Sponsor Message:
Aviation Photography Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
Lens Upgrade - 70-200 F4L Vs 200 F2.8L  
User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10333 posts, RR: 26
Posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 6511 times:

So here I am, doing hours of research into lenses again. The last round of this led me to the 17-40 F4L, which is now happily in my camera bag (I didn't post about that one).

Now, of course, I'm noting that a telephoto upgrade is probably in order at some point. I currently use the 70-300 IS USM, and it's worked reasonably well for me, but as I get pickier about image quality, I'm noticing flaws more and more:

1.) Softness above ~260mm that makes that range unusable for airplane photography;
2.) Softness toward the edges even well below 260mm. It's getting a bit frustrating to have everything relatively sharp except for the nose and/or tail. This appears to be slightly worse than it was a year ago.

So given that my budget is not infinite, the 70-200 F4L is an obvious and popular choice. I'd certainly have no qualms about that purchase. I would also probably invest in a 1.4TC, as the extra reach would be good, given that even at 250mm, I still have to crop more than I would like for aircraft smaller than a 763.

But I was browsing lenses, and for whatever reason, the 200 F2.8L also struck my fancy (same thing applies - I would get the 1.4TC). If I decided to get this one, I would have to keep the 70-300 and use it for stuff up to 200mm, which isn't the end of the world (but getting a few hundred bucks for the 70-300 would be nice...).

So here are some points on which I'd love opinions (they are not all necessarily important to me, but may as well ask):

1.) Versatility - obviously, the 70-200 wins here for having everything in a single lens.
2.) Image quality - I would assume that the fixed-focal-length 200 might have the edge here.
5.) IS - neither lens has it; is it worth spending a bit extra and getting one that does?
3 sir!) Ease of use - for shooting from, say, Imperial Hill, the 70-200 would probably win; I'm not sure how much time it takes to install and remove the TC from the 200, but it might be a pain to install it for a 737, then have to remove it for a 777 30 seconds later (along with the risk of dropping something, me being not the least-clumsy person I know).
4.) Max Focal Length - tie here. But I want something that will go up to around 300mm and still maintain quality.
6.) Lens speed - 200 wins here; especially given the 1.4TC will bump the 200 up to a 4 and the 70-200 up to a 5.6.
7.) Price: I have a little list that I made up (prices are generally for new lenses from Amazon):

70-200 F4 + 1.4TC: $983
70-200 F4 IS + 1.4TC: $1508
200 F2.8 + 1.4TC: $1099
70-300 F4-5.6L IS: $1409

I don't really know much about the 70-300 L, but thought I'd throw it out there.

For reference, I'm using a Rebel XS. I'm also debating upgrading my camera, but haven't decided what I'll do first yet.

Thanks very much for any and all opinions, advice, abuse, criticism, and general commentary. Bonus points if you get my numbering scheme.  

~Vik


How can I be an admiral without my cap??!
21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinedazbo5 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2005, 2934 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 6496 times:

Quoting vikkyvik (Thread starter):
I don't really know much about the 70-300 L, but thought I'd throw it out there.

Personally, I would save the extra few $$$ and go for the 70-300 L. I've been considering one for the last 12 months. It's a stunning lens and would be the perfect replacement for what you have now and will save messing about with TC's. Image quality is second to none throughout it's range from the samples I've been sent.

Darren



Equipment: 2x Canon EOS 50D; Sigma 10-20 EX DC HSM, 50-500 EX APO DG, Canon 24-105 f/4 L, Speedlite 430EX
User currently offlinesf49ers From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2008, 2 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 6456 times:

Another vote for the 70-300 L. Had one for about 6 months & its a fantastic lens. Used to have the 70-200 F4L + 1.4TC & it works very well. It took alot of persuading to part with that combo but i dont regret swapping it at all.

User currently offlinescopedude From Indonesia, joined Oct 2010, 53 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 6455 times:

Another vote for 70-300L, at least 60% of my photos here are taken with this lens. I also have a 70-200/4 IS that rarely sees the light now.


5D2, 650D, 70-200/4 IS, 70-300 L, 135 L
User currently offlineKFLLCFII From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 3309 posts, RR: 30
Reply 4, posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 6429 times:

Just curious...I didn't see any mention of the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS. Have you considered it? Still seems to be quite a popular lens for aviation, and at only a $140 premium (Amazon) over the 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS, you'd get an additional 100mm at essentially the same speed. As for losing the 70-99mm range, I don't know about you, but I *very* rarely use it when the 70-200 is mounted.

