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Need a Fresh Perspective...

  
 
jbear
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Need a Fresh Perspective...


I'm in the position of being able to add a lens. I really have no interest in mirrorless at this point, as I am not wanting for "keepers," so while I would add a Z9, I'm not about to go there currently. Bodies are: D850, D500, D750, and occasionally D300. I'm a nature shooter...all types. Kayaks, tripods, hand-held...all over the map...and that's how I like it. I'm looking to add a wildlife lens. I've got a 500 f4 OS which I LOVE as well as a 300PF, 3002.8VR, and 200-500VR for this application. I'm truly torn. I am considering a 500PF for the BIF/travel aspect. Alternatively, a 400 2.8 for the lower light and tc performance, and a 600 f4 for the same reason. These last two would be the AFS or AFS II versions (maybe VR depending upon price). I really can't decide, and I'm to the point where I'm not sure if I'm being objective. So...just looking for your take on it. It's definitely a first world problem, so...


Sep 22, 2022 at 11:41 AM
gear-nut
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Need a Fresh Perspective...


Wow, you're sort of all over the map, but I'll take a stab and it's a biggie

Given everything you've said, I'd firstly comment that 500 and 600 are pretty darn close, so I'd remove the 600 (more on that below). Next I'd add that while some will argue 400 and 500 are pretty close, the 400 is another full stop faster.

Now with that said, I personally would first sell your 500 f4 and replace it with the 500 PF -- it's only a stop slower but a ton more hand-holdable for BIF. In the same breath, a good copy of the 200-500 is more versatile though slower focusing and not all that difficult to hand-hold -- again depends on your needs. Now depending on what all you shoot, I'd probably jump to the the 800/5.6 as the added focal is frequently welcome for birds as well as both small and large mammals in open terrain. (Years back when I did a lot of wildlife, I started with the 600/4 and found I had the 1.4 on it most of the time, so went to the 800/5.6 and was much happier AND had the ability to add the 1.4x if I wanted a bit more -- rarely used that combo, but was nice to have. Important point here is I never missed or regretted swapping my 600 for the 800.) My first alternative to the 800 would be the 400/2.8 plus the 1.4 and 2X (I hear it remains optically excellent with either). In fact if I shot sports (which I don't, but respect you might) I'd do the 400 as that focal and fast aperture are useful for action sports and with the 2x it's supposed to be pretty close to the 800 F prime.

My .02...



Sep 22, 2022 at 12:50 PM
jbear
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Need a Fresh Perspective...


Very much appreciated. I don't care to sell my 500 f4...it's great at everything and I can handhold it easily. The only drawback is that it isn't easy to travel with, although I do hike with it pretty easily. My 200-500 is amazing to me...it's great @ 5.6 and the VR is incomparable. Currently, I do tend to see the 600 as the last one on the list for the same reasons you do.
Seems to be that it comes down to a 400 2.8-800 5.6 in one lens (albeit a big one) vs a 500 that's limited in application but easy travelling...and a bit less expensive. I haven't checked prices on the 800 5.6...guess I should.
Thanks again!



Sep 22, 2022 at 01:11 PM
jwolfe
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Need a Fresh Perspective...


500mm pf all day long. A 600mm f4 isnít going to get you much other than a back ache. But once you start using the pf it will change your life. Iíd keep everything youíve got but sell the 200-500 in favor of the pf. Itís so much better.


Sep 22, 2022 at 05:34 PM
jbear
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Need a Fresh Perspective...


Appreciate the take. I agree that the 600 is the least likely candidate.

Not selling the 200-500VR, as in the boats I'm often too close and the zoom is invaluable.



Sep 22, 2022 at 05:45 PM
jwolfe
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Need a Fresh Perspective...


If thatís the case, your arms and back might thank you to trade it for a Tamron 100-400. Literally half the weight. I have that and the 500mm pf. Great combo.

jbear wrote:
Appreciate the take. I agree that the 600 is the least likely candidate.

Not selling the 200-500VR, as in the boats I'm often too close and the zoom is invaluable.




Sep 22, 2022 at 05:47 PM
jbear
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Need a Fresh Perspective...


I'm grateful for your insight. I should add that while being travel-friendly is a consideration, weight and size from a handling/ managing perspective is not. I find that larger heavier lenses are easier for me to hand hold. I realize that 400 2.8 will not be filling these particular roles as a kayak/ travel lens. The PF would.


