the 70-200s


No longer a newbie, moving up!
Oct 6, 2009
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Phoenix Arizona
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Ok it's tax time once again and i have been deep into getting a new lens. Normally i make this pretty easy but im having issues making up my mind. I'm looking to expand or replace some gear I have had since 2004. Here is what I have at the moment.

Shooting a 7Dii
EF-70 300 f/4-5.6 ii non is (like to replace)
EF-S 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 is kit lens (like to replace)
Tamron 90mm f/2.8
EF-S 10-22 f/3.5 4.5

I have been shooting g a lot of landscapes over the last 3 years with the ultra wide and the kit 18-55. Aside from mostly shooting macro before that. I do find myself reaching for my 70-300 sometimes and just always disappointed with the results.

So what I have been thinking is in that focal range. There is a small chance of doing portraits so that's not my main focus here. Wildlife is a possibility a little down the road depending on my choice. I am a big nature buff and love wildlife so it's just a matter of time :). Sharpness is my main concern. I do not carry very far so weight isn't a big concern at the moment. Once I get a backpack I will be getting further out from my truck. I know getting the f/4 70-200 would let me carry it for say a day at the zoo without an issue. I wouldn't mind a max reach either. I have kinda ruled out the 100-400 because of moving parts and living in a desert with lots of dust. A little on the costly side as well.
I'm looking to keep it around or under 1k if feasible but I can spend a little more if my dog allows me to. I'm looking at these.

70-200 2.8 non is
70 200 4.0 is
70 200 4.0 with something else like a radio control
Tamron 70-200 2.8 (IS)
300 prime f/4

One thing I was thinking,
Would a f/2.8 non is and a f/4 IS wash even for hand holding slow shutter speeds giving the 3 stop IS? I hear the f/4 is a tad sharper?

Opinions , tips, advice?
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I was in the same boat for a similar camera and figured out that I don't want to push the ISO so it had to be 2.8.
Also, I absolutely need stabilization so.. yeah.. after trying 70-200 2.8 non-IS and 70-200 F4 IS.. I ended up buying
the Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS that costs less then all of the above and works absolutely wonderful.

And yes, the F/4 is sharper then the F/2.8 Canon lens BUT, only if you shoot the 2.8 at 2.8. Virtually nothing in it
by 3.2 if you ask me. I don't care as much as all of those are plenty sharp.
I was thinking that too. I was looking at the tamron as well. I should have added that on to the list. I always have a tripod with me but IS is nice. One thing I don't like about the current 300 I have. I'm not as steady as I used to be.
I guess the thing I didn't like much about the sigma and tamron is the loss of magnification with the focus breathing.
I shoot various events, concerts etc, tripod is virtually never an option.. and I wasn't able to get reliably sharp shots at under 1/200s at 200mm
without the IS, and can pull off a few 1/40-1/60 shots with IS so.. it had to be the Sigma. The Tamron costs A LOT more then the Sigma here
(like 50% more) so I didn't even try it since I couldn't afford it.
Sure, you're welcome.
Check my Flickr for a few 70-200 shots recently, I've only had it for a few months so.. and my
camera body is definitely worse then yours.
I've got zero complaints, it's better then I expected it to be, and I was a bit scared after using the 70-200 2.8
Canon for a while first, but this thing compares very well. I can say the same thing about the Tokina 11-20 2.8
that I got after the 70-200.. if only my Tamron 17-50 was this good. :)
Well a couple things, once I got my 2.8 90mm I swore I would always try to get atleast a 2.8 because I was impressed with the preformance. When I was looking at the canon 2.8ii at the store I was just all smiles. I really wanted it. The money I have right now is a little more limited. I had to spend a bit of what I had in other places. So the $2200 lens I have been eyeballing for some time now is now out of range.

After I got the 2.8L in my hands I started looking at the Tamron and Sigmas. They really stack up close to canon. No not as good but pretty close.

With that I opened up my other options. Really the canon L 2.8 might be a little bit of an overkill for what I'll use it for. But it's a little bit of a "spoil myself" kind of thing. Is it worth over $1000? Hmm

Current price for the 2.8L IS ii, is a low of $1499 used scuffed in "good" condition. New in box $1900 all day.

Tamron 2.8 VC is a low of $899 new in box.
An extra $1000 can buy a lot of Top Ramen!

That might just drop the 2 Canon 2.8s

I'm still as much of a fan of primes as I am fast glass.

Going with a 70-200 will leave a gap from 55mm to 70mm. I think I can live with that I guess.

Oh and I do really want a fast wide. I would like to do some better milkyway shots since I'm only at f3.5 currently. I'm really pushing it at 6400ISO. Might toss in a fantastic plastic if I go cheaper on the zoom.
I just sold my 70-200/2.8 L IS USM. From what I had read/researched, the f/28 non-IS model was allegedly a bit better optically than the f/2.8 OS model. The 70-200 f/4 L IS USM model is supposed to be optically VERY good...probably maybe better than either of the first-generation f/2.8 models. I shot the "old" 70-200 f/4, the non-IS model with the 67mm filter size, back in the early 2000's on 8-MP Canon and was not that impressed with it. I have a friend who has the new f/4 IS model, and it's a quality lens, and the size and weight of it, and the balance of it on the 7D-ii and the 6D is just about perfect. It's got the size people want to actually CARRY, not leave at home.