I can tell you this though. For the level of quality you're looking for and the amount of money you're willing to spend, I wouldn't let the need for a TC become a requirement of the decision...You'd be spending far too much money to let a TC muddy up the desired quality. Anything over a thousand dollars and I'd want it all out of one set of glass. (Not that TCs are bad, but they certainly won't help you with quality.) I consider them a little extra "reach" when necessary, but only when necessary, and I don't believe they should be part of an absolute requirement to achieve one's primary shooting goals.



"About the only way to look at it, just a pity you are not POTUS KFLLCFII, seems as if we would all be better off."
User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8956 posts, RR: 60
Reply 5, posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 6426 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
DATABASE EDITOR

I'd vote for the prime lens. I use a 180mm prime, and the constraint to that focal length actually makes shooting a lot more interesting. I end up having to get into positions I normally would never consider, and I wind up with perspectives that are new and pleasantly surprising compared with the 'standard' front, side, and three-quarter that are so common.


Intentionally Left Blank
User currently offlinetrvyyz From Canada, joined Oct 2004, 1375 posts, RR: 10
Reply 6, posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 6406 times:

70-200mm F2.8 is the best, there is no if or buts about that. It is a fast lens and none of your above are. It is great for portraits and lowlight. If you only care about aviation , you might as well go for the 100-400L. 70-300L is good but is a ripoff.

User currently offlineckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 768 posts, RR: 16
Reply 7, posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 6395 times:

Really there is not much to choose optically between these lenses. The new 70-200 f4 IS probably has the edge on sharpness compared to other zooms (you'll be hard pushed to set it apart from the 200 prime), but we're talking very small differences - all will be signficantly sharper and have better contrast and colour than your current 70-300.

Using the Canon 1.4 convertor with these lenses will have negligable impact on quality. But, if you need to swap it frequently getting dust on the sensor is perhaps inevitable.

So it comes down to what and how you shoot ... as a rule, fast glass tends to be preferred, but you're only talking about a 1 stop difference between f4 and f2.8 whereas the IS on the 70-200 really will give you an extra 4 stops of hand holdability. If you're into low shutter speed panned shots, this may be the best option. The 70-300 (or for that matter the 100-400) offers the most versatitly but although very good it is probably the least good of your options.

I like primes, but as I use 2 bodies, I can shoot with a prime on one and a zoom on the other, so I don't tend to miss anything. Shooting only prime takes a bit more discipline, planning and anticipation - perhaps no bad thing, but I suspect you'll come away with fewer (though possibly better) pics.

Size and weight may also be a consideration.

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10333 posts, RR: 26
Reply 8, posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 6327 times:

Thank you guys all very much for responding! More info than I'd anticipated getting.

Quoting dazbo5 (Reply 1):
Quoting sf49ers (Reply 2):
Quoting scopedude (Reply 3):

Wow, I didn't expect so many votes for the 70-300! Will have to do more research into that one. I just figured that with the larger zoom range, there would be more compromise in terms of image quality. The last thing I want is another 70-300 that gets soft at the long end!

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 5):
I'd vote for the prime lens. I use a 180mm prime, and the constraint to that focal length actually makes shooting a lot more interesting. I end up having to get into positions I normally would never consider, and I wind up with perspectives that are new and pleasantly surprising compared with the 'standard' front, side, and three-quarter that are so common.

That is an interesting point, although I'm not sure I really want to put that constraint on myself. I was mostly interested due to the fast speed.

Quoting trvyyz (Reply 6):
70-200mm F2.8 is the best, there is no if or buts about that. It is a fast lens and none of your above are. It is great for portraits and lowlight. If you only care about aviation , you might as well go for the 100-400L. 70-300L is good but is a ripoff.

You may have missed the 200 F2.8 in the list. Low light is a consideration, but portraits aren't really. I don't really have any qualms about an F4 lens. Why would you say the 70-300 is a ripoff?

Quoting ckw (Reply 7):
Using the Canon 1.4 convertor with these lenses will have negligable impact on quality. But, if you need to swap it frequently getting dust on the sensor is perhaps inevitable.

True. Upon further thought, it's probably worth it for me to avoid the TC.

