Im about to get the Nikkor 400mm F/2.8 VR (not the FL one). This is a lens I always desired.
I have already planned some tours through northern Europe and hope to gain some wildlife photography experience. I plan to use the 400mm F/2.8 on my D500 (which is an APS-C sensor sized camera) and maybe I will also get the 1.4x teleconverter. I thought this should be a decent setup for some wildlife shots.
A few weeks ago I adapted the 70-200mm onto my MFT video camera. At 200mm it gave me an good idea of how 400mm would look like, since the MFT has a crop factor of 2.
What I noticed was that 400mm are already zooming in quite a bit but not like crazy. A few days ago I was in store and asked whether the 400mm F/2.8 might have not enough reach. They told me that most wildlife photographers using big primes rely on the 600mm F/4.
Now please dont tell me not to get a 400mm or a 600mm. This is not about whether they are not the right decision. Its just about comparing them. I do know the advantages of a smaller and lighter zoom that is also much more versatile. Lets just talk about the 400mm vs. the 600mm.
The main advantage of the 400mm would be that it is smaller (and also a little bit lighter). The 400mm would definitely be more packagable. Also I heard that the 400mm is the best in terms of optics compared to the 600mm and the 500mm.
The advantage of the 600mm would of course be its reach. But maybe even with 600mm I might need to adapt a teleconverter. I guess for wildlife photography (most of the time) you cant have enough reach. I think distance might be the key.
Now you might need to know what Im planning to do with it. I mainly want to take pictures of birds, owls, squirrels, wolfs, moose, deers, reindeers etc. Mainly of the animals of northern Europe. I dont intend to visit Africa to get shots of elephants, lions or go to the arctic to get shots of polar bears. A third of the time I want to take videos with it since I also do a lot of documentary stuff. For video I use my MFT camera (I need to adapt lenses. The adapter features an aperture ring but no electronical contacts - so the FL is no option since I would not be able to control its aperture on my MFT). The MFT has a crop factor of 2. I think the 600mm could be a little bit overkill on the MFT.
What are your suggestions? I think Im going for the 400mm because its just smaller, has the bigger aperture and is the lens I always wanted to own. The only reason I would go for the 600mm would be that the 400mm is just not long enough and I end up using a 1.7x or even 2.0x teleconverter all the time.