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New Sony 300mm f2.8GM with TC's

  
 
ChrisMak
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · New Sony 300mm f2.8GM with TC's


Mark Galer has a very nice review on the new Sony 300mm f2.8GM.

One particular remark caught my attention:
"I think the sharpness when using the 2x tele was the thing that took me most by surprise (apart from the weight)."
Note that this is an answer to a reaction below his youtube video.

I never thought I would actually have any interest in this lens, but then there is the ultra low weight, and when it actually does perform as good with the 2xTC as Mark says (and illustrates b.t.w. with large images on a special flickr page), then I am starting to get interested.

I used the Canon 400mm f4DOII with the 2xTC a lot when I had it, and the sharpness amazed me. The only downside was the rather poor OOF rendering with subjects close to their backgrounds, but that had more to do with it being a DO lens.

I now use the 600GM on the A1, but came from a D500+500PF combo, and have sort of regretted that Sony does not offer a lighter, smaller option to get to 600mm for when I just want to go light ans small. I had the 200-600G for a year on the A1 but although a very good lens, I never really liked the contrast in soft/duller light and the CA that the 600GM simply does not have. It also misses the crispness of the 600GM, understandably, as it is a 1800,- lens.

Nikon recently brought the Z600PF f6.3, and I am sure I am not the only one eying that lens in envy, although I really think it should have been f5.6.
Well, the Sony 300GM with 2xTC is 600mm f5.6, only around 200gr heavier and yes, a bit longer and wider, but I always felt the 500PF was a bit over the top small and light, so the Sony should be fine. It is only slightly more expensive, and offers a 420mm f4 lens with the 1.4TC, great for closer up BIF. The Nikon 600PF cannot do that trick, it is locked at f6.3.
And you get twin linear XD motors with the Sony.

Am I missing things here, or has Sony just introduced a lens that can take the Nikon Z600PF lens envy away?

Here is a shot by Mark Galer at 600mm. What do you think?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/markgaler/53315943439/in/album-72177720312417927/



Nov 08, 2023 at 05:40 PM
j4nu
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · New Sony 300mm f2.8GM with TC's


Yes, its size/weight makes it very interesting .
I'm actually more interested in this lens than the new A9...



Nov 08, 2023 at 05:59 PM
berimbolo
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · New Sony 300mm f2.8GM with TC's


Waiting for some more reviews. It is a very tempting lens.


Nov 08, 2023 at 06:33 PM
AGeoJO
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · New Sony 300mm f2.8GM with TC's


That lens triggers my interest, too. And at $5,999, the price is just too good to pass up.


Nov 08, 2023 at 06:39 PM
Andrew CD
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · New Sony 300mm f2.8GM with TC's


Would anyone care to comment (or speculate) on how the 300/2.8 + 2x TC is might compare with the 200-600 (in terms of both AF performance and image quality)?

My main interest is wildlife, birds in particular (both static and BIF). A 300m is obviously not really the thing for BIF, but Iím really quite tempted by the thought of a 600mm f/5.6 thatís this lightweight ó I do sometimes hike a fair distance. And Mark Galerís review and images (albeit processed) seem quite promising.

Thanks!

(PS. Iíve pretty much decided against switching to Nikon, so please donít mention the 600PF Ö But, for what itís worth, my tentative answer to @ChrisMak Ďs question is: yes, I think Sony have done exactly that! )



Nov 09, 2023 at 03:05 PM
freaklikeme
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · New Sony 300mm f2.8GM with TC's


Does it really come as a surprise the 2x does well with the 300/2.8? It's excellent with the 400/2.8, and those two focal lengths tend to be the sweet spot for 2xs, historically speaking. In my experience, it's with the zooms where the 2x gets dodgy.


Nov 09, 2023 at 08:34 PM
dclark
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · New Sony 300mm f2.8GM with TC's


I'm not surprised the optical performance is good, but I didn't hear anything about how quickly and accurately it focuses compared to the 600/4. Did I miss it?
It would be nice to have a 600/5.6 that is about half the weight of my 600/4.

" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">





Nov 09, 2023 at 09:56 PM
speedmaster20d
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · New Sony 300mm f2.8GM with TC's


Andrew CD wrote:
Would anyone care to comment (or speculate) on how the 300/2.8 + 2x TC is might compare with the 200-600 (in terms of both AF performance and image quality)?

My main interest is wildlife, birds in particular (both static and BIF). A 300m is obviously not really the thing for BIF, but Iím really quite tempted by the thought of a 600mm f/5.6 thatís this lightweight ó I do sometimes hike a fair distance. And Mark Galerís review and images (albeit processed) seem quite promising.

Thanks!

