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  1. #1
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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"
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    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
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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
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    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
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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

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  5. #5
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    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
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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
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    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.

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  8. #8
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    eh, tough call. i used the 70-200 f4 for about half a year and it's an excellent lens. it's not f2.8 but it's still capable of producing nice bokeh. it's also as sharp at f4 as the f2.8 version at f4. the sample images i've seen of the 70-300 show that it's right up there in image quality as well. here's how i look at things: if you are going to be shooting subjects that move, where the IS will do you no good, then the f4 is the obvious choice as that 1 stop means double the shutter speed. if you will be using the lens mostly at 300mm or shoot more subjects that don't require fast SS or can be frozen with flash, then get the 70-300 IS. the 70-200 f4 + 1.4x TC is IMO no better than the IS lens, not to mention a more limited range at a given time (70-200 OR 98-280), it cost more and is slow putting on and taking off the TC.

    although my shooting style is likely very different from yours, here are some personal experiences for what it's worth:
    i find i shoot an equal amount of moving subjects and still subjects in the tele range, and much more often in iffy light conditions than on bright days. that means half my subjects require fast shutter speeds. so in my case i found i needed the larger aperture and would have to live with carrying a tripod around. i know that at the end of the day i'll be kicking myself if i missed some great shots cuz i was using a slower lens to save the hassle of lugging a tripod around. on the other hand i often don't like the idea of bringing a bulky tripod around but i never give it a second thought after the shooting's done.





    Quote Originally Posted by some guy
    The portrait resolution issue IMHO is typical of making a mountain out of a molehill.
    don't know about that one. this is a pretty small board and several members have already experienced the problem first hand.
    Last edited by ReF; 06-27-2006 at 06:11 AM.
    canon 17-40 L, 70-200 f2.8 L, 400 f5.6 L, 50 f1.4 & f1.8, 1.4x TC, sigma 15 f2.8 fisheye, flash 500 DG Super, kenko extension tubes

    note to self: don't participate in sad, silly threads unless you're looking for sad, silly responses.

    "anti-BS filter" (from andy): http://dcresource.com/forums/showpos...94&postcount=4

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by some guy
    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.

    Appreciate all the input. I have heard that Canon will be offering a fix for the "portrait issue" and this is one of the reasons I have been taking my time on this decision. I have heard some say this is a real issue and some say it is not such a big deal. I definitely would like the build quality of the 70-200 and the constant f4, but most of my shooting is done handheld and I really think I want the extra range of the 300. It really is a tough decision.
    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!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReF
    eh, tough call......if you are going to be shooting subjects that move, where the IS will do you no good, then the f4 is the obvious choice as that 1 stop means double the shutter speed. if you will be using the lens mostly at 300mm or shoot more subjects that subjects that don't require fast SS or can be frozen with flash, then get the 70-300 IS. the 70-200 f4 + 1.4x TC is IMO no better than the IS lens, not to mention a more limited range at a given time (70-200 OR 98-280), it cost more and is slow putting on and taking off the TC. .....
    i find i shoot an equal amount of moving subjects and still subjects in the tele range, and much more often in iffy light conditions than on bright days. that means half my subjects require fast shutter speeds. so in my case i found i needed the larger aperture and would have to live with carrying a tripod around.
    Some really good food for thought here - I don't shoot many fast moving objects, at least I have not up to this point. I don't think I need the constant f4 and you make a good point about the TC liminting the range and it reduces the available light.

    Perhaps I should go with the 70-300 for now...I can always sell it on FM in the future and get the 70-200 f4 instead. But do I wait it out a little longer to see if Canon come out with a fix for the "portrait issue" or just deal with this potential limitation?

    BTW....Bluedog - That is a beautiful flower shot - I'm envious!
    Last edited by michaelb; 06-27-2006 at 05:58 AM.
    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!

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