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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Which lens: Canon 70-200 4L or 70-300 4.5 IS
Showing posts 1 - 14 of 14, (reverse)
12/31/2007 12:45:09 AM · #1
I'm torn....I've been away and finally got a great deal on a new camera. Got a 30D with the 28-135 IS lens. I've got some store credit burning a whole in my pocket...the two lenses I need to choose between are the Canon 70-200 4L or the 70-300 4.5 IS....
I shoot a little bit of everything...thinking the L lens would be a great addition and a definite step up in quality.

Please help me, this decision is killing me!


12/31/2007 12:53:54 AM · #2
If you care anything about sharpness, then it's a no-brainer. The 70-200 f/4 is very, very sharp throughout. The 70-300 4.5 IS is not.
12/31/2007 12:56:20 AM · #3
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

If you care anything about sharpness, then it's a no-brainer. The 70-200 f/4 is very, very sharp throughout. The 70-300 4.5 IS is not.

What he said. 70-200 f/4L all the way.
12/31/2007 12:59:10 AM · #4
L all the way...
12/31/2007 01:23:55 AM · #5
I'm going to go against the crowd and recommend the 70-300 IS (and I say that as a 70-200 f/4L owner). It's stabilized, more compact, offers more reach, and offers excellent image quality. The 70-200 is weather sealed, but your 30D isn't, so that's not much of a benefit. From Photozone's review:

The performance of the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 USM IS came as a total surprise. Unlike its predecessor the lens is capable to produce a very high performance throughout the zoom range without the significant drop in quality at 300mm typical for most consumer grade lenses in this range. It seems as if the new UD element helps to lift the optical quality significantly. Distortions, CAs as well as vignetting are also very respectable. So in terms of optical quality the EF 70-300mm IS can be almost described as a hidden Canon L lens.

This discussion might be helpful.

Message edited by author 2007-12-31 01:24:23.
12/31/2007 01:34:16 AM · #6
This comparison will show you that the 70-300 is softest at the 70 end wide open. It actually isn't that bad in the 200-300 range. I'm a bit surprised at the results as I generally scoff at nearly all 70-300 lenses. Still, even on a crop sensor it will be quite soft at the corners at 70mm. If you can live with that, then maybe it isn't a bad choice after all.

Rollover the image to compare the two lenses. The top image in central, the middle is probably edge for a crop sensor, the bottom is the edge for a full sensor.

Message edited by author 2007-12-31 01:35:15.
12/31/2007 01:38:40 AM · #7
I have the IS version of 70-200 4L and think it is great. Here is a link to various Canon zoom lens reviews, which may help making a decision.
12/31/2007 01:47:23 AM · #8
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

This comparison will show you that the 70-300 is softest at the 70 end wide open.

Notice in that comparison that the lenses are about equal at f/5.6, but the 70-300 is significantly sharper than the 70-200 at all focal lengths once you get to f/8.0!
12/31/2007 02:00:37 AM · #9
Just compared both at f8.0 and 200 mm on my screen 70-200 mm appears sharper/brighter.
12/31/2007 02:02:11 AM · #10
Thanks for the links and input. I'm really leaning towards the L...the sharpness seems great to me on the L at all stops. I think I'll have a new toy tomorrow! Thanks for your help...

12/31/2007 04:33:48 AM · #11
Geoff - I went through the same dilema as you. After months of indicision I finally had to make a choice. Originally I thought I was getting this lens last July - but it didn't happen until Dec.
I have the old 75-300 canon - took it to Borneo in July. Shoting in low light (orangs in the jungle) the ISO was very high and it wasn't really sharp enough (I have a few examples in my portfolio.
Looked at the 70-300IS and thought that might be the go. 300mm reach and IS, as well as good reviews.
I don't buy lenses often so I wanted the best quality I could afford. I also started looking at the 70-200 f4L.Great reviews, weather sealed (I'll get back to this point), reasonably light, constant f4 and the manual focus override.
I went to the local camera store and handled both, talked to the guys etc. I finally made my choice - the 70-200 L. After many conversations with the guys I was convinced to get the IS version. I got sold on this point because in low light situations it would be a definate plus (I hope to return to Borneo in July this year - so could see the point - lower speed therefore lower ISO).
What I like about the 70-200 IS:
Build: definite better build. Tight, internal focussing - doesn't protrude from the barrel, can fit a filter.
IS: Definitely an advantage ( also on the 70-300) Can get lower shutter speeds on both lenses.
Manual Override: I love this feature. In low light focussing tends to hunt a bit - to be able to fine tune with your eye in the viewfinder without throwing a switch. (only on the 70-200)
Sharpness: I can't really compare with the 70-300 but judging from the Doc's posting it looks like the 70-200L is sharper.
Weathersealing: I know it is not suppose to waterproof but I like this feature. In the 70's and 80's I had a pentax system (film) and lost all of my lenses due to fungus travelling in the tropics. I don't know if this feature will solve this but I'm hoping.
Constant f4 through the whole zoom.
What I don't like:
Reach: The 200 is still a little short. I'm now looking at a 1.4 teleconverter to get the 300 reach. I'm still underdecided whether a converter will degrade the quality or not.
So the bottom line. If you need the reach - go for the 70-300. If not - go for the 70-200 f4IS L. I defininetly think the IS is an advantage with both lenses. The lenses are both roughtly the small size - so I don't see this as an issue. "Black versus white" - I don't really see this as an issue - your camera still has a large lens sticking off the end of it - regardless of colour. (An issue I think only with other photographers - who know what white means).

A bit of a long post but hope it helps.

I forgot -another thing I don't like about the 70-200 (but it is the same for the 70-300) - the lens cap. I hate the canon lens caps. Tamron seems to have a better system - especially reaching down into a lens hood (and the 70-200 has a rather large hood)

Message edited by author 2007-12-31 06:45:42.
12/31/2007 04:45:11 AM · #12
70-200 f/4 L all the way! Go for it and don't think too much!
12/31/2007 11:18:43 AM · #13
Well.....I went to the shop to check them out. Apparently I have very shaky hands. I went with the 70-300 simply because of the IS. The L was difficult to hold steady in available light. Threw the IS L on for a minute and it was incredible, but not budget friendly :( So I am the proud new owner of a 70-300 IS lens. I think I'll be satisfied with it for quite a while, or atleast long enough to save up for the 100-400 IS! Thanks for your input!

12/31/2007 11:46:09 AM · #14
I'm with Shannon on this one ... the 70-300 will be more useful in my opinion

(but keep in mind when I had to choose, I went with the 200mm 2.8 L ... captures more light, better with TC's, better for close-up work)
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