(PS. Iíve pretty much decided against switching to Nikon, so please donít mention the 600PF Ö
...Show more

The AF should be faster as the 300 is fitted with dual XD motors the same kind that is used in 600 f/4GM. The 2-6 uses lower cost linear motors. This will impact the initial AF acquisition speed. The tracking performance is mostly function of the camera and will be similar the prime combo has 1/3 stop faster aperture but that shouldnít have much impact on the A1.

Sharpness is the main factor, it needs to be clearly sharper with the 2X than the zoom (which isnít bad itself) to justify the price for BIF. I am quite happy with the 2X on my 600 GM and I hope it is similar or better with the 300.

300mm is too short for general BIF so it will be mostly glued to the 2X for this application unless shooting large birds at close range.

Hope to receive one of these early next year and test it out

I DO wish Sony had more high-end telephoto options like Nikon does. 600 f/5.6 PF/DO would be a nice compliment to the 600 f/4 GM. even a 400 f/4 would be great as it will extend to 800 f/8.... 300 f/2.8 is the "least" optimal of the fast primes for general BIF (special circumstances aside) but it is better than nothing ... especially when price is "relatively" reasonable these days



Nov 09, 2023 at 10:16 PM
speedmaster20d
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · New Sony 300mm f2.8GM with TC's


ChrisMak wrote:
Mark Galer has a very nice review on the new Sony 300mm f2.8GM.

One particular remark caught my attention:
"I think the sharpness when using the 2x tele was the thing that took me most by surprise (apart from the weight)."
Note that this is an answer to a reaction below his youtube video.

I never thought I would actually have any interest in this lens, but then there is the ultra low weight, and when it actually does perform as good with the 2xTC as Mark says (and illustrates b.t.w. with large images on a special flickr page), then I am starting to
...Show more

As for the images, maybe it's just me but when I download and view the largest image available they have quite bit of sharpening applied to them, there's aliasing, jaggies, halo and some grain from too much sharpening. The bird shot with 2x doesn't look good to my eye at full size I am afraid. the pupil looks like it was a bit hazy and then over sharpened as opposed to sharp, the contrast has been bumped up so much that there is no detail left in the blacks.... but these could just be samples taken in a hurry in sub-optimal conditions and without careful processing, maybe underexposed and then lifted who knows ....so it's really hard to tell anything from these IMO-not to dismiss the efforts of the shooter and his generosity to share his images.






Nov 09, 2023 at 10:50 PM
j4nu
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · New Sony 300mm f2.8GM with TC's


speedmaster20d wrote:
As for the images, maybe it's just me but when I download and view the largest image available they have quite bit of sharpening applied to them, there's aliasing, jaggies, halo and some grain from too much sharpening. The bird shot with 2x doesn't look good to my eye at full size I am afraid. the pupil looks like it was a bit hazy and then over sharpened as opposed to sharp, the contrast has been bumped up so much that there is no detail left in the blacks.... but these could just be samples taken in a hurry in
...Show more

That's just his usual processing ... and that's why I can't look at his photos for too long.



Nov 09, 2023 at 11:43 PM
 


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speedmaster20d
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · New Sony 300mm f2.8GM with TC's


j4nu wrote:
That's just his usual processing ... and that's why I can't look at his photos for too long.


👍 got it



Nov 09, 2023 at 11:51 PM
ChrisMak
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · New Sony 300mm f2.8GM with TC's


speedmaster20d wrote:
The AF should be faster as the 300 is fitted with dual XD motors the same kind that is used in 600 f/4GM. The 2-6 uses lower cost linear motors. This will impact the initial AF acquisition speed. The tracking performance is mostly function of the camera and will be similar the prime combo has 1/3 stop faster aperture but that shouldnít have much impact on the A1.

Sharpness is the main factor, it needs to be clearly sharper with the 2X than the zoom (which isnít bad itself) to justify the price for BIF. I am quite happy with
...Show more

A 400mm f4GM would be a great option. I used the Canon 400DOII with both extenders.
But that is all in the distant future, the 300GM is here and incredibly light.

But yes, the 2xTC would be glued to it, so it all depends on the performance with the 2x. Bokeh especially will be a deciding factor, next to resolution, I have no real doubts about AF on the A1.

Edited on Nov 10, 2023 at 02:30 AM · View previous versions



Nov 10, 2023 at 01:55 AM
ChrisMak
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · New Sony 300mm f2.8GM with TC's


dclark wrote:
I'm not surprised the optical performance is good, but I didn't hear anything about how quickly and accurately it focuses compared to the 600/4. Did I miss it?
It would be nice to have a 600/5.6 that is about half the weight of my 600/4.

" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">




I more or less take it as a given that it has immaculate AF on the A1 with the two XD linear focus motors, so I did not even miss it that it wasn't discussed.
But I have no experience with AF when there is a Sony 2xTC on the 600GM, so that is something to find out myself. The 1.4TC is fine but 2xTC's are something different.
Same goes for the bokeh. The Canon 400DOII still had great resolution with the 2XTC, but bokeh was not great.

I think I will get the 300GM though, as I expect it to be the only way to get to 600mm f5.6 at around 1,6kg for a long time to come.



Nov 10, 2023 at 02:18 AM
j4nu
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · New Sony 300mm f2.8GM with TC's


ChrisMak wrote:
I more or less take it as a given that it has immaculate AF on the A1 with the two XD linear focus motors, so I did not even miss it that it wasn't discussed.
But I have no experience with AF when there is a Sony 2xTC on the 600GM, so that is something to find out myself. The 1.4TC is fine but 2xTC's are something different.
Same goes for the bokeh. The Canon 400DOII still had great resolution with the 2XTC, but bokeh was not great.

I think I will get the 300GM though, as I expect it to be
...Show more

Tony and Chelsea have shown that AF takes a hit when using 2xTC, as expected I'd say. Hard to tell if it's still good enough for some serious action...



Nov 10, 2023 at 03:17 AM
duncang
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · New Sony 300mm f2.8GM with TC's


speedmaster20d wrote:
The AF should be faster as the 300 is fitted with dual XD motors the same kind that is used in 600 f/4GM. The 2-6 uses lower cost linear motors. This will impact the initial AF acquisition speed. The tracking performance is mostly function of the camera and will be similar the prime combo has 1/3 stop faster aperture but that shouldnít have much impact on the A1.

Sharpness is the main factor, it needs to be clearly sharper with the 2X than the zoom (which isnít bad itself) to justify the price for BIF. I am quite happy with
...Show more

Would you mind posting a link to some RAW files taken with the 600 + 2xTC. I would be interested in seeing how that holds up. With the 1.4TC the 600 seems excellent - not sure I could tell the difference even on a 5K display.

The images Mark Galer posted with the 300 and 2xTC didn't look particularly good - but hard to tell anything without the RAW files.



Nov 10, 2023 at 03:58 AM
arbitrage
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · New Sony 300mm f2.8GM with TC's


I don't like the Sony 2xTC on 400GM or 600GM so I doubt I'd be happy with it on 300GM although it probably has a better chance than the other two lenses. I find with the 2xTC the AF hit rate just takes a nose dive. Ultimate IQ when AF hits can be perfectly acceptable but I just am always disappointed with my results with the 2x. So much so, that the 2x has been stored away in a box for the past 6 months without seeing the light of day.

If I had more confidence in the 2x then I'd be much more interested in the 300GM. I used to own Canon EF 300II and used it with 2xTCIII a lot on lower MP 1DX bodies and was happy but I think my standards have changed over the years after shooting with tack sharp prime lenses on amazing focusing bodies.



Nov 10, 2023 at 04:19 AM
ChrisMak
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · New Sony 300mm f2.8GM with TC's


arbitrage wrote:
I don't like the Sony 2xTC on 400GM or 600GM so I doubt I'd be happy with it on 300GM although it probably has a better chance than the other two lenses. I find with the 2xTC the AF hit rate just takes a nose dive. Ultimate IQ when AF hits can be perfectly acceptable but I just am always disappointed with my results with the 2x. So much so, that the 2x has been stored away in a box for the past 6 months without seeing the light of day.

If I had more confidence in the 2x then I'd
...Show more

I understand that a 300GM with 2xTC is never going to compare to the 600GM at f5.6, and I don't see a 300GM+2xTC as a viable option for BIF.
I mean to use it, when it meets IQ standards, as a light travel option where birding is not first priority and not for fast action. Think longer hikes or forest walks. I know from using the Nikon 500PF that f5.6 is pretty iffy already, regarding light gathering and background separation, but jķst doable, which is why I don't really consider the Nikon Z600PF (apart from having to go two systems and buy another expensive body). Besides, the 300GM offers a 420mm f4 option, for shooting in winter time, which is a big plus over the Z600PF.

The 300GM is insanely sharp judging by the first short reviews, and has very good contrast, which is a good thing, next to its f2.8 aperture, for maintaining enough crispness and resolution with the 2xTC on.
It is lighter and shorter than the 200-600G, more versatile with the 1.4TC option, should have faster AF even with the TC's, less CA (if any) and more GM dna. Plus it is f5.6 compared to f6.3, the 200-600 needs good strong light somehow, or starts to look dullish quickly. When I had it, I used it at 600mm 100% of the time, so I don't care for zooming on a FF body.

