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Author Topic: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or EF 70-200mm f/4L IS  (Read 16309 times)

widowmaker

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Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
« on: May 03, 2011, 07:48:42 PM »
Your thoughts guys on the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or an EF 70-200 f/4L IS.  There is somewhat of a price difference (approximately $300) among the two, with the latter being cheaper, yet older (2006).  Should you choose one among the two in terms of value, what would it be?  Both have very decent reviews and I'm looking to purchase one of them.  Help me choose.

I was initially looking at the EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II to compliment my EF 24-70mm f/2.8L on a 60D body, but the price is quite prohibiting. 
« Last Edit: May 03, 2011, 08:25:07 PM by widowmaker »

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Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
« on: May 03, 2011, 07:48:42 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2011, 09:06:17 PM »
Your thoughts guys on the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or an EF 70-200 f/4L IS.  There is somewhat of a price difference (approximately $300) among the two, with the latter being cheaper, yet older (2006).  Should you choose one among the two in terms of value, what would it be?  Both have very decent reviews and I'm looking to purchase one of them.  Help me choose.

I was initially looking at the EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II to compliment my EF 24-70mm f/2.8L on a 60D body, but the price is quite prohibiting.

Do you need the extra 100mm that the 70-300mm f/4-5.6L offers?  If so, that's the way to go.  If you can live without that extra reach, the 70-200mm is a fine lens, especially if you shoot in manual mode (variable aperture zooms are a pain in the butt if you shoot manual).  If you shoot action in low light, neither will be that good, and you'd be better off saving up for the f/2.8 IS II (or getting the f/2.8 non-IS now).
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gene_can_sing

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Re: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2011, 09:13:41 PM »
maybe the 70-200 Non-IS version plus the 2x extender? I have that combo (but the IS version) and it is amazing. With the 2x extender, you lens become a 400mm f 5.6 since you lose 2 stops. Constant aperture is important to me since I'm  video guy.

Act444

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Re: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2011, 11:58:37 PM »
Hi, I have used both lenses. I used to have the 70-200 f4 which was an excellent lens, very sharp and high quality- at least in good lighting. But occasionally I'd use it indoors and thought I could do better with the noise levels, so I decided to go for the 2.8 version. But in the meantime, I decided to get the 70-300 f4-5.6 for use outside.

Differences I've found between the two lenses- the biggest things are

1) the extra 100mm, which is actually not much, but in practice I found it has made a difference for me. This lens really shines at 300mm BTW.

2) the variable aperture. The 70-300 is only f4 up to just past 100mm, and by 200mm you're at f5- whereas with the 70-200 you have f4 through the entire range.

3) I also found the 70-300 to not be quite as sharp as the 70-200, particularly at 70mm. The images are still very, very good- but the 70-200 was exceptional.

4) The 70-300 is quite a bit heavier than the 70-200. However, it is shorter (and fatter). That said, I had no issues hiking with it. But I suppose your mileage may vary depending on what you're used to carrying around.

5) The 70-300 extends its barrel while you zoom, while the 70-200 is all internal.

All in all, I'd say the two lenses have their own uses. I'd figure I'd just use the 2.8 when I need the light, so I use the 70-300 outdoors in good light and the variable aperture isn't an issue (although it took some getting used to since all my other lenses are constant aperture). It really comes down to whether you'd rather have constant aperture or extra reach. Both lenses are high-quality and I'd say you'd be hard-pressed to go wrong with either.

Hope this helps, at least a little bit. This is just my personal experience though.

Quote
maybe the 70-200 Non-IS version plus the 2x extender? I have that combo (but the IS version) and it is amazing. With the 2x extender, you lens become a 400mm f 5.6 since you lose 2 stops. Constant aperture is important to me since I'm  video guy.

Hmm...I know Canon actually makes a 400mm f5.6 lens for about the same price of the 2.8 non-IS- so if you don't need the versatility of the zoom, I think you'll get better quality out of that than the 70-200+2x.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2011, 12:07:29 AM by Act444 »

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Re: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2011, 02:59:38 AM »
I think Act444 has pretty much nailed the major points of consideration when choosing between the two lenses.

