70-200 f4 IS on 5DMKII Impressions

Started Feb 4, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Timbukto
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70-200 f4 IS on 5DMKII Impressions
Feb 4, 2013

5DMKII + 70-200 f4 IS



t3i + 55-250



100% crop from above

So I tried out the Canon 70-200 f4 IS on my 5DMKII.  This is one of the sharpest zooms by reputation, and looking at the results and pixel peeping and from my tests I certainly believe it.  At the same time, I understand what most people mean now when people still shoot APS-C for reach advantage.  And I believe the 55-250 if you score a terrific copy is a true bargain as I do not believe Canon water downs their technical proficiency at making excellent telephotos much even for their cheap kits.

The 70-200 f4 IS to my eyes is a zoom that gets prime-like sharp and only sharper as it goes more telephoto.  My copy actually had some softness issues around 70-100, but from 135-200 it was prime-like.  The ergonomics and AF are absolutely dreamy however on the 70-200 f4 IS, just the weight although class-leading in lightness, still made itself known due to its length and having its weight distributed towards the front i.e. torque.  However at the end of the day even though it was surely the lightest smallest 70-200, I'm getting to be a total wuss in wanting to carry around the least amount of gear and equipment as possible if I'm just doing it for fun and not paid work.

My 70-200 f4 IS was made very recently towards end of 2011, however my impression of its IS was that it was older generation...as good as the 70-300 IS USM (non-L which debuted around the same time), and overall no where near 4 stops.  Yet actually my impression of a 55-250 IS mechanism which is 400mm equivalent on APS-C is actually more favorable...the IS is quick to enable and is very quiet, *and* I'm truly getting closer to 4 stops IMO!

Another revelation when pixel peeping is that the 55-250 is a crap budget telephoto reputed to be absolutely terrible wide-open at 250mm, and the 70-200 f4 IS is reputed to be one of the best zooms ever, and possibly performs best at 200mm;  Yet when it boils down to it, I think the cheap Rebel + 55-250 is an astonishing achiever in all regards of price, IQ, weight, and IS performance. The equivalent range from 55-250 is 88-400mm which is utterly useful.

BTW the included picture of the t3i + 55-250 has poor composition where I was standing instead of kneeling and the clothes aren't as photogenic, but it still had good technical sharpness...the shoes are sharp in 100% and are at the extreme edge of the frame, and the pants tag is a crop I made earlier from this image.  Its 400mm equivalent so I was a bit farther away as well.

In any case it confirms my belief that trying to shoot for reach on FF is very expensive and heavy compared to APS-C.  We also see Nikon continue to use really interesting new high MP sensors for their APS-C's...and Nikon also has a 55-300 DX lense that is pretty interesting.  In any case I believe you should always test lenses thoroughly by yourself at different focal distances and lengths and come to your own conclusions.  I regret selling my t3i + 55-250 a bit now not only for APS-C but its the only one with video zoom sensor crop.  But who knows maybe throwing 24MP behind the 55-250 will show its limitations more compared to the L telephotos.  Technically however more MPs will still boost the overall IQ of the image, so again I wonder how Canikon proceed if both believe that FF is the way to go for semi-pro, even though APS-C seems to truly have some telephoto/reach advantages?  They can't expect everyone to buy 400mm primes and zooms can they?

 Timbukto's gear list:Timbukto's gear list
Canon EOS M Canon EOS 6D Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM +1 more
Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 600D (EOS Rebel T3i / EOS Kiss X5)
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