A Question For Any Photojournalists Regarding IS

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by musicaleCA, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Here's the deal, I'm looking at getting myself a really solid 70-200mm lens; either the 70-200mm f/2.8 USM L, or the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS USM L. The major advantages of the former is fewer elements (better light transmission), a little less distortion, a lot less CA, and a definite improvement in sharpness.

    Since I intend to use this with a 7D, as well as my current 450D. When out in the field the 70-200 will likely be on the 450D, since the 24-70 is really my workhorse lens; that'll sit on the 7D. But when I just take one body, it'll be the 7D (unless I'm doing candids or street), and feeding that puppy with all the LW/PH my lens can muster will be important. So I'm strongly leaning toward the lens without IS (and saving myself $700 in the process).

    My question to you guys with any experience here would be, would IS really be a major advantage in the tele that I shouldn't pass-up? I will have the speed of the lens on my side, and with a 7D I can always survive in dark conditions, but is the IS really worth the increased CA and loss in sharpness? Has it saved your butts a few times or can I safely forget it and just be smart about my shutter speeds?
     
  2. FrankLamont

    FrankLamont TPF Noob!

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    Photojournalist or not, that 70-200mm f/2.8 IS version is not to be missed, even if it leaves you a little tight.
     
  3. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That depends on the price difference. With Nikons there's such a huge step in price from the 80-200 to the 70-200 VR that it wasn't justifiable. It's about how much IS is worth to you. There are times I wish I had the IS version, but ultimately I don't miss it, and I don't miss the $1500 I saved.
     
  4. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    I don't rate IS myself, if you have trouble hand holding a 200mm f2.8 there's something wrong with your technique, save yourself the money if you have no problem and get the 80-200. H
     
  5. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you've actually used those lenses, you'll see that you excuses are unfounded. I regularly use the 70-200 f/2.8L IS and don't have sharpness issues, CA issues, or any of the above issues that you're worried about.

    But when you can shoot at 1/15 at 70mm+ and have little to no blur from camera shake, then you'll realize the reason that IS was created...or 1/100 @ 200mm...I mean, the only technique that could save you from that is a tripod, and that's just dependency on more gear...

    Anyways, look used. You can find them for $1300-$1400 and in good condition with original boxes and manuals.
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    For me, it came down to the fact that I knew I would miss the IS if I didn't have it...and every time I found myself in that situation, I'd wonder if I could have gotten shots that were any sharper...if I hadn't cheaped out. It's also the confidence of knowing that I have all the best tools (F2.8 & IS) to get the job done.

    I've been able to get usable shots at 200mm with a shutter speed of only 1/20 using IS.
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I'm not sure where all this CA and poor sharpness is with the 70-200 f/2.8 L-IS is coming from...it's a fine lens. From samples I have seen, the 7D's ultra high density sensor (18 MP; expanded to FF, it would be 46 megapixels) DOES put a lot of demands on lens MTF ability. Looking very closely at the Rob Galbraith 7D samples, the 70-200 f/4 L-IS did a good job with the 7D's sensor.

    One of the things experienced shooters are seeing with higher MP counts is that shot discipline really counts; minor mistakes in focusing, inadequate shutter speed, poor camera support, too small an f/stop--all those things can show up easily on high-MP captures. I think IS is very valuable in a very real sense--it stops a lot of camera movement and makes the "margins" productive shooting territory.

    I am a big believer in VR for hand-held shooting,and most especially for panning, or for shooting in windy conditions, or when you're a bit out of breath, or from moving platforms like boats, ferry boats, automobiles, etc.
    What I have seen is that the 70-200 f/4 L-IS is up to the 7D's pixel density,based on samples shot by a competent shooter who understands shot discipline.
     
  8. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Well that'd be because the f/4 IS is spectacular when it comes to sharpness. But if you take a look at the MTF and CA charts here and here, you'll note there is a difference in LW/PH that these lenses can provide. While the difference is fairly marginal, it really shows itself when wide-open at 200mm, where the difference between the two lenses is very pronounced. This is adding to some of my confusion, because if I got the IS lens, then I'd likely be stopping-down from wide open anyway to squeeze more sharpness out of it, and in that case the IS would definitely become necessary because I'd be pushing my shutter speeds down.

    *shakes head* I'll have a chance to shoot with the IS version of this lens this weekend. While I'm at it I'll try see just how necessary IS is for me.
     
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The links you provided are between the 70-200 2.8-L with IS and the non-stabilized 70-200 f/2.8 L lens, but I have one main overriding conern with the reports on the non-stabilized lens, wher they write, "The resolution chart has been revised to take residual spherical aberrations into account". Uh....WTH is that all about? That sounds like fudging the data to me, with the effect of boosting the figures in favor of the non-IS lens by what they call "half a school mark". Hmmm....the 350D also does not have focus micro-adjustment, which had not been invented when the tests you reference were done.

    The other problem I have is the testing on the old 8MP sensor of the EOS 350D; they state that the 70-200 2.8L is scratching the limits of that now low-MP sensor's resolution capabilities. Line widths per picture height on 8 MP sensors tended to top out in the 1850 range. As for the lens delivering lower resolution at 200mm focal length--it's QUITE possible that the 70-200 2.8 IS lens has a bit of curvature of field,and/or a bit of undercorrected spherical aberration; either could be preventing it from resolving quite as highly as it does at 70mm and 135mm focal lengths. Lower resolution vs better bokeh perhaps? Or is the lens tested too close? 200mm might be more-optimized for infinity focus; curvature of field often is a problem at close range, but not at infinity.

    Also, at what distance did they do their shooting? Almost assuredly, indoors, at a rather close range. What annoys me though is this, "The resolution chart has been revised to take residual spherical aberrations into account" statement; I think that is a ridiculous statement...the figures are what they are. Another thing that makes it odd is that a bit of undercorrected spherical aberration leads to better bokeh,and while it might cost a few lines on a resolution test, having undercorrected spherical aberration will yield a prettier, creamier defocused area, which is something the 70-200 2.8 L-IS is known for--it has excellent bokeh for a tele-zoom.

    Bottom line...these Photozone tests bother me. First lens, sample one was a clunker. Now they claim they have a good sample. On the second lens, they have "adjusted" the spherical aberration figures in order to give us the final results? Again, WTH is that!?

    The dPreview comparison of the 70-200 f/2.8 L-IS versus the Nikkor 70-200 2.8 VR lens is a good place to look, for a newer test,with results I would tend to trust more than the Photozone folks with their 8MP camera tests. Their conclusion at dPreview is that the Canon 70-200 2.8 L-IS is the better FULL- FRAME zoom lens, but the Nikkor is clearly the better lens on an APS-C sized frame. Again, I am strongly wondering if the same is not true of the 70-200 f/4 compact L-IS model Canon most recently released; could the new f/4 IS model be optimized for the demands of high-density APS-C sensors?

    I dunno...I look at the Photozone results with a lot of questions; how many times the focal length were the tests done at? If too close a range, minor focus shift, or curvature of field at 200mm FL would tend to show the lens at a disadvantage; if the lens has undercorrected spherical aberration, especially at longer FL's, the resolution figures will drop, but the bokeh will look prettier, and if the defocused zone is more-creamy behind the focus point, the "perceived" sharpness will be higher,despite lower rez figures when shooting a test chart indoors. A lens with more undercorrected spherical aberration will tend to blur finely-spaced detail, like test chart lines some geek counts with a needle,which will resolve fewer line pairs, but which will be providing better bokeh. Test chart shooting is not the real world, and the Photozone adjustment of the spherical aberration figures in regard to resolution on the 70-200 NON-IS lens have me highly,highly suspicious of both their methodology and their lenswork knowledge. The lack of information and lack of explanation about their reasoning in their tests of the non-IS lens makes me wonder WHY they are "adjusting" resolution results for spherical aberration. Adjusting upward or downward? Again, another "WTH?" moment.

    I dunno....I just am not convinced with lens tests done on older, lower-resolution sensors. The exact lens-to-sensor, lens-to-AA filter array makes me leery of tests of high-end gear done by the Photozone people five years ago. Too many unanswered questions, and too simplistic a testing result for my tastes. Some lenses perform better on different sensors; that fact has been well-proven by many lens test authorities, like Bjorn Rorslett. Each camera's sensor and AA filter array can interact a bit differently with each particular lens design. One thing I do note: both lenses have very close center/edge figures on APS-C on the EOS 350D.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2009
  10. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    *shakes head* Thanks Derrel. You make excellent points. Annoying, but still. I'll ponder on this some more.
     
  11. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    I'm a photographer mate, I don't shoot at shutter speeds so low while hand holding unless I want to create an effect, little to no blur is not an option, if I need a slow speed I use a tripod and save myself hundreds of pounds on IS lens, there's also flash/strobe for situations needing higher shutter speed but you lot think if its not off camera you commit an offense. These tools and the way they're used is tried n tested, I've served my time using every format and tool available for the job, sometimes you need the right gear. H
     
  12. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There's times when you can't use a flash and having IS over not having IS means getting the shot.
     

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