F/2.8 vs. F/4 on Canon 70-200mm

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Ricky21, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. Ricky21

    Ricky21 TPF Noob!

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    I need some advice. I'm looking at purchasing one of the L series lenses. I narrowed it down between the Canon 70-200mm F/2.8 and the Canon 70-200mm F/4 IS.

    I was leaning towards the F/4 since it's a little cheaper and has the IS. I wasn't really sure if the difference in the speed of the lens would be missed. I would be using the lens mostly outdoors, but would use some for indoor use.

    I was hoping I could get some insight.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Well, both lenses are great...no question there.

    So the issue at hand, is whether it's worth it (to you) to get a wider max aperture or IS.

    Well, the one stop difference, as it relates to shutter speed, can be made up with modern cameras and their good high ISO performance. But still, one stop faster will always be one stop faster.
    IS, is certainly nice to have, especially when shooting at 200mm, but it only helps to combat camera shake, not blur from the motion of your subjects. So what will you be shooting most often? If you will primarily be shooting people (especially sports), then I may lean toward the F2.8...but if not, then the F4 with IS may be the better choice.

    There is also the issue of DOF, so I guess if you are a shallow DOF junkie, the F2.8 would be the better choice.

    Personally, for me it came down to knowing that if I compromised on the decision, I would regret it at some point. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow...but someday. That's why I got the F2.8 L IS.
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I bought the 70-200 L with IS--but at that time, the 70-200 f/4 L with IS was not on the market; the 70-200 f/4 L-IS is a notably beter lens than the older 70-200 f/4 L without the IS system...in fact the 70-200 f/4 L-IS is one of the finest optical performers in the 70-200 category, and it in fact typically out-resolves the bigger f/2.8 IS model. Why? The 70-200 f/4 L-IS is newer, and was designed with digital sensor capture on high-resolution sensors as a design parameter and a design *priority*, while the older 70-200/2.8 models date back to the film era,and were not optimized for digital sensor use.

    So...even though it might seem odd, the smaller,lighter f/4 model with the stabilizer is a very,very fine lens not just in its own right, but compared to faster and more-expensive lenses. Canon has now moved the f/2.8 IS model to Mark II (due to the need for better optical performance for their new ultra-resolution sensors and for 'the future' and because Nikon has refreshed its 70-200 VR to Version II...). In the digital era, newer lens designs are usually better than older designs, and even though the f/4 model is "only" an f/4, Canon doesn't mess around with their L-series designs. When they put the L name on it, it means it is the best they can design, in its era. And the f/4 model is nearly a decade newer than the older 70-200 2.8 L-IS lens that many people own currently, and it actually is a slight bit better at some things than its older,bigger brother,so if the appeal of a lighter,smaller lens that's really good even at f/4 appeals to you, don't think it's somehow a second-rate performer, because it's clearly not second-rate. It's a tough call. It's a light-heavyweight versus heavyweight battle...
     
  4. cfusionpm

    cfusionpm TPF Noob!

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    This is what fueled my decision. I hate investing a lot of money into something, knowing that if I put just a little bit more, I could have gotten the best.

    With that said, the f/4 IS is a fantastic lens if you do not need f/2.8.

    I would personally save up for the best you can afford to avoid any regrets, but it all depends on your budget and your needs. The best of the best however, is definately the new 2.8 IS II.

    This site does a great job looking between the many 70-200 lenses Canon offers:

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

    Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L USM Lens Review

    Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens Review
     
  5. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    This really shouldn't be that hard of a choice. What types of photography are you interested in. Do you need the low light capabilities that f2.8 gives? If so get the f2.8.

    If you don't need the speed the f4 would provide money for another lens.

    I've owned both and the IQ quality difference is negligible. Since I shoot sports, the choice was obvious for me. The f2.8 is in my bag and the f4 has found a new home.
     

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