Silver1SWA
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I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Wed Apr 25, 2007 6:12 am

Hello everyone,

I am now in a position to finally purchase my own lens. I have been borrowing a friends Canon EF 80-200mm lens and I have used it in addition to my Canon kit lens. Not a very good lens, but it has certainly given me the opportunity to play with, and learn my camera in the setting I will be doing the majority of my aviation photography. It is time to think about getting my own lens.

The lens that has caught my eye is the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM as it is easily affordable. However, I now have some extra cash thanks to our Government (tax return) so I think it would be in my best interest to look at spending a bit more for a better version of the lens. For a comparable price, I can get the EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM, or the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM. So, I was wondering which I should choose? What will be most important to me? Having Image Stabilizer, or the lens aperture f/2.8? Getting the lens with both is out of the question...too pricey. So, if I had to choose, which one should I go for? Or is the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM good enough to allow me to save the extra money for an additional smaller lens to add to (more like start) my collection.

Now, this might be an obvious no-brainer to many of you. As for the two lenses, I think I already know the answer anyway. But, before I spend money on a lens, I would like as much feedback as possible and get a feel for what you all think about the lenses I'm looking at based on your personal experience. Thank you.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
waketurbulence
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Wed Apr 25, 2007 6:22 am

I own the 70-200 f/4L and I will NEVER sell it. It is sharp. I have zero complaints about this lens. For the money it has been the best buy I have made. The others mentioned are also very good, all with high reviews on Fred Miranda, but I have not really needed IS while being only at 200mm. Good luck, out have a good problem to have.  Smile
-Matt
 
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acontador
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Wed Apr 25, 2007 7:35 am

The only thing I ever wanted AFTER buying my 70-200 f/4L was maybe a couple of more mm, but I certainly have very rarely missed the extra f-stop or the IS. That's of course because of the combination of my typical location + local weather, so it might be slightly different for you. I also have a couple of dusk/dawn pics in the DB shot with that lens. It's really a very sharp and fast focusing lens, and probably the best you can get for that amount of money.
But if you have the extra spare bucks, why not the 100-400? I would love to have that one, particularly because of the combo 400 mm + IS, but it's out of my budget right now.
Just sit back, relax and have a glass of Merlot...enjoy your life!
 
maiznblu_757
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Wed Apr 25, 2007 7:56 am

I also own the 70-200mm F/4 L and I love it! Your decision should depend on how much low light photography you do. IS is nice to have in low light conditions. That is the only time I use IS. When shooting high speed military action or airliners in action with enough light, IS goes off!

The 100-400mm is another one you should consider. If you are having issues with softness at the long end (as some people do), send it to Canon and have them fix it. I did!
 
AC773
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Wed Apr 25, 2007 8:28 am

The 70-200 f/4 L is a great lens for the price and most people are rightfully thrilled with it, but if you have the cash, the 2.8 is just in a league of its own. It's generally regarded as one of Canon's sharpest, most vibrant lenses, and it's renowned for its beautiful bokeh (background blur)

Again, the f/4 is a fantastic lens, but if you can afford it, there's no reason not to go with the 2.8.
Better to be nouveau than never to have been riche at all.
 
dc10tim
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Wed Apr 25, 2007 8:45 am

For me it would be the f/2.8 L IS all the way. The f/4 lens gives excellent results from what I have seen, but for me personally (I have the 70-300mm DO IS), having the image stabilization makes a big difference, unless you're constantly shooting in bright sunlight. Perhaps I just have unsteady hands, but the difference in quality from my non-IS lenses is definitely noticeable.

Regards,

Tim.

Edit: Please forgive the self-plug, but just to show what I mean, this shot was taken at dusk. There is no way I would have been able to hold the lens still enough to get a sharp image without the IS. Ultimately, I suppose it depends on what conditions you're most likely to be shooting in.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Tim Goodwin



[Edited 2007-04-25 01:50:21]
Obviously missing something....
 
Silver1SWA
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Wed Apr 25, 2007 5:24 pm

First of all, thank you all for your help so far!

