July 29, 2014, 07:04:25 PM

Author Topic: EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II + EF 1.4x TC III or EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II?  (Read 4768 times)

jrista

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I am trying to decide on my next lens purchases. I am a bird and wildlife photographer who does landscapes & macro on the side. I currently have the EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L II for my landscape work, 100mm f/2.8 for my macro work, and the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS for my primary photography. I currently use the 7D, however depending on when the 7D II is announced/released, or how the high MP camera pans out, I may get a 5D III.

I ran into the limitations of the 100-400 some time ago, and am ready to move on to bigger, better things. I have been renting Canon's new line of telephoto lenses. For my primary work, my heart is pretty dead set on the EF 600mm f/4 L IS II along with the EF 1.4x TC III (and probably 2x TC III with the 5D III + f/8 firmware) for the bird photography. However before I spend that kind of money, I wanted to figure out if there may be something shorter that I could use for birds in flight and wildlife. I rented the  300mm f/2.8 L II a few months back, and the quality is simply unbelievable. It blew me away. With 1.4x and 2x teleconverters it extends right up to 600mm f/5.6, which is good for a lot of things, including wildlife at a comfortable distance with 300m and 420mm and bird photography at 600mm in good light (although that f/5.6 aperture fails to handle morning and evening or overcast photography very well.)

If I do pick up the 600mm f/4 L II, that will burn up my budget and then some. I'm sure that lens will do well for some wildlife photography, however it won't be all that handholdable (although Canon's weight savings are an amazing achievement), and that focal length could make it difficult to get some wildlife shots for the less shy wildlife...and we have quite a bit of that here in Colorado...deer will get within feet of you at times. I've wondered whether picking up the EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II would be a worth-while replacement for the 100-400, and capable of producing quality shots. According to my calculations, the aperture, despite being a relative f/2.8, is actually the same size entrance pupil as the 100-400 (200/2.8 = 71.43, 400/5.6 = 71.43). The smallish entrance pupil on the 100-400 has not really done much to produce that nice, high quality, creamy boke. It never comes close to the quality of the 300mm 500mm, or 600mm Mark II telephoto lenses. Additionally, the 100-400 is quite soft at 400mm until you stop down to f/7.1, at which point it sharpens up a bit, but is still visibly poor compared to the sharpness of any of those same telephoto lenses.

Is the boke and sharpness of the 70-200 f/2.8 II closer to the caliber of Canon's new Mark II telephoto lenses? How does it fare with the 1.4x TC? Is the 280mm focal length with the 1.4x TC a good enough replacement for a 300mm prime?

Or, to get the kind of quality I'm looking for, do I really just have to knuckle down and get both the 300mm f/2.8 L II and 600mm f/4 L II?

Thanks for any help!
My Photography
Current Gear: Canon 7D | Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS II | EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS | EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L | EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro | 50mm f/1.4
New Gear List: Canon 5D III/7D II | Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L II

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skitron

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Re: EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II + EF 1.4x TC III or EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II?
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2013, 10:03:50 AM »
Heres a link that compares the 70-200 IS2 + TC 1.4x 3 @280 to the 300 2.8 2:

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=687&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=6&API=1&LensComp=739&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0

Those don't address anything but the sharpness issue, but given the difference, it may be enough to sway you right away since the 300 is in a total different league even at 2.8.
5D3, 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, 100L, 24-105L, Sigma 50/1.4 DG, Canon TC 1.4x III

curtisnull

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Re: EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II + EF 1.4x TC III or EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II?
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2013, 10:24:14 AM »
The EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II is the most amazing lens I've ever owned. And I've owned a lot of lenses in the last 30 years. I have the EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II and the extenders. If budget allows, go to the 300 without a second thought.
1Dx••5D3••300/2.8L IS II••135/2L••100/2.8L IS Macro••24/1.4L II••70-200/2.8L IS II••24-70/2.8L II••17-40/4 L••600EX-RT••lots more Canon stuff.

ronderick

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Re: EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II + EF 1.4x TC III or EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II?
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2013, 07:27:46 AM »
If cash and size is no concern, I seriously do not see any reason not to get the 300 f/2.8. The sharpness and speed of prime beats its zoom counterpart hands down (though I don't know about version II, but version I is definitely superb).

As for the 600, I don't know if you need to go that far... I've seen the 500 mm f/4's do great jobs at air show.

I guess you have to decide what's your priorities first. IMHO I think the 300 is more flexible if you need it for other uses.
Canon EOS 1D MKIV, EF 24-105mm F/4L, EF 70-200mm F/2.8L, TS-E 17mm F/4L, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro
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jrista

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Re: EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II + EF 1.4x TC III or EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II?
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2013, 10:40:37 AM »
Let me ask this then. Would it be better to get the 600mm f/4 L II, the 70-200 f/2.8 L II and the 1D X, or the 600 f/4 L II and the 300 f/2.8 L II? For the price of the 300/2.8 II I could get the 1D X and the 70-200/2.8... I know bodies come and go, but a 1D X should last for quite a number of years at least, no?

