013 at 02:05 AM
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