Quoting Acontador (Reply 2):
The only thing I ever wanted AFTER buying my 70-200 f/4L was maybe a couple of more mm,

I have such great access at SAN (where I do pretty much all of my aviation photography) that I really do not need more than 200mm. It would be nice, but because of the affordability of the 200mm L lenses, I will settle for 200mm, especially since the L lenses are supposed to be tack sharp all the way to 200mm. The 200mm lens I am using right now is pretty much useless past 135mm so I guess I would be gaining a few mm in a way.

Quoting Acontador (Reply 2):
That's of course because of the combination of my typical location + local weather, so it might be slightly different for you.

Well, I am shooting in San Diego. Sunny and 70 degrees most of the year.  cool 

Quoting Acontador (Reply 2):
I also have a couple of dusk/dawn pics in the DB shot with that lens.

I would love to take more of these. SAN has some great opportunities for dusk/dawn photos, especially this time of year.

Quoting Acontador (Reply 2):
But if you have the extra spare bucks, why not the 100-400? I would love to have that one, particularly because of the combo 400 mm + IS, but it's out of my budget right now.



Quoting Maiznblu_757 (Reply 3):
The 100-400mm is another one you should consider.

Well to tell you the truth, I shoot from such a close range, that being able to go down to 70mm would be more beneficial to me than having that extra zoom. If I went for that lens, then I would definitely need another lens to fill the gap from my 18-55mm lens.

Also, another factor for me is, I do not only enjoy photographing airplanes. I like to travel, and I like to take pictures when I travel...more landscape stuff I guess So, a fast, high-zoom lens will only really be used when photographing airplanes. That is another reason the 70-200mm f/4L is attractive to me...I can save money and get another decent lens suited for other areas of photography in addition to the 200mm lens for airplanes.

Quoting Maiznblu_757 (Reply 3):
Your decision should depend on how much low light photography you do.

Unfortunately rare photographic opportunities have been lost or ruined because of my inadequate equipment under less than ideal conditions. That is why I think, while 85% of the time I will be shooting in perfect, sunny conditions, something that can handle lower light well would be beneficial.

Quoting DC10Tim (Reply 5):
For me it would be the f/2.8 L IS all the way.

As I said in my original post, I cannot afford that lens.  Sad

My decision will involve a trade-off as most do. So, I need to decide if I need the IS, or the extra f-stop...or either. I cannot have both lol...right now at least. If anything I have just said in my replies gives you a better idea of which lens will best suit me, please offer your input. I greatly appreciate all of your help!
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
StevenL
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Thu Apr 26, 2007 1:40 am

I'm a Nikon user so I don't know about how sharp the lens will be, one thing that always gets me is not being able to go down to F/2.8.

Sure you will shoot around F/8 or F/10 for all your bright day airplane shots, but if you have the extra money I would get the F/2.8. That way you can use the lens for other things (God forbid right?  Wink) that don't exactly have ideal lighting.

Just my two cents...
Nikon D70s. Nikkor 18-70; Nikkor 70-300G; SB-600. KBFI, KSEA, KPAE Spotter
 
aero145
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Thu Apr 26, 2007 2:31 am

Silver; I own the 70-200 f/4L, and I've used the 70-200 f/4L IS quite a bit. I'd buy the non-IS and a good smaller lens or the IS, not the f/2.8, as bigger aperture will only give you more speed (and for sure the f/4L IS at f/4 is well over 70-200 f/2.8L's f/2.8 sharpness).
 
monteycarlos
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Thu Apr 26, 2007 5:05 pm

Quoting Silver1SWA (Thread starter):
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM

Easy, if you've got the money buy this one.

Sure, by all reports that f/4 is good, but the f/2.8 is better. Is that the answer you're looking for? Btw, f@*k the IS. You don't need it.
It's a beautiful night to fly like a phoenix...
 
aero145
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Fri Apr 27, 2007 12:04 am

Quoting Monteycarlos (Reply 9):
but the f/2.8 is better.

For what purpose?
I've got the 70-200 f/4L, and I hardly use the f/4, I'm usually in f/6.3-f/9. So, it's not better for my shooting. Seems not for his either:

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 6):
Well, I am shooting in San Diego. Sunny and 70 degrees most of the year.
 
fergulmcc
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Fri Apr 27, 2007 12:43 am

I own the 70-200/2.8 LIS and find it to be one of my favorite lenses. It's nearly always attached to my 1Dn. If someone was to tell me that I could only bring one lens with me it would be that one. The f4 version is also an excellent lens and well worth the investment. You will be very happy with it, trust me.

