Canon 70-300 USM IS vs. Canon 70-200 F/4 L (IS or not)

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by pastabroccoli, Oct 24, 2009.

  1. pastabroccoli

    pastabroccoli TPF Noob!

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    I'm in the market for a telephoto zoom and could use some opinions...

    I have a Canon 50D and a Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 (and a Canon 50mm f/1.8, although that's less relevant), which was an upgrade over the Rebel XSi w/ Sigma 18-200.

    The 70-200 2.8 is more than I need in every way (too heavy, too expensive, faster than I *need* even if not faster than I would *like*). The 70-200 f/4 is a great weight, easy to walk around, not to mention all the other perks of L glass. But if I'm going to go for it, I think I should go for the IS version, which will help when I am indoors (mostly I expect to use the new lens outside).

    The 70-300 USM f/4-5.6 IS also appears to be a very solid, good quality lens. Obviously I lose some environmental sealing, the fixed f/4 and probably some sharpness (although I've gathered this one is still very sharp), but I gain zoom to 300mm and an IS lens for about the cost (slightly less) than the 70-200 f/4 L non-IS.

    I guess I'd be considered an "advanced amature," I don't make my living on photography, but I am trying to buy equipment that will last a long time and serve me very well (I have a 6 month old who is a common photo subject now!) for the foreseeable future. I know a lot of the decision here comes down to personal preference, but I want that preference to based on as much knowledge as possible! :)

    Opinions? Am I missing a lens a I should consider? Anyone else face a similar decision?
     
  2. Montana

    Montana TPF Noob!

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    I would get the 70-200 f/4 IS. Fantastic lens!
     
  3. MrLogic

    MrLogic TPF Noob!

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    Yup, the 70-200mm f/4 IS without question. (unless you need the extra reach)



    "Those contemplating a Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0 L USM Lens purchase are typically considering the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens as well. Priced similarly with an extended focal length range and an excellent implementation of IS, this lens fills many of the same requirements as the 70-200 f/4. I usually recommend the 70-200 f/4 over the 70-300 IS because of its physical and optical advantages, but read the 70-300 review to find out which is better for your needs."

    [...] "If you do not need your 70-200mm lens to be faster than f/4 and don't need IS, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0 L USM Lens is your lens. The 70-200 f/4 L is a great value and a highly recommended lens."

    Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0 L USM Lens Review


    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]"My Canon 70-200mm f/4 L IS is the sharpest zoom I've ever used. Not only that, but the ergonomics and operation are flawless, so flawless that I can shoot and zoom with only one hand."

    Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS Review

    It gets great user reviews, too:

    FM Reviews - EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

    [/FONT]
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    Just get the 70-200mm F2.8 L IS.

    Sure, it may be three times the price of the lenses you are looking at...but at least you'll know that you got the best lens and you won't need to upgrade later.

    OK...I'm joking, but only a little. The 70-200mm F2.8 L IS might be too expensive (and too heavy) for just shooting your kids. But I'm glad that I spent the money on mine.
     
  5. uplander

    uplander TPF Noob!

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    Honestly ,both are good lenses. The 70-300IS is overlooked a lot. It can produce some very sharp photos. You lose a larger and constant aperture over the 70-200 and some sharpness overall but gain having a 300mm reach. The 70-200 is sharper and has a better build quality and if 200mm is long enough I'd go with that.
    BTW I have both and lots of other L lenses ....just saying as a qualifier for this reco.
     
  6. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    another vote for the 70-200 f/4L as a good walk around lens.

    IS or non-IS is another topic. IMO, get the IS version to supplement a tripod or monopod in normal or slightly less than ideal lighting. It is not a substitute for low-light work.

    If you see yourself spending requiring a zoom of that focal range in low-light frequently, I suggest you skip the 70-200 f/4L completely and head directly towards the 70-200 f/2.8L. The f/2.8 IS if and only if you have even more cash on hand.

    Personally, I'd rather get the 70-200 f4L (Non-IS) as a sharp, easy to pack, walk around lens priced at a very good bargain (high bang for buck). Then spend the difference on a couple f/1.4-1.8 for low light work.


    My most frequently used combination is the 24-105L with 50mm f/1.4.
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Whoa,whao,whoa...Canon really cut some corners on this new 70-300 lens. Reading from the review linked to above at Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens Review I see this passage: "FTM (Full Time Manual) focus is not provided - you must switch the lens to MF (Manual Focus) mode to manually focus the lens. To make matters worse, the 70-300 extends about 1" with focusing. To park the lens compactly, you often must adjust the focus to minimize the lens length. This means manually turning AF off, turning the focus ring to retract the lens and turning AF back on (so you don't forget next time you use the lens). Of course, if you don't care about minimizing the lens length, this attribute will not affect your enjoyment of this lens.

    The Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens is not parfocal - you need to refocus if you change the focal length. Combine a non-parfocal zoom lens with a rotating front element and you quickly get frustrated"

    Oh,man...I also did the mouse-over to see the length of the lens when extended wit its lens hood on. The lens is not parfocal???? WTH??? What is this, the 1960's? That is simply ridiculous--the lens changes focus as it is zoomed! If a lens changes focus enough to necessitate re-focusing when zooming, that means it isn't really a true zoom lens, but is technically a "variable focal length lens", which from my own experience, two decades ago, was a major,major PITA.

    Knowing that this lens is not parfocal, that it extends a mile to get to 300, that the lens hood does not come with it, and that it is just the slightest bit lighter than the 70-200 f/4-L, that it has no full-time manual focus override but an Auto/Manual switch, my unequivocal recommendation is simple: do not buy it. The new 70-300 looks like it would be a major PITA with the lack of FTM focus and even worse, the need to refocus every time the lens is zoomed. Wow...what an underwhelming set of specifications.
     

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