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500mm might be short, but if i go any longer (more expensive) my wife might cut my life short! actually she's been very encouraging to my long lens lust. she also enjoys checking out wildlife, just behind good binoculars rather than a 9 pound lens!
I really think you should find someplace to rent one first.
300VR+1.7, minimum usuable aperture(sharp), f/5.6=510mm
500VR-minimum usuable(sharp) aperture, F4
Now, if you start putting a tele-converter on the 500.....well, your mileage may vary.
I imagine a 1.4 wouldn't be to bad, but, that puts you up to F5.6??(sorry, not good with math).
And the 1.7 puts you up even higher.
So, with the combination you have right now, your already at 500mm.
Are you thinking of using the 500VR with the 1.7TC??
Might wanna ask Scott or TM if they've used that combination for feedback on the results.