Quoting Aero145 (Reply 10):
Quoting Monteycarlos (Reply 9):
but the f/2.8 is better.

For what purpose?
I've got the 70-200 f/4L, and I hardly use the f/4, I'm usually in f/6.3-f/9. So, it's not better for my shooting. Seems not for his either:

To go wide open in low light situations, it also allows more light in for the AF to react faster, i.e. lock on faster. I have both the 300/4 and the 300/2.8 and trust me that 300/2.8 is so much faster than the f4 version.

Take care

Fergul  sun 
Zambian Airways, Where the Eagles fly free!!
 
aviopic
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Fri Apr 27, 2007 5:05 am

Quoting Aero145 (Reply 10):
For what purpose?
I've got the 70-200 f/4L, and I hardly use the f/4, I'm usually in f/6.3-f/9. So, it's not better for my shooting. Seems not for his either:

You use it everytime you press the shutter half way to focus  Wink
The difference is that where an F/4 can't autofocus anymore due to lack of available light an F/2.8 goes on for a while longer, should be a nice feature in Iceland.

Quoting Silver1SWA (Thread starter):
The lens that has caught my eye is the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

You can get yourself a Sigma 70-200/2.8 EX HSM for about the same money.
The truth lives in one’s mind, it doesn’t really exist
 
monteycarlos
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Fri Apr 27, 2007 5:46 am

Quoting Aero145 (Reply 10):
For what purpose?
I've got the 70-200 f/4L, and I hardly use the f/4, I'm usually in f/6.3-f/9. So, it's not better for my shooting. Seems not for his either:

See below... I think if you've never used f/4 on that lens then you don't get out enough.

Quoting Fergulmcc (Reply 11):
To go wide open in low light situations, it also allows more light in for the AF to react faster, i.e. lock on faster. I have both the 300/4 and the 300/2.8 and trust me that 300/2.8 is so much faster than the f4 version.

FWIW Aero145, I am not saying your lens is not good. But the truth of the matter is that the f/2.8 is a far better lens.
It's a beautiful night to fly like a phoenix...
 
aero145
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:14 am

Quoting Fergulmcc (Reply 11):
and trust me that 300/2.8 is so much faster than the f4 version.

I think it's combined: f/2.8 and a faster focus motor... Big grin at least 300 f/2.8L is much better glass.

Quoting Aviopic (Reply 12):
You use it everytime you press the shutter half way to focus  Wink
The difference is that where an F/4 can't autofocus anymore due to lack of available light an F/2.8 goes on for a while longer, should be a nice feature in Iceland.

Understood.

Quoting Monteycarlos (Reply 13):
But the truth of the matter is that the f/2.8 is a far better lens.

You sure "far better" isn't a little bit "over-said"? Seriously, I've tried all versions Canon make of the 70-200s and the f/4L IS was the most satisfying, image qualiy wise at least, the f/2.8L non-IS being the worst. But true is that f/2.8L IS' autofocus was the most reliable, and the fastest.
 
monteycarlos
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Fri Apr 27, 2007 9:15 am

Quoting Aero145 (Reply 14):
Seriously, I've tried all versions Canon make of the 70-200s and the f/4L IS was the most satisfying, image qualiy wise at least, the f/2.8L non-IS being the worst. But true is that f/2.8L IS' autofocus was the most reliable, and the fastest.

So 95% of the people that used this lens were lying when they said it was better. You just can't trust reviews these days.  Yeah sure
It's a beautiful night to fly like a phoenix...
 
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clickhappy
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Fri Apr 27, 2007 9:33 am

The people pimping the f/4 are doing so because that is what they bought, it is human nature.

Take a look at what any pro uses.
 
maiznblu_757
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Fri Apr 27, 2007 10:00 am

Dont forget about the real lenses Royal. Canon for Canon, Nikkor for Nikon. Simple as that. Anything else, is just Passe'.  Smile
 
monteycarlos
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Fri Apr 27, 2007 10:34 am

Quoