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Main difference between 70-200 f/2.8 IS I and II, Non IS, and f/4 IS

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I'm still getting used to my camera and have got good results with the practice.  As some of y'all know, I have been inquiring about the 70-200 f/2.8 IS II.  I could get this lens but it would be the only lens I could get for football season and I believe I need a good wide angle lens to get pics and videos of the stadium, interviews, and shots at certain spots of the town I'll be visiting.  So far, the IS II is still around $2,100 at Best Buy and havent had any luck finding a good deal on a refurbished one.  So, I had been set on a new non IS version that I could get at the end of May or a little earlier.  However, I have seen on Craigslist about the f/2.8 IS Version I and these lenses are selling around $1350-$1600.  A little more than a non IS version (and used to boot) but the IS could come in handy when I need to do video of football action, band performances, etc. 

Also, since I'm still learning how to apporpriately use aperture, what is the biggest difference between f/4 and f/2.8 and how would the extra stop benefit me?  I believe that it would but I'm not quite sure how.  The stadiums I'll be shooting at will vary on lighting quality so f/2.8 could come in handy.  I had some trouble with my kit lens trying to take shots at a soccer game in the evening.  The close up shots with the lens at mid length with f/4.5 were good but when I focused on far action it was grainy and looked too dark.  Could beit operator error.  Probably is operator error but the 28-135 kit lens may not be built for sports. 

I'm not sure how good f/4 can be.  I dont know.  Maybe f/4 can totally suit my needs.  I was thinking of just buying an f/4 non IS 70-200 for $500 and just use this one for now but the f/2.8 non IS is available and I can get it.   

Many of y'all had experiences with f/4 and f/2.8 70-200 L lenses.  What is the biggest difference between them.  What makes the IS II that much better than the IS I?  Does the non IS take better shots than the IS?  And if I go with the non IS after all, is there software that can remove the camera shake.  When i took video of my nephews baseball game with my kit lens, i did two clips.  One with IS and one without IS.  I also did it for the soccer game I was at and the non IS shots gave me a headache.  I thought I was holding the camera firm but it was still too shaky and my family couldnt enjoy it but the IS shots were much more manageable and the video was good for a 7D. 

Thanks for all your input.  I promise this will be the last time I ask about the 70-200 L lenses.  Big decision that I dont want to regret. I'll definitely let you all know which one I get and be glad to show samples.  I really need to upload some sample shots I have now just to get some feedback.  I'll do so in the near future (all shots I have are with the kit lens).

For shooting sports anywhere but a pro venue (where the lights are bright for network TV), f/2.8 is the narrowest aperture you'll want.  IS is nice, if you can afford it...  Generally, an f/4 tele lens won't cut it (maybe on a 1D X).

Digital Rev are hardly the most scientific of reviews, but they do cover the emotional side of buying and this should answer your question nicely.

Regarding IS, I think it is essential top getting more keepers in the longer focal length.  My opinion is only get non-IS if you cannot afford IS. 

I've owned three of the 70-200's... thought the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS mkii is in the mail... so I can't really speak to that.

I shot quite a bit of football last year and on sunny days I was able to get shutter speeds of 1/8000 of a second.  I have a 60D (though I will be upgraded to the 5d mkiii by the end of the year).  The 60D and the 7D aren't identical twins, but you could say they are fraternal twins. 

At f/4 with an iso of 100, my shutter speeds would be between 1/1500 and 1/3000 depending upon cloud coverage.  For sports, to freeze the action you really should be at least 1/1000 if not faster.  There wasn't any reason why I couldn't have kicked up the iso to 400 or even 800 so I could max out the shutter speed.  But what I saw when I used the 70-200mm f/4L USM is that the pictures... were just ok.  There wasn't anything stunning or sharp about them.  I also had a 100mm f/2.8L IS macro with me and those images POPPED!  I'm not starting a fight between primes and zooms, but the difference was enough that I packed up my zooms and sold them for a profit. 

Later in the year, I had a 70-200mm f/2.8L USM.  It was a better lens and the extra stop of light allowed for more bokeh to come into play.  F/4 was nice, but f/2.8 did bring out the subject more into the "foreground" from the background.  And that is what I was going for.  That isn't something that can easily be reproduced in post-production.  I still didn't like it as much as my 100mm prime.  But it was closer... and I was resigned to keep it for a while... and then it sold and I shipped it off. 

There are those who will happily say that the 70-200mm f/2.8L USM is tack sharp from 70-135mm... and I was shooting without AFMA and it was handheld... but I wasn't satisified with the results.  I don't feel it was entirely operator error...

And now I have the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS mkii... and I should have it next week and hopefully this will be the zoom that is worth keeping. 

As for shooting at night... f/4 is going to give you a big problem.  If you can use flash... do , but for shooting sports, you want to put those 8 shots per second to good work. 

I tried using my 24-105mm f/4 to shoot basketball... and I'm not certain, but I think and indoor arena is better lit than an outdoor one... if I'm wrong, I'm sure someone will tell me the comparative footcandles.  I believe I used an iso of 2500 when I didn't use flash, and the shots weren't good enough or at least up to my standards.  So that stayed home more often than not. 

If I were to suggest which one to go with... I'd lean towards the IS mkii.  I incrementally climbed the ladder being disappointed along the way (though I did skip the f/4 is) and I finally am where I am and I wasted how many great shots by my skimping. 


--- Quote from: neuroanatomist on April 24, 2013, 06:55:36 PM ---IS is nice, if you can afford it...

--- End quote ---

Agreed...but, when shooting sports, you're going to want to keep the shutter at least in the 1/500 and above range to stop subject motion, and you need some pretty bad Parkinson's for IS to make a visible difference at those shutter speeds.

That's also why you want the fastest lens you can get for sports, so you can get the fastest shutter speeds. An extra stop of lens speed means one stop lower ISO setting, basically. That's not very important outdoors on bright days, but it quickly becomes a factor when the clouds come out and it's your overwhelming concern when the Sun goes down.

...but, of course, ISO speed is closely tied to what you're doing with the image. If you're just posting small pictures to FaceSpace, you can get away with much high ISO settings than if you're a stringer for Sports Illustrated.

There's one other caveat that I've gotta bring up. Those SI guys generally shoot with two lenses on two bodies, and for a very important reason. The secondary setup is with a 70-200 f/2.8. The primary setup is with a 400 f/2.8. They're right there on the sidelines, as close to the action as you can get without being part of it, and they still need 400mm lenses to get the shots they do. The 70-200 is what they (quickly) switch to when the action moves to right in front of them, but most of the time they're using the 400.

So, again, if you're not looking for something to make posters with and if you're not in the nosebleed section, you can shoot from the stands with a 70-200...but you should plan on heavily cropping every image, and you should expect to have the lens always at 200. And you'll especially want the fastest lens you can get, because cropping exaggerates high ISO noise at the same time it makes the image softer.

If, indeed, you are shooting from the stands...well, first, I'd suggest that you adjust your expectations accordingly. And then I'd suggest resigning yourself to the fact that you're not going to get great images no matter how much you spend. And then I'd suggest preparing yourself to be disappointed even after spending lots of money. Starting to get the picture?




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