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Nikon 800mm 6.3 vs Nikon 600 f4 TC & Sharpness

  
 
padrepaul
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Nikon 800mm 6.3 vs Nikon 600 f4 TC & Sharpness


When it first came out, I jumped on the Nikon 800mm 6.3 and did an even trade with my older Nikon 800 5.6 at a local shop. It's a wonderful, light lens as anyone who shoots with it knows.

Six months later I opted to (after getting a personal loan from the kind folks at the bank and not being married get the 600mm with the built in TC. Love it as well.

My initial thinking was I'd use both, walking around with the 800 more often, but as it is I use the 600 most all the time as I can flip it to 840mm and get the best of both worlds.

With that in mind, recently I changed up my kit a bit - I sold the 100-400mm lens I had and picked up the 70-200 2.8 (handy for landscapes and saw whet owls) and the 400 4.5mm lens. I opted to list the 800 as well.

I think it's mostly being a bit obsessive, but just curious for anyone who has shot with both (like me) is there any reason youd hold on to the 800 as well? Everything I've read says 840mm sharpness is on par with the 800; some even said the 600 6.3 is sharper. I think all lenses are sharp and to my eye I'm not seeing loss in feather detail which matters so much if you are a bird photographer.

I think I'm over-thinking it here and do plan to sell it, but if there is anyone who shoots both still or owns both would love to know your thoughts. As it is when I'm even shooting warblers (my favorites) I use it at 840mm a lot; I think the focus is slightly faster, and again I'm not seeing much loss of detail but if anyone thinks it's shaprer on the 800 would love to know.

Thanks!
A very obsessive bird photographer. (Paul)



Feb 18, 2024 at 11:22 AM
armd
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Nikon 800mm 6.3 vs Nikon 600 f4 TC & Sharpness


Appreciate the angst though the bottom line is you need to feel comfortable with the kit which works best for you and your style of shooting. If you can afford the 600 f/4 and the size, weight combination make more sense then keep it and sell the 800 f/6.3.


Feb 18, 2024 at 11:50 AM
gear-nut
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Nikon 800mm 6.3 vs Nikon 600 f4 TC & Sharpness


If you’re tripod bound anyway, the 600TC is tough to beat for birds and wildlife. The 600/6.3 is incredibly light and easier to handhold than the 800PF, but then the 400/4.5 with 1.4x isn’t far behind the 600 PF. So for now the 800PF seems superfluous, so I’d sell it and add the 1.4x and call it done — the 1.4x is quite usable on all the lenses you mentioned and adds a lot of flexibility. If you find you use the 400+1.4 handheld a lot, then consider adding the 600pf.


Feb 18, 2024 at 01:43 PM
Phil Seu
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Nikon 800mm 6.3 vs Nikon 600 f4 TC & Sharpness


I am holding on to both for now. The 800 PF is so much more portable and easier to handhold. And if I need even more reach I would rather add an external 1.4x to the 800PF than the 600TC.

Phil



Feb 18, 2024 at 03:07 PM
Eric214
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Nikon 800mm 6.3 vs Nikon 600 f4 TC & Sharpness


I'd personally never buy a lens to plan to use a TC more often then not. I don't like TC's much anyway, but I would ALWAYS buy the lens the focal length you plan to use the large majority of the time. So if you think you will be at 800mm most of the time, buy the 800PF. If you will be at 600mm most of the time then buy the 600TC or the 600PF. No matter how good the Z TC's are, they will never be as good as the naked and native focal length of a lens,

As far as sharpness goes, you wont see a real world difference unless you have the images side by side on the same screen and even then you will need to pixel peep.



Feb 18, 2024 at 03:20 PM
woodstork
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Nikon 800mm 6.3 vs Nikon 600 f4 TC & Sharpness


If you’re hardly using the 800 PF in favor of the 600 TC, sell the 800. Unless you have some future use case for it.

Right now I’ve got the 100-400 and 800 PF and this really works great for my run and gun (no tripod) style. The zoom’s close focus is special.

If I shot on tripod a lot, and only wanted one super it’d definitely be the 600 TC.



Feb 18, 2024 at 05:20 PM
padrepaul
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Nikon 800mm 6.3 vs Nikon 600 f4 TC & Sharpness


Thanks for the replies, opted to sell the 800; I use the 600 with the TC much of the time, but it's really 50/50; that said practically speaking when I'm out shooting warblers and songbirds and want the reach, I'm still on the 600 with the TC and likely not lugging the 800 and the 600 with me at the same time. I re-watched Ricci and Steve Perry's videos on sharpness and both could not discern between the 600 with it's TC engaged and the 800.

I do have the 1.4TC but don't use it much, but the internal TC on the 600 has been great.



Feb 18, 2024 at 11:40 PM
elkhornsun
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Nikon 800mm 6.3 vs Nikon 600 f4 TC & Sharpness


I passed on the 600mm f/4TC lens due entirely to its weight of 7.2 lbs which for me would require the use of a tripod and gimbal head 100% of the time. For me the companion options to the 800mm PF are either the 600mm PF or the 180-600mm zoom lens.

When I have owned a 600mm f/4 lens I used it the majority of the time with a TC-14 teleconverter attached. I also always had the 80-400mm zoom lens along as well with two cameras in hand to minimize lens changes outdoors.

If I was going to bite the bullet and carry the 600mm TC along with a 10 lb tripod and gimbal head around in the field then I would want either the 180-600mm or the 100-400mm plus 1.4x teleconverter with me as well.

I have seen way too many overly cropped subjects posted where the shooter had a 600mm lens and with the camera to subject distances did not have the field of view to show the subject in its surroundings and so they became ID shots that were much weaker overall.



Feb 20, 2024 at 03:39 PM
groob
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Nikon 800mm 6.3 vs Nikon 600 f4 TC & Sharpness


padrepaul wrote:
Thanks for the replies, opted to sell the 800; I use the 600 with the TC much of the time, but it's really 50/50; that said practically speaking when I'm out shooting warblers and songbirds and want the reach, I'm still on the 600 with the TC and likely not lugging the 800 and the 600 with me at the same time. I re-watched Ricci and Steve Perry's videos on sharpness and both could not discern between the 600 with it's TC engaged and the 800.

I do have the 1.4TC but don't use it much, but the internal TC
...Show more

I just went through a somewhat similar thought process, except that my decision was between a 600mm f/4 FL E and the 800mm f/6.3. The lenses are now basically the same price, and I wound up with the 600mm f/4.

I hike a couple miles with the 600mm f/4 and handhold 100% of the time. I feel no need for a tripod. I also don't really buy the advice that one shouldn't buy a lens with which they'll usually use a TC. I have used a 1.4x TC on mine during every outing so far, and it's been great. But I've also noticed that 840mm will be too long for anything but small birds. When the seasons change, and I start shooting wading birds and mammals (or I travel to Florida), I likely won't use a TC. But if I'd bought an 800mm, I wouldn't have that versatility.



Feb 20, 2024 at 04:43 PM
lukemeup
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Nikon 800mm 6.3 vs Nikon 600 f4 TC & Sharpness


I'm tempted to save up and eventually spring for 600TC to replace 800PF (not anytime soon). Considering I don't have much trouble hand holding 800PF I'm not sure I'd regret getting the big prime. I'm a single body shooter and I don't like switching lenses too much. Just the question of cost vs performance vs weight vs convenience.

Damn you, Nikon, for giving us so much choice in this regard.



Feb 20, 2024 at 05:57 PM
 


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bernardl
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Nikon 800mm 6.3 vs Nikon 600 f4 TC & Sharpness


And... I expect a 200-500mm f4 TC to show up sooner than later to spice things up further.

Cheers,
Bernard



Feb 20, 2024 at 06:22 PM
VTRich
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Nikon 800mm 6.3 vs Nikon 600 f4 TC & Sharpness


I jumped on the 800PF when it first came out, but still placed an order for the 600TC, assuming I would just sell the 800PF when I ever got the 600TC. Well, I finally got the 600TC a couple months ago and still have the 800PF for the moment.

I have found that (for me at least) I can hand hold the 600TC as well as the 800PF, despite the slightly heavier weight. It just feels better balanced to me, while the 800PF tends to be forward heavy. That being said, I will probably use a gymbal, or monopod with the 600TC most of the time. But I would not hesitate to use it handheld if need be.

I thought about keeping the 800PF for short hikes without a tripod, but I think the 600PF is much more suited to that. The Z8 and 600PF makes such a great lightweight combo. I'll keep the 800PF for a few more months and then decide.



Feb 21, 2024 at 07:22 AM
OwlsEyes
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Nikon 800mm 6.3 vs Nikon 600 f4 TC & Sharpness


I went one step farther than Paul...
I sold my 800PF and 400 f4.5 and replaced it with the 400mm f2.8S TC. Owning the 800PF made me change how I shot and the way I interpreted my nature subjects. This was fine for a while, but I'm not into the type of photography for which that lens is best suited. In the end, I reasoned that I could stack 1.4x converters (or use a 2x) whenever I needed to get out to 800mm.
I currently use the 400S with the 180-600, but may either sell that latter or relegate it to kayaks and hikes. My 400 f2.8S and 100-400S are a perfect pair for 95% of the wildlife photography that I like to do.

cheers,
bruce



Feb 21, 2024 at 08:46 AM
DATER
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Nikon 800mm 6.3 vs Nikon 600 f4 TC & Sharpness


IMO, the appeal of the 600TC is that you can acquire the little bird at 600mm then flip it to 840mm for the shot. You can even go to DX mode to get an even better view of the birdie in your viewfinder.

YMMV.



