Here's an article on Canon 70-200mm 2.8L IS vs Non-IS Lenses

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by MohaimenK, Aug 2, 2010.

  1. MohaimenK

    MohaimenK TPF Noob!

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

    [SIZE=+2]Review of the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM Lens and [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=+2]the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L USM Lens[/SIZE]

    Second Edition
    The EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L is THE zoom telephoto lens to own if you are a serious Canon shooter. Its optical performance parallels that of prime lenses, and it offers incredible performance (resolution, contrast and bokeh) and versatility under most shooting conditions where a telephoto lens is needed.
    I tested the IS version of lens against the non-IS version of the lens in 2004 initially and have updated the review in 2007 with newer digital camera performance results.

    Strong points of both the IS and non-IS lens:
    • High contrast, high resolution images over a moderatly wide telephoto range
    • Good out of focus blur when shot wide open (bokeh)
    • Fast autofocus function with professional bodies
    Potential disadvantages of both the IS and the non-IS lens:
    • Big and heavy [SIZE=-1](and costly)[/SIZE]
    • Non-stealthy lens ([SIZE=-1]camera shy subjects will see your big white lens and initiate avoidance maneuvers[/SIZE])
    Strong points of the IS lens over Non-IS lens:
    • Better low shutter speed performance on still subjects due to image stabilization (more keepers in low ambient lighting)
    Strong Points of the non-IS lens over the IS lens:
    • The non-IS lens is slightly sharper than the IS lens (especially at f/2.8).
    • The non-IS lens is less expensive
    • The non-IS lens is slightly lighter
    Resolution Performance Data - The non-IS lens outperforms the IS lens

    Lens resolution tests were run as described here.
    The non-IS lens consistently outperformed the IS lens in resolution at 70, 85, 135 and 200mm focal lengths. I was initially surprised by the lower resolution of the image stabilized lens. However, after reading more about the complex construction of the image stabilized lens, it is not terribly surprising that an IS lens with 23 glass elements in 18 groups is not quite as sharp as a superbly sharp non-IS lens with 18 glass elements in 15 groups.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]50% MTF Performance Data and Resolution Data- APS-C Camera EOS 400D Digital Rebel XTi

    Methods for APS-C camera

    The non-IS lens gives slightly better performance than the IS lens, especially when shooting at f/2.8.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    Detectable Sharpness Differences in Film Images and Digital Images
    I tested whether the resolution difference was detectable in digital or film images using an EOS-1Ds camera and an EOS-1n camera with Fuji NPH film and the lenses set at 135mm. Details of the test method are here.

    EOS-400D Digital Rebel XTi - Daylight f/2.8 @135mm
    2007 Test (From Bokeh Tests)[​IMG]Tests run with an EOS-400D Digital Rebel XTi in 2007 showed sharper images with the Non-IS lens at 85mm and 135mm at f/2.8.Bokeh and Background Blurring Function: Slightly better background blurring at f/2.8 with the Non-IS Lens at 85 and 135mm.
    Image Stabilization Benefits - when you find yourself in low ambient lighting without a tripod.
    Image stabilization works as advertised for hand held work. A photographic series taken handheld at 200mm under a constant light source demonstrated that I could shoot as slow as 1/15th second and get sharp images with the IS lens. 1/60th of a second was as slow as I could shoot consistently with the non-IS lens and get sharp images.[​IMG]Conclusion

    For most photographic applications, either 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is an outstanding tool that produces exceptional image quality. Deciding whether to buy the IS lens or the non-IS lens should probably revolve around the photographer's perceived need to have image stabilization. Image stabilization does come at the cost of higher purhase price and slight loss of image sharpness (You won't notice it in most situations unless you shoot predominantly at f/2.8).
    If you photograph stationary subjects in low light without a tripod, the decision to purchase the IS version of the lens is easy.
    Relevant Specifications for the lenses from the B&H Photo Website and Canon-USA website
    EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USMEF 70-200mm f/2.8 L USMPrice (Imported)$1,699 USD$1,140 USDWeight 3.2 lbs (1,470 g)2.9 lbs (13,10 g)Size (largest dimensions)
    3.4 x 7.8 inches (86mm x 198mm)3.3 x 7.6 inches (85mm x 194mm)Elements # in Group #23 elements in 18 groups18 elements in 15 groups
     
  2. Lipoly

    Lipoly TPF Noob!

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    The difference in sharpness is almost unbelievable...you don't need a closeup on the eye to tell that.
     
  3. Neil S.

    Neil S. TPF Noob!

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    This is from over 3 years ago.

    Were you trying to make some point here?

    To be honest I am a little confused....
     
  4. MohaimenK

    MohaimenK TPF Noob!

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    From 3 years ago? Wasn't sure if that made any difference as far as the result.

    Point? Yeah, kindda, was doing some research, since this is the produce review section, I posted it. May not help you as you already own the IS version but may help someone else who maybe new here like I am, looking at lenses. People will always say "no no IS is the best, you can't go w/out IS" so thought this may clarify.

    :thumbup:
     
  5. Neil S.

    Neil S. TPF Noob!

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    I think that I see the point you were trying to make now...

    That the old Canon 70-200mm 2.8 is sharper than the IS one. I am not 100% sure that I even believe this, but Ill take the reviewers word on it.

    It would seem that its about the 70-200mm 2.8 IS II vs. the older 2 now though.

    I am pretty sure that the IS II would stomp the non-IS version in image quality from the things I have read.

    It is extremely sharp even wide open, and has very consistant output.

    The 2 main downsides that the IS II has vs. the other two are the price, and the somewhat harsh bokeh.

    Other than those things, its pretty damn close to a perfect zoom lens in my opinion.

    It is the best lens I own hands down, even better than my L primes overall.
     
  6. MohaimenK

    MohaimenK TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, I also looked at the Sigma 70-200 2.8 (not the macro one though) and the review also said that you'll get similar result as the Canon 2.8 IS. It's on digital pictures review.
     
  7. Neil S.

    Neil S. TPF Noob!

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    The Sigma really is a much better value I think.

    The top Canon and Nikon versions are very very nice, but also very expensive compared to the Sigma.

    The Canon IS II is like 2.8 times as expensive as the Sigma.

    If you really need IS or weather sealing though....

    The Sigma is a perfect alternative to the Canon/Nikon's for anyone on a tight budget.

    In the end, top of the line quality usually demands top of the line prices.
     
  8. MohaimenK

    MohaimenK TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Neil! I thing that maybe something to go with at firts before moving into L series. Also, I think it'd make more sense to buy 17-40mm lens in L series because it'll most likely be wedding photos and/or portait work where the L series lens can play a huge role and I'll make money off of it.

    As for the Sigma, I was reading on the Sigma review in the digital pictures review:

    "Vignetting results show very little shading until 135mm through 200mm at f/2.8. Only full frame body users will notice this. Canon's similar lenses perform nearly identically in this regard. "

    Full review here: Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM Lens Review
     

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