As for $$$, I think you're more likely to find good deals for the 70-200mm f/4 IS in the used lens market than the newer 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6L. Again, with the 70-200mm out for so many years, the goods and the bads of this lens is pretty much out in the opens.

The portability and quality of this lens ensures it a place on the frequently-used list.

PS: Though I'd be wary of fluctuation of prices in the used lens market... I'm not exactly sure how the tsunami has affected it...
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Flake

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Re: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2011, 04:06:19 AM »
Don't rule out the Sigma 70 - 200mm f/2.8 OS.  It's a good lens, not as good as the Canon 2.8, but the difference is mainly at the borders & corners, on FF which you aren't using.  It was good enough to win a TIPA award this year so certainly worthy of your consideration.

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Re: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2011, 10:28:19 AM »
An option for your consideration would be to look for a used 70-200 f2.8 IS version I. Just be aware they sell very quickly!
I have not used the new 70-300 but have used the 70-200 f4 IS and the 70-200 f2.8 IS. The image quality, weight and ease of use of the f4 version is as good as it gets. Of course the f2.8 version is legendary, but its only attribute over the f4 is the extra stop and associated bokeh (which is huge for certain shooting conditions.) But, I would only use the f2.8 if I need the f2.8 aperature because this lens is VERY heavy in comparison to the f4 version. For example, last weekend I spent the entire day shooting an outdoor mixed sporting event. For this I used the f4 version and it worked great - plenty of light, fast focus and very easy to carry/hold up all day. Later at night, I switched to the f2.8 version for photos at a dance where there was some flash and non-flash photography and the f2.8 aperature helped in the low-light conditions. Fortunately this was only several hours long!

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Re: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2011, 10:28:19 AM »

widowmaker

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Re: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2011, 09:30:49 PM »
I would have really wanted the 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, but the price is still really way up there.  And I don't see it going down anytime soon, the reason why I'm looking into the cheaper alternatives like the 70-300L or the 70-200 f4 IS. 

Now I'm thinking if I should just save up for the 70-200 f/2.8L IS II or just simply start off with the cheaper alternatives, then dispose of them later on.  Though choice.


Act444

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Re: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2011, 11:30:28 PM »
Hmm, depends on what environment you'll be shooting in. If you absolutely NEED that focal range RIGHT NOW, then it can't hurt to get the f4 version now and trade up later. (the lens will hold most of its value)

If you're looking to shoot indoors, in the evening/night hours, though- you'll probably often find yourself at ISO 3200 or higher at maxed-out f4. If you can deal with the noise, you can save major $$ and weight.

Or, you might be able to get a good deal on version 1 of the f2.8 IS.

widowmaker

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Re: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2011, 05:30:42 AM »
If you're looking to shoot indoors, in the evening/night hours, though- you'll probably often find yourself at ISO 3200 or higher at maxed-out f4. If you can deal with the noise, you can save major $$ and weight.

Or, you might be able to get a good deal on version 1 of the f2.8 IS.

It will be primarily used mostly for indoors, precisely why an f/2.8 is really essential for me.  And I want it to compliment my 24-70.  Eventually I'd like to build my arsenal of f/2.8s or faster.

Oh by the way, I am from the Philippines.  There's really a lot of available lenses here and I particularly go for the locally Canon warranted units on all my gear. 

70-200s at this time are priced at $2,593 for the II, $2,000 for I and $1,249 for the f/4 IS.  The 70-300L is at $1,541.  Grey market units here at definitely cheaper.

