Canon 70-300 IS USM vs. 70-200 L

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by charles181, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. charles181

    charles181 TPF Noob!

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    Hey ya'll.

    I was looking into purchasing a new lense with my upcoming paycheck. I wanted one that would give me some nice telephoto capabilities. My friend owns the 70-300, but was telling me about how he dreams to have a 70-200. I understand that it's an L-series lense, but can someone show me proof of its superiority? I'm a beginner, and it seems like why would you sacrifice 100mm.

    Also, do any of you guys find it annoying when you have a prime lense like a 400mm and you have to move back and forth with your legs in order to get a nicely framed shot?

    Thanks again!:D
     
  2. CxThree

    CxThree TPF Noob!

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    I don't have examples, as I do not own the 70-300. I have heard it was a fairly good lens. However, a large differenc is the 70-200 could be a F2.8 lens, it has better optics and better build quality. Focusing would also be slower on the 70-300.

    Look here.
    Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens Review

    He compares them for you and has a picture you can use to click back and forth to see the sharpness and detail difference.
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Yes, on 1.5x or 1.6x, a 400mm lens has become very narrow in angle of view. On FF, a 400 is pretty handy for many field sports and general outdoor situations, but on crop-body cameras, the 400mm prime is pretty restrictive in its angle of view,and you do have to be a certain distance away from the action in order to get a picture with a 400mm lens; that is one of the main reasons the Nikon D3 and D700 series bodies have been such a huge hit with sports and action shooters: with a high-quality full frame camera, the 400mm focal length is now more-useful when the action comes relatively close to the camera position. When you are confined by a field, or a sideline, and can not move back, it is pretty nice to have a FF camera if you have a 400 prime.

    Canon's 70-300 has IS and USM, but it is an f/4~f/5.6 variable aperture lens; it drops to a piddly f/5.6 well before 300mm, so you are stuck shooting wide-open at f/5.6, whereas with any Canon 70-200-L zoom, you have f/4 across the entire range, or even f/2.8 across the entire range if yuo have a 70-200 f/2.8 model. That f/2.8 aperture can spell the difference between being able to get a good, solid AF lock in poor light, or being able to freeze subject movement early or late in the day, or even on a dull,dreary day. The difference between f/5.6 at 159mm and f/2.8 at 159mm is huge...if light were money, the 70-300 would give you $50 in your pocket....the f/2.8 lens would give you $200 in your pocket. Major diff...$50 would not be enough for gas and food money, but two bills would be, with cash left over...
     
  4. TJ K

    TJ K No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Am I the only one who seems to be smelling a troll guys?
    TJ
     
  5. cfusionpm

    cfusionpm TPF Noob!

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    Owning the 70-300 IS USM and having used the 70-200 2.8 IS for shooting low light sports, I will say that it all depends on your budger and what kind of light you are shooting in. The 70-300 will take great shots as long as there is plenty of daylight, here's some examples:

    http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/446/mg9122.jpg
    http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/1098/mg9350.jpg
    http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/3845/mg9236.jpg
    http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/4325/mg9150.jpg

    It starts to go downhill in low light. As stated, it drops to f/5.6 at the long end, which is very limiting. Without clean high ISO capabilities, shots will start to get blurry fast. Besides helping stabalize shots, the IS helps significantly in framing shots at long focal ranges without a tripod or monopod.

    With the 70-200 f/4L non-IS; which is around the same price as the 70-300 IS USM, you'll get nicer optics and a fixed f/4 throughout the zoom range. But many people regret this lens and inevitably end up with the f/2.8 IS version, which is around $1900. There is a new mkII model due out soon, but no word on the price yet. Hopefully, it means a drop in price for the mkI, as it's quite a fine lens in its own right.

    200mm is still pretty long on a crop body (320mm equivelant field of view). I rarely find myself needing to zoom in to the full 300 (480 equivelant FOV), and it will often crop the image too tight anyway being that zoomed in. The sacrifice in 100mm gives you much better quality optics with higher quality glass elements and a wider maximum apreture, which will let in as much as two to four times as much light.
     
  6. DemonAstroth

    DemonAstroth TPF Noob!

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    I had the 70-200 f/4 L IS and I loved it. I was amazed at how sharp it was regardless of the situation. Even used in a crop body I managed to get great framing if I could move around. Unfortunately for many of my purposes it just isn't long enough.

    So now I'm saving for the 100-400mm.... yet I still want to have a 70-200 on the side, as it was THAT sharp. I can only imagine what a slow 5.6 lens may feel like with non L optics, and would not go for it, even for the 200-300mm range.
     
