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Author Topic: 70-300mm IS USM or splurge for Tamron 70-200mm VC  (Read 2152 times)

francisvr7

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70-300mm IS USM or splurge for Tamron 70-200mm VC
« on: October 16, 2013, 05:26:51 AM »
Hi all
Unfortunately my house burnt down and I lost all my dad's old telephoto lenses.
In 2 months I'm off to Africa and Kenya, and am in the market for a Telephoto lens. This lens would generally be used for general needs, sports, landscaping, and particularly for Safari when I'm over there. I don't wanna take a mediocre lens over there and waste the opportunity
I'm just a pro-hobbyist, but I've come down to either going the cheap route, that is just buy the old Canon, or pay more for a decent lens which I can use for many years to come, and the day may come where I may go Full frame? The prices are 350 vs 1050... (AU)
Anyone have any experience with the Canon 70-300mm IS USM? Or any other suggestions?
My current gear is 600d, Tamron 17-50mm (Non-VC, highly underated lens), Nifty fifty
Thanks!

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70-300mm IS USM or splurge for Tamron 70-200mm VC
« on: October 16, 2013, 05:26:51 AM »

BoneDoc

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Re: 70-300mm IS USM or splurge for Tamron 70-200mm VC
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2013, 06:44:18 AM »
I had the 70-300 USM, and I eventually upgraded to the Tamron 70-200VC.  the 300mm is soft, that you'd get better resolution with the 200mm digitally magnified to get to "300"mm. 

If the cash can allow, I highly recommend the 70-200mm.  The only downside (aside from cost), is the weight.  But as long as you can deal with that, you'll love the image coming out of it.  IQ is comparable to the Canon 70-200 MkII.

TrabimanUK

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Re: 70-300mm IS USM or splurge for Tamron 70-200mm VC
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2013, 06:53:55 AM »
Sorry to hear about your house and lenses. 

Having been on 3 safaris (4th one next year), one word applies.  That word is "REACH".  Out of the 2, I'd got for the 70-300.  It's a lens I used for the 1st 2 safaris and got cracking shots, also it is lighter and has more reach.  The best would be a 100-400, as even though it is heavier, the images are awesome and 400mm is a big step up from 300mm, if you can stretch to that.  If you buy second hand then you can ususally re-sell it for £50+/- what you paid for it, effectively making it a "free" lens.  My wife and I stepped up to the 100-400 for the last safari and it was totally worth it (and we made £50 when we sold it the week after the safari).

Yes, the 70-200 is good for low light, not as good as the Canon 2.8 IS II, but even so, you can only crop so far and believe me, the extra 100mm or 200mm is invaluable for catching those moments.  You could go for the Tamron+doubler, but not too sure about focussing speed, and that makes it a 140-400 f5.6, making it good for long range, but further reducing the wider side of things.

Because there were 2 of us on the last safari, we had 2 bodies each and covered 10mm up to 400mm with the 10-22, 24-70, 70-200 and 100-400, but if it was just me, I'd be going for 70-300 or 100-400mm, and if yo ucan stretch to a cheap second body for wider angle stuff, it would be worth it.

Whatever you decide on, remember to take time to look with the naked eye and soak it all up.  Whilst it's great to take the shots, it's awesome just to observe the wildlife and the sunsets  :)

Enjoy!

Grant  :)

PS I would avoid the big Sigmas as they drop to f6.3 very quickly, and aren't of as good an image quality as the 100-400 (compared some shot on the last safari with some that had one and they were a tad gutted)
« Last Edit: October 16, 2013, 06:56:14 AM by TrabimanUK »
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banana joe

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Re: 70-300mm IS USM or splurge for Tamron 70-200mm VC
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2013, 07:27:07 AM »
Hi, sorry for your house (and lenses)!

I've just been in Kenya for a safari and had with me a Canon 70-300 IS USM, but I wouldn't recommend it too much, it tends to be quite soft at the long end. It gets a bit sharper stopping down to f/8, but light doesn't always permit that.
If you want to see some photo samples here's a thread I started about it:
http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=17428.0

I'd recommend the 100-400L, which will give you extra reach and sharpness, or alternatively the 70-300L.
The 28-300L is also interesting if you can bring only one lens, but it's quite expensive.
Most of the time the animals will be close enough for a 300m lens, but there are times in which you'll wish to have at least an extra 100m. There are also times in which the animals are real close, in which cases you may also need a wide angle lens (your Tamron should fit the bill).

Have a great safari!

francisvr7

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Re: 70-300mm IS USM or splurge for Tamron 70-200mm VC
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2013, 07:44:35 AM »
One thing to note: I use a crop framed body, Would the reach with a 70-200mm still not be that great? even with the 1.6x conversion?
Thank you so much for all your useful feedback so helpful!

TrabimanUK

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Re: 70-300mm IS USM or splurge for Tamron 70-200mm VC
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2013, 07:53:46 AM »
Francis,

we only use crops (40D, 60D and a 7D), and the 1.6x you get with them just doesn't seem enough, though saying that I don't think any lens is long enough ;-) 

Whilst there's a lot of wildlife a long way off, having the ability to shoot close and wide is very useful if you get anything near the vehicle.

