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Author Topic: 70-200 f/2.8 II or f/4 vs. 200/2.8 prime  (Read 7051 times)

te4o

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70-200 f/2.8 II or f/4 vs. 200/2.8 prime
« on: November 28, 2011, 11:32:36 PM »
The hype is building up around the magic 70-200 / 2.8 II with the recent price rebates. From my experience with my 70-200/4 IS most of my shots were made at 200/4...
Now that I converted all my Canon zooms to CZ primes I don't use the 70-200/4 that much on my 40D - why not sell and go for a 200 prime. The 200 f/2 is probably the best Canon EF but not affordable for an amateur (the word "amateur" comes from "amor" - love - so all amateurs love their gear even if they don't earn a living with it)

Has anyone had experience with the "oldish" 200/2.8 - lightweight, 778 USD (not 2074) and STILL 2.8 at 200? Especially as compared to the zooms! Please, don't mention the f/2 as it is a dream of mine and is... dangerous.
Experience as referred to corner sharpness, contrast/micro, focusing, daily use, on an 1.4 / 2 III TC etc.

Wasn't there a rumour about a 200-400/4 coming? Not in the same price range though...
« Last Edit: November 28, 2011, 11:35:12 PM by te4o »
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70-200 f/2.8 II or f/4 vs. 200/2.8 prime
« on: November 28, 2011, 11:32:36 PM »

dr croubie

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Re: 70-200 f/2.8 II or f/4 vs. 200/2.8 prime
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2011, 11:43:03 PM »
I haven't use either, but are you comparing to the 70-200 f/2.8L, or the f/2.8L IS II?
Looking at photozone reviews, the prime is sharper than the non IS by a lot in the centre, and a bit at the edges. compared to the IS II zoom, I think the zoom wins. I'd have one if it weren't for the price tag.
The prime also has straight aperture blades (so not the best bokeh), better CA than the non IS zoom and about the same as the IS II zoom.

If you want the best, just get the 200 f/2 :P
Don't expect the 200-400 to be small, light, cheap, or here within a year. Nikon's gives you a bit of change from $10k, I doubt canon's will Red and white lenses cost more than yellow and black, plus there's the teleconverter.

If you're into Zeiss Primes, why not the 180/2.8 Sonnar (or the 200/2.8 if you can find one)?
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LeGrandLife

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Re: 70-200 f/2.8 II or f/4 vs. 200/2.8 prime
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2011, 12:17:57 AM »
I really wanted an f/2.8 zoom, but started out with the 200 f/2.8L in 2009 and in January 2011 purchased the 70-200 f/4L IS. I couldn't justify the price or the weight of the 2.8L IS zoom.  All the 2009 and 2010 baseball galleries at the following link contain images shot with the 200 f/2.8L lens:

www.LeGrandLifeImages.com/Sports

Baseball and football galleries for 2011 contain images shot with both the prime and the zoom mentioned above.  But the 200mm f/2.8L is great for much more than sports.  I love the look it gives at f/2.8.  I don't have a teleconverter to use with it, but would love to try one.  However, it pairs well with extension tubes.  I have a variety of images taken with this lens posted at:

www.flickr.com/photos/legrandlife

My 70-200 f/4L IS is an awesome lens and I use it when I can.  But when the light gets really low at evening baseball and football games, I use the prime.  If I combine the price and/or weight of both my lenses, I think they are less than the 70-200 f/2.8L IS. This combo sure works for me.



« Last Edit: November 29, 2011, 12:27:48 AM by LeGrandLife »

te4o

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Re: 70-200 f/2.8 II or f/4 vs. 200/2.8 prime
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2011, 12:43:57 AM »
Thanks for the replies!
I wanted to put the 70-200 f/2.8 IS USM Mk2 against the 200 f/2.8 L IS USM II. Then I added my current 70-200 f/4 IS USM into the comparison. The first reason is simple: Many of us are asking themselves nowadays whether to "upgrade" to a 70-200 2.8 Mk2 now that they are on sale - rarely so many threads in this direction here. I am NOT going into the zoom again as I use the CZ 100/2 MP and need something longer. The Canon 200/2 is a distant future for me - light years away in price. Perhaps when the kids are self sufficient...
So, the question is: the Canon 200/2.8 II is not a very common lens - why? What is the IQ in your experience?
Dr croubie gave some bokeh critique - good point. I'll follow this up. LeGrand's galleries are quite impressive - good colors and sharpness but I can't see more than 900:600 px resolution. The idea of having both is not practical for me - I'll have to decide whether to exchange the 70-200/4 IS for the 200/2.8 prime or not for the sake of IQ and a better bokeh at 2.8?


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wickidwombat

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Re: 70-200 f/2.8 II or f/4 vs. 200/2.8 prime
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2011, 12:56:15 AM »
get the 70-200 f2.8 II its every bit as good as everyone says, you wont regret it
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dr croubie

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Re: 70-200 f/2.8 II or f/4 vs. 200/2.8 prime
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2011, 01:26:20 AM »
So, the question is: the Canon 200/2.8 II is not a very common lens - why?