  7. pbisfun

    pbisfun TPF Noob!

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    I was just wandering what you thought about using the 70-200mm f/2.8 with a 2x I have never used one and did not know how much it would affect the lens
     
  8. bazooka

    bazooka No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I had the same decision assuming you're referring to the f/4L. I went with the L and am very happy with it. My preference is that I'd rather have a high-quality image above all else, and I was worried that using the 70-300 above 250 would show significant abberation and distortion. The L also has FTM and the length doesn't change so there isn't any lens creep, as far as I've noticed anyway. I haven't gotten to use it much yet. But for me, 200 cropped is pretty good reach.

    If you want to shoot at 300... cropped @ 1.6 is 480. So if you're handheld, you need 1/500 shutter speed at f/5.6. Even with IS, I'm wondering how useful that would be in all but the best light? I don't know the answer to this btw.
     
  9. cfusionpm

    cfusionpm TPF Noob!

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    It's actually pretty good at the long end up until about 1/125. Good bracing can MAAAYYBEEE give you 1/80 or 1/50, but free-handed is decent with 1/125 at 300mm and f/5.6.

    If I were to do it all over again, I would get the f/4L IS while I saved up for the f/2.8 IS.

    As I said earlier though, in good daylight, the 70-300 IS USM is actually pretty good.
     
  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I do not think shooting with a Canon 2x converter and 70-200 2.8-L would be a good idea, unless the lighting were really good. A 1.4x converter, I could see doing. Right now, Nikon is introducing the first 2x converter with aspherical elements, for better optical correction, because honestly, their prior TC-20e 2x converter is simply not good enough for today's newest high-resolution lenses and hi-rez bodies. Canon's current 70-200 2.8 L IS-USM lens design is nine years old, and just last week Canon announced they were re-designing the 70-200 2.8 L-IS. Why? The lens is not a sharp as it could or should be,especially at the longer focal lengths, and newer cameras like the 7D are demanding higher lens performance to leverage their high density sensors. I suspect Canon will soon follow suit, with a new 2x converter design.

    I bought a Nikon 2x TC20e converter and tried it with my 70-200 VR-I lens and 300 and 200mm primes...I returned it. I am happy with the 1.4x converter, which gives a 280mm f/4 top end....Buuuuuuuut......every "new" focal length is you get with a 1.4x converter is between 200 and 280mm....and everything below 200mm is optically compromised, compared with the main lens without the converter. Meaning it's better if you need 188mm to remove the converter and shoot without the converter on, rather than shoot at 135mm with the converter on the lens. So, I have mixed feelings about converters and zoom lenses; the 1.4x loses only one f/stop of light, the 2x loses 2 stops of light,and more quality is lost as well. It's sort of a mixed bag, if you ask me.

    If you have a higher MP sensor, and work in good bright light,and are stopped down 1-2 stops from maximum aperture, a 1.4x can deliver good images,and you can crop-in a little bit at the computer to get the final degree of image magnification you would get had you used a 2x converter.
     
  11. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I've used a 70-200mm f2.8 IS L with a 1.4TC a lot, infact most of my shooting with this lens has been done with a 1.4TC and I find that the overall image quality that it produces to still be very high, and infact on a good day (with me shooting right) its almost unnoticable. In addition the loss of only one stop of light on the f2.8 is not as noticable either, though whilst the lens does move to an f4 setup I try remain one stop down from there at f5.6 just to help preserve sharpness as best I can.

    A 2*TC though, whilst I have used it does tend to hit image quality far more heavily. You can certainly tell that a TC has been used and the fullsize quality does sadly suffer. The loss of two stops of light also means that it is really a setup for bright days and good lighting (which also means you can use flash support or other light boosting methods).
    Ironicly the only times I ever think of using the 2*TC tend to end up being in poorer light, and I really should do some proper tests with it in good lighting. For now I do have this test to show where, whilst the lighting was not fantastic, I did use flash to give good lighting levels:
    little birds photos test - a set on Flickr

    You can also look at the rest of my sets in that profile - most use the 70-200mm + 1.4TC and most have EXIF attached (the only exception being a majority of the waterfowl sets which were taken with my older 70-300mm).

    I have seen the 70-200mm f2.8 IS setup work better with a 2*TC, but the limitations on it are also partly linked to the camera sensor as well - specifically the pixels present upon it. The higher grade camera bodies (eg 1DM2 and 3) tend to produce a better image from the combo -- however with the new higher MP cameras like the 50D and 7D I am less sure of how they would render an image from the combo.
     
  12. Groupcaptainbonzo

    Groupcaptainbonzo TPF Noob!

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