Sep 22, 2022 at 06:10 PM
bs kite
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Need a Fresh Perspective...


jbear wrote:
I'm in the position of being able to add a lens. I really have no interest in mirrorless at this point, as I am not wanting for "keepers," so while I would add a Z9, I'm not about to go there currently. Bodies are: D850, D500, D750, and occasionally D300. I'm a nature shooter...all types. Kayaks, tripods, hand-held...all over the map...and that's how I like it. I'm looking to add a wildlife lens. I've got a 500 f4 OS which I LOVE as well as a 300PF, 3002.8VR, and 200-500VR for this application. I'm truly torn. I am considering a
...Show more

I love my 200-500 too and cannot see letting it go. As you said, the VR is great. And also ays, when I find I'm too close in the watercraft for the 500PF MFD, then I may switch to my 200-500. I also use it increasingly for video clips of nature (with the D850 on Focus Peaking). Last few weeks I have been using it on my tripod and shooting Monarchs in my wildflower garden, sometimes over that same Butterfly Bush you identified.

Two days ago I went to the beach hoping to photograph some migrating shorebirds running/feeing along the foam line. Ended up videoing windsurfers . Nope... I am not giving up my 200-500, and it is super sharp.

But it is not my go-to. It is slow to acquire and it is heavy for me now.

I agreed with jwolfe on this point: When you have used the 500PF for a while it will change your thinking. This lens is my go-to now. It took awhile but it won me over because it is just so lightweight, quick and compact. And I carry it hanging from the right arm, with the right hand gripping the battery-gripped D850. It's just a pleasure.

Robert



Sep 22, 2022 at 06:29 PM
jbear
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Need a Fresh Perspective...


Good points.. It may be the more practical choice for now. I've never shot with a 400 2.8 and by all accounts, it's pretty special. Gotta ponder.


Sep 22, 2022 at 06:51 PM
eorlando
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Need a Fresh Perspective...


I had the 200-500 and never did like that lens. Just the flexibility of it. Maybe I had a bad copy I sold it and got the 500mmpf which I really loved but just felt like it was missing something. I sold it and now have the 400mm f2.8 fl with 1.4 and 2x tc. It is nothing short of spectacular. Check out some of my recent posts for some sample shots. Lots of good choices out there but having f2.8 is hard to beat!!!!!

jbear wrote:
Good points.. It may be the more practical choice for now. I've never shot with a 400 2.8 and by all accounts, it's pretty special. Gotta ponder.




Sep 22, 2022 at 07:09 PM
 


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bs kite
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Need a Fresh Perspective...


If not for one physical constraint, I would probably buy a 400 2.8 too. Out of all the lenses, and excepting the fact that it takes time to remove a TC, the 400 2.8 is most exciting to me. I'm sure that even with the TC2.0 it is still tack sharp. Got to be.

Personally I think the 2.8 superteles (300 and 400) are the sharpest lens formulas of all supertele lenses, from all those who manufacture them. And the isolation/compression of the 400 is incredible.

The physical constraint is the weight. I shoot offhand most of the time. After the TC is removed, the new mirrorless 400 2.8 still weighs 6+ and the F-mount that I just checked on is 8+ pounds. Based on burdensome weight, I concluded months ago that I will probably never buy this lens formula. I could never change that weight. But if I change my mind, it will probably be the mirrorless one with the built-in TC.

You asked for advice. If I did not mind shooting off a tripod or monopod a lot, I might go for the 400 2.8.

The quick, light, compact 500PF is for me. Everyone is different.








Sep 22, 2022 at 07:46 PM
OwlsEyes
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Need a Fresh Perspective...


jbear,
You are not going to like my contribution, but I'll offer you it anyway...
You have great lenses... dare I say an enviable assortment that includes both slower light lenses and faster heavier lens. Your sigma is easily a high quality 700 f5.6 with converter, so a 600mm f/4 seems pointless to me. Your 300 f2.8 offers f/2.8 bokeh and 420 f4 bokeh with a 1.4x... don't buy another lens, the difference in your output would be minimal.
The only difference maker for someone with your optical system will be the Z9. You say you don't want/need it, but if you saw how the camera's 3D animal AF allows you to maintain your composition, and experienced the camera's silent responsiveness, you'd realize that this could be a "difference maker" you are looking for.

regards,
bruce



Sep 22, 2022 at 09:24 PM
RoamingScott
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Need a Fresh Perspective...