Quoting ckw (Reply 7):
So it comes down to what and how you shoot ... as a rule, fast glass tends to be preferred, but you're only talking about a 1 stop difference between f4 and f2.8 whereas the IS on the 70-200 really will give you an extra 4 stops of hand holdability. If you're into low shutter speed panned shots, this may be the best option. The 70-300 (or for that matter the 100-400) offers the most versatitly but although very good it is probably the least good of your options.

If I had to choose, I'd take IS over F2.8.

Quoting ckw (Reply 7):
Size and weight may also be a consideration.

Not one of my primary considerations....though it is indeed a consideration for tripod mounting.

Quoting KFLLCFII (Reply 4):
Just curious...I didn't see any mention of the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS. Have you considered it? Still seems to be quite a popular lens for aviation, and at only a $140 premium (Amazon) over the 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS, you'd get an additional 100mm at essentially the same speed. As for losing the 70-99mm range, I don't know about you, but I *very* rarely use it when the 70-200 is mounted.

I did consider listing it, and I don't exactly remember why I didn't. Partly, I feel that there is too big a gap from 40mm to 100mm, and I don't want to buy another lens to fill that gap right now. Additionally, as long as I can shoot at 300mm, I'm not sure I really need the range from 300-400. Also, I do shoot at 70mm now and then - the following was shot at or close to 70, I believe:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Vik S



That also does bring up the question of tripod mounting - the tripod I currently have is not the heaviest or most sturdy in the world, so I'd prefer a lens that won't automatically tip it over.  



How can I be an admiral without my cap??!
User currently offlinetrvyyz From Canada, joined Oct 2004, 1375 posts, RR: 10
Reply 9, posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 6321 times:

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 8):
Why would you say the 70-300 is a ripoff?

It doesn't have a tripod collar, costs close to 200 bucks for that. Doesn't take extenders.
Ideally should be priced less than 70-200f4L IS.


User currently offlinedazbo5 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2005, 2934 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 6313 times:

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 8):
Why would you say the 70-300 is a ripoff?

The photographic press are claiming it should be an f/4 all the way through to 300mm with it's price tag, not an f/4-5.6. The tripod collar is expensive for what it is, but then it's not the heaviest lens in the world so unless you'e using it in low light, not everyone will need it. It is an expensive lens, but the quality speaks for itself.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 8):
I feel that there is too big a gap from 40mm to 100mm

That's why I went for the 50-500 rather than 100-400 100mm as just too long at the short end for me.

Darren



Equipment: 2x Canon EOS 50D; Sigma 10-20 EX DC HSM, 50-500 EX APO DG, Canon 24-105 f/4 L, Speedlite 430EX
User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10333 posts, RR: 26
Reply 11, posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6275 times:

Quoting trvyyz (Reply 9):
Quoting dazbo5 (Reply 10):

Thanks guys.

Quoting dazbo5 (Reply 10):
That's why I went for the 50-500 rather than 100-400 100mm as just too long at the short end for me.

Yeah, that's my fear. I just read over the Bigma thread in which you responded. I would possibly consider that, but 500mm is really overkill for me, so I'd prefer better quality and shorter range.

One more question: anyone have any experiences with keh.com? A photographer friend of mine recommended it. They have a 70-300 L IS like new for $1169. I haven't used them before; I bought the 17-40 new from B&H.

Thanks again!



How can I be an admiral without my cap??!
User currently offlinescopedude From Indonesia, joined Oct 2010, 53 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6275 times:

I compared my 70-200/4 IS and 70-300L when I first got the ripoff lens a year ago. To my surprise, it's hard to tell the difference esp in the 100-200mm range. The ripoff lens, however, goes to 300mm and is sharp there (*much* sharper than 70-300 IS USM and Tamron 70-300 VC). I got some photos here taken at 300mm. The CA is only worse at 300mm yet still not bad. The ripoff lens, has noticeably better IS (esp in mode 2) and very fast AF. I have very low number of missed shots with this lens and I use only 60D. Last December I was shooting at EHAM when suddenly the rain poured and fortunately I decided to keep shooting - and the ripoff lens was soaked wet (including the 60D) - and I can tell Canon does a good job making the lens weathersealed.

It's irrelevant in aviation photography, but 70-300L also has good bokeh and IMO, better contrast than 70-200/4 IS.

The real downside of 70-300L is its weight and vignetting on FF cameras.

Of course 70-300L is still a ripoff, but at least Canon is kind enough to let me have the goodies. YMMV.

Edited: I got the 70-300L for $1250 new, btw.

