1.4x or 2x Converter ? re: Nikon AF-S 200-400mm 1:4G ED VR II F/4.0

Discussion in 'Sports' started by rob_johnston|4, Jun 6, 2014.

  1. So I've found a mint used 200-400 for 30% off that I think I've going to go for to shoot Longer Distance Surf Shots.
    Which teleconverter will I most likely be the happiest with regards to "sharpness" when cropping in those super long 200-300 yard shots?
    the TC-20 AF-S Telecon III
    or a 1.4x or a 1.7x
    any experience feedback would be much appreciated.
    or if you think I'm making a mistake with this lens for closing in on up to 200+ yard shot, would be great to hear also.
    many thanks,
  2. ...........
  3. just searching net. wow like this Thread and the quality on the 2x teleconverter.
    caveat: I don't have a D4, I have a D300s
    Then there is this post saying that a 2x is not good for sports. 1.4x sounds ok.
    Thing is that if I'm shooting a specific section of the set, I should be able to take the time to get the focus right, even take it off auto-focus and then sit there for 10 minutes shooting that specific spot "in focus"
    This article is good too.. but none even mention action shots...
  4. Or I can get a Nikon 300mm F2.8 AF ED for 1/3 the price and reviews say it's better for cropping in smaller images within the frame.
    £1000 for a 300mm fixed, or £3000 for a 200-400 for Surfing Photography. from experience does anyone have a view on which is the better choice?
    I'd be using a 1.4 teleconvertor or even a 1.7 or 2.0 if applicable on whichever I get.

    many thanks.
  5. Rob, I cannot compare with the 200-400 f/4, but I have the 300 f/4 with TC14 and TC17 and used both quite a lot on a D300. Given you want to use it for sports, I would not go further than the TC14. Already with the TC17, AF tracking becomes a lot slower (f/6.7 aperture) and erratic. Probably with a 2x TC, AF is going to be extremely problematic - I do not have a 2x TC, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
    [edit] Noteworthy, any posts saying it works fine on a D4, D800, D7100, D600/610: these models have updated AF modules with a higher sensitivity, which makes them work with f/8 lenses according to Nikon's specs. The D300(s) is only stated to have AF with f/5.6 or faster.

    Given these large lenses are way out of my budget, I have extremely little hands-on experience apart from demo models on a fair. If I'd have to put my money, I'd go for the 300 f/2.8 - it's cheaper, smaller and personally, I feel the 200-400 in actual use would end up being a 400 lens (with very little use of the 200-399mm range) - while you pay a lot extra for the zoom capability. The fixed lenses tend to take TCs better, so you can actually reach 600 f/5.6 with decent quality. But as said, all this based on theory, plus the fact that I am quite used to using fixed focal length lenses.
  6. I recently shot discus at a high school
    track meet using my 300mm f2.8L and
    a rented 2x extender. I was 210 ft away
    and found focus poor (I shoot a Canon
    1D mkII and 5D mkii). I ended up using
    my 1.4x for better results.

    I read an article by a surfing
    photographer who was debating
    between a 400mm and 500mm lens.
    His friend said he can always backup if
    too close, so he went with the 500mm.
    If shooting from shore, will you ever go
    below 400mm? He became a top
    surfing photographer for SI after getting
    close-up (dangerous) shots with a
    water proof camera (and much smaller
    lens) and ducking right after his shot as
    the surfer and wave passed over.

    Be sure to rent the lenses you are
    considering to be sure they work for
  7. I will try out my 300/2.8 AFS with Nikon 1.7 TC soon. As Wouter mentioned, that might be a good alternative. I have a Tokina Pro 1.4x TC that I can try, also.
    I use the 300/2.8 for night sports a lot, so have not had much opportunity to try it with a TC. A am sure that the 200-400 is a very good lens, but I know the 300/2.8 is exceptional and versatile.
    Just for fun, you might want to try a Novoflex follow focus 400. They are a bargain these days. Surfing might not need super AF since the waves tend to break at about the same distance from shore. I have a Novoflex 600 also, but have had less success with it - too difficult to focus.
  8. I'd be considering a used 600/4. I know importing into the UK from the US can be expensive but it still may save you a lot of money when buying used equipment. keh.com is a good place to start, as well as adorama.com and bhphotovideo.com

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