One step furtherÖthe Z9 AND the Z 800 😉

OwlsEyes wrote:
jbear,
You are not going to like my contribution, but I'll offer you it anyway...
You have great lenses... dare I say an enviable assortment that includes both slower light lenses and faster heavier lens. Your sigma is easily a high quality 700 f5.6 with converter, so a 600mm f/4 seems pointless to me. Your 300 f2.8 offers f/2.8 bokeh and 420 f4 bokeh with a 1.4x... don't buy another lens, the difference in your output would be minimal.
The only difference maker for someone with your optical system will be the Z9. You say you don't want/need it, but if you saw
...Show more



Sep 22, 2022 at 09:29 PM
jbear
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Need a Fresh Perspective...


All takes are appreciated. I 100% acknowledge that there are going to be different thoughts regarding this and none of them are right or wrong...we all have different styles, so...I don't take it personally if anyone has a different take on this...that's why I came here.
Adding a 5K+ body and a 10K lens is not in my plans. Adding a 3K lens...I can do that.
I understand that a Z9 can do technical things that my cameras can't, yet I don't have the need. I am completely satisfied at what I am able to capture with the tech I have. I'm already sorting through ungodly amounts of images to pick the "perfect" one. I don't have trouble capturing them; I have trouble picking one. Like I said...more keepers is not my goal. "Different" is my goal. I shoot differently with different lenses...that's a good thing. I'll liken it to music. I play guitar and the way I play changes with different instruments, so...I have a lot of guitars for that reason. I get bored if things are the same. I play jazz and fusion for that reason...hate learning "songs." I play them once and I'm bored...I prefer to improvise. When I look at image after technically perfect image (whether I took it or John Shaw took it, or one of you took it)...I get bored. They all look the same. They're nice, but it's so rare that I see something that makes me "feel something." Back to music...hardest thing to do is have your own style. I struggle mightily not to sound like other guitarists...particularly one's I admire, and photography is the same for me. Every so often it happens, but mostly...just more nice documentary images that look like everyone else's who has good technique.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand. That's my motivation...something that's going to help me do something I can't do and hopefully different in some way. The PF will allow me to have 500 in places I might not (travel), and the 400 will give me long 2.8.
Grateful for all perspectives on this.



Sep 23, 2022 at 08:48 AM
aboutthelight
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Need a Fresh Perspective...


Could you tell us what it is that you are shooting? What are your subjects? Without knowing that then it is really difficult to know which lens would benefit you the most. I can tell you for my uses nothing beats a 600 F4. I photograph only birds and the 600 is invaluable for me. I use it 99.99% of the time. I shot Canon, then Nikon and now Sony. I owned the 600 for each. When I shot Nikon I used the 600E and 500PF. The 500 got me shots that I would not be able to get with the 600. When I needed something small, light and easy to use I took the 500. The rest of the time I used the 600. When I shot Nikon I used the 500PF maybe 10% of the time and the 600 the rest. Now with Sony I never take my 200-600 with me and just use the 600. The IQ, size, weight and ease of use are just a dream for me. However there are maybe 5-10 times per year that a 400 2.8 would be useful for me. So I have been torn between buying one and having it sit the vast majority of the time or just making do with the 600. So it is really a matter of what your subjects are and which do you think would offer you the best options for different photos and experience. The other thing I would like about the 400 is that I would be forced to shoot differently, maybe smaller in frame, etc and expand what i normally do.

As an aside back in July I was on a trip to Utah. I hiked up a mountain to photograph Ptarmigans. I went with my A1 and 600F4 and my buddy had his Z9 and 500PF. It was about a 2 hour hike/scramble to get up to 12,000 feet and then stomping around to find those little skulking chickens Well we finally found them and got lots of photos. That night we reviewed the images and my friend who shot the 500PF said that he wished that he had a lighter 600 that he took with him. He owns the G and was not able to carry, and maneuver with that lens at that altitude and in those conditions. The backgrounds were nowhere near as nice with the 500 as they were with my 600. That is not a brand bashing thing, it is the nature of the lenses and shooting in alpine tundra on slopes. You can't control where the bird will be so you often have less than ideal backgrounds. Near sunset the ptarmigan flew off to it's roosting site I would guess and we both got some really cool flight shots as well. The difference between mine at 600 (with the extra pixels on the bird) and at F4 was amazing. My backgrounds were just gorgeous and a beautiful blur, his was busy and not nearly as pleasing.