MisterEOS

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Re: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2011, 04:14:00 PM »
Thought I'd post something similar to what Act444 posted about differences between the lenses as well as specs and such:

¤ The 70-200 features a constant aperture of f/4.0 through the entire zoom range, while the 70-300 only retains f/4.0 at 70-103mm which turns into f/4.5 at 104-154mm, f/5.0 at 155-228mm, and then f/5.6 at 229-300mm

¤ The 70-300 weighs in at 1050g (37.1 oz) while the 70-200 weighs in at 760g (26.8 oz) making the 70-200 not much, but somewhat easier to carry around and to use while shooting handheld

¤ The 70-200 has a length of 172mm and does not extend while zooming or focusing, the 70-300 extends while zooming and measures 143mm when fully retracted and extends by 53.4mm at 300mm

¤ The 70-200 measures 76mm in diameter while the 70-300 measures 89mm in diameter (same as the 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II USM)

¤ Both lenses share a minimum focusing distance of 1200mm (47.2'') as well as a maximum magnification of .21x

¤ The extending portion of the 70-300 is relatively narrow, resulting in it using the same filter-size as the 70-200 which is 67mm, also the filter threads does not rotate on either lenses, making it easy to use circular polarizers and such

¤ The 70-300 has the advantage of an extra 100mm at the long end, but the 70-200 still has the advantage of the already mentioned constant aperture of f/4.0 as well as performing better optically, and if paired with an 1.4x extender the 70-200 becomes a f/5.6 98-280mm

¤ Both lenses features Ring USM resulting in very fast, quiet and accurate focusing

¤ Like all L lenses, both the 70-200 and 70-300 come included with a lens pouch and a lens hood, but something that isn't included is a tripod ring, which is something that all other white canon lenses come included with (except for the non-IS of the 70-200 as well)


So yeah, personally I'd go with the 70-200 f/4.0 L IS USM over the 70-300 f/4.0-5.6 L IS USM, 'cause not only is the 70-200 cheaper and also lighter, but it also performs better optically, and if I ever need more focal length I'll just pair it up with an 1.4x extender, or perhaps even buy the 200-400 f/4.0 L IS USM Extender 1.4x when it's released, though that lens will probably be somewhat expensive.

Of course there are other alternatives, like the non-IS version of the 70-200 f/4.0 which is an incredible lens as well, and the price is just too good to be true. Personally I prefer lenses with IS because of shaky hands, which then also rules out the 70-200 f/2.8 L USM, for me at least.
But those that are real steady when handholding, or that uses tripods most of the time, should definitely consider the non-IS of the 70-200 f/2.8 which is priced about the same as the 70-200 f/4.0 L IS USM if I'm not mistaken.

Then there is of course the bad boy itself, the king of all the Canon 70-200 lenses, the 70-200 f/2.8 L IS USM II, but it's priced almost twice as much as the f/4.0 IS and the non-IS 2.8, so it may not be an option for everybody.

I have also heard good things about the Sigma 70-200 the and Tamron 70-200 so they may also be an option.

My post turned somewhat into an 70-200 orgy even though this thread is about buying the 70-200 f/4.0 L IS USM or the 70-300 f/4.0-5.6 L IS USM so my apologies for that.

To sum it up, both lenses, the 70-200 f/4.0 L IS USM and the 70-300 f/4.0-5.6 L IS USM, are extremely good lenses, and you can't go wrong with them, what ever you choose, you willl without a doubt be a very happy man/woman, but personally I'd choose the 70-200 in a heartbeat, ok maybe not in a heartbeat, but I'd go with the 70-200, there's just something magical about the focal length 70-200 you know?

PS: I just had to mention that as well, there's also the non-L 70-300 lens to, but those that have the L-fever won't probably realize that it even exists ;P

unfocused

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Re: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2011, 04:51:51 PM »
While we're on the topic, I wonder what people think of the 200mm F2.8 L. I used to have an FD mount version of this lens and absolutely loved it.

No IS and no zoom, but it seems like a real bargain. Anyone out there own one?
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Re: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2011, 04:04:35 AM »
I'm not sure we were on the topic :) But since you asked, I love my 200 f/2.8L. I use it 200mm or with a 1.4 extender to give 280mm and f/4.0. It's light and it's black and performs well for me. The only downside is that sometimes you're too close and you can't just zoom out.