[Edited 2012-02-08 20:14:17]


5D2, 650D, 70-200/4 IS, 70-300 L, 135 L
User currently onlineeggohoek From Hungary, joined Nov 2005, 55 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 6093 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
PHOTO SCREENER

I used and owned the following Canon zoom lenses:

70-300 IS, 70-200 f4 L IS, 100-400 L IS, 28-300 L IS, 70-300 L IS

The worst lens was 70-300 L IS and I tried two copies! Image quality was terrible!
That was the worst lens I have ever used, I've sold and lost lot of money.

I saw pictures with a 3rd copy of 70-300 L IS (by another Hungarian photographer) and I see major problems about sharpness, focusing or IS.

My vote 70-200 f4 L IS or 100-400 L IS.


User currently offlineCaptainKramer From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2012, 226 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 6057 times:

Hi vikkyvik,

Here's the case for a 200mm prime with 2.8 f stop.

When I entered the fray of Aviation Photography I started with a Canon 60D body which came with a EFS 17-80mm wide angle, I also bought the Canon EF 70-200mm zoom lens to set the ball rolling.

I went to Myrtle Rd at Heathrow for the first time on the 18th Nov 2010. Since that day I have gone mad, shooting thousands of photos. My hit to miss ratio was large to say the least.

With the 70-200mm I would zoom in on the plane and stagger zoom wide firing off shots as it approached until I was at 70mm. When I reviewed the 8 or so shot sequence I often found one was good the others not so, either because of bad framing, focus or blur artefacts.

Many times I never got the shot when it counted, because of my spray and pray ,high speed motor drive trigger happy approach.

Now I recently took the plunge and bought a prime lens. The Canon EF200mm 1 :2.8. This lens has helped changed my mind set when it comes to taking pictures no matter what the subject.

Because it is a prime it limits the type of shots you can take, but for me this made me think more about the type of shots I wanted and how I was going to go about getting a particulr shot with this particular lens. It also helped lower my shot count down, as the plane approached I could only take 3 or 4 shots before the plane left the frame, but the plus side - 3 out of 4 shots were in focus and well framed.

Pros of a prime. Sharpness and low light shooting. The best photo's found on Airliners.net are often taken at magic hour, dusk and dawn when the light and air is most atmospheric. I also found shooting close up details of aircraft on static dispay using the 200mm prime useful at throwing the background out of focus, making the foreground subject really stand out.

Cons. You often have to move around alot more with a prime to get the framing you want or get the subject in the frame for that matter, you find yourself doing alot more moving backwards, but for me I count that as a plus, because it makes you explore the subject from different angles more than say a zoom where you can adjust your framing where you first stand.

Now the obvious one, you cant zoom, but as I found out if you stagger zoom as you shoot, it can often lead to blurred images, unless you are after an effect then sure use a zoom.

If you do decide to go with a prime simply way up what you want to achieve with your shot before hand. I always found planning ahead really pays off when using a prime, plus a little luck always helps.

Hope this helps!

Regards captainkramer


User currently offlineCargolex From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 1278 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 6037 times:

I haven't used most of these lenses, but somebody was nice enough to give me a 70-200F4/L (non-IS) for christmas, and it's light years ahead of the 70-300 IS USM, even if it does lack range. Most of what I shoot at my local airports is within range with this lens and I've already generated pretty decent stuff with it all the way to 200mm. I can only imagine that IS would improve it.

You might try renting these lenses before you buy, although that's a mixed bag. I rented a 100-400L back in December and that somewhat worn copy had some issues that I don't think would be present on a brand new copy. I'll be trying it again soon, however.

At least where you are, you can fairly rely on decent weather for the time you rent a lens. In SEA, this time of year, clear days when you can really evaluate a lens are rare.


User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10333 posts, RR: 26
Reply 16, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 5997 times:

Quoting CaptainKramer (Reply 14):
Quoting Cargolex (Reply 15):

Thanks guys!

Quoting CaptainKramer (Reply 14):

With the 70-200mm I would zoom in on the plane and stagger zoom wide firing off shots as it approached until I was at 70mm. When I reviewed the 8 or so shot sequence I often found one was good the others not so, either because of bad framing, focus or blur artefacts.

Many times I never got the shot when it counted, because of my spray and pray ,high speed motor drive trigger happy approach.

Fortunately for me (or perhaps unfortunately), my camera solves this problem for me. The Rebel XS is only capable of 1.5 frames a second, and mine will only shoot 3 frames before it has to process. So basically, I'm limited to about 3 frames per 5 seconds (this is all based on RAW shooting, which is all I do). That already makes me have to think ahead and decide what I want to shoot.

