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70-200 f/2.8 with 2xTC vs 100-400

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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · 70-200 f/2.8 with 2xTC vs 100-400

I just picked up an A9 and absolutely love it. I mainly take family pictures (portraits and sports). I currently have the affordable Sony 85mm 1.8 for portraits and would like to add a longer lens. It feels like the 70-200 f2.8 with teleconverter would be a lot more versatile for me than the 100-400 due to the ability to have a nice fast 70-200/2.8 and also go longer when I needed it. Any thoughts on why the significantly slower 100-400 would be a better option? I feel like I might be living in high iso vs motion blur hell with the 100-400, but it seems very popular on this forum and am wondering if I am too worried about the lens speed differences. I am not happy with the 70-200 2.8 reviews but there are not a lot of alternatives.

Sep 25, 2017 at 05:56 PM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · 70-200 f/2.8 with 2xTC vs 100-400

If you need or want to reach a focal length of 400mm and you have to use a tele converter to get there, it is a compromise. It is a universally applicable "rule" regardless of brands. I am not only referring it to the optical performance but also the AF performance, as well. With the Canikon prime super tele lenses, the compromise is not so noticeable but definitely more pronounced in their zoom lens. The two Sony GM lenses that accept FE tele extenders are no exception.

Similar to the DSLR world, the 1.4X TC does better optically and AF-wise than the 2X TC. I have used the 70-200mm GM lens with a 1.4X TC and I am pleased with the result and understandably, less so with the 2X TC. Without any doubt though, the GM 100-400mm lens performs better than the GM 70-200mm combined with the 2X TC. As long as you know what to expect, then you can give it a try, I would say.

Sep 25, 2017 at 06:48 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · 70-200 f/2.8 with 2xTC vs 100-400

I once saw a test of Canon glass that made a good argument that, rather than the 2X TC, you are better off using the 1.4X TC and cropping.

The 2X TC, universally across brands, is a bridge too far-especially in a zoom. The best results I have had with a 2X TC is with my EF 200mm F2.0 Canon Prime but then that is a $5700 lens. Nikon used to make a 1.7X TC which seemed to be the max TC but then I would use it in the Nikkor 200mm F2.0.

Sep 27, 2017 at 01:19 PM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · 70-200 f/2.8 with 2xTC vs 100-400

Perhaps, I should disqualify myself from responding in that I have an A7rII, FE 70-200mm f/4.0, FE 100-400mm, 1.4x T.C.
I like the optics, size, and resultant images from these lenses, but if I were to keep one of the zooms, it would be the long one. I prefer stopping down the 100-400mm/1.4 T.C. one stop from open, but my A7rII is contrast autofocus only at that point (@ 560mm), but your A9 will use the phase detection. There is a noticeable improvement in image quality with the one stop when using the T.C.. The longer lens is larger and heavier, but the difference isn't enough to make me want the 70-200mm vs 100-400mm. If I want a smaller portrait lens, I have plenty of Zeiss and Leica fixed glass ( 90, 100 and 135mm fixed lenses ) that are small, light and manual focus is pretty easy for portrait. I even shoot soccer, with film Contax cameras using the Zeiss 100-300mm.. which is a challenge, but this is yet another wonderful lens in this general focal length range. Of course, this lens has mostly retired from sports shoots, but might work better than either Sony zoom lens for travel light landscape..etc.
If I were an event photographer, I would pick the fast shorter zoom. I tend to shoot field sports more than events, so the longer lens is a must.

Sep 27, 2017 at 02:34 PM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · 70-200 f/2.8 with 2xTC vs 100-400

Has nobody done the comparisons on this yet?

Frankly, while most of us know that a TC is a compromise for performance (sharpness, color fringing, contrast possibly, etc.) this discussion is purely theoretical until you can look at samples of the differences.

Some people may not have any problem with the performance losses that occur, and getting the added versatility of the 2xTC would probably make a lot more sense than buying the 100-400, especially if they only rarely go past the 200mm range.

The point is that the decisions on lens choice for something like this is not only about the performance at 400mm, but the balancing of possibly a handful of factors, including non-performance related items like cost, size/bulk/weight, preferred shooting focal lengths, etc. It's not as simple as stating that the performance suffers.

When a person asks these kinds of questions, they are clearly thinking along these lines, and what will probably help them the most is to be able to point to a comparison that shows the performance loss and let them weigh if that is too much for them or not, on their own balancing of all the factors.

I think this is a great question from the OP. For someone who doesn't go real long too often, it is a really solid approach, and if the speed in the 70-200 range is more beneficial, then it really becomes a logical approach, unless the performance is so bad that they cannot live with that approach.

Sep 27, 2017 at 05:13 PM

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