Which Lens to Buy This Year - 24-70mm f/2.8L or 70-200mm f/2.8L (IS)?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by astrostu, May 15, 2008.

  1. astrostu

    astrostu Guest

    I'm trying to figure out what lens to buy this summer - Canon's 24-70mm f/2.8L, or their 70-200 mm f/2.8L (with or without IS). After I buy this, my next purchase won't be for about another year - Summer '09. My current lenses are:

    18-55mm f/3.5-4.5 Canon (kit lens)
    35mm f/1.4L Canon
    70-300mm f/4.5-5.4 Quantaray with macro
    600-1000mm f/9.6-16 Quantaray

    The first three are my "carrying-around" lenses. However, with the 35mm prime, I don't think I've used my 18-55mm in about a year.

    I don't really specialize in any type of photography, though it seems that lately a preponderance of my photos are landscapes. But I also do people, coin photography (so need the long-lens macro, which I'll keep regardless), flowers, wide- and narrow-field astrophotography ... lots o' stuff.

    I will also (likely) be going to Yellowstone in the late fall for a geology field trip, and I'll also be going to Flagstaff (Arizona) and a few places around there (Sedona, Walnut Canyon, Meteor Crater, etc.) in October and possibly again next Spring, BEFORE I'll have money for another lens (after I buy one this summer).

    My current thinking is that, since I already have a very good short lens, that I should get the 70-200mm this summer and the 24-70 next summer. If I do that, I'm also not entirely sure if I want to get the IS or not. I'll have the cash because I'm being stimulated by Bush, but I'm not sure if it's worth the extra weight for most of my uses.

    So I guess this boils down to two questions:

    1) Does it sound like I should get the 24-70mm or the 70-200mm first?

    2) If the latter, does it sound like I would really use the IS or not to justify the weight and price?


    Thanks!
     
  2. soylentgreen

    soylentgreen TPF Noob!

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    From what you stated, sounds like your in the market for a wide-angle lens. My only thought is, if you have not used your 18-55 in over a year, do you really need a 24-70? The 24-70 f/2.8L is a staple in many a photographers bag and the envy of the rest. Same goes for the 70-200. You have the range now, you are just upgrading on speed and quality. If you are using the 35mm due to its better performance over of the 18-55 (and who wouldn't) than I think the 24-70 will be better suited for the landscapes, etc. The 70-200 a bit too narrow for that. More suited to short telephoto work. Than save up for real macro lens. I see a lot of manufacturers tack a "macro" capability label onto their lenses even though they do not offer 1:1 capability or the resolution of a true macro lens. Save the clams for a 60, 100 or 180mm macro.
     
  3. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If your using a crop sensor, it's likely you won't find the 24-70 wide enough. If you already have a 35, 24 isn't all that much wider on a crop sensor and probably wouldn't justify the price of the lens. I'd personally get a 70-200 IS or non-IS. If you need something wide, 18mm is still wide enough for many scenarios where you'd need a wide.

    Edit: You'll find that even with F2.8, you'll have difficulty hand holding at 200mm in many lighting situations. I think IS might be worth the extra cost. And, the added weight from IS will be significanly less than that of a tripod.
     
  4. Dave127

    Dave127 TPF Noob!

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    I have both, but I don't have the prime like you. I use the 70-200 IS all the time and it's a favorite. I use it for wildlife, sports action, and even my kid playing with the dogs. I highly recommend the IS with it and will hold a much better resale.

    The 24-70 is great for portraits, landscapes, and any where you don't need the extra reach.

    Personally I think you need to spend a little more time trying to figure out what the new lens would be used for. Both are great but which will be better suited for you is something you need to decide.
     
  5. astrostu

    astrostu Guest

    The "purpose" is "General-Purpose." My loooong-term lens buying plan is:

    14mm f/2.8L
    35mm f/1.4L
    50mm f/1.4
    400mm f/2.8L (w/ 2x extender)

    24-70mm f/2.8L
    70-200mm f/2.8L

    The purpose of the first prime is landscapes and architecture. The purpose of the 35mm prime is landscapes and wide-field astrophotography. The purpose of the 50mm prime is portraiture. Purpose of the 400mm and extender is narrow-field astrophotography. I wouldn't plan on bringing these - except for maybe the 14mm - on trips unless I specifically knew that I would have a need for them.

    The purposes of the two zoom lenses are general-purpose walking-around lenses to cover the most widely used ranges in 2 lenses. These would be what I would bring in a "condensed" gear bag for trips.

    I spent a few weeks figuring this out a few months ago, so I think I have a good handle on what I eventually want to have, it's just the order in which I purchase them. I want to get the two zooms first because they're the more general-purpose lenses, but in their case, it's which lens do I get as the upgrade to my current stock first.
     
  6. soylentgreen

    soylentgreen TPF Noob!

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    You have to decide which lens you "need" first. That is the order in which you base your purchase on. If you need a walk around lens for general use, than get the 24-70. Need reach and IQ, get the 70-200.
     
  7. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would want the 24-70mm.

    The trees in Yellowstone aren't that big a deal but the trees ON Yellowstone are.

    I have a 28=80mm f/2.8 and I take a lot of people shots. I seldom have room to use over 80mms of lens. I also seldom miss the distance between the shortest of my short lenses and 28mm.

    Your mileage of course may vary. :)
     
  8. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Personally, I would choose the 24-105L IS but the 24-70L should be a good choice as well.


    :gun:
     
  9. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    To me this sounds like you want to get the 70-200 mm f/2.8L first to replace the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.4 Quantaray. The latter is not a real macro anyway. Get that 500D close up lens from Canon to match your 70-200 mm for the occasional macro shot.

    As for IS, for longer lenses I think it s very enjoyable if in a low light quick shot situation.
     
  10. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I find that I rarely need wide apertures with very short lenses. What does come quite in handy is some flexibility in focal length. In particular when shooting architecture. The 17-40 F74 L and the 16-35 f/2.8 L II are both two very good lenses helping here. The slightly stronger distortion with the zooms can be easily dealt with in most RAW converters.

    But keep in mind that I am arguing from the standpoint of someone shooting 35mm film and sensor.
     
  11. Mystwalker

    Mystwalker TPF Noob!

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    In your shoes, I would get the 70-200 ... whether you go f/4.0IS or f/2.8, that is another question. Personally, I would go f/4.0IS over the f/2.8 non-IS ... believe price is pretty close if not the same. Ideally, f/2.8 IS :thumbup:

    I chose 70-200 over the 24-70 because you have most of the 24-70 range covered by other Canon lens. I'm sure 24-70 IQ is an upgrade over your kit, but the 70-200 will be a bigger IQ upgrade over Quantaray.
     
  12. Dave127

    Dave127 TPF Noob!

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    It sounds to me like you want the 70-200 first. I wouldn’t get it without the IS unless you just can’t afford it. I didn’t mean to imply you haven’t thought out your choices, but they are two different range lenses. I recently purchased my 24-70 and was trying to decide between a couple of similar range lenses. Ultimately I chose the lens I originally thought of purchasing.
     

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for wild life, do i get a 70-200mm 2.8 and crop or a longer zoom 4.5-5.4