As for my reason behind getting the 600mm...I don't shoot man-made birds...I shoot real birds. ;P When it comes to small passerines, waterfowl out on a lake or ocean, or skittish birds like great blue herons, the more focal length you can get your hands on the better. With a 2x TC at f/8 (with 5D III or 1D X), the 600mm lens becomes the longest readily-available (and affordable for someone like myself) lens in Canon's lineup at 1200mm. With a 1.4x TC it becomes an 840mm lens, and from what I've read, it is roughly as sharp as the 800mm f/5.6 L prime lens is itself. For what I do, especially when I move to FF, I need the longest lens I can get. I figure if I can spend $11,000 on the 500mm, might as well step it up one more level and spend $13,000 on the 600mm.
My Photography
Current Gear: Canon 7D | Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS II | EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS | EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L | EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro | 50mm f/1.4
New Gear List: Canon 5D III/7D II | Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L II

AlanF

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Re: EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II + EF 1.4x TC III or EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II?
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2013, 01:14:44 PM »
I bought the 300mm f/2.8 II plus the 1.4x and 2x TC IIIs to go with my 7D and was delighted with the performance - for me, a combination that I can swing from one hand all day while walking is more important than being limited by a tripod and lugging the heavy gear around. I use it for small birds at long distances too.

I upgraded at the beginning of the month to the 5D III. It's a huge upgrade - the consistency of focus and the speed of focussing are much, much better. The 600 mm combo was slow on the 7D but on the 5D it locks on very quickly to birds in flight. What shocked me most is that the increased IQ of the 5D III makes up for the loss of crop factor. Today, I tested the 100-400 L on the 5D III. It seemed to behave better and sharper than it did on the 7D.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 01:17:04 PM by AlanF »
5D III, 70D, Powershot SX50, 300/2.8 II, 1.4xTC III, 2xTC III, 70-200/4 IS, 24-105, 15-85, Sigma 10-20, Tamron 150-600.

jrista

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Re: EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II + EF 1.4x TC III or EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II?
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2013, 04:38:51 PM »
I bought the 300mm f/2.8 II plus the 1.4x and 2x TC IIIs to go with my 7D and was delighted with the performance - for me, a combination that I can swing from one hand all day while walking is more important than being limited by a tripod and lugging the heavy gear around. I use it for small birds at long distances too.

I upgraded at the beginning of the month to the 5D III. It's a huge upgrade - the consistency of focus and the speed of focussing are much, much better. The 600 mm combo was slow on the 7D but on the 5D it locks on very quickly to birds in flight. What shocked me most is that the increased IQ of the 5D III makes up for the loss of crop factor. Today, I tested the 100-400 L on the 5D III. It seemed to behave better and sharper than it did on the 7D.

Alan, thanks a lot for the info! Very helpful. Particularly the info about the 5D III IQ. I've noticed the 7D is quite soft with my 100-400mm lens. I've performed AFMA a few times, trying to perfect it. Post AFMA, it is better than it was (originally it was very soft and nearly unusable), however it is radically different than either the 300/2.8 L II, 500/4 L II, or 600/4 L II. Even with those three top of the line lenses, my shots still do not look quite as sharp or clear as those from other bird photographers who have a 1D IV (which still seems to be a birders favorite). The quality of the 1D X, even though it is only an 18mp FF, just blows me away...I figure it is like a 5D III on steroids, and maybe then some. It may just be time for me to move up from APS-C to FF, get the 600mm lens, and go with that for the time being.

I also had the thought that for 300mm stuff, I could just pick up the EF 300mm f/4 L IS as a good quality companion to the 600mm. With a 1.4x TC I'd have a 420mm f/5.6 lens, which gives me a pretty well-rounded basket of focal lengths between the two lenses and 1.4x/2x TCs (all of 300, 420, 600, 840, 1200). Combined with a 5D III, I think I'll be able to achieve the IQ I am looking for in all of the scenarios I need...300/420 for wildlife, larger birds, BIF, the 600/840/1200 for smaller birds, waterfowl at a distance, shy shorebirds and waders, and on top of that, my EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L II would actually be a proper wide angle lens on the 5D III.
My Photography
Current Gear: Canon 7D | Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS II | EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS | EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L | EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro | 50mm f/1.4
New Gear List: Canon 5D III/7D II | Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L II

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Re: EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II + EF 1.4x TC III or EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II?
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2013, 04:38:51 PM »

Lnguyen1203

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Re: EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II + EF 1.4x TC III or EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II?
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2013, 04:48:19 PM »
For birds, nothing compares to the 500f4 II or 600f4 II.  I had the 300f2.8 IS and 1.4x and 2x TCs.  The 1.4x works great, but you lose much details and AF with the 2X.  I now shoot with the 500f4 II and have no regret.  It's very handholdable, only 1 lb more than the 300f2.8 IS. 
1DX, 5D3, T3i, 500f4 II, 70-300L, 16-35L, 1.4x II, 2x III TCs

jrista

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Re: EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II + EF 1.4x TC III or EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II?
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2013, 11:06:46 PM »
If cash and size is no concern, I seriously do not see any reason not to get the 300 f/2.8.

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Well, cost is a concern. I intend to get the 600mm no matter what. I'm just wondering if there is a decent alternative to the 300mm f/2.8, since the 600mm alone is beyond my budget, but I kind of need it to do what I want to do. I don't absolutely need a 300mm lens, however it is a more useful focal length for things like BIF and wildlife (and more hand-holdable). The question is not "Should I get the 300mm f/2.8 instead of the 600mm f/4"...it is "Is there anything other than the 300mm f/2.8 to get in conjunction with the 600mm f/4". I can't really afford $13000, however I'll find a way to make it fit...but $21000? Don't think I could pull that off. I bought a whole entire car for that much money.
My Photography
Current Gear: Canon 7D | Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS II | EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS | EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L | EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro | 50mm f/1.4
New Gear List: Canon 5D III/7D II | Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L II

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Re: EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II + EF 1.4x TC III or EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II?
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2013, 11:06:46 PM »