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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 18 Sep 2010 (Saturday) 21:38
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300 F4 vs. 400 5.6

 
Chris
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Sep 18, 2010 21:38 |  #1

I will be making a few trips to the quad cities this winter to photograph the eagles that hang around the dams. I've used a borrowed 600mm the past two seasons and found it hard to maneuver and sometimes too long. I can afford to purchase a 300 F4 IS or a 400 5.6. I only go out when the sun is shining so low light is not an issue.

What are your thoughts about using the 300 with a 1.4 tc or the 400? Actually I suppose I could also put the tc on the 400 as well since I can shoot at F8 in that light.


Chris

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phreeky
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Sep 18, 2010 21:54 |  #2

For birds in good light, 400 all the way.




  
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nightcat
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Sep 18, 2010 22:01 |  #3

I have both lenses, the 300mm with the 1.4 is very good, but it doesn't match the IQ of the 400mm prime. The 300mm is easier to hand hold with the IS, but the 400mm is the better focal length. I would choose the 400mm 5.6 for that trip but only because I can hand hold the lens at 1/400 sec. If you believe the lack of IS would cause you problems, get the 300mm f4 with the 1.4. These are both outstanding lenses, and I love the retractable hoods.




  
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halitime
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Sep 18, 2010 22:36 |  #4

I like the "macro" aspect of the 300 due to the shorter MFD.Just a bit more versatile.


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Daniel ­ Browning
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Sep 18, 2010 23:11 |  #5

Sounds like the 400 is a better choice for you. If you can use the 300 without a TC and without cropping in post, then it would be better, but that doesn't sound like it's the case, so I suggest the 400.


Daniel

  
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headshokfatty
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Sep 19, 2010 02:15 |  #6

Have you considered a 100-400 L? Used about the same as those primes and more versatile... I have seen outstanding eagle pictures with it, also some with a 1.4x tele... AF was slower but still good on my T2i.




  
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malla1962
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Sep 19, 2010 02:59 as a reply to  @ headshokfatty's post |  #7

I would go for the 400 but if you add a TC you will lose AF.


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Kiwikat
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Sep 19, 2010 03:15 |  #8

halitime wrote in post #10934787 (external link)
I like the "macro" aspect of the 300 due to the shorter MFD.Just a bit more versatile.

+1

Lately I've been using mine more for closeups of insects rather than birds. I'm really not that happy anymore with its performance at long distances, even with the 1.4 attached. 300 (or 420) just isn't long enough for good birding. The 400 isn't that much better either. In fact when I go out shooting birds with my friend who has the 400 5.6, her shots really don't seem any "closer" than those I took with the bare 300. Go figure...

I need to start saving pennies for the 500 II... :p


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SiaoP
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Sep 19, 2010 03:16 |  #9

I would go with primes over the 100-400 if image quality is what you want. 300 may be too short so I prefer the 400. But then again the 400 doesn't have IS, which I don't think is that much of an issue since you will have fast shutter speeds in good light. You just need to have a steady hand to make it easier to track the target. I keep IS off mine most of the time. I would avoid 300 + 1.4x if you will be using 400 most of the time. Taking the lens out for an extender takes time and is a hassle so I try to avoid them if possible.


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phreeky
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Sep 19, 2010 08:33 |  #10

For birds you generally want as long as possible, I think the 300 is a big mistake, just not long enough.

In reality you can get the 400 working OK with a 1.4x on a 7D in some circumstances, but I leave that to situations where the sun is beaming right down on my subjects. Though keep in mind, if you crop a 7D image to equiv of a 1.4x you still have over 8mp to play with.




  
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HKGuns
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Sep 19, 2010 17:42 |  #11

In no way would the 300 be long enough for birds. The 400 is just marginally acceptable, I'd love to have a 500 or 600mm but I only do it as a hobby and can't justify the expense. The suggestion to try the 100-400mm is a valid one as it is far more versatile for various other shooting.




  
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Koshin
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Sep 19, 2010 17:50 as a reply to  @ HKGuns's post |  #12

I love my 300 f/4 IS....Its super sharp

and for the price of the 300 prime you cant beat them


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JonK
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Sep 19, 2010 19:31 |  #13

Hi Guys -

Just rented a 500/4L for about 10 days. Having said that, 400 is as short as I'd go. Now I am in the realm of OWNING a longer prime... I want to own the 500/4, but I can't swing it right now. I am looking at getting the 400/5.6 only because 300 is too short. I honestly wouldn't recommend anything shorter than 400. Period!


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russbecker
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Sep 19, 2010 19:59 as a reply to  @ JonK's post |  #14

I just recently compared these two to each other shooting hummers and other fall migrants, since I wanted an answer to the same question.

If you have the light, i.e. you can get the shutter speed to 1/1000 or better, then the 400/5.6 will beat the 300/4+1.4TC but not by much ( I am using a 7D using Spot AF in servo mode). IQ is somewhat better but the AF accuracy and speed with the 400 is the real difference.

If you don't have the light, then the IS of the 300/4 makes it, with or without a TC, more useful than the 400/5.6.

IMO, if you can only own one of them, the 300/4 is the way to go, but the 400/5.6 is nice to have. Also +1 for the integrated lens hoods.


7D2 | 7D | 80D | 40D | 100-400 f/4-5.6 IIL | 300 f/4 L | 70-200 f/2.8 IIL | 70-200 f/4L | 135 f/2 L | 85 f/1.8 | 100 f/2 | 60 f/2.8 macro | nifty-fifty | 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 | Tamron 150-600 | Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 | Sigma 30 f/1.4 | Sigma 50-150 f/2.8 | Sigma 120-400

  
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GeneC
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Sep 19, 2010 20:51 |  #15

I own both, if you're going to use it for BIF, look no further than the 400 5.6. It focuses way faster than the 300 with converter.

Gene


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300 F4 vs. 400 5.6
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