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Thread: Which Canon Lens Would You Choose?

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    Which Canon Lens Would You Choose?

    Hello all. I'm comparing the canon 70-200 F4 IS L, the F4 70-300 IS, and the Tamron 70-300. I have read the reviews and know the L series is the best, but is it truely worth double the standard 70-300? And is the Tamron (at $159) even worth a look considering I only use a monopod and prefer to free hand it? I am using it for mainly outdoor photography, but most of the photos I take are under a canopy of trees. I'm willing save and buy the better, but this means another 6 months of just shooting what I have now. Should I be patient and wait or does anyone have any experience with any of these (or comparible) lenses? Thanks all....

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Which Canon Lens Would You Choose?

    Those who have used the various lenses will, no doubt, come in with their comments. I haven't used them but, I think, have gone through the emotional rollercoaster that you're on just now.
    I want a lens of that size/range. I might not have the skill, ability, knowledge to fully justify purchase of the L at the moment, but I'm getting there. If I got the non-L now, then that would close the door (for financial reasons if nothing else) for me ever getting the L. That was the decision-making process for me. So, it's a case of making the leap and going for the L. It will, I hope, serve me for many years and I will grow to be worthy of it.
    Last edited by Donald; 16th September 2009 at 05:18 PM.

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    Re: Which Canon Lens Would You Choose?

    Firstly, I would say 'How often would you use the 200-300 mm range'. If the answer is frequently, then you may find the Canon 70-300 more convenient than adding a converter to the 70-200 when required. But if the answer is rarely, then the 70-200 is a good lens.

    I use the Canon 70-300 IS and find it to be a well constructed lens that takes a good image, but I frequently use the 300 mm end.

    From my experience, some of the third party lenses are excellent; but I have found that the real cheapie lenses are just that. They may take a reasonable photo to start with but that price difference is achieved by using lightweight plastic components which soon start to show wear.

    If you were comparing two identical lens then I would say, if you can afford an 'L' lens then go for it. Even if the image is only slightly better the stronger construction would pay off in the long run.

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    Re: Which Canon Lens Would You Choose?

    I'm not a Canonite, but am I right in thinking the Tamron is not fitted with IS?

    I really would recommend an IS lens, especially if you are into hand holding or monopod.

    Beyond that, the Donald and Geoff covered it well.

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    Re: Which Canon Lens Would You Choose?

    Yes Dave, you are correct. The Tamron is a non-IS lens and have therefore helped me to "nix" that one out. As for the range, Geoff you are exactly on track with my mindset. I will be using the 200-300 probably more than any other range on this lens. I was looking at adding the 2x tele converter which would, effectively, increase my reach quite considerably. But, from what I have seen the tele converters are only worth it with L glass. Hense, if I go with the 70-300 now I'll go with a 400 L fixed later. But then there is always the issue of changing lens and the old addage (pay me now or pay me later) comes into play. Whereas, with a 70-200 I'm looking at simply the main with a doubler when needed. Argh, decisions decisions....... Basically, I'm looking for experience with these particular lenses and honest feedback. I'm sure everyone has played this game of lens and I figured this was a good outlet for and good, bad, or ugly experiences. Thanks.

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    Re: Which Canon Lens Would You Choose?

    I owned the Tamron as my 1st zoom.I sold it a week later.Toy is a good word for it.I also owned the Canon 70-300.I used it on a 40D and it had very good IQ and AF was quick.Build quality was solid.I own the 70-200L IS f/4.It takes a 1.4X TC well,but if you are looking at a 400 in the future,I would go with the 70-300 IS.

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    I shoot with a 70-200mm f/4L IS lens...

    I shoot with a 70-200mm f/4L IS lens and the image quality is exceptional, the auto-focus is fast and accurate and the build is super tough. Is it worth the extra bucks it cost? I think so!

    I fell to the ground one day with my 70-200mm f/4L IS lens on a 1.6x camera hitting the concrete lenshood first, propelled by my 200+ pound body.

    The lens hood was toast but the lens wasn't even dinged. It continued to work without a flaw.

    I am not sure if either of the less expensive lenses mentioned above would have survived that accident as well as my "L" lens.

    BTW: I personally would not consider the use of a 2X TC as a viable option with any lens. Although some photographers appear happy with the quality from the 2X TC; IMO the IQ is degraded far beyond what the naked lens produces - even on the 70-200mm lens. Additionally, if you are using a 1.6x camera, you cannot achieve autofocus using an f/4 lens with a 2X TC.

    On the other hand I find that the image quality and auto focus of both my 70-200mm f/4L IS and 300mm f/4L IS lenses are quite acceptable when I use my 1.4X TC giving me a 280mm f/5.6 and a 420mm f/5.6 lens respectively.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 26th September 2009 at 05:59 AM.

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    Re: Which Canon Lens Would You Choose?

    Hi Chris,

    The 70-200 is in a different league; image quality that boarders on perfection (for a zoom anyway, if that's not a contradiction in terms) - with the added "bonuses" of tank-like build quality, and a 3rd generation IS unit that good for up to FOUR stops (think about that for a second - a shot that without IS you may have required, say, 1/250th you may be able to take at 1/15th) - that's one "heck" of a difference.

    In terms of reach, it'll work exceptionally well with a 1.4x teleconverter (which is on top of the psudo 1.6x crop-factor focal length multiplier).

    That's the one I would go for - without hesitation.

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    Re: Which Canon Lens Would You Choose?

    Chris
    As I've written in another thread, I took delivery of the 70-200 f4 L IS yesterday. And spent the day 'playing' with it. I can't compare it with the other options you're considering. However, one thing that just hits a new boy to Ls is the autofocus. It is quite awesome.