I've never used any of the zooms in this thread. When I think about the 70-200 f/4.0 I think "Apart from zooming out, that's a step back from the 200mm f/2.8 that I have." When I think about the 70-300 I think "My current lens gets me 280mm at f/4.0, which is better than 300mm at f/5.6".

In summary, I think my 200L and extender is saving me a fortune! :)

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Re: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2011, 04:04:35 AM »

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Re: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2011, 04:40:27 AM »
Because I've been acquiring Canon lenses for awhile now, I recall buying the least expensive lenses first.  I first bought the 70-200 F4L non-IS.  But once I tried IS on the 100-400 L IS, I had to go for the 70-200 F4L IS.  I am mostly an outdoor photographer and while I have several aps-C size cameras I also have a 5D and a 5DMKII which I shoot most often.  Since so many people have said so many good things about the 2.8 version I waited for the version II figuring it would be better.  It was but boy is it heavy.  By this time I was committed and since Canon takes their sweet time in coming up with new lenses (like a 200-400 f4 is) I thought I'd try the 70-300 IS.  I never was happy with the 75-300 IS (non-L) I bought several years ago with its drooping out front elements so it seemed like a good risk.  After all a 24mm f1.4 II prime without IS was $1600 which is the same as the 70-300mm price. 

I'm so glad I did.  The color and contrast of the lens is just wonderful as well as the small size.  To have a zoom of that range fit in a normal size backpack standing up is just hard to believe.  Yes it is fat but I like it.  This lens is usually on the camera when I'm hiking and a tilt-shift wide and a prime are in the backpack.  I'm sure I'll use the 70-200 f2.8 IS II sometimes but probably only on a tripod.  I sure wish Canon would get going and build the tripod collar for this lens.  I've had mine on order for over 3 months.  I thought that there would be at least some supply when the lens came out which was before all the tragic situations in Japen happened.  In any case this is very much a go-to lens for scouting new locations and isn't so heavy as to break my back.  I like it.

jalbfb

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Re: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2011, 10:45:48 AM »
Because I've been acquiring Canon lenses for awhile now, I recall buying the least expensive lenses first.  I first bought the 70-200 F4L non-IS.  But once I tried IS on the 100-400 L IS, I had to go for the 70-200 F4L IS.  I am mostly an outdoor photographer and while I have several aps-C size cameras I also have a 5D and a 5DMKII which I shoot most often.  Since so many people have said so many good things about the 2.8 version I waited for the version II figuring it would be better.  It was but boy is it heavy.  By this time I was committed and since Canon takes their sweet time in coming up with new lenses (like a 200-400 f4 is) I thought I'd try the 70-300 IS.  I never was happy with the 75-300 IS (non-L) I bought several years ago with its drooping out front elements so it seemed like a good risk.  After all a 24mm f1.4 II prime without IS was $1600 which is the same as the 70-300mm price. 

I'm so glad I did.  The color and contrast of the lens is just wonderful as well as the small size.  To have a zoom of that range fit in a normal size backpack standing up is just hard to believe.  Yes it is fat but I like it.  This lens is usually on the camera when I'm hiking and a tilt-shift wide and a prime are in the backpack.  I'm sure I'll use the 70-200 f2.8 IS II sometimes but probably only on a tripod.  I sure wish Canon would get going and build the tripod collar for this lens.  I've had mine on order for over 3 months.  I thought that there would be at least some supply when the lens came out which was before all the tragic situations in Japen happened.  In any case this is very much a go-to lens for scouting new locations and isn't so heavy as to break my back.  I like it.

I, too, got the 70-300 mainly because of it's size for use when I travel and it's extra reach.  Cost was an issue.  Getting the 70-200 f/2.8II IS and an extender was just too much for my pocket book and I could not justify myself spending that amount of money since I am not a pro photographer and most of my shooting activity is outdoors. Also the review here at CR kinda sealed the deal for me. :)
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Re: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or EF 70-200mm f/4L IS
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2011, 10:45:48 AM »