Why is the 100 f/2.0 not more popular compared to the 85/1.8? I see a few 85s on ebay each week, you might get a 100 every 2-3 weeks up there. But they're practically the same lens, size, weight, price, IQ, everything. Maybe it's because if people want the 100mm, they'll sacrifice 1-stop for macro capability and get one of them. Or they'll sacrifice 1 stop and get the flexibility of a f/2.8 zoom.

Back to the 200/2.8.
Basically, what I'm saying is, every lens is a tradeoff, in terms of size, weight, IQ, price, and even if you can afford to buy all of them, there's only so much space in your bag. f/2.8 primes (except maybe the 14 f/2.8L II) are kind of in a "dead zone". They may be cheaper and slightly better IQ than f/2.8 zooms that cover the whole range, but how many primes can I get before I may as well have had the zoom? (for both price and space in my bag).
Zooms sell better to most consumers so more R&D goes into updating them, and the uber-fast primes, f/2.8 is the slowest non-macro-non-TSE prime available, and they're all older than 10 years.
The IQ of the 70-200 f/2.8L non-IS is not *that* much worse than the 200 prime, and for the extra 40% on the pricetag you get the whole 70-199 f/2.8 range. It's also newer and better bokeh. Most consumers accept this trade-off, and that's why the zoom would sell a lot better. The 70-200 f/2.8L IS II just creams them both, and has IS, weather sealing, better IQ, better bokeh, but a pricetag to match.

If a 200 f/2.8 II prime were released today (even a f/2.5 version), with IQ to beat the 70-200 f/2.8 IS II, better bokeh, circular aperture, contrast, colours, etc, and priced somewhere around where it is now (ie halfway between the 70-200 f/4 and f/2.8 nonIS zooms), I still don't think it would sell too well, it's not different enough, I still think most consumers would rather the flexibility of the zoom. If it were f/2.5 it might get a few more buyers, but not enough to justify the extra R&D expense. So I doubt we'll ever see a replacement for this lens, it's just going to fade into obscurity because most people would rather the flexibility of zooms.
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branden

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Re: 70-200 f/2.8 II or f/4 vs. 200/2.8 prime
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2011, 02:12:08 AM »
I owned the 200/2.8L MkII for about a year. It is optically excellent -- there is absolutely nothing wrong with it's image quality in any practical way.

For landscapes, it is unbeatable. I did end up selling it though as I moved towards shooting more events, and I traded it for its little brother, the 135/2L.

The reason the 200/2.8 isn't terribly popular is because the 135/2 is more practical, for portrait and event shooting. The 200/2.8 is just the same optically, only requires 2 entire stops more light to function (one stop because the smaller aperture, one stop because of longer lenses needing faster shutter speeds).

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Re: 70-200 f/2.8 II or f/4 vs. 200/2.8 prime
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2011, 02:12:08 AM »

scottsdaleriots

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Re: 70-200 f/2.8 II or f/4 vs. 200/2.8 prime
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2011, 06:57:26 AM »
I say it depends on what you're shooting and what you want to shoot in the future. I own the 70-200 2.8 IS II and it's a fine lens-no doubt about that. But nothing beats an L prime IMO. They're fine as.

neuroanatomist

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Re: 70-200 f/2.8 II or f/4 vs. 200/2.8 prime
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2011, 11:43:15 AM »
I own the 70-200 2.8 IS II and it's a fine lens-no doubt about that. But nothing beats an L prime IMO. They're fine as.

Actually, in terms of IQ at least, the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II does beat the 200mm f/2.8L II prime.  Of course, there are costs in terms of size, weight, and actual cost for that slight IQ benefit. 

I wanted to put the 70-200 f/2.8 IS USM Mk2 against the 200 f/2.8 L IS USM II. Then I added my current 70-200 f/4 IS USM into the comparison.

So, the question is: the Canon 200/2.8 II is not a very common lens - why? What is the IQ in your experience?

The idea of having both is not practical for me - I'll have to decide whether to exchange the 70-200/4 IS for the 200/2.8 prime or not for the sake of IQ and a better bokeh at 2.8?

I had the 200mm f/2.8L II, which I sold after getting the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II.  The 200/2.8 was a great lens, but the zoom is more convenient (from a picture-taking standpoint, not a carrying standpoint), and instead of a sacrifice on IQ, there's a benefit.

The other big issue is that handholding at 200mm requires a fast shutter speed - since you mention using a 40D, you should expect to need ~1/320 s for a good keeper rate on handheld shots.  If you're taking portraits of pictures of people not actively moving, you can go much lower than 1/320 s to stop subject motion.  With IS, you can easily handhold the 70-200 II at 1/100 s - sufficient to stop most casual subject motion, but still a lot slower than you could handhold at 200mm without IS.
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Isaac

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Re: 70-200 f/2.8 II or f/4 vs. 200/2.8 prime
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2011, 03:37:46 PM »
70/200mm f/2.8 IS II

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Re: 70-200 f/2.8 II or f/4 vs. 200/2.8 prime
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2011, 05:36:16 PM »
I decided to go with the 200 2.8LII - well knowing that I would add the 135L soon after. And I wouldn't trade it for the big, heavy expensive (and white) zoom. Weight is not really that much of a concern to me really, but I prefer primes in general and felt that I'd use those two lenses more often than the big white one. And I don't trust this IS business to last for very long. And I still have money left at the end of the day.

But it also depends on the application. For some events or other fast moving things it's probably great. I recently used the zoom with an original 5D during a portrait workshop. Felt weird.

The 200 2.8LII in my experience works great with portraits/headshots outside, kids, amateur sports. Results look great. Bokeh is really really nice.
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te4o

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Re: 70-200 f/2.8 II or f/4 vs. 200/2.8 prime
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2011, 07:47:41 PM »
I decided to go with the 200 2.8LII - well knowing that I would add the 135L soon after. And I wouldn't trade it for the big, heavy expensive (and white) zoom. Weight is not really that much of a concern to me really, but I prefer primes in general and felt that I'd use those two lenses more often than the big white one. And I don't trust this IS business to last for very long. And I still have money left at the end of the day.

But it also depends on the application. For some events or other fast moving things it's probably great. I recently used the zoom with an original 5D during a portrait workshop. Felt weird.

The 200 2.8LII in my experience works great with portraits/headshots outside, kids, amateur sports. Results look great. Bokeh is really really nice.

Thanks for sharing,
Yes, I tried the 70-200 2.8 II and it is impressive in AF speed, accuracy, IQ and and and but... it is really heavy and huge - and as you say - the zoom feels weird after using only primes. I noticed I couldn't make a good use of it, so I decided that I don't need it.
I think buying 135/2 and 200/2.8 makes a better IQ and promotes photographic skills (the combo costs less than the 70-200/2.8II) and weighs less... The new Canon sensors going up to 12800 ISO and above will reduce the importance of the IS. Corner-Sharpness, bokeh, colours, microcontrast and rendering will become more and more important than center IQ.
Thanks for sharing your experiences all!

One more question lives up - is the EF 135/2 reasonable if I already have the CZeiss 100/2 MP ... ? AF is already a good help above 100 focal length.
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dr croubie

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Re: 70-200 f/2.8 II or f/4 vs. 200/2.8 prime
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2011, 07:52:31 PM »
One more question lives up - is the EF 135/2 reasonable if I already have the CZeiss 100/2 MP ... ? AF is already a good help above 100 focal length.

My short answers would be:
- For sit-down portraits, maybe not, just keep the zeiss and crop a bit (and you may need a bigger studio for the 135). 135 at f/2.0 has shallower DOF, but you need more than a few mm DOF even for a flat-on face shot.
- For sports, like basketball in a dark gym, get the 135L, AF will help a lot...
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Re: 70-200 f/2.8 II or f/4 vs. 200/2.8 prime
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2011, 07:52:31 PM »

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Re: 70-200 f/2.8 II or f/4 vs. 200/2.8 prime
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2011, 07:41:53 AM »
Why is the 100 f/2.0 not more popular compared to the 85/1.8? I see a few 85s on ebay each week, you might get a 100 every 2-3 weeks up there. But they're practically the same lens, size, weight, price, IQ, everything. Maybe it's because if people want the 100mm, they'll sacrifice 1-stop for macro capability and get one of them. Or they'll sacrifice 1 stop and get the flexibility of a f/2.8 zoom.

The difference between f/2 and f/1.8 is far less than a stop, closer to quarter of a stop.

Personally, I'm not interested in macro, so I prefer a bit wider & faster. With 21MP, I can always crop a bit.

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Re: 70-200 f/2.8 II or f/4 vs. 200/2.8 prime
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2011, 09:38:13 AM »
Why is the 100 f/2.0 not more popular compared to the 85/1.8? I see a few 85s on ebay each week, you might get a 100 every 2-3 weeks up there. But they're practically the same lens, size, weight, price, IQ, everything. Maybe it's because if people want the 100mm, they'll sacrifice 1-stop for macro capability and get one of them. Or they'll sacrifice 1 stop and get the flexibility of a f/2.8 zoom.

The difference between f/2 and f/1.8 is far less than a stop, closer to quarter of a stop.

I think he was referring to the 1-stop between f/2 and f/2.8, i.e. getting the 100mm f/2.8 Macro instead of the 100mm f/2.

I think the 85/1.8 is more popular than the 100/2 mostly because it's ~$70 cheaper, and also partly because 100mm on APS-C is a bit long indoors.
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Re: 70-200 f/2.8 II or f/4 vs. 200/2.8 prime
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2011, 09:38:13 AM »