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Thread: Lenses: eeinie, meenie, miney, moe...

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    Harpo's Avatar
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    Lenses: eeinie, meenie, miney, moe...

    Been reading the lens posts that have been on these forums for some time and gleaning good insight. Ive now saved up almost $1500 towards my lens collection. (I will then start over for the next purchase or add to it for the first purchase) At this time I have a 18-135mm EF-S for my Rebel T2i. While it does the job for me, when I compared the pics from this lens to the pics I took with a 70-200mm L IS USM... doh, I like the sharpness and clarity the L lens gave.

    In looking at my pictures, I tend to like landscapes (my favorite), travel and people/wildlife requiring longer zooms and have been checking the pics I like and Ive taken them in focal ranges from 18mm to 200+ (with the rented 70-200 & 2x TC in Alaska). Looking ahead, Im figuring in hopefully a year or two i'd upgrade the body to possibly a 7D, but if I get real good, I would consider a full frame for landscapes.

    So... Ive kinda narrowed down my prospective lens collection (of course it can change later) to 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM, a 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM (If I stay with a crop camera). Depending on what I end up with, Ill decide on a wide angle lens later if I want one. So, right now, Im kinda in a pickle determining which longer lens I should go for... the 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM and 1.4x extender or the 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM.

    Considering I currently have a 18-135 right now that I can live with... which would make the most sense for the next lens upgrade purchase, being done one at a time?

    Thanks for your input and making ANOTHER lens recommendation!

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    Re: Lenses: eeinie, meenie, miney, moe...

    Always a difficult decision, Mike. If you look back over a few recent posts you will see a few rather similar questions.

    For me, the question to ask is what do you really need? You already have an 18 mm lens so why get another short lens unless you really need 2.8. Also consider whether 55 mm would mean frequent lens changes as 'popular' lens size requirements are often a little bit less or a little bit more.

    But you may have a specific requirement for this lens.

    And with larger lenses. Unless you already have a 1.4x converter would the new 70-300 L IS lens make more sense instead of the 70-200, unless you are talking about the 70-200 F2.8 for a specific purpose.

    Recently, a friend was in a similar position and he eventually went for the 70-300 L which is around the same price as a 70-200 L IS plus converter. He is delighted with this lens.

    Do you need to go to 400 mm? That 100-400 is a well used lens if you need that length but it is something of an older lens now and some people don't like the push pull zoom action.

    When I was in a similar position I eventually went for a Sigma 150-500 as a long lens. It produces good results but works best in decent light at around F8 to F11 and the auto focus is a bit slow.

    The 24-105 L is certainly a popular general purpose lens.

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    Re: Lenses: eeinie, meenie, miney, moe...

    I have owned the 70-200 f/4 IS,a wonderful lens.I have a 70-200 f/2.8 IS and a 100-400 IS now.The 70-200 2.8 takes a 1.4X TC nicely.
    I was never very happy with the images I got with the f/4 + TC.I used it on a 50D.Bare it is a great lens,but not enough reach for me.
    My wildlife lens is the 100-400.It's not too heavy to shot handheld.I really like the push-pull zoom.Some people don't care for it.
    Image quality is very good.It works well as a butterfly lens also.
    I've gone to full frame and 1.3 crop cameras and I have to say the only lens I really miss not being able to use is the 17-55 IS.
    If you are wanting to get more into wildlife photography,I would say the 100-400.If you are leaning more toward the travel/people stuff,I would suggest the 17-55.The 24-105 is a great lens,but might be a bit long on a crop body.

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    Re: Lenses: eeinie, meenie, miney, moe...

    Quote Originally Posted by Harpo View Post
    which longer lens I should go for... the 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM and 1.4x extender or the 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM.
    Well ...

    ... the 70-200 + 1.4x should be cheaper - more versatile - better IS - and if you're using a v3 1.4x TC then probably better image quality. The EF100-400 was a great lens in it's time (and still is), but it's getting pretty long in the tooth now.

    In my opinion it really comes down to whether or not you need the extra 120mm or reach. As an alternative, have you considered an EF28-300mm F3.5-5.6L IS USM?

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    Re: Lenses: eeinie, meenie, miney, moe...

    I agree with Colin but would like to add that the choice between the 70-200mm f/4L IS and the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS lens would definitely depend on how you use the lenses.

    I carry the 70-200mm f/4L IS everywhere and use it as an adjunct to my 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens on a pair of 1.6x cameras. The 100-400L would not be suited to that use. The 100-400L would be too heavy and cumbersome and the older IS would not be efficient enough to shoot in the lower light levels in which I use my f/4L IS lens. The f/4.5-5.6 aperture of the 100-400L would also be a hinderance.

    However if your planned useage for the telephoto lens is wildlife, airshows, etc. The 100-400L might be the better choice.

