Just the MTF Charts: 70-200mm f/4 Zoom Lenses

Canon Rumors Guy

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Jul 20, 2010
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Lensrentals.com continues to release new MTF charts for various prime and zoom lenses. This time, they test 70-200mm f/4 lenses from Canon, Nikon and Sony. The Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM does extremely well.
From Roger:
The conclusions here are pretty simple. If you shoot (or adapt) Canon EF mount lenses the Version II Canon 70-200mm f/4 IS II is excellent. It’s so good that you should only buy the 70-200mm f/2.8 version if you need f/2.8. (Since lots of people want the narrower f/2.8 depth of field for portraits or need all the light they can get for stop-motion action photography, the f/2.8 still will have lots of takers.)...
Continue reading...
 

mb66energy

EOS R
Dec 18, 2011
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Many thanks to Roger Cicala for doing these comparisons.

They make me confident, that my EF 4.0 70-200 i is not the worst choice because I use it most of the time @200mm. And I bought a 1 year old copy in nearly unused condition three years ago for 600 bucks.
But I know and will keep in mind if I use it with a high res (APS-C) camera the version ii might be a tad better @200mm and substantially better at the lower end so maybe I will upgrade later. But for the moment I am relaxed and just that was worth the reading!
 

koenkooi

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Feb 25, 2015
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Many thanks to Roger Cicala for doing these comparisons.

They make me confident, that my EF 4.0 70-200 i is not the worst choice because I use it most of the time @200mm. And I bought a 1 year old copy in nearly unused condition three years ago for 600 bucks.
But I know and will keep in mind if I use it with a high res (APS-C) camera the version ii might be a tad better @200mm and substantially better at the lower end so maybe I will upgrade later. But for the moment I am relaxed and just that was worth the reading!
My 70-200 F4L (non IS) has developed a problem in the manual focus ring, it slips between the middle two thirds of the range. Autofocus is still perfect. These MTF charts give me confidence that the 70-200F4L IS II will give me sharper images at 200mm when I get round to replace the old one.
 

Ale_F

6D - 7D
Nov 22, 2018
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The focus slip affect most of the IS mkI version and some non IS version (rare). Practically is a lab - forum joke, because I never seen a problem with AF in real life. I also tried a very bad lens but in AF it still works. The only problem I found is in a perfect vertical position with a very bad lens. I think this is one of the reason for the building of the mkII version.
 

koenkooi

EOS R
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Feb 25, 2015
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The focus slip affect most of the IS mkI version and some non IS version (rare). Practically is a lab - forum joke, because I never seen a problem with AF in real life. I also tried a very bad lens but in AF it still works. The only problem I found is in a perfect vertical position with a very bad lens. I think this is one of the reason for the building of the mkII version.
Aha! With the lens a horizontal position it's not that severe, but I tested it in a almost completely vertical position so I could run the focus down a 3 meter long chain that holds the lights. I was lying flat on the ground to get the most distance to the ceiling, which is about 5.5m/18ft high.
 

Codebunny

Elil
Sep 5, 2018
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Looks fantastic, I use my 70-200mm f4.0 a lot when I want a lighter lens than the 300 f2.8. I find I only use it at 200mm so I think rather than upgrade to this, I'll go for the 200mm f2.8 (which I wish had IS).
 

Berowne

... they sparkle still the right Promethean fire.
Jun 7, 2014
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Did i miss something, is there a single MTF overlay chart comparing Canon/Nikon/Sony etc.

Cheers
Stuart
Roger does'nt make overlay-charts. He shows the comparisons in mirror charts, for instance canon to the right and Nikon to the left.
 
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mb66energy

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Dec 18, 2011
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My 70-200 F4L (non IS) has developed a problem in the manual focus ring, it slips between the middle two thirds of the range. Autofocus is still perfect. These MTF charts give me confidence that the 70-200F4L IS II will give me sharper images at 200mm when I get round to replace the old one.
I replaced the old non-IS variant which was great for 8 or 10 MPix cameras (APS-C) with the IS version mark i and it's a vast difference on 24 MPix sensors: The images are much crisper and the flare resistance (was a problem in a lot of photos for ME) is vastly improved:

So while the manual focus problem of your lens is a pitty you will profit vastly from the IS versions overall IQ advantage + the IS system which gives you additional sharpness/contrast with the same shutter speeds!
 

AlanF

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Aug 16, 2012
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I sold my 70-200mm f/4 L IS but kept my EF-S 55-250mm STM because it was sharper on my M5 but also because my 100-400mm II at 200mm was much sharper on FF. If you don't believe me, look at these charts from lensrentals (the top from lensrentals 4 years ago https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/08/canon-100-400-is-ii-mtf-and-variation-tests/where they wrote: "
Both the MTF and Consistency scores are just outstanding. The 100-400 has some of the highest consistency scores of any zoom lens we’ve ever tested. It waxes the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS II lens, for example, having far less copy-to-copy variation.

To give you an idea of just how excellent the MTF is on this lens, I’ll put the MTF of the 100-400 IS Mk II side-by-side with the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS II lens. Now remember, the 100-400 has the advantage of being shot at f/5 here. The 70-200 f/2.8 would have better MTF curves stopped down. The point here is that the 100-400, while not able to compete in aperture with the 70-200, certainly does compete in resolution. And the 70-200 IS II is one of the sharpest zooms made."

200mmcomp.jpg
200mm-f4-comps.png
 
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bod

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Dec 5, 2013
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I don't think it's emphasized enough how much lighter the f/4 is compared to the f/2.8... That's why I chose it! (that and, uh, less money).
I agree. The light weight of the f4 zoom combined with its excellent IQ is the reason I have it rather than the f2.8.
Also I would highlight the shorter MFD of the f4 IS II which was the primary reason that caused me to upgrade from the f4 IS I.
 
Jun 16, 2019
8
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I am debating on getting the 70-200 f4 is or the 70-300 IS USM ii. I want a general telephoto lens especially for landscapes and sports (Mountainbiking) but maybe also some wildlife if I run across it. Which would you choose?
 

Memirsbrunnr

EOS 90D
Nov 19, 2017
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In conclusion buy them both....... the F4 for during the day and walk-around, the f2.8 for indoors, portraits, sports and low light..:unsure: Is my distillation of his recommendations correct?:cool: