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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    70-200 f4 vs 70-300 IS

    I was just reading the 70-200 f4 post and I figured it was a good time to see what people's opinions are on the relative merits of these two lenses.

    I am drawn to the 70-300 IS by the focal length and IS - i don't use a tripod unless I have to. Most of my shots are outdoors - landscape, flowers, animals, etc.

    But this is my main concern: How does the IQ of the 70-300 compare to the 70-200 f4 L (in terms of sharpness, color, contrast)? Is the IQ of the 70-200 that much better? Better enough to give up 100mm of focal length and IS? (I know I could get a teleconverter for the 70-200, but this adds to the cost and hassle.)

    The advice given on this forum tends to be excellent; thanks up front for any suggestions you may have.


    Recent shot with 50mm 1.8 (I really enjoy this lens):

    "Just Hatched"
    Last edited by michaelb; 06-26-2006 at 06:20 PM.
    Michael B.
    Canon 5D2, 550D, Sony NEX 5N, Sigma 15mm fish, 24L mkI, 35L, 40mm f/2.8, 50 1.8 II, Sigma 50 1.4, Sigma 50mm f/2.8 macro, 60mm macro, 100mm f/2, 70-200 f/4, 200 f/2.8 mk I, Tamron 28-75 f/2.8, 430EX. Growing list of MF lenses!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Pete and I were just discussing this exact same situation. . . if you had to choose between these two which way would you go . . .

    Through IE [read: "on paper" we a need a more modern term for that don't we. plus PBASE studies] the two are close enough IQ wise to make you seriously consider what would be more useful for your photography, the L and constant F4, or the IS and another 100mm?

    Pete will probably chime in here and I'll let him share his experiences with you. . .

    All I can say is that it would be a tough call - I'd lean towards the 70-300 IS over the 70-200 F4 L if Canon implemented a fix for the portrait orientation softness issues. . .

    very nice image BTW
    Nikon D90 | Sigma 10-20 HSM | DX 18-105 f3.5-5.6 VR | DX 55-200 VR | 35 f/2.0 D | 50 f/1.4 D | 85mm F/1.8 D | SB-800 x 3 | SU-800
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Illinois
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    300
    It really depends what you are using the lens for. Both have very similiar image quality, but both have their strenghts. If you need to shoot low light, then the 70-200 f4 would win. If you are shooting outside in full light, then maybe the you want the extra 100mm. It really depends what you need the lens for.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Near New Orleans
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    The 70-200 f/4L is a tuff lens to beat for the price. Most copies I've seen are sharp wide open and color & contrast is outstanding. One day I might part with it for the f/2.8L IS but for now its a keeper.

    Took this back in April at f/4.

    Last edited by Bluedog; 06-26-2006 at 09:24 PM.
    .

    Canon EOS 30D | Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 | Canon 17-40mm f/4L | Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS| Canon 70-200mm f/4L | Canon Speedlite 430EX + Sto-Fen Omni Bounce | Manfrotto 3001BD & 680B/486RC2 | Hoya Super HMC Pro1 Digital Filters | Hitech ND & GND Filters | Bags > Kata R-103 + Lowepro Nova 5 AW

    RawShooter | premium 2006 > My PBase Gallery

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    1,770
    Quote Originally Posted by pagnamenta
    Both have very similiar image quality, ...
    I've been looking for MTF charts or direct comparison review. The 70-200 f4.0 would be a tough one to beat. Do you know of a comparison?

    Tony and Michael, nice flower shots!
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Los Angeles, CA
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    I'm sure other people who have used both lenses have a different opinion but for me, useability-wise the 70-300 IS wins. For sheer image quality the 70-200 F4 L wins. As long as you can avoid the portrait orientation issue on the 70-300 IS (though at this point I'm not clear that you can) it's a great all around lens. I've been able to handhold 300mm at 1/60th with excellent results b/c of the IS. It's also a smaller and lighter lens. The 70-200 on the other hand, has a well deserved reputation as a super sharp zoom lens but you're limited by its relative slowness (F4 isn't fast at all for natural light shooting.) I returned the 70-300 b/c of the portrait orientation issue and am happy with the 70-200 for my kind of shooting. But it's definitely a tougher lens to use (less forgiving like all non-IS telephoto zooms) than the 70-300. Try both and see what suits you best.
    Canon A720 IS, 40D w/ BG-E2N, 28 1.8, 50 1.4, Sigma 70 2.8 macro, 17-40 F4 L, 24-105 F4 L IS, 70-200 F4 L IS, 430 EX, Kenko 2X TC & Ext Tubes, AB strobes and more...
    View my photo galleries here: imageevent.com/24peter