    I can use my f/4L IS with a 1.4x TC and get quite satisfactory results. Both IQ and AF are impacted but, the impact is not that great. However, the TC does add 1000G (8-oz) to the combination. I do not use a 2x TC because I would lose AF and because the 2x TC impacts the IQ in a greater measure than I will accept.

    The 70-200mm f/2.8L IS ii at 1490G is twice the weight of the f/4L IS. Add a TC to this and you have a pretty darn heavy combination at over 60 ounces (slightly less than four pounds). The 100-400L is twelve ounces less. However, I suspect that the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS ii plus the mark iii 2x TC might just give you better AF and IQ.

    If you need the extra reach and can live with a variable aperture zoom... The new 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS lens just might be the way to go. It is said to produce very good to excellent IQ and quite fast IS.

    However, I am quite content with my 70-200mm f/4L IS which I back up with my 300mm f/4L IS lens in situations wherein I know that I will need a telephoto lens such as sporting events and airshows.

    Speaking of airshows... WoW! I am glad I was not in the stands for the F-51 Mustang crash at the Reno, Nevada, Airshow because I might not be able to write this post now!
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 19th September 2011 at 12:20 AM.

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    Re: Lenses: eeinie, meenie, miney, moe...

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    The 70-200mm f/2.8L IS ii at 1490G is twice the weight of the f/4L IS. Add a TC to this and you have a pretty darn heavy combination at over 60 ounces (slightly less than four pounds). The 100-400L is twelve ounces less. However, I suspect that the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS ii plus the mark iii 2x TC might just give you better AF and IQ.
    I use the EF70-200 F2.8L IS USM II with both the EF1.4x & EF2.0x (both Mk II, not III), and it's certainly visibly superior over the original EF70-200mm F2.8L IS USM (which in turn was generally accepted as having indistinguishable IQ difference when compared to the EF100-400, when stopped down to about F11) (with the EF2.0x TC that is).

    In terms of AF, the TCs definately slow it down, but actual performance depends on ambient light levels; it's fine outside, but struggles in the studio with just the normal room lighting on.

    Hope this helps

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    Re: Lenses: eeinie, meenie, miney, moe...

    Thank you guys for your comments and thoughts. I had alot of thinking and researching to do!...

    Heres the gist of what Im thinking now pulling together what you said so far...

    First question: the 28-300mm lens Colin mentioned... I read that lenses with a larger range does not have as good IQ as those lenses with a shorter range? (is that called Field of View?) True or a myth? That said, how would the IQ compare between the 28-300 vs. a combo of 24-70 & 70-300?

    You guys hit on my concern about the 100-400 being aged. Maybe Ill cross that off my list, considering the other options you presented that seem better.

    My main priority is IQ. Im willing to sacrifice range for IQ. I do want a range in the 400mm area. So... between the 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM plus a 1.4x TC vs the 70-300 f/4-5.6 L IS USM... on a crop, both take me to the 400mm range, with the 300 giving me a bit more at 480mm. Thats good enough for me. (If I get a FF camera later, Ill revisit the super zoom lens issue). It seems like the ideal lens would be the xx-300mm with a 1.4x TC, but that lens is not compatible with the canon TC's .

    Unless Im missing something, it seems like the 70-300 is a better choice for me given my understanding that the IQ for both of these lenses are excellent. Anyone care to dispute that? If so, the 70-300 vs the 24-300... If IQ is the same, then it comes down to the fact that the 24-300 is a pretty $1000 more, but is like two lenses in one.

    Am I on the right track or way off base?
    Last edited by Harpo; 19th September 2011 at 12:51 AM.

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    Re: Lenses: eeinie, meenie, miney, moe...

    Quote Originally Posted by Harpo View Post
    I read that lenses with a larger range does not have as good IQ as those lenses with a shorter range? (is that called Field of View?) True or a myth?
    The answer really depends on whether you're talking "in theory" or "real world". In theory, all of the oceans of the world rise when I throw a stone in, but of course the practice is a lot difference. If if helps put things in perspective, I know of professionals who use the EF28-300 during fashion shoots. In reality, a correct sharpening workflow will have a far bigger impact on your image quality. Personally, I wouldn't even consider a potential lack of image quality to be a factor in your decision making - it really comes down to (a) if one can afford it, and (b) if one can handle the weight. If you have any IQ doubts, look up a few images online

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    Harpo's Avatar
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    Re: Lenses: eeinie, meenie, miney, moe...

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Personally, I wouldn't even consider a potential lack of image quality to be a factor in your decision making - it really comes down to (a) if one can afford it, and (b) if one can handle the weight.
    Colin- you have confirmed some additional reviews I read today about Image Quality. Im reading that at one time, if anyone wants good, sharp IQ, you have to go with prime lenses. Now with the advancements in lenses, zooms have come a long way and narrowed the IQ gap on the Primes to the point where its not much different.

