Canon 70-200 IS f4 vs f2.8 I & II

Started Feb 22, 2011 | Discussions
rsdofny
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Canon 70-200 IS f4 vs f2.8 I & II
Feb 22, 2011

I am a hobbyist and want to get a new camera plus a 70-200mm (have a 17-55/2.8 for normal use already). I'll need to take photos for my son's track meets both indoor and outdoor. I would imagine that the lens will be very limited use for other purposes. I want to take advantage of the current "rebate" on canon and get a 60D or 7D and the zoom - f4IS ($1200), f2.8 IS I used (~$15-1600), or a new f2.8IS II ($2100)?

f4 has a lot of appeal: lighter, cheaper, but a stop slower. I don't know if I can compensate with higher ISO to freeze action indoor. Between the two f2.8s, I probably cannot tell the difference for my use, but everyone says the ver II is the sharpest among all the 70-200mms. But I would assume ver II will have the better resale value vs ver. I if I have the lens just gathering dust after my son's hangs up his spikes in the future. For $500, I'll gain better a much better lens, better resale value (if ever I sell it) and all the new vs used benefits.

Between the 60D/7D, does the AF system in 7D make a difference for track action?

If I add up the price, a 60D/f4 will cost $2200 vs a 7D/f2.8 II will cost $3600.

SpeedNeeder
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Re: Canon 70-200 IS f4 vs f2.8 I & II
In reply to rsdofny, Feb 22, 2011

I'm interested to read some discussion on this choice too. The f2.8 would certainly be great, though the price difference vs the f4 is significant for me.

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AOKH
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Re: Canon 70-200 IS f4 vs f2.8 I & II
In reply to rsdofny, Feb 22, 2011

I can't comment on the 60D vs. 7D, but as regards the 70-200s, while all current models have great IQ, there's no doubt the combination of f/2.8 and IS can be very helpful for indoor track (IS won't stop action but can be used for stills or slow motion pictures; it also significantly enhances the versatility of the lens in general). If the V2 is too expensive, the V1 can be quite useful as well (contrary to what a lot of people believe, it is quite good - even though surpassed by the new version). Modern cameras have great high-ISO perfrmance, but in my experience, f2.8 is very helpful for indoor use. f/2.8 can still be too slow at times, and so it has been reported on this form regularly that fast primes are often required. You'll need fast shutter speeds, and will probably find yourself using f/2.8 and high ISO in any regard (say ISO 1600-6400). Anyway, just my two cents. You'll love the IQ of any of these lenses. Regards

rsdofny wrote:

I am a hobbyist and want to get a new camera plus a 70-200mm (have a 17-55/2.8 for normal use already). I'll need to take photos for my son's track meets both indoor and outdoor. I would imagine that the lens will be very limited use for other purposes. I want to take advantage of the current "rebate" on canon and get a 60D or 7D and the zoom - f4IS ($1200), f2.8 IS I used (~$15-1600), or a new f2.8IS II ($2100)?

f4 has a lot of appeal: lighter, cheaper, but a stop slower. I don't know if I can compensate with higher ISO to freeze action indoor. Between the two f2.8s, I probably cannot tell the difference for my use, but everyone says the ver II is the sharpest among all the 70-200mms. But I would assume ver II will have the better resale value vs ver. I if I have the lens just gathering dust after my son's hangs up his spikes in the future. For $500, I'll gain better a much better lens, better resale value (if ever I sell it) and all the new vs used benefits.

Between the 60D/7D, does the AF system in 7D make a difference for track action?

If I add up the price, a 60D/f4 will cost $2200 vs a 7D/f2.8 II will cost $3600.

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Regards. Anders

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Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM +14 more
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7DJoe
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Re: Canon 70-200 IS f4 vs f2.8 I & II
In reply to AOKH, Feb 22, 2011

Like you, I am a hobbyist with a 7D, 17-55 2.8 and the 70-200L 2.8 MKII. Most of my shooting is for family and friends where 1) subjects are always moving, 2) lighting is poor (churches, gyms, night sports, homes, restaurants, etc.), 3) for some events no flash is allowed and 4) situations are always unpredictable.

Given the above conditions, the 2.8 aperture on these lenses with IS does allow quite a bit of flexibility in low light and minimum ISO. In addition, these 2 zoom ranges offer all the flexibility I need without the need for a prime or two (although my future will have at least 1 or 2). As for IQ, the 17-55 was for me eye opening from my original 18-200 lens that came with the camera. Then, when I added the 70-200.....well, let's just say that IQ from these shots is turning a hobby into a potential 2nd income, as I have had requests from our local schools and friends to shoot some events for them.

