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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    5

    Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0 L USM vs. Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

    (***This post is a longer one, I apologize for that so I will understand if you don't want to read it all)
    Hello everyone,

    I'm sure this question has been asked before, but I'm still going to go ahead and ask what peoples opinions are.

    Well for a while now I have really been wanting to get more serious in photography. Although I do have a major budget which probably is not good but still. The work that I really want to pursue is Equine, Wildlife, Pet and perhaps Portrait (If portrait mostly like people with there animals or maybe like Senior Photo's for friends. But Equine photog is the main work I will pursue.

    I have decided that I'm going to go with the Canon EOS Digital Rebel Xti (Body Only) for the fact that it is a very great entry level DSLR and for the reason it has the dust removal technology. There are many other reasons but this is what I have decided on. Now comes the lens.

    Because the main subject of shooting will be equine, I want a good telephoto. Now the budget for a first lens is only about $500-600 which I know is not much but like I said I'm on a tight one. The lens I narrowed down too were the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0 L USM and the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM. I went to my local professional photo store (http://vantuil.com/) and talked to one of the seasoned photographers there. He loves both the lenses and honestly thought I should go with the 70-300. The points he made sounded very legit and a few I can remember is that 1) When shooting horse's there may be that time when you will need that extra 100mm or reach to get the shot you need. 2) I believe he said that the IS may really come in handy sometime especially if your shooting indoors with lowlight if your not able to use your flash. Now there were more but those were two that I could remember. He also use to shoot equine and there were times when he really would have like both when he didn't have them.

    Now I know the 70-200 is a amazing piece of glass but I think I really want to go with the 70-300, but I want to hear what some other people have to say.
    Ok well thanks so much guys, I appreciate it

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Brisbane, CA
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    3,591
    Don't make 2 threads for 1 topic.

    I would rather have the 70-200. If you really needed more reach you could add a 1.4x TC. It's doubtful you'd be doing much shooting indoors with either of the lenses. You'd probably want a large aperture lens for indoors and portraits. Maybe something like a 50mm or 85mm prime.
    Lukas

    Camera: Anonymous
    I could tell you but I wouldn't want you to get all pissy if it's the wrong brand

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Formerly South Wales. Now South Carolina.
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    7,147
    I have the 70-300 IS. The IS can go bananas at times. In general I find I switch it off mostly as it's not that good. The 70-200 is better optically. I would rather the 70-200 than the 70-300, as a 70-300 owner. If you can hold off in order to get the 70-200 f4 IS, even better.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    2,251
    I also have the 70-300. I think it's a great lens. I've never used the 70-200, so I can't compare them. However, my experience has been different than Rhys's. I find the IS in the 70-300 to work really well and to be extremely helpful. I've never used the lens indoors in low light, but for me the IS is especially useful at the longer end, where my less-than-steady hands really start to show.
    Adam
    -------------
    Canon 60D & lenses & flashes & stuff
    A bunch of cheap vintage film cameras


    My Etsy store

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Formerly South Wales. Now South Carolina.
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    7,147
    Quote Originally Posted by AdamW View Post
    I also have the 70-300. I think it's a great lens. I've never used the 70-200, so I can't compare them. However, my experience has been different than Rhys's. I find the IS in the 70-300 to work really well and to be extremely helpful. I've never used the lens indoors in low light, but for me the IS is especially useful at the longer end, where my less-than-steady hands really start to show.
    I can recall one bizarre experience. I put the lens on the camera, switched the camera on and heard a noise from the lens. I looked through the viewfinder to see the image jumping up and down rapidly. The IS was over-compensating for virtually no movement. It was a bit surreal. After that I have noticed the IS is not that great.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    530
    I have no experience with the 70-200, but I do have the 70-300IS. I like this lens just fine and have had no problems with it. If I was to upgrade, it would be to a 400mm for even longer reach. The 70-300 IS is good for outside shooting in good light. If I were to do a lot of arena indoor shots the 2.8 70-200 might be the way to go. With your budget, I would buy the 70-300IS. Nice bokeh on close shots and reasonably fast for any action you might come across givin good light.
    Spook
    Canon EOS 50D,7D and some lens and equipment.
    Fuji F200 Exr

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,554

    Lightbulb

    I suggest you guys need to analyze what the basic differences are between the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 and the 70-200mm f/4 just at the grassroots:
    • (+) 70-200 -- f/4 base aperture throughout the focal length. That's immportant.
    • (+) 70-200 -- faster time to focus ... with action shots, that's important.
    • (+) 70-200 -- does not change outer dimensions, as you zoom.
    • (+) 70-200 -- 46" minimum focus distance
    • (+) 70-200 -- is effectively weather-sealed.

    The 70-200 is just a better build of a lens.

    • (+) 70-300 offers 100mm more focal length.
    • (-) Base aperture varies fron f/4 to f/5.6 as you zoom in
    • (-) It is slower to focus. (-) The lens actually changes outer dimensions as you zoom. That can be tricky with a flash, as it can cast a shadow. You definitely will need a flash indoors, if you use it there.
    • (-) It has a five foot minimum focus distance.
    • (-) Forget fighting weather ... don't use it the rain.


    If you need to get to roughly 300mm for a shot, you can add the 1.4x teleconverter to the 70-200mm and get effectively the dark shot you would with the 70-300mm.

    When you add IS into equation ... then the choice is 70-200mm f/4 w/ IS. Simple, eh?

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    Last edited by DonSchap; 02-03-2008 at 06:26 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Formerly South Wales. Now South Carolina.
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    Don, I agree.

    The difference between a 200mm lens and a 300mm lens is not that great optically.

    There's more difference between a 14mm and a 17mm lens than between a 200 and a 300.

    Having bought the 70-300, I regret not buying the 70-200. I could easily have afforded the IS version. I just went cheap and got the 70-300 which I regret now. Still, I can always sell it and buy the 70-200 f4IS. I might do that after the wedding I've been asked to shoot in June.
    Last edited by Rhys; 02-03-2008 at 06:41 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
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    1,680
    Quote Originally Posted by AdamW View Post
    I also have the 70-300. I think it's a great lens. I've never used the 70-200, so I can't compare them. However, my experience has been different than Rhys's. I find the IS in the 70-300 to work really well and to be extremely helpful. I've never used the lens indoors in low light, but for me the IS is especially useful at the longer end, where my less-than-steady hands really start to show.
    No problems with the IS in my 70-300mm either
    Canon 5D MKlll & Canon 50D
    Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L USM | Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM | Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM | Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro | Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM | Canon 50mm f/1.8 | Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 | Canon 430EX Flash | Lowepro Mini Trekker AW | Lowepro Toploader 65 AW | Lowepro Slingshot 200AW | Kata 3n1-10

    Panasonic Lumix FZ200
    Panasonic Lumix TZ7 (aka ZS3)
    Panasonic Lumix FT3 (aka TS3)

    Ali Baba.....the Thief of Bad Gags

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Crapville, Australia
    Posts
    5,148
    Quote Originally Posted by Rhys View Post
    There's more difference between a 14mm and a 17mm lens than between a 200 and a 300.
    The maths says otherwise.
    Christian Wright; Dip Phot
    EOS 5D Mark III | EOS 600D | EOS-1V HS
    L: 14/2.8 II | 24/1.4 II | 35/1.4 | 50/1.2 | 85/1.2 II | 135/2 | 180/3.5 Macro | 200/2.8 II | 400/2.8 IS | 16-35/2.8 II | 24-105/4 IS | 70-200/2.8 IS II | 100-400/4.5-5.6 IS
    580EX II | EF 12 II | EF 25 II

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