If you're going to Kenya, then you often get very close to the wildlife as there are very few driving restrictions, whereas Tanzania or Zambia you have to stay on the tracks or risk getting thrown out the park and fined (they are a little more considerate towards the animals).
« Last Edit: October 16, 2013, 08:08:26 AM by TrabimanUK »
Canon 5D, 60D, 40D, SX150-IR/UV, 50 f1.8, 70-200 f2.8 IS II, 70-300 f4-5.6 IS USM 
Sigma 10 F2.8 EX DC DIAGONAL FISHEYE HSM, 24-70 f2.8 IF EX DG HSM

Sporgon

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Re: 70-300mm IS USM or splurge for Tamron 70-200mm VC
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2013, 12:22:12 PM »

 I don't wanna take a mediocre lens over there and waste the opportunity


You answered the question here. I wouldn't take the 70-300 non L unless I really couldn't afford anything else, in which case use it at f8 to f11 all the time at 200-300 mil.

This is despite the fact a few people on CR seem to have named their first born after it.

The 70-300 L is best, but relatively expensive. A used 100-400 L is relatively expensive.  A used 70-200 f4 with a mkii converter ( for cost ) is a good budget way to go but you loose IS. How important is IS to you ? To me, unless I'm on a tripod all the time it is very important.

If it is the longer end you're primarily interested in you could consider a used 70-300 DO. They depreciate to about half their new price when used, give a similar performance to the 70-300 non L at 300mm in the centre at equivalent aperture, but critically they are much better across the frame. However they are not as good at the shorter end.

Another budget option for absolute quality is a used 200 f2.8, but again you loose IS.


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Re: 70-300mm IS USM or splurge for Tamron 70-200mm VC
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2013, 12:22:12 PM »

pj1974

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Re: 70-300mm IS USM or splurge for Tamron 70-200mm VC
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2013, 10:14:28 PM »
Shame to hear about your house and lenses, thankfully though - it seems no lives were lost?

For Safari, you definitely want reach (but also flexibility - ie don't want a prime).  I find a 70-200mm too short for most of my wildlife shots (and I have a Canon 7D).  My current telezoom is the Canon 70-300mmL USM IS.

I have used the Canon 55-250mm IS, the Canon 70-300mm USM IS (ie non-L), the Tamron 70-300mm USD, the Canon 100-400mm L, the Sigma 120-400mm and Sigma 150-500mm (Yes, I've tried a lot of lenses - borrowed from friends or used in-store!)

I have also previously owned the Canon 100-300mm USM, but that was quite a while ago, and it had lot IQ above about 180mm.  The Canon 70-300mm USM IS is definitely ok, but loses contrast and some sharpness between 200-300mm. 

If you can't afford the Canon 70-300mm L (which is also great because it's still very portable, especially to any of the lenses 400mm and above), then I'd recommend the Tamron 70-300mm USD a bit ahead of the Canon 70-300mm USM IS. Just stop these down to f/7.1 or f/8 to get more sharpness and contrast at 300mm. I've obtained surprisiing good photos with the Canon 55-250mm, that might be the cheapest stop gap measure.

Hmmmm... I don't know if my post gives any more clarity, but I'm just sharing. I'm very glad I went out and waited till the 70-300mm L arrived then bought that.... the other lenses just didn't cut it for me in the end!

Enjoy your safari.. and share some photos!

Paul
I'm not a brand-fanatic. What I do appreciate is using my 7D and 350D cameras along with a host of lenses & many accessories to capture quality photos, and share with friends.

preppyak

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Re: 70-300mm IS USM or splurge for Tamron 70-200mm VC
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2013, 11:04:43 PM »
Another budget option for absolute quality is a used 200 f2.8, but again you loose IS.
This was gonna be my suggestion. For $1050, you might as well get a nice condition used 100-400 and get the reach you want. Sure, you could use a TC with the 70-200, but, I think the 100-400 would produce better results.The 70-200f/4 IS with TC might work too, but, is more limited than the 100-400 in reach.

Or, the 200mm f/2.8 and a TC would still work well. Its closer in price to the 70-300 options with much better IQ.

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Re: 70-300mm IS USM or splurge for Tamron 70-200mm VC
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2013, 01:34:56 AM »
Another thought is to rent a camera and lens.  That way, you can get top quality equipment for your trip without having to buy.
Rent a 1D X or 5D MK III and a 100-400L or better yet, a 200-400L with the built-in TC, its the ideal Safari lens. 

dilbert

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Re: 70-300mm IS USM or splurge for Tamron 70-200mm VC
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2013, 04:17:57 AM »
Get the Tamron 70-300 VC Di. It's better than the Canon 70-300 IS USM and around the same price.

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Re: 70-300mm IS USM or splurge for Tamron 70-200mm VC
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2013, 04:17:57 AM »