I think as far as sharpness of image goes though, a good modern-design prime always beats a similar-era zoom lens for critical sharpness, and for the times when you want to use a teleconverter, or when you want to or must, crop-in on the image later, in software. I think my Nikon 300 f/4 lens is better than any zoom lens I've ever owned, as far as getting me that 300mm sized image; adding the Nikon 1.4x converter for a 420mm f/5.6 length, I think that too is better than the zoom I have that maxes out at 400.

The thing I see is that the APS-C sensor size eliminates the weakest part of the image that comes with a tele-converter, which is the edges and the far corners, which USUALLY suffer noticeably on full-frame. I think using a TC unit on a zoom is usually a reason to have to stop down ONE EXTRA f/stop from wide-open in order to have good corner sharpness, even on a crop-sensor body. SO on a 70-200 f/2.8 lens with a 1.4x added, I personally think f/2.8 wide-open, meaning effectively f/4--is NOT good enough on crop-frame for detailed work...the corners look 'off' on many types of scenes....which means you need to close the main lens down one more stop to f/4, which becomes an effective f/5.6 aperture at only 280mm...

Which is why a 300mm f/4 PRIME lens, of modern design, is a far better lens than a zoom of normal breeding. (Canon's 2.8 L Mark II being one rare exception of a zoom that is designed to offer really good performance with a teleconverter, buuuuut, at high cost).

I am NOT, in any way, a fan of shooting any zoom lens of 70-200 or 80-200mm at f/2.8 on people....I'm never happy with the quality of the image, and the depth of field is so shallow that it's often insufficient. If I NEED f/2.8 for some odd reason on a people photo, I'd be using a prime lens, not a zoom. Still...I think f/4.2 or f/4.5 is going to be the actual best sharpness on the'll be softer at f/5.6 than at f/4.2, by a bit, due to diffraction...but there will be more depth of field at f/5.6 to f/8, and many times that is much more critical than ultimate resolving power.

Bottom line: I see the NEWER, better optical design of the 70-200 f/4 L IS USM as the overall best choice for most people. That is a much better lens than the old-geneation f/4 lens was; this is a new era...Canon and Nikon have designed all-new, f/4 high-performance lenses. F/2.8 carries a real performance penalty with it on any zoom...f/4 is just a better f/stop. For landscapes, depth of field trumps ultimate rez, so you'll probably be at f/8 most of the time. So, I'd buy the Canon f/4 zoom if I wanted a zoom.

If you wanted higher performance and long reach, I'd get the 400mm f/5.6 Canon prime. For a more general lens and a sort of tele-macro type lens, the 300/4 + an extension tube. And add the 1.4x converter for the 420mm f/5.6 need situations.
Always a great answer Derrel and lots of information, Thank you. I haven't seen a super sharp 2.8 at its wide open yet. Even the USMii IS seemed to improve a bit stopping down 1. I was supprised about that. Any of my information has come from watching every video online about these over the last couple months and making an opinion on an average. I still get to fill in the gaps of information by being able to talk to people like you guys and local shops. Like I mentioned I am a fan of prime lenses or MY prime lens. I have basically outed my current 75-300 kit lens. Its just more of a disappointment then enjoyment. I have figured that range is the target to replace. I believe if I was to go with a prime at this point I might be missing out on an important focal range that I might need. Sharp glass was my main focus but I guess the more I think about it, the convenience of a zoom may trump it. I seem to go for the 100-150 a bit. Just a little more then what my 90mm has been giving me. Im not much of a fan of TC's I haven't used one in a long time but I know it can get you what you need with sometime very little loss in quality, but still a loss. I would have never thought that quality would decrease when stopping down until after 11 or so. That's good to know. At least these new zooms are all internal. Living here in Arizona things get really dusty. You have some valid good points. Im thinking that finding a sweet spot on an f/2.8 like f/4 would be great sharpness right? I do like the idea of getting lower ISO when it comes to it. being on a crop sensor it seems to make sense. I think Im leaning a bit to the 2.8 zoom for now. a prime 300-400 would be next on the list for sure. I have it down to 2 at least. I think tomorrow is the day.
You won't be disappointed with the F4 over the 2.8 unless you get into mental low-light situations like plays and wrestling matches in gyms. :) It's a great lens.
Damn it, dude, I wanted to see some high ISO shots on your Flickr and it's filled with ISO100 shots. :(
I use a basic three lens set for almost all our shots. Our cameras are a 6D, and a 7D (we shoot ANYTHING! lol)
24-105mm IS USM
20-200 F4 Is USM L
Sigma 150-600mm S ( wife uses the 100-400mm IS USM L)
Didn't break the bank and does a nice job when the operator does his.

25600 ISO 6D 100-400 @400 1/400 F16 No post other than an crop,exposure, WB, and focus tweak. I think I also had the cameras internal noise reduction turned on. Took this as a test of the 6D's low light capabilities.
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