As for tracking, I can't speak to the 60D, but just read the following article regarding the 7D AF and tracking. Very well worth reading!

http://www.alexsukonkin.com/reviews/Canon-EOS-7D_en.html

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kevindar
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Re: Canon 70-200 IS f4 vs f2.8 I & II
In reply to rsdofny, Feb 22, 2011

I have owned all three lenses, as well as both bodies in question.

60D vs 7D. the center autofocusing for track will not be that different. 60D is lighter and smaller. 7D has microfocus adjustment, and 100% view finder, faster burst speed (though 6 fps is pretty fast already). I have not shot a lot of sports, but have shot birds and flights, and 60D should work fine if you want to save a little.

Lenses. First, you need to find out if there is enough light indoors to even shoot f 2.8. for close up track shots, you probably need 1/1000 second. find out what kind of aperture and iso you need with that. you may already be shooting at iso 6400 and f 2.8 for that kind of shutter speed based on the light. the 2.8 is definitely more versatile.

If there is enough light, I actually find the f4 to have a slight edge in tracking, as there are fewer heavy glass pieces to move. its lighter and much more maneuverable on the 60D body, and cheaper.

as to the version 1 vs II, I was perfectly happy with my version 1, but I think I had a very good copy of it. plenty sharp. My version II has a little better contrast on the long end, is a touch sharper at 2.8, and takes converters a little better. at the time that I upgraded, I bought the version II for 1850 with the rebates, and sold my version 1 for 1450. for 400, it was worth it. For 600? not so sure. you can always do a 135 f2 and the 70-200 f4IS

rsdofny wrote:

I am a hobbyist and want to get a new camera plus a 70-200mm (have a 17-55/2.8 for normal use already). I'll need to take photos for my son's track meets both indoor and outdoor. I would imagine that the lens will be very limited use for other purposes. I want to take advantage of the current "rebate" on canon and get a 60D or 7D and the zoom - f4IS ($1200), f2.8 IS I used (~$15-1600), or a new f2.8IS II ($2100)?

f4 has a lot of appeal: lighter, cheaper, but a stop slower. I don't know if I can compensate with higher ISO to freeze action indoor. Between the two f2.8s, I probably cannot tell the difference for my use, but everyone says the ver II is the sharpest among all the 70-200mms. But I would assume ver II will have the better resale value vs ver. I if I have the lens just gathering dust after my son's hangs up his spikes in the future. For $500, I'll gain better a much better lens, better resale value (if ever I sell it) and all the new vs used benefits.

Between the 60D/7D, does the AF system in 7D make a difference for track action?

If I add up the price, a 60D/f4 will cost $2200 vs a 7D/f2.8 II will cost $3600.

 kevindar's gear list:kevindar's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM +20 more
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rsdofny
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Re: Canon 70-200 IS f4 vs f2.8 I & II
In reply to SpeedNeeder, Feb 22, 2011

Like the MasterCard says, "memory is priceless". The key is whether f4 can do the job for indoor track. If it doesn't, the choice is limited to the f2.8s. I have to pay the price Canon is asking for. At the current price point, Canon is pricing most amateur photographers out of the market. I can keep a $1200 lens in my closet without feeling too guilty. At double the price, I may have to justify it a bit, particularly in the current economic environment. The good part is that there is a liquid market for used lens. With the price inflating the way it is, owners may make more money selling it a few years down the road.

It is an easier decision to swing for the 7D because it is likely going to be my last DSLR (unless Canon can produce a camera that can shoot at 25K ISO without noise). Otherwise, the feature set in 7D will be enough for me for a long while.

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amobi
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Re: Canon 70-200 IS f4 vs f2.8 I & II
In reply to kevindar, Feb 22, 2011

I will personally get a used 7D or 60D with a used 70-200MKI or 70-200mkii depending on your cash float. What’s out there now is not a rebate.

Used7D plus used MKI=2500
Used7D plus used MKII=3150

You can easily get a used 7D with up to 7months left in warranty for $1200 to 12500. I sold my 7D with only 600 shutter count and 9 months of warranty for $1250. It is a waste of money buying brad new cameras unless you will be getting a very good deal on new ones and the price you listed doesn’t sound like a good deal to me.

You will even save more if you go for a used 60D. I know it is hard to convince some people to buy used stuff.

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Michael Thomas Mitchell
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Re: Canon 70-200 IS f4 vs f2.8 I & II
In reply to rsdofny, Feb 23, 2011

First, both the f4 IS and both of the f2.8 IS lenses offer fantastic optics, superior build, and first rate performance. Any "which is better" in these regards is going to splitting hairs at most and inconsequential at the least.