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    214
    The portrait resolution issue IMHO is typical of making a mountain out of a molehill. Go to bobatkins.com, he did a comparo b/t these two lenses I think. I like the F4L alot and it's been in my target scope for my next tele. But after sampling IS and able to reach 300mm, I'm having doubts. To my eyes, the IQ are similar. Difficult to tell. the 70-300IS will net you 3-stops! At 200mm, the F4L is only 2/3 stop better than the 70-300IS (requires f5.0).
    If you need the reach and shoot under poor lighting, the IS can help. Unlike the older model that it replaces, the 300mm end is fairly sharp too. Tough call really.

    EOS 30D | EOS 350D | EOS 88 | A95
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    MI
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    594
    I have a Canon 75-300 thats about 10 yrs old, I got it new and it has REAL low miles!! I hope they have made great improvments to this lens... all the way open (300mm) on a tripod the IQ is crap, its like your looking through a screen door!!
    Canon 7D ~ Canon 20D
    70-200L f/2.8 | 100 f/2.8 | 50 f/1.4 | 10-22 f/3.5-4.5
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    214

    birds on tree portrait pic

    From that picture I can't tell. Do you mean that the top of the tree is bent? It's sharp to me at least to me. Not pixel peeping of course.

    If anyone is not happy with the 70-300IS due to the portrait issue, hey sell it to me since it's such problematic lens.

    If 200mm is all you need for max reach then for sure get the F4L. And I agree juggling with a TC, lens and caps ain't fun if u're in a hurry. I guess you can always leave it on the whole time.

    EOS 30D | EOS 350D | EOS 88 | A95
    EF 50mm f1.8 MKI | EF-S 10-22 | EF 28-105 mkII | EF 17-40 F4L| EF 70-200 F4L
    LowePro AW 200
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    1,770
    Quote Originally Posted by some guy
    From that picture I can't tell. Do you mean that the top of the tree is bent? It's sharp to me at least to me. Not pixel peeping of course.

    If anyone is not happy with the 70-300IS due to the portrait issue, hey sell it to me since it's such problematic lens.

    If 200mm is all you need for max reach then for sure get the F4L. And I agree juggling with a TC, lens and caps ain't fun if u're in a hurry. I guess you can always leave it on the whole time.
    Position the mouse on the lower right corner until an orange square appears, then click that. It will show the whole image. The birds and tree at the top and bottom are VERY blurry. It's such a big tree it could be a DOF issue, but it doesn't look to be. I would be very unhappy with these results - looks more like a P&S result! However; the landscape version is OK.

    Canon has a good reputation for fixing these issues and will likely just replace his whole lens when they get it figured out. Alternatively, they'll offer him full credit or refund. I don't think there's much risk as long as Canon admits to it.

    It sure looks like a cheap path to a usually-good 300mm IS lens.


    Pholosophy warning: However; I've noticed that I don't care too much about capturing every image possible. I just don't have the disk space and most people will never want to see it all, much less any of it - unless it's my kid in which case I can't take enough.

    So; I want to pursue it as an art. If I only got 5 captures but they all made me proud to view, and I could remember taking them 3 years later, I'll take that over getting 1000 OK captures.

    So, I'll take the 70-200 f4.0. For me, IS is only good if it's attached to a near-perfect lens. It will allow for that special capture the day my composition and photography skills arrive (hey BH, where's that shipment!!! )
    Last edited by Vich; 06-27-2006 at 10:48 AM.
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