I am afraid that it is the only option I am going to have for a 600/5.6, I guess it is worth a chance. The amazingly low weight and crazy sharpness of the 300GM do it for me. It will need a good copy of the 2xTC though, I am not sure how consistent these are...



Nov 10, 2023 at 05:01 AM
Andrew CD
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · New Sony 300mm f2.8GM with TC's


speedmaster20d wrote:
The AF should be faster as the 300 is fitted with dual XD motors the same kind that is used in 600 f/4GM. The 2-6 uses lower cost linear motors. This will impact the initial AF acquisition speed. The tracking performance is mostly function of the camera and will be similar the prime combo has 1/3 stop faster aperture but that shouldnít have much impact on the A1.

Sharpness is the main factor, it needs to be clearly sharper with the 2X than the zoom (which isnít bad itself) to justify the price for BIF. I am quite happy with
...Show more

Interesting. Thanks! What you say about AF speed makes good sense. The weight of the 300/2.8+TC is quite compelling, but it would need to be materially better than the 200-600 for me to buy it. I agree with your comment, that 300mm is too short for BIF, as I said in my earlier post. But I'd be rather tempted by a 1.6kg 600mm f/5.6 combo, if give a good improvement over the 200-600.

A lightweight 600mm (or ever 400 or 500) would be better, of course. I also agree that a PF/DO in any of those focal lengths would be great. But, for now the 300mm begins to feel rather tempting. It would be great to see some images, if you manage to get one to test ....



Nov 10, 2023 at 05:12 AM
arbitrage
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · New Sony 300mm f2.8GM with TC's


ChrisMak wrote:
I understand that a 300GM with 2xTC is never going to compare to the 600GM at f5.6, and I don't see a 300GM+2xTC as a viable option for BIF.
I mean to use it, when it meets IQ standards, as a light travel option where birding is not first priority and not for fast action. Think longer hikes or forest walks. I know from using the Nikon 500PF that f5.6 is pretty iffy already, regarding light gathering and background separation, but jķst doable, which is why I don't really consider the Nikon Z600PF (apart from having to go two systems and
...Show more

I will say the best lens I've used for the 2xTC on is the 70-200 f/2.8 II. I was impressed with the AF although the final IQ didn't hold up to the 100-400GM at 400 f/5.6 (which is to be expected I guess). So because of that I do have some hope the 300GM would be okey with 2xTC. At least better than it is on 400GM and 600GM.

It would be a nice option to have...sort of competition with Nikon 400/4.5 and 600PF in different ways. Although if you aren't going to use 300/2.8 much without TCs than a lens like 400/4.5 makes more sense.

The big bonus with 300/2.8 over those Nikon lenses is better MM at similar focal lengths.
Sony 300/2.8 is 0.16x at 2m at 300, 0.22x at 420 and 0.32x at 600.
Nikon 400/4.5 is 0.16x at 2.5m at 400 and 0.22x at 560
Nikon 600PF is 0.15x at 4m!!

So 300/2.8 is going to be way better mag and closer focusing at 600mm...big plus. Barely heavier or longer than 600PF when 2xTC is attached. Lenses weigh the same as bare lenses and 600PF is 0.5" longer.



Nov 10, 2023 at 05:14 AM
Andrew CD
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · New Sony 300mm f2.8GM with TC's


arbitrage wrote:
I don't like the Sony 2xTC on 400GM or 600GM so I doubt I'd be happy with it on 300GM although it probably has a better chance than the other two lenses. I find with the 2xTC the AF hit rate just takes a nose dive. Ultimate IQ when AF hits can be perfectly acceptable but I just am always disappointed with my results with the 2x. So much so, that the 2x has been stored away in a box for the past 6 months without seeing the light of day.

If I had more confidence in the 2x then I'd
...Show more

That all makes complete sense. I was pleased to hear your perspective about the big GMs with the 2xTC, although I didn't realise that the deterioration of AF hit rate would be quite that bad. Certainly worth knowing, though.

The reason I'm tempted by the 300/2.8 + 2xTC is to have a much lighter 600mm option for hiking in the Scottish Highlands, although I'll only buy one if I see convincing evidence that it's materially better than my 200-600.

The other factor is that, having sat on the fence for over a year trying to decide whether to switch from my (original) A9 to Nikon (motivated by the PF lenses), I've finally decided to stick with Sony and change my A9 for a (used) A1. Ultimately, I may take a deep breath and get a 600/4, but I will also seriously consider the 300/2.8 once I've seen more sample images. I'm sure your standards are just a tiny bit higher than mine, though.

As it happens, I did use a Canon 300/4 + TCs with a 1D mk IV for quite a number of years, and was pretty happy with that. And all of these options were touch lighter than the Canon 500/4 (3.9kg) that I also had ....



Nov 10, 2023 at 06:45 AM
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