The advantage of the 2.8 II version is an extra stop. That stop can be useful for allowing a faster shutter speed, capturing more in low light, or getting a very shallow depth of field. It's certainly a standard lens amongst professionals.

The advantages of the f4 version are several: Smaller and lighter. Arguably faster AF due to smaller size. And less expensive.

Is one "better" than the other? In absolute terms, no. But one may be better suited for certain applications or certain photographers than the other.

When I was selecting a 70-200 lens, I had originally budgeted for the f2.8 II. I checked all three of them out personally. Prior to looking at them in person, I didn't the f4 version much consideration. But using it in person, I was immediately struck by how "friendly" it was. That it, the size and weight were very manageable compared to the somewhat larger and heavier f2.8 models, whether on a 1D-series camera or a smaller xxD body. It seemed to focus faster. (Lighter glass?) And the optical quality blew me away.

In the end, I knew that the f4 was the one which I'd WANT to use more because of its physical characteristics. And so I carefully considered how much I really NEEDED that extra stop. It was a tough decision, I'll admit. But in the end, I said it's only giving up one stop to get, for me, a whole lot more in return, not to mention keeping a whole lot more cash in my pocket. (In fact, the unused cash went to getting a second barely-used 1DIIn body.)

I'm sure I'd be happy if I had gotten the f2.8 II lens. But I sure to LOVE my f4 IS, and think of it as one of the best lens purchases I've ever made. You won't go wrong with either, so focus on your needs and get the right one for YOU.

ps. I didn't mention the original f2.8 IS. Certainly, I'd have enjoyed getting it, too, and MIGHT have considered it IF it were the same price as the f4 IS. One dollar more, however, would have been a deal breaker for me, and even at the same price would have caused much thought on the issue, especially if I had had the experience with the f4 then that I do today.

rsdofny wrote:

I am a hobbyist and want to get a new camera plus a 70-200mm (have a 17-55/2.8 for normal use already). I'll need to take photos for my son's track meets both indoor and outdoor. I would imagine that the lens will be very limited use for other purposes. I want to take advantage of the current "rebate" on canon and get a 60D or 7D and the zoom - f4IS ($1200), f2.8 IS I used (~$15-1600), or a new f2.8IS II ($2100)?

f4 has a lot of appeal: lighter, cheaper, but a stop slower. I don't know if I can compensate with higher ISO to freeze action indoor. Between the two f2.8s, I probably cannot tell the difference for my use, but everyone says the ver II is the sharpest among all the 70-200mms. But I would assume ver II will have the better resale value vs ver. I if I have the lens just gathering dust after my son's hangs up his spikes in the future. For $500, I'll gain better a much better lens, better resale value (if ever I sell it) and all the new vs used benefits.

Between the 60D/7D, does the AF system in 7D make a difference for track action?

If I add up the price, a 60D/f4 will cost $2200 vs a 7D/f2.8 II will cost $3600.

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Michael Thomas Mitchell

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codamasa
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Re: Canon 70-200 IS f4 vs f2.8 I & II
In reply to rsdofny, Feb 23, 2011

Your situation is very similar to mine and this is what I have found.

1. Buy what you need. I attend a lot of indoor sporting events and would not be able to get good shots with an f4. I own a 2.8 IS, and despite what other posts say, I don't think the IS is necessary.

2. Cheaper alternatives are available. The used market is alive and well and good equipment can be had on the different used alternatives. I recently purchased the 7d direct from Canon as part of their Customer Loyalty Program and was able to get a new 7d for $1085 (before tax).

Good luck with your decision and happy shooting.

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rsdofny
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Re: Canon 70-200 IS f4 vs f2.8 I & II
In reply to codamasa, Feb 23, 2011

Thanks all of you for taking the time to reply to this thread. I have received a lot of helpful advice. If it requires 1/1000s to stop action, I think that the f2.8 barely gets the job done based on the metering info from my one and only (failed) attempt in taking indoor sports photo.

I'll still like the f4 for its size, versatility and price. I think that I need to do some thinking on my own to figure out whether I need to do the indoor track as well, or taking only upfront face shot with less motion blur rather than side view. Or alternatively, I'll be just as happy with the f2.8s, knowing that I can get rid of it eventually at some good price when I no longer need its service. I am leaning towards the ver II unless the ver I can be bought at a very good price. I still have a few weeks to decide before the canon rebate ends in mid-March.