Feb 21, 2024 at 04:25 PM
AcuteShadows
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Nikon 800mm 6.3 vs Nikon 600 f4 TC & Sharpness


Probably any difference in sharpness does not show unless you are at ISO 400 or below. So it will depend, as always, on your use case.


Feb 21, 2024 at 05:43 PM
elkhornsun
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Nikon 800mm 6.3 vs Nikon 600 f4 TC & Sharpness


In places like Yellowstone I often would grab the 80-400mm and leave the 600mm f/4 lens in the vehicle. By the time I got the tripod set up and the lens mounted the animal would have moved on and the shot would have been lost. I liked using the 600mm with a teleconverter when photographing bears as it allowed for maintaining a safe camera to subjects distance.

A maxim is to shoot at eye level whenever possible with wildlife. I never see photographers with tripods doing that unless they are in a blind and forced to do so.

I have the 800mm PF and use it almost entirely hand held. I would much rather own and would be more likely to use the 600mm PF over the 600mm TC lens. After owning the 500mm PF lens I would never go back to a very heavy lens that required a tripod for me to use it. If I was a 30 year old body builder it might be different but have a large lens and camera mounted on a tripod still slows one down in moving through the countryside.



Feb 21, 2024 at 06:34 PM
Sbatley
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Nikon 800mm 6.3 vs Nikon 600 f4 TC & Sharpness


Interesting thread, I enjoy photographing water fowl, estuary birds in flight and song birds, as I live near an estuary, marshland and wetland lakes. I have 400/f4.5 with TC14 and 800 f6.3 PF. For birding I use the 800 PF 90% of the time if not more. On my Z8 (and to lesser extent my Z9) it feels wonderfully balanced and flexible. I do sometimes needi to go >1000mm so I go DX or TC14 on the 800 but I do notice a slight loss of acuity with the TC14 which is perhaps understandable.
When sitting low on a river bank for a long time (as we know photographing birds is all about patience), I will sometimes use a monopod stopped short with the 800pf, and I can drop the exposure speed right down for sun rise, dusk environments… and with a quick release I can drop the monopod rapidly if an interesting bird happens to fly by or some other action requires me to rapidly move the lens.

So for my type of wild life shooting the 800pf is where it’s at (and I love its bokeh). the focal length feels optimum, the lens is light and nicely balanced with the Z8 for hand holding and capturing birds in flight… but I can easily see if I photographed predominantly in other wild life environments and other subjects a native 600 mm lens could be better suited… it really depends.



Feb 22, 2024 at 02:10 AM
padrepaul
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Nikon 800mm 6.3 vs Nikon 600 f4 TC & Sharpness


OwlsEyes wrote:
I went one step farther than Paul...
I sold my 800PF and 400 f4.5 and replaced it with the 400mm f2.8S TC. Owning the 800PF made me change how I shot and the way I interpreted my nature subjects. This was fine for a while, but I'm not into the type of photography for which that lens is best suited. In the end, I reasoned that I could stack 1.4x converters (or use a 2x) whenever I needed to get out to 800mm.
I currently use the 400S with the 180-600, but may either sell that latter or relegate it to
...Show more

Hi Bruce,
Thanks, for me it comes down to sharpness as the main factor, and I love small songbirds like warblers; the 800 is nice for walking and hiking, but even most of my warbler shots are done set up, so if at 840mm on the 600 there's no real difference to the 800 I'm OK with it. I did get the 400 4.5 though as that is really nice for larger birds like egrets.



Feb 22, 2024 at 11:37 AM
padrepaul
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Nikon 800mm 6.3 vs Nikon 600 f4 TC & Sharpness


DATER wrote:
IMO, the appeal of the 600TC is that you can acquire the little bird at 600mm then flip it to 840mm for the shot. You can even go to DX mode to get an even better view of the birdie in your viewfinder.

YMMV.


Very true, it's a little easier to get focus and then shoot. I can hand hold it a bit; it's lighter than the 800 5.6 was for sure, but the birds, even songbirds, hop around so sometimes that flexibility is nice to go back and forth between focal lengths.



Feb 22, 2024 at 11:40 AM
padrepaul
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Nikon 800mm 6.3 vs Nikon 600 f4 TC & Sharpness


VTRich wrote:
I jumped on the 800PF when it first came out, but still placed an order for the 600TC, assuming I would just sell the 800PF when I ever got the 600TC. Well, I finally got the 600TC a couple months ago and still have the 800PF for the moment.

I have found that (for me at least) I can hand hold the 600TC as well as the 800PF, despite the slightly heavier weight. It just feels better balanced to me, while the 800PF tends to be forward heavy. That being said, I will probably use a gymbal, or monopod with the
...Show more

Thanks, that was my plan too - but I ended up using a gimbal and it's easier to focus and the flip back and forth. The 800 is amazing, but just not using it much with the 600 having that TC on there which I use a lot. I was just kind of obsessing over sharpness.



Feb 22, 2024 at 11:42 AM
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