April 16, 2014, 04:41:59 PM

Author Topic: IQ and AF-speed only: 70-200 f/2.8L IS II + 1.4X III vs. 70-300 f/4-5.6L  (Read 2042 times)

Roy

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Hello,

I'm looking for a good "up to 280mm/300mm" zoom for my 60D, and while I'm aware that prices, weight, f-numbers and convenience (such as 70-200 + 1.4x essentially being a 2-in-1 alternative) don't compare, I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with both alternatives, and could tell me how the two compare in regard to image quality and AF-focusing speed.

When it comes to the IQ, I've used the-digital-picture.com's lens comparison tool. It won't, however, let me compare similar focal lengths (280mm is the only option if I want to add a 1.4X - which actually looks better than the 70-300 at 200mm, but worse than the 70-300 at 300mm...).

Thanks a lot! :)

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Random Orbits

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When it comes to bare lens IQ, the 70-200 II is better.  There is something with the natural vignetting at f/2.8 and colors that help the subject pop.  AF speed is good.  I spend less time post-processing 70-200 II files than the 70-300L's.  The difference in look between f/2.8 and f/4-f/5.6 is noticeable especially for portraiture and sports.

If you want to shoot above 200mm a lot, then the 70-300L comes into its own.  The 70-200L works well with the 1.4x, but then it loses a lot of its advantages over the 70-300L.  For some reason, I don't like the images taken with the 70-300L on the LCD on the back of the camera but I end up liking them when I open them in LightRoom (mostly due to color reasons, so much so that I force myself to chimp less when using the 70-300L).  When comparing the 70-200 II with the extender to the 70-300L, the IQ (sharpness, colors) is similar, but the 70-300L is lighter, more compact, better at 280/300mm and having a wider range (70-300 vs. 98-280) while costing up to a stop in speed.  The 70-300L AF is a little bit snappier than the 70-200 II + 1.4x.

What it comes down to are well known trades between weight, size, how often you intend to use the 200-300mm range, and whether you need to use this for low light applications, where every stop counts.  The 70-300L is one of Canon's best travel lenses, and I would also leave the 70-200 II home when traveling (after lugging the 70-200 II to Disney for a week while trying to watch two young kids).  That we would opt for the 70-300L over the 70-200 II for travel is a testament to how good the 70-300L is because we don't lose much in IQ but we gain a lot in versatility.  However, a lot of us will also bring a fast prime to complement the 70-300L for thin DOF or low light use for portraiture or for indoor applications.  With the 70-200 II, you might be able to skip the fast prime and make do with the f/2.8.

candyman

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+1
same experience and same opinion
5D III  |  6D  |  16-35L II  |  24-70 VC  |  24-105L  |  70-200 f/2.8L IS II  |  70-300L  |  135L  |  1.4ext III  |  GPS GP-E2

RGF

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+1
same experience and same opinion

+1 also agree.  I have both will not part with either. 

Roy

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Thanks a lot, Random Orbits!  :) And thanks to candyman and RGF for your replies as well! My primary use for the lens will be shooting my dog and getting into a little bit of wildlife photography. I think the extra stop will help a lot for this (even if it means sacrificing 20mm and some AF speed).

I might just go with both in the long run, but starting with the 70-200 II + 1.4X.

mwh1964

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I have both lenses. I would not use the 70-200 with TC for the use as suggested, but crop pp. The 70-200 have much faster AF than 70-300 and there is no reason to through that advantage in he bin by attaching a TC. Anyway, I still seem to use my 70-300 more often than the other because it is much easier to carry around. Both lenses give excellent IQ. By the way and you will be happy with either.
5D3 | 24-70L II | 24-105L | 70-200L II | 70-300L | 15 fisheye | 35 IS | 40 STM | 50 f1.4 | 100L | 135 L | extender 2X III | B&W Kaesemann | 2 x 600 EX-RT | ST-E3-RT | MR14-EX | Manfrotto | Billingham | Lowepro | Think Tank

chas1113

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I use my EF 70-300L primarily for shooting pictures of my (very quick) Jack Russell terrier. I can stand off a ways, frame the shot as she moves and then zoom in at the last second. The AF is very responsive. By being farther away, I can be more innocuous and won't affect her behavior. When she is completely oblivious to where I am, she is more herself. I can move from tight portrait to environmental action shot in no time. It's the range, the weight and the balance of the lens that really comes in handy. I sold my 70-200 f/4 IS because the image quality of the two was indistinguishable (contrast and color on the 70-300L actually seems a bit better). I am above 200mm focal length most of the time and shoot primarily at f/8 for sharpness. The 70-300 is great for me (on a 5D2 which supposedly can't shoot action). ;)

The shot below is actually MUCH crisper than this....
« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 08:40:46 AM by chas1113 »
5D III | 5DII | Fuji X-E1 | EF 17-40 | EF 24-105 | EF 35 IS | EF 50 f/1.4 | EF 100L | EF 70-300L | EF 100-300L | EF 300 f/4 IS

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