    I was standing in my garden pointing at things and shooting, just to get used to handling it. A flock of birds flew over quite high. The centre focus spot in the viewfinder covered the whole of the size of the bird (which shows you how high they were). The autofocus nailed it almost instantaneously. It was a speck on the image .... But it was a sharp speck.
    Last edited by Donald; 26th September 2009 at 07:45 AM.

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    Re: I shoot with a 70-200mm f/4L IS lens...

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    I fell to the ground one day with my 70-200mm f/4L IS lens on a 1.6x camera hitting the concrete lenshood first, propelled by my 200+ pound body.

    The lens hood was toast but the lens wasn't even dinged. It continued to work without a flaw.
    Further proof that lens hoods (and UV filters) are "crumple zones"?

    (Using vehicular vernacular)

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    Re: I shoot with a 70-200mm f/4L IS lens...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Further proof that lens hoods (and UV filters) are "crumple zones"?

    (Using vehicular vernacular)
    I'm a big fan of filters for "cheap insurance" - and I find that hoods provice EXCELLENT protection from stray light (and even rain to a significant degree), but in terms of mechanical protection, I regard "Lens hoods provide protection" to be right up there with "the cheque's in the mail" and "you look lovely tonight dear".

    The reality is that the hood is only retained on the lens by a small plastic "thread" and the torque created by, and/or enertia of, the likes of a 70-200 lens (any "flavour") results in the hood dislodging with virtually zero resistance, providing about as much protection as a metal dustbin would from an approaching freight train

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    Re: I shoot with a 70-200mm f/4L IS lens...

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    The reality is that the hood is only retained on the lens by a small plastic "thread" and the torque created by, and/or enertia of, the likes of a 70-200 lens (any "flavour") results in the hood dislodging with virtually zero resistance, providing about as much protection as a metal dustbin would from an approaching freight train

    This is quite true with the OEM twist on hood. IMO, you are perfectly correct when you state that this type of hood offers no resistance to an impact and, therefore doesn't absorb any of the kinetic impact energy.

    However, I do not use the OEM hood on my 70-200mm f/4L IS lens. I use a generic, round, screw-in hood. This hood actually broke into two pieces during the impact during the fall I described in an earlier post. The part that was screwed into the lens remained attached to the lens and the majority of the hood was broken off. I credit this absorption of energy as part of the reason that the lens survived the impact. Of course, the major reason was probably the excellent build of this lens.

    IMO, the generic round screw in lens hood has several other advantages in addition to better (IMO) impact protection.

    The generic, round, screw-in lens hood protects the 70-200mm lens as well (if not better) from flare than the twist-on OEM hood. It will not vignette at any focal length. The OEM hood for the 70-200mm f/4L IS lens is designed to protect a full-frame camera from flare and is really overkill for that lens on a 1.6x camera. The generic round screw-in hood is smaller and the lens is more easily stored using that hood (I most often carry my lens with the hood attached in the shooting position since I can than get the camera in action a lot quicker). However, if I needed to, the lens stores more easily with the generic, screw-in, round hood reversed than with the OEM hood.

    A major advantage is in using a CPL. You simply screw the filter onto the lens and then screw the lens hood into the front threads of the filter. The CPL is then adjusted by simply rotating the hood. Since the hood is round, it doesn't matter how much you twist it.

    The generic round hood stays on the lens better than the twist-on OEM hood. It will not dislodge with just a slight bump as will the OEM hood. In fact, since I "HAVE" to use a twist-on, OEM type hood for my 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens (which will vignette at wider focal lengths with a round screw-in hood), I carry an extra hood when I travel. I carry two cameras on an OPTECH Dual harness and I have lost an OEM hood from my 17-55mm. I have never been troubled that way while using a screw-in filter on any lens.

    BTW, being smaller; the generic, round, screw-in hood is less obtrusive than the larger OEM hood. Some photographers worry that the "white" "L" lens is too noticeable. I consider it a lot less noticeable with the smaller hood.

    The two images show the difference in size between the round hood and the OEM hood, first with both in the shooting positions and second with the round hood in shooting shooting and the OEM hood in the storage position. As I said, the round hood can also be reversed for storage and the resulting package is quite a bit smaller that the OEM hood reversed.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 18th January 2010 at 04:04 PM.

  13. #13

    Re: I shoot with a 70-200mm f/4L IS lens...

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    I shoot with a 70-200mm f/4L IS lens and the image quality is exceptional, the auto-focus is fast and accurate and the build is super tough. Is it worth the extra bucks it cost? I think so!

    I fell to the ground one day with my 70-200mm f/4L IS lens on a 1.6x camera hitting the concrete lenshood first, propelled by my 200+ pound body.

    The lens hood was toast but the lens wasn't even dinged. It continued to work without a flaw.

    I am not sure if either of the less expensive lenses mentioned above would have survived that accident as well as my "L" lens.

    BTW: I personally would not consider the use of a 2X TC as a viable option with any lens. Although some photographers appear happy with the quality from the 2X TC; IMO the IQ is degraded far beyond what the naked lens produces - even on the 70-200mm lens. Additionally, if you are using a 1.6x camera, you cannot achieve autofocus using an f/4 lens with a 2X TC.

    On the other hand I find that the image quality and auto focus of both my 70-200mm f/4L IS and 300mm f/4L IS lenses are quite acceptable when I use my 1.4X TC giving me a 280mm f/5.6 and a 420mm f/5.6 lens respectively.
    seconded ( the whole post)
    especially about the 2x TC and the 1.4 TC
    The 70-200 f4L is as good as it gets on zooms , PLUS it's light, which when you've been carrying it all day you will appreciate

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