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 15):

At least where you are, you can fairly rely on decent weather for the time you rent a lens. In SEA, this time of year, clear days when you can really evaluate a lens are rare.

Very true....wintertime in LA has quite clear skies.



How can I be an admiral without my cap??!
User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10333 posts, RR: 26
Reply 17, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 5862 times:

Thanks again for all the advice. Circumstances played a hand in my current decision - another A.netter had a 70-200 F4 (non-IS) that he was selling for a very reasonable price, so that will be in my hands in the next couple days.

Will try it out, hopefully with a TC as well, and see what I think. If I have to reevaluate and go with something different in a few months, then so be it. Not sure if I'll keep the 70-300 IS USM around for now or not....I still have my 55-250 as well, which I can use if I'm in dire need.

For right now, though, I'm pretty excited!

Thanks again.



How can I be an admiral without my cap??!
User currently offlineJRowson From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 359 posts, RR: 12
Reply 18, posted (2 years 10 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 5767 times:

Just some personal experience when shooting from Imperial Hill for you with a 70-200......my 1.4x stays on 100% of the time. Without the extender the zoom range is simply too short and you end up needing to excessively crop. I even struggled at times with the 1.4x on for smaller aircraft. There was no need at all to remove the extender for any 777s or 346s.


James Rowson. Canonite and lover of all things L. JAR Photography.
User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10333 posts, RR: 26
Reply 19, posted (2 years 10 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 5760 times:

Quoting JRowson (Reply 18):
Just some personal experience when shooting from Imperial Hill for you with a 70-200......my 1.4x stays on 100% of the time. Without the extender the zoom range is simply too short and you end up needing to excessively crop. I even struggled at times with the 1.4x on for smaller aircraft. There was no need at all to remove the extender for any 777s or 346s.

Thanks - that's exactly what I'm planning (whenever I get around to getting a TC).

The putting on and taking off of the TC was more of a concern with the 200 prime, as 280mm is way too close for full side-ons of larger airplanes.



How can I be an admiral without my cap??!
User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10333 posts, RR: 26
Reply 20, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 5341 times:

Finally got to try out the 70-200 F4L + 1.4TC combination today! Very happy with the results:

Shot at 208mm, cropped to just show half the aircraft:



Shot at 280mm, cropped away blank sky (full shot is 3888 pixels wide):



Compare to this shot, taken with my 70-300 IS USM at 220mm a few weeks ago (again, cropped away blank sky):



At the end of the day, I still may opt for a 70-300 (or 100-400 - that's looking better to me right now) sometime in the near future. But for now, I'm quite happy to have sharp results across the frame!

Thanks very much to all who responded.



How can I be an admiral without my cap??!
User currently offlineCargoLex From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 1278 posts, RR: 8
Reply 21, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 5277 times:

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 20):

Shot at 280mm, cropped away blank sky (full shot is 3888 pixels wide):

Nice. Now I want to try one of those TC's.  


Top Of Page
Forum Index

This topic is archived and can not be replied to any more.

Printer friendly format

Similar topics:More similar topics...
Canon 70-200 F/2.8L Is Quality posted Thu Jun 21 2007 17:00:34 by GuamVICE
For Sale: Canon 70-200 F2.8 L Is posted Mon Apr 2 2007 20:50:29 by Mongorat
For Sale: Canon 70-200 F4L - $519.99 - US Only posted Thu May 4 2006 19:53:45 by VasanthD
First Shot With New EF 70-200 F4 L Lens posted Sun Feb 19 2006 17:00:24 by Linco22
Sigma Or Canon 70-200 F2.8? posted Thu Feb 2 2006 18:25:30 by Morvious
Canon 70-200 F2.8 +2x Vs 100-400 posted Wed Nov 30 2005 23:42:06 by Donder10
Canon 70-200 2.8L Is Versus NON Is posted Thu Jul 14 2005 03:40:56 by Mongorat
Sigma 70-200 F2.8 EX HSM & 1.4x TC Whats It Like? posted Fri Oct 8 2004 09:29:08 by Ua935
Canon 70-200 F2.8 USM posted Mon Oct 4 2004 21:30:12 by Jat74l
Canon 70-200 F/2.8L Vs. F/2.8L Is Vs. 35-350... posted Thu Aug 26 2004 01:19:56 by QantasA332