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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Nearly Xmas - must be new lens time!... 70-200 f4?
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11/02/2006 07:44:33 AM · #1
I've read so many reviews over the past month on difference lenses, and now seem to be stuck in the same situation as so many other people appear to have been at one time or another.

So here it is... do i go for the fairly new Canon 70-300mm f4 IS lens or the classic 70-200mm f4 non IS??

First up I kinda feel that I should apologise for writing for writing this post, as I'm sure this question has been asked 1,000,000 times before and let's face it, it's probably getting a bit boring!Nevertheless, it doesn't stop me from pulling my hair out when trying to decide on which one of these lenses is the best purchase for me.

And it doesn't help that this is my first time buying a telephoto. The only experience I have had with one was trying out an old 75-300mm in a second hand camera shop just the other day, and i think that experience taught me one thing.... IS could come in VERY useful! Zoomed out on the max I could not keep the bloody thing still. I even stopped breathing for a whole 2 mintutes and I still got camera shake, and this was in the situation where I had all the time in the world (well, at least until the bloke in the shop wondered where his lens had gone!!!), in an extreme "i need to press the shutter button NOW before I miss this shot" situation, with the 70-200mm and without the added benefit of IS, I think I would probably miss that shot.

But every time I think the 70-300 is the choice for me, I go and have a look at some photos taken with the 200 and it blows me away. Not just the sharpness but more the contrast of colours coming from that lens. It's incredible!

So here's the deal... do I take the easy option and go for the longer zoom, extra stability, have an easy life and capture a fairly high percentage of decent shots... or do i go for the classic L? High in colour, all the sharpness you could wish for (for that price anyway!) and a real tough time without a tripod.

Hmmmm.... heeeeelp!!!!

11/02/2006 07:49:02 AM · #2
i have this lens

my best lens by far. apparently the non image stabliser is a bit sharper?
i couldnt afford the other.
11/02/2006 07:52:51 AM · #3
Go with the "L" series lens, it is very sharp and light, and has a much better build quality. Plus you can always add a 1.4x ext if you feel you need the extra reach.

11/02/2006 07:56:07 AM · #4
I'm not sure... i'd LOVE to get the f2.8L version but it's just too much money to invest in a lens a this moment in time with my lack of experience. Maybe one day....

I think i would get a bit lazy if I got the 300 IS, perhaps the 200 is a better lens for me to learn with as it would force me to think about what I am doing rather than relying on IS (not saying that IS is bad - don't get me wrong)

But then on the flip side maybe I would struggle to take any decent photos on the 200 and end up getting frustrated... i know the two lenses have different strengths and suit different styles of photography but as i'm unsure what direction I want to go in i'm not sure which one to choose. Perhaps I am better off getting a cheapo one for now to experiment with?


11/02/2006 08:19:23 AM · #5
could you put a link to the L series lens md129?, im not sure what that means.
thanks
//adam
11/02/2006 08:31:52 AM · #6
Originally posted by md_129:

Go with the "L" series lens, it is very sharp and light, and has a much better build quality. Plus you can always add a 1.4x ext if you feel you need the extra reach.


I'll ditto that comment. And with the 1.4TC you'd only be 20mm shy of the 300mm. If you do decide to go the "cheapo" route, I've heard some people really like the Sigma 70-300mm APO DG Macro especially at only $200 or less, maybe somebody with one could give you a better opinion. But, I'd still go for the 70-200 f/4L if possible, it's more of an investment.
11/02/2006 08:39:57 AM · #7
I just sold mine. I never found the reach was enough. And once you add the not-so-cheap 1.4x teleconverter, the price is much more than the 70-300 IS.

And on that lens you get IS, go further, don't lose the 70mm end (as you do otherwise when using the 1.4x teleconverter.

So I spent a little more and got the 70-300 IS DO, so I had a compact alternative. I think it's a great lens personally, and I always want to carry it with me, which was almost never the case with the 70-200.

I did lots of tests comparing the 70-200 to my other "non-L" lenses, and frankly, I never saw it as performing much better than any of them. Though a fixed aperture is nice, I have been really happy with the 70-300 IS DO and it's variable aperture. And the newest version of the "regular" 70-300 is supposed to be very good and has IS to boot, at a price point near the 70-200/F4L.