What is the point? Well if you want a super light travel lens with great IQ and are willing to work within it's limitation then get the 500PF. It is an awesome little lens that punches way above its weight class. But if you want ultimate image quality and your backgrounds are a concern and you need the extra reach then get the 600. Hope that helps.



Sep 23, 2022 at 12:57 PM
jbear
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Need a Fresh Perspective...


Appreciate the insight!


Sep 23, 2022 at 01:03 PM
elkhornsun
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Need a Fresh Perspective...


Don't overlook the weight of the lens. My 600mm f/4 VR lens weighed more than 11 lbs before attaching a camera body. The 600mm f/4E weighed 3 lbs less and it was noticeable when mounting it up on a gimbal head. The 500mm PF weighs a little over 3 lbs and is more like a medium telephoto and half the weight ot the 200-500mm lens.

The 500mm PF with the 80-400mm zoom provide a very wide range of focal lengths and both combined weigh less than a 500mm f/4 lens. Not needing a tripod to support a lens greatly increases mobility and being able to be a lot more selective about subject background and to shoot at eye level.

The 500mm focal length increases the image size by 56% pver that of a 400mm lens and the smaller the subject the more this becomes important. Camera resolution is also a key factor and I could produce a print from a image shot with the D850 and the 500mm PF lens to the same degree as the D5 and a 600mm lens.



Sep 23, 2022 at 05:34 PM
jbear
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Need a Fresh Perspective...


Good points...thank you.


Sep 23, 2022 at 06:04 PM
EB-1
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Need a Fresh Perspective...


jbear wrote:
I'm in the position of being able to add a lens. I really have no interest in mirrorless at this point, as I am not wanting for "keepers," so while I would add a Z9, I'm not about to go there currently. Bodies are: D850, D500, D750, and occasionally D300. I'm a nature shooter...all types. Kayaks, tripods, hand-held...all over the map...and that's how I like it. I'm looking to add a wildlife lens. I've got a 500 f4 OS which I LOVE as well as a 300PF, 3002.8VR, and 200-500VR for this application. I'm truly torn. I am considering a
...Show more

I would add the 500/5.6 PF. The issue with the F mount 400/2.8s or 600/4s is that the latest, lightest ones are still quite expensive yet will be obsolete relatively soon when Z completely takes over.

EBH



Sep 23, 2022 at 08:40 PM
OwlsEyes
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Need a Fresh Perspective...


jbear wrote:
All takes are appreciated. I 100% acknowledge that there are going to be different thoughts regarding this and none of them are right or wrong...we all have different styles, so...I don't take it personally if anyone has a different take on this...that's why I came here.
Adding a 5K+ body and a 10K lens is not in my plans. Adding a 3K lens...I can do that.
I understand that a Z9 can do technical things that my cameras can't, yet I don't have the need. I am completely satisfied at what I am able to capture with the tech I
...Show more

I completely get your point here, and it was the reason I was probing a bit. It is hard to know one person's intent when we have discussions like these. I actually am facing a similar dilemma and considering a radical shift in my own kit. The motivation for doing so is not very different from what I am hearing you say.
Like you, I am not wild about producing "perfect" pictures, in fact, it you look at my work here, on Instagram, or on my website, I tend to soften my images with a "glow" effect, use a heavy vignette, and include a lot more habitat than what I typically see on the web. I like an etherial photo that says something about where my subjects live... While my own kit is less variable than what you shoot, I am considering the purchase of a 300mm f2.8 VR II in order to produce an effect that is not possible with my current gear, In fact, I currently have a 100-400S lens that never gets used... it's an amazing optic, but with my 24-120 and 500PF... all of which are slow, the 100-400 only fills the gap without adding a unique spin.

As for your situation, I hesitate to make a suggestion... I personally would love to own a 400mm f2.8, as they have the capacity to produce strikingly beautiful photos, however the weight of all but the Z-mount lens is a real burden.

cheers,
bruce




Sep 23, 2022 at 09:22 PM
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