f2.8 vs f4 with today's high ISO cameras?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by bigtwinky, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have a few upgrades in mind in the next 6 months, one being a camera body the other being a telephoto lens.

    I know the benefits of f2.8 vs f4, mainly the DOF and the 1 extra stop of light, but with today's cameras achieving the high ISO that was only a thought 3-4 years ago, are the benefits still there?

    Sure, on my current XSI, which I cringe if I have to go over ISO 400, the extra stop from 2.8 would be beneficial. But what about on a more recent camera, where shooting 3200 ISO is pretty clean and 6400 is still fine?
    I'm a Canon shooter so I'm weighing the differences between the 70-200 f/2.8 IS and the 70-200 f/4 IS. The f/4 seems so much lighter and less bulky, has IS, is known to be one of if not the sharpest Canon zoom out there. Does the f/2.8 still have a major leg up on the f/4?

    A friend of mine and I were discussing this the other day, and with his 5D MkII, he went with the f/4 instead of the f/2.8 mainly due to size and weight.
     
  2. Shockey

    Shockey TPF Noob!

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    I shoot the d700 and f3. When shooting people I always shoot at 2.8 or 4.
    Of course you have to have the very best lenses to shoot at 2.8 or it won't be sharp.

    Mainly for depth of field and secondarily for shutter speed.

    The f4 should be fine for you unless you are shooting weddings and portraits then you will probably wish you had the 2.8. Also for wildlife the 2.8 if very useful in the early and later part of the day.
     
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I would say with the high ISOs possible now its a lesser concern then in the past, but that wide aperture glass still holds its value. First there is the depth of field option as yousay, which is a creative tool and extends what you can possibly create with the lens.
    Further there is the light issue, sure ISO can go higher now but that just means you'll stay out later (darker) when shooting - at some point your ISO will reach its limit and your aperture too - f2.8 at that time will seem mightly attractive.

    Weight wise I don't mind the 2.8 version of the lens, but I would encourage you to go for the IS edition of it (more cost I know).

    Another consideration is teleconverters, f2.8 lens can take a 1.4TC and only drop down to an f4 lens - and if your using a higher end camera body chances are you can get away with a 2*TC without too much trouble (and keep your AF). Of course this might not be a concern for the uses that you intend to use the lens for.
     
  4. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think this is really a personally choice. And it depends on whether you need to do low light photography often.

    I am sure someone will want both high ISO camera and F/2.8 IS lens. Personally, I may go with the F/4 version for weight saving. However, some wedding photographers will go with both to get the best image they can get.

    If weight is not an concern, I will for sure go with a faster lens if cost is not an issue.
     
  5. itznfb

    itznfb TPF Noob!

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    No matter how good the ISO performance is on the body, you still want to be shooting at the camera body's lowest native ISO. Obviously unless your intent is creative noise. Though f4 is still fast and sufficient for the majority of daytime photography.
     
  6. CWN

    CWN TPF Noob!

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    If the f/4 is sharp at f/4 you should be OK since that's where a lot of people with the f/2.8 are shooting anyway.

    But like mentioned, for things like portrait work or weddings you'll appreciate that f/2.8 aperture.
     
  7. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hey man... Keeping in mind that the F2.8 lenses tend to be better optical quality as well, the actual light capabilities of the lenses aren't the only factor. Just something to consider.
     
  8. wiredhernandez

    wiredhernandez TPF Noob!

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    I placed an order for th F4 the other day. I have read in several places that the F4 is more sharp the then 2.8 ... I went to another camera shop and looked at a used unit and the first thing the sales girl said was it was sharper than the 2.8 as well so I feel good about that... Will suit 85% of my shots anyway at that anyway... much lighter too
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Remember we are talking about an f4 L and an f2.8 L lens - both are very sharp and the "f4 is sharper than the f2.8" is not that big a difference. Infact I would argue that in most cases outside of ideal studio controled shoots you could not see much of a working difference between the two lenses (of course you would see a difference were you trying to shoot at f2.8 ;) )
     
  10. robertwsimpson

    robertwsimpson No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  11. sinjans

    sinjans TPF Noob!

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    Robert,

    You have made a great point. I am looking for the right deal on a 2.8, but maybe if the 4 is around i may now go with that one. I
     
  12. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've read that the f4 has better optical quality than the f2.8. So its 1 stop more light, better DOF vs weight, cost. Shooting on my XSI, f2.8 for sure. Shooting with an ISO 6400 capable camera, I'm not sure.

    See, thats what got me thinking and making this post. I read as well that the 70-200 f/4 is the sharpest Canon zoom lens out there today. While I agree that the difference between it and the f/2.8 is probably not huge, it still remains sharper.

    So I figured that super low light could be better handled with the more modern cameras that can go high ISO. When you are limited to 400,800 ISO, then yes, 2.8 will be better than 4.

    Shooting at 1/30, f/4, ISO 800 would be nicer to shoot at 1/60, f/2.8 ISO 800, depending on what you are shooting, as you are getting a higher shutter speed. However, with something like the 5D Mk II (from what I read) you can work with ISO 6400 really nicely...which means 1/250, f/4, ISO 6400.
     

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