I'll keep the post open if someone wants to contribute more ideas. I'm sure that a lot of people are in the same situation as I am. Thanks again.

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vadim_c
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Re: Canon 70-200 IS f4 vs f2.8 I & II
In reply to rsdofny, Feb 23, 2011

rsdofny wrote:

But I would assume ver II will have the better resale value vs ver. I if I have the lens just gathering dust after my son's hangs up his spikes in the future. For $500, I'll gain better a much better lens, better resale value (if ever I sell it) and all the new vs used benefits.

Your assumption is probably wrong. You can buy Mk 2 only used now and if you decide to sell it you most probably will loose nothing or something like $50. If you buy Mk 2 it is hard to find used so you would buy it new. If you decide to sell you would loose at least $200

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Someyawhoo
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Re: Canon 70-200 IS f4 vs f2.8 I & II
In reply to rsdofny, Feb 23, 2011

You will want the f/2.8 for accurate more consistent focus as well. The camera meters and focuses at the large aperture, then stops down. This is most noticeable when in indoor lighting.

I agree with others on you will still be shooting near 3200ISO and wide open to get the images you want (or least the flexibility to go there).

For sports, IS is not needed, but it can be useful in keeping a frame setup. If you are holding the lens with a frame in mind and waiting for your subject, the IS is pleasing on the eye as there is not all that sake (for close focusing object). If you are shooting large objects at some 20 feet or so, IS might be of less significance.

I suggest the f/2.8 of your choice and don't look back. (and you can always rent: lensrentals.com or borrowlenses.com)

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MirekE
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Re: Canon 70-200 IS f4 vs f2.8 I & II
In reply to rsdofny, Feb 24, 2011

Both 70-200/2.8 IS II and 70-200/4 IS are great lenses and the decision depends on how much money you are willing to spend and if the size and weight are not a problem. With 70-200/2.8 II the likelihood that you would benefit from adding more lenses in the same FL range is smaller. If you get the f/4 lens, you might be tempted to eventually add for example 135/2 for it's speed and optical quality. With 2.8 II the added value of 135/2 is not that big.

I think the 70-200/2.8 is more versatile and brings more usable pictures.

You can find some side by side comparison shots here: http://www.elsners.org/wordpress/?p=367

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BluePink
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Re: Canon 70-200 IS f4 vs f2.8 I & II
In reply to Someyawhoo, Feb 24, 2011

I actually disagree that IS is not needed -- unless you're planning to bring a tripod along. Having carried (err.. lugged) a 70-200 f2.8 Mk I, I've happily traded down to 70-200 f4 IS which I feel sharper. But I agree you need to assess your situation and whether the extra aperture is needed in your indoor shoot situation (and whether you'll actually enjoy carrying it).

I propose trying out in a camera shop and test them out.

Someyawhoo wrote:

You will want the f/2.8 for accurate more consistent focus as well. The camera meters and focuses at the large aperture, then stops down. This is most noticeable when in indoor lighting.

I agree with others on you will still be shooting near 3200ISO and wide open to get the images you want (or least the flexibility to go there).

For sports, IS is not needed, but it can be useful in keeping a frame setup. If you are holding the lens with a frame in mind and waiting for your subject, the IS is pleasing on the eye as there is not all that sake (for close focusing object). If you are shooting large objects at some 20 feet or so, IS might be of less significance.

I suggest the f/2.8 of your choice and don't look back. (and you can always rent: lensrentals.com or borrowlenses.com)

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flamingoboo
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Re: Canon 70-200 IS f4 vs f2.8 I & II
In reply to BluePink, Feb 24, 2011

Being in a similar situation myself, I have opted for the f4is version, as its managable and I'm more likley to carry it. When things get really tough I use the 85mm 1.8, better at stopping action than even the 2.8s and crop if needed. The 85mm f1.8 is a great lens and the two together are still pretty good value.

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Hopn
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Re: Canon 70-200 IS f4 vs f2.8 I & II
In reply to 7DJoe, Feb 24, 2011

7DJoe wrote:

Like you, I am a hobbyist with a 7D, 17-55 2.8 and the 70-200L 2.8 MKII. Most of my shooting is for family and friends where 1) subjects are always moving, 2) lighting is poor (churches, gyms, night sports, homes, restaurants, etc.), 3) for some events no flash is allowed and 4) situations are always unpredictable.

I think many people have this combo, I'm with you on this one too, same two lens, same body. I went on to get the TC 2X III, and so far, I like the results. Still need to improve, but it's a great start.

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Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS 6D Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM +2 more
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