mako capt

Lens question.

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If I never plan on shooting at big wide open apertures is there any real benefit to spending the money for a 300mm L telephoto that is F2.8 versus the much less expensive and lighter 300mm F4 L   ?????

 

I primarily shoot surfing in sunlight and the best shots come at F8 or more in my experience anyway so is there any real reason for the better glass?

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Generally speaking those higher end lenses have better image qualities. e.g. those 300 F2.8 prime lenses are each manufacturer's showcase lenses, and each has put lots of engineering weight behind it to make it the best of the best. Of course, I'm not saying the F4 primes are bad, they are just generally not as great as the F2.8 lenses. So if I'm looking for the best image quality that I could get, I would use the 300 F2.8 lenses even when I shoot at F5.6 or F8 (more on aperture below). But considering the cost, weight and use case, those F4 are still very very good when shoot at F5.6 or F8. 

If I were you, I would go for the F4 lenses for the surfing pictures. They are lighter, with good image quality. Also, if I were you, I would always shoot at the maximum aperture (in this case, F4) to have better subject and background isolation, all you need to do is to increase the shutter speed and/or dial down the ISO during sunny days. These good prime lenses (F2.8, F4 primes) are designed to have their best image qualities even shoot at their maximum aperture, only low end lenses will require us to step down the aperture to get decent image quality.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

With surfing I am not after tight subject isolation with blurred backgrounds the way you are with most othe photography.  I generally want as much as possible in focus and don't want blurred backgrounds.  I shoot F8 or higher and only shoot at lower F-stops when I can't keep my shutter speed above 1/800 due to lighting.

 

Below is a typical example.  The young man is about 10 feet in front of the curl behind him and about 40 yards from the pier behind him.  This is shot at F10 and 1/1200 and ISO200.  If I shot this at F4 I'd have a harder time nailing focus on the subject and the wave and pier behind him would be soft or blown out which isn't what I'm after.  This shot is even a slight mis-focus but still a good result because its at F10.  Had this been even at F6 if would have been poo.

 

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Edited by mako capt

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Posted (edited) · Report post

If I were shooting auto racing more often where isolated subjects and blowing out backgrounds is my goal then yes shooting wide open is better.

 

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Edited by mako capt

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I think you already answered your question in your question ;)

 

You’ll be fine for your needs and wants. 
 

Personally I avoid shooting wide open on all lenses because usually it is a lenses optically worst setting showing any and all optical flaws. Now these may be extremely minor and very acceptable but it usually is one of any lenses lowest individual optical quality as is sometime full stopped down with the optical issues inherent up there too. 

 

Most lenses sweet spots are f 5.6-f11 but depending on users needs and wants for a image we cycle out of these  optically best apertures

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