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Canon 70-200mm F/4L Is USM Good Lens Aviation?  
User currently offlinejetboy23 From United States of America, joined Jul 2012, 11 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 9061 times:

So, just as the title says, do you guys think the Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS USM will be a good lens for aviation photography? I'm going to be snapping pics of mid-sized planes (757 and smaller), and sometimes will be snapping pictures at airshows. On top of that, I would like to use this lens for vacation trips, and general use as well, but think I might need to save up for the 24-105mm f/4L for the vacation stuff...

What do you guys think? My budget absolutely tops out at $1500. I would ideally like a nice lens for around $1000, BUT I'm almost positive I can sell some odds and ends to make up for the extra $500.

Thanks in advance!

16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4772 posts, RR: 26
Reply 1, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 9046 times:
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Yes. Absolutely. It's one of the most recommended lenses on this forum. In fact the only lens recommended more is probably the non IS version due to its amazing quality and affordability.

200mm might fall short in certain situations but generally it's good enough.

The 24-105 is a great general purpose lens for traveling and stuff. Maybe go for the 70-200 f/4 (non-IS) and put the rest towards a 24-105. Can't go wrong!  



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlinejetboy23 From United States of America, joined Jul 2012, 11 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 8981 times:

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 1):
Yes. Absolutely. It's one of the most recommended lenses on this forum. In fact the only lens recommended more is probably the non IS version due to its amazing quality and affordability.

200mm might fall short in certain situations but generally it's good enough.

The 24-105 is a great general purpose lens for traveling and stuff. Maybe go for the 70-200 f/4 (non-IS) and put the rest towards a 24-105. Can't go wrong!  

Wow! That's good to hear someone recommend the non-IS version! Might just go that route.

Now what about comparing the IS version to the 300mm f/4L IS USM? I've heard nothing but great reviews, and "amazing sharpness" comments from owners about the 300 f4 prime.. I'm pretty torn between the two.


User currently offlineAndrew50 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 121 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 8877 times:
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I have the 70-200 f4/L IS also, and believe me it is everything it is advertised to be for sure. An incredible sharp lens! I purchased a 70-300L IS when that lens came out and since then have rarely used the 70-200. My 70-300 is almost as sharp as the 70-200 even at 300mm, which I have heard on this forum it has a reputation to be soft at that focal length, but I have not experienced that. So because of the sharp pictures the 70-300 takes and the extra 100mm, I have stuck with that lens. Again the 70-200 is an absolutely incredible lens!

User currently offlinejetboy23 From United States of America, joined Jul 2012, 11 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 8847 times:

Quoting Andrew50 (Reply 3):
I have the 70-200 f4/L IS also, and believe me it is everything it is advertised to be for sure. An incredible sharp lens! I purchased a 70-300L IS when that lens came out and since then have rarely used the 70-200. My 70-300 is almost as sharp as the 70-200 even at 300mm, which I have heard on this forum it has a reputation to be soft at that focal length, but I have not experienced that. So because of the sharp pictures the 70-300 takes and the extra 100mm, I have stuck with that lens. Again the 70-200 is an absolutely incredible lens!

Hmm, interesting. I actually used the 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM before, and got okay results. I actually took it to an airshow, and at 300mm, the pics seemed kind of soft. Maybe it was the heat distortion, or the aerobatic smoke.

But regardless, that lens is very compact and lightweight for its focal length. That part, I was impressed with.

What I'm really looking for is;
-Crisp, clear sharpness
-Enough focal length to fill up most of the frame, and if crop is needed, will remain sharp (CRJ size and up)
-At least f/4
-Under $1500

[Edited 2012-08-25 19:33:34]

User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 9805 posts, RR: 26
Reply 5, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 8380 times:
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A thread that might be useful to you (started when I was asking much the same question):

Lens Upgrade - 70-200 F4L Vs 200 F2.8L (by vikkyvik Feb 7 2012 in Aviation Photography)

Quoting jetboy23 (Reply 2):
Wow! That's good to hear someone recommend the non-IS version! Might just go that route.