    I just took a long, scenic motorcycle ride to the Camera dealer where I bought my camera. Checked out the 70-300. Wow. Im impressed. The dealer put it on the 7D for me to check out.... Geez, I really like the feel of that 7D in my hands! Anyways, he let me put the lens on my camera and said to go outside and play with it. Took some pics, and when I got home I downloaded it to the computer saw a noticeable difference in clarity and range. This lens will do it for me! It is a nice lens. The weight is not bad at all (compared to the 70-200 f/2.8 I rented). At this time, its coming down to what I can afford. The 28-300 is just too much.

    One question... I generally like to purchase things from the local dealers- if they are good. Just to support them. But when he quoted their price on the 70-300, it was $300 more than what I could get from B&H. I know local dealers have some mark up, but that much? They do offer alot of support when you buy things from them. But for a lens... what can they do that B&H cant?

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    Re: Lenses: eeinie, meenie, miney, moe...

    Quote Originally Posted by Harpo View Post
    Colin- you have confirmed some additional reviews I read today about Image Quality. Im reading that at one time, if anyone wants good, sharp IQ, you have to go with prime lenses. Now with the advancements in lenses, zooms have come a long way and narrowed the IQ gap on the Primes to the point where its not much different.
    Yeah - a lot of factors come into play; it's just that the base sharpness of a lens doesn't happen to be one of the bigger ones (surprisingly).

    I just took a long, scenic motorcycle ride to the Camera dealer where I bought my camera. Checked out the 70-300. Wow. Im impressed. The dealer put it on the 7D for me to check out.... Geez, I really like the feel of that 7D in my hands! Anyways, he let me put the lens on my camera and said to go outside and play with it. Took some pics, and when I got home I downloaded it to the computer saw a noticeable difference in clarity and range.
    I thought you were going to say "when I got home there was a message from my dealer saying come back here with my lens!"

    One question... I generally like to purchase things from the local dealers- if they are good. Just to support them. But when he quoted their price on the 70-300, it was $300 more than what I could get from B&H. I know local dealers have some mark up, but that much? They do offer alot of support when you buy things from them. But for a lens... what can they do that B&H cant?
    It's a moral call, but I know just what you mean. Many is the time I've approached a local dealer about something - they have no idea what it is - so I tell them all about it - the offer to get me a price - I accept their offer (of getting a price) - over the next week or so I hassle them several times about the price they were supposed to be getting (insert "excuse" here) - finally get the price - draw their attention to the fact that I can get it 30% cheaper online and ask "why should I get it from you" - to which the standard answer is "because we can give you SUPPORT" - to which I reply "WHAT SUPPORT - you hadn't even heard of it until I told you about it, and I know more about it than you do!"

    Currently I have a dealer in another part of the country that gives me sharp pricing; I respect the fact that they need to make a profit, and they respect the fact that I need a sharp price more than I need support, but even then it still annoys me when I have to ask and ask and ask for things to be done, when often I can get a cheaper online and with MUCH better service. Some say online dealers are killing retail, but from where I'm sitting, it's not a killing, it's suicide - like it or not, often the online dealers not only offer cheaper pricing, but much better service as well. That's how it is for me, but having said that, I don't need pre-sales or after-sales support. For what it's worth, more often than not I can get something cheaper and faster from B&H than I can from the other end of the country I'm in.

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    Re: Lenses: eeinie, meenie, miney, moe...

    I mentioned that a friend recently purchased a 70-300 L. What he did was to gather some prices from reputable online dealers, including carriage etc, then approached a local camera shop and asked if they could match the price.

    Them came quite close so that is where he purchased it.

    But they were a UK camera company with multiple branches and online sales of their own. I suspect that it would be different from any of the few remaining independent shops who aren't able to purchase their stock directly from the manufacturers or major importers.

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    Re: Lenses: eeinie, meenie, miney, moe...

    Quote Originally Posted by Harpo View Post
    One question... I generally like to purchase things from the local dealers- if they are good. Just to support them. But when he quoted their price on the 70-300, it was $300 more than what I could get from B&H. I know local dealers have some mark up, but that much?
    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    I mentioned that a friend recently purchased a 70-300 L. What he did was to gather some prices from reputable online dealers, including carriage etc, then approached a local camera shop and asked if they could match the price.

    Them came quite close so that is where he purchased it.
    Hi Mike, Geoff,

    Although I had done my research online and had a shortlist of DSLR models, I did a similar thing when I bought my camera from a local independent photo dealer because I wanted the benefit of an extended 'play' in shop and advice. Once the choice was made, the bargaining began, I was comfortable with the final mark up I paid over online price and delivery including the convenience taking it with me and freedom from someone having to be 'in' to sign for it on delivery.

    If they are unwilling to negotiate much on price, suggest they 'include' one or more small accessories you might need anyway. It doesn't cost them as much as it would cost you to pay for it separately afterwards, but avoid some things they may have marked up to silly money - always be aware of the value of what you're buying.

    For subsequent lens purchases though, I have relied exclusively on online research and bought from Amazon (UK), from whom I have had good service.

    Cheers,

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