Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 vs. Nikon 300mm f/4 PF Lenses
On this very extensive video wildlife and nature photographer Steve Perry (from backcountrygallery) takes a look at two telephoto Nikon lenses – the 200-500mm f/5.6 and the compact new 300mm f/4 PF lens.
On paper these lenses are very different – one is a zoom the other a prime, one is heavy and cumbersome the other is compact and quite light, one has an f/4 aperture and the other f/5.6, one is pretty expensive the other a bit less so.
However if you do shoot wildlife (and maybe sports as well) and use a Nikon camera – both are very interesting options to look at and consider.
Perry goers over some of the more obvious differences but than he goes much deeper – into different AF behaviour, how each lens functions with heat distortion, the consistency of the performance – and much much more.
If you are considering one of these lenses you should definitely watch the entire video – it is very informative.
We did test the 200-500mm f/5.6 (see review here) and we more or less agree with Perry on most of his conclusions (although we didn’t have to change the lens and had not obvius problems with the copy of the lens that we got – or at least this is our feeling). What did bother us was the size and especially the weight of the lens. It is very bulky (Perry is used to the super telephoto primes of Nikon like the 400mm, 500mm and 600mm f/28 and f/4 lenses which are much larger and heavier so for him the 200-500mm f/5.6 is a mid size telephoto lens – for us – not so much – all a matter of perspective we guess).
In our view the 300mm just for its weight and size wins every time – unless you can’t afford it + the 1.4x teleconverter (yes you are looking at around $2500 – a LOT of money). The problem with the VR on the 300mm f/4 PF is something that we would like to take a closer look at when we get a copy of the lens possibly later this year but all in all the lens feels like one of the best options in the category (especially for APS-C bodies).