I ended up buying the non-IS version used for $500-something. Easily the most worthwhile lens money I've spent. Cheap yet great quality.

I also ended up buying the 1.4 teleconverter. Quality is a slightly worse with the teleconverter, but the extra 80mm more than makes up for it. These was taken with the combo:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Vik S



Reason I mention the 1.4TC is that 200mm is often a bit short. This is especially true at airshows, where even 280mm can be too short.

Anyway, for $700-something, you really can't go wrong with the 70-200 F4L non-IS, provided it's the focal lengths you need.



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offlineDubi From Slovenia, joined Mar 2006, 14 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 8280 times:

Everybody likes 70-200L.

User currently offlinejetboy23 From United States of America, joined Jul 2012, 11 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 8200 times:

Alright, sounds like this really is a great buy...

But, how does the 70-200 f/4 USM WITH a 1.4x TC compare to the 300mm f/4 prime?


User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4772 posts, RR: 26
Reply 8, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 8192 times:
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Quoting jetboy23 (Reply 7):
But, how does the 70-200 f/4 USM WITH a 1.4x TC compare to the 300mm f/4 prime?


There's really no question that any prime will outperform even the best zoom lens with regard to image quality and sharpness. But the 70-200 is a very versatile lens and one of the sharpest zoom lenses out there. The 1.4x TC will reduce quality a bit, but adds even more to versatility.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 9805 posts, RR: 26
Reply 9, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 8190 times:
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Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 8):
The 1.4x TC will reduce quality a bit, but adds even more to versatility.

Pretty much. I will say, though, try before you buy!

On my previous camera (Rebel XS), the 70-200 + 1.4 didn't work well - on many images, the left 1/3rd of the image was very soft. The 70-200 alone was fine, though.

This problem seems to have disappeared when I upgraded cameras, though. I don't use the 1.4 all that often, but it comes in useful now and then.



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offlineckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 730 posts, RR: 16
Reply 10, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 8159 times:

All of Canon's 70-200 L range through the various generations are excellent. I've owned the 70-200 f2.8 IS, 70-200 f4 and now the 70-200 f4 LIS.

No complaints about any, but the latest 70-200 f4 LIS is as sharp as my L primes. Often use it with a 1.4 convertor, and there is no noticeable drop in image quality (I'm sure if you measure it scientifically there is, but nothing you can see after processing). Certainly as good as image I've taken with the 300 f4 prime.

Also worth noting that this includes the latest, and best, implimentation of Canon's IS - supposed to be good for 4 stops (ie. handholding 200mm at 1/15th) obviously your mileage may vary.

Bottom line is you can't go wrong with any version - the slight variations in quality on the test bench are likely to be hidden by various "real world" factors, so pay for what you need. If IS is not an issue, save yourself some money and buy the old version 2nd hand (they're built like tanks, so a safe used purchase).

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlineRinkopr From United States of America, joined Aug 2012, 4 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 11 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 8011 times:

I am not affiliated with this industry , just something that I haven't seen mentioned in this thread. There are places you can rent high end lenses to try out and compare. I am in the situation you are at the moment trying to decide if I go with the f4L IS or go with the f2.8L non IS. The ones I am renting are for 5 days and are about $100 for both. They do offer insurance for lenses so if something happens you are covered. They also rent prime lenses 300mm, 400mm, and one of the sites even offers the Canon 800mm f5.6L IS but its $498 for 5 days, but then again thats a $13,000 lens retail you can take to the kids game and make the other dads have lens envy. I have been trying to find a location here in Orlando to get some shots and think I may need an extender with one of these lenses to get what I am looking for.
I use these services to try out different lenses that I may want. In my current case I am looking for a lens that I can use on the ball field at night and would love to save almost 1/2 the money with the less expensive f4. I wont offer any names as there are many, but if you search you will find them and can setup and online account.