Message edited by author 2006-11-02 08:41:08.
11/02/2006 02:34:55 PM · #8
Originally posted by dewdodesign:

I'm not sure... i'd LOVE to get the f2.8L version but it's just too much money to invest in a lens a this moment in time with my lack of experience. Maybe one day....

Get the 2.8.....you won't regret it. If you buy one of the others and decide to switch, you'll lose money when you sell it. So, it'll cost more in the long run.
11/02/2006 07:12:43 PM · #9
give me a wad of cash and I will think about it.... ;o)
11/03/2006 10:31:14 AM · #10
i agree. if you take care of ur L glass you can sell it later for nearly the same price you paid for it. they hold their value extremely well. non L glass lose value horribly.
11/04/2006 07:38:17 PM · #11
I've decided that i'm going to pop down the camera store today to have a look at both of them and hopefully I will fall in love with the 70-200 :oP

I'm quite excited!

11/05/2006 09:21:06 PM · #12
just to throw a spanner in the works i've just realised Canon have released a brand new 70-200mm f/4 L model with built in IS!
11/05/2006 09:30:58 PM · #13
Originally posted by dewdodesign:

I'm not sure... i'd LOVE to get the f2.8L version but it's just too much money to invest in a lens a this moment in time with my lack of experience. Maybe one day....


I think that if you look at my profile you'll see what a real lack of experience is. :)

Still, I think I have more money than sense because I just ordered the 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Zoom-Nikkor

I justified this by realizing that I've become addicted to this photography thing, driving my son nuts with the constant "let's go for a hike" or "let's go walk around downtown." Basically, I can see myself practicing enough and getting better as I go, so I felt a better lens would help with that. Here's hoping I'm not just delusional.

Eric

p.s. I think the other factor is that I'm single and reasonably well paid. . . . Gotta spend that money on something! :)

Good luck with your decision.
11/05/2006 09:52:16 PM · #14
I have it for last 6 months and it is really good, very sharp and provide colorful image. I have taken a few closup's with this lens and they came out very well.
11/06/2006 12:27:44 AM · #15
I think I may have settled on the 70-200mm f/4L IS as it does not appear to be that much more than the non IS version and i think the IS will come in really handy. :o)

Now comes the hard bit.... i've gotta start saving! aggghh.

11/29/2006 05:04:11 AM · #16
OMG - i just placed an order for the canon 70-200MM f/4L IS USM :oD

11/29/2006 05:43:35 AM · #17

Well, I decided that an early "To Ev, From Ev" lens present would be in order.... Decided to get a EF 100-400L.

Will be here next Monday... am really happy about it (Even added to my profile lenses... 'cos technically I own it)

Ev
11/29/2006 06:05:21 AM · #18
hey, that's a good point! i'm updating my details now... :oP

At least you know when yours is going to turn up!! :o(

Have fun

11/29/2006 08:10:57 AM · #19
I am having the same dilemma, but in England the prices are so much more than in the states :¬(
I am torn between the 70-200 f4L, cheapest price £445, or the IS version which is almost twice as much at £899. Hmm, if I got the non-IS I would be able to save for another lens next year (perhaps the 17-40 f4 L), but if I went for the more expensive IS version it will be at least 2 more years before I can justify any lens buying. Decisions, decisions.....
11/29/2006 08:47:17 PM · #20
Yup i had the same dilemma! I guess it really comes down what you think you will use the lens for? I plan to do a fair amount of handheld photography in the future so the IS was an important factor in my decision. And it works out cheaper for me to spend more money now than if i was to change the lens in the future because i wasn't 100% happy with it. Although saying that I don't even have the lens yet so who knows if I like it or not ;o)
12/05/2006 02:05:39 AM · #21
Good News....

My "To Ev, From Ev" Xmas present viz. Canon EF 100-400L IS arrived last night. Played with the IS for a few mins just to see if it was all it is made out to be, and was I suprised. I can't get the grin off my face.

Ev
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