Thanks

Gordon


User currently offlinestevemchey From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 366 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (1 year 11 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 8005 times:

Quoting Rinkopr (Reply 11):
There are places you can rent high end lenses to try out and compare. I am in the situation you are at the moment trying to decide if I go with the f4L IS or go with the f2.8L non IS.

I think Gordon makes a very good point. Getting a lot of opinions about different lenses on a forum like this is very helpful, but in the end you might actually want to try out the candidates yourself. You might prefer one lens over the other, not because of some minute quality difference, but because of how it feels or handles in "your" real world. I usually rent from BorrowLenses.com (which I believe is a great, great service). But there might be some local camera stores that do one day rentals in your area.


User currently offlineTonyholt777 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2010, 185 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 11 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 7995 times:

Quoting ckw (Reply 10):
No complaints about any, but the latest 70-200 f4 LIS is as sharp as my L primes



Agree with Colin, my 70-200 f4L IS is right up there with some primes and half the weight of the 2.8 version, another great lens.

I took this one with the f4

http://www.airliners.net/photo/Emira...d=bde45a30dbc1c602526ad643ea95e556


Good luck with your choice T


User currently offlinejetboy23 From United States of America, joined Jul 2012, 11 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (1 year 11 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 7961 times:

Ok guys! Thanks for all the tips.

I actually just got news that Canon now has a patent on a new 300mm f/4 prime. It is almost 15 years due, but I think I'm going to wait and see what this new one will be like.

I would, as anyone else, like some feedback from owners of BOTH lenses, but all of you have told me how good the 70-200 f/4 is.

Thanks for all of the help!


User currently offlineckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 730 posts, RR: 16
Reply 15, posted (1 year 11 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 7938 times:

You might have a long wait! Canon patents new lens configurations all the time - not all make it to production, and those that do can be years down stream.

Note that Canon are producing quite a few lens updates. While I'm sure there are optical improvements, I'm not sure in real life you'll notice a lot of difference on most current Canon DSLRs (maybe on the 5D3 and 1Dx) - I suspect these are more in anticpation of a 'big sensor' (40mp-ish) camera. They also incorporate an improved AF system, but again the only cameras which can take full advantage of this are the 1Dx (and possibly the 5D3).

In terms of comparison, I own (or have owned) the 70-200 f4, 70-200 f4 IS, 70-200 f2.8 IS, 300 f4 and 24-105mm.

In terms of image quality, the 24-105 is the worst (but still very good) and the 70-200 f4 IS the best (but not by much). Frankly, they are all great lenses and I would make my selection based on their other features ...

24-105 - very flexible focal range ... if wide angle is important for you, this is the only solution
70-200 f2.8 - that wide aperture can be useful if you need it - but you pay for it in size and weight. For my purposes I found a combination of the 70-200 f4 IS AND the 85mm 1.8 (for portraits) more useful (and cheaper!)
70-200 f4 LIS - if IS is important, this is the one. I can easily hand hold this at 1/15th
70-200 f4 - great value for money
300 f4 - if focal length is most important, this is the choice, but least flexible. Works well with convertors too. I sold mine only because I got a 500 - but sometimes regret not hanging on to it.

Basically, you can't go wrong - all will significantly out perform Canon's mid range offerings (eg. 70-300). You need to think of a) which will both suit your purpose best and b) what other lenses you might be acquiring in future.

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlineRinkopr From United States of America, joined Aug 2012, 4 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 11 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 7917 times:

I just completed my testing of the two lenses that I have on my next "fight with wife" list. I rented both the 2.8 non IS and the 4 IS to compare. The 4IS is a good lens and for daytime shots it does just fine. I had difficulty shooting with it on the ball field last night under the lights but for a day lens it holds its own against the 2.8L. Below is a shot of the moon with the f4L.
I have chosen to find a used 2.8 non IS which can be found on fleabay for under $1k. The f4 IS is also found at times for under $1k. It would be nice to have the newer version of the 2.8 but at $2k I am not patient enough to save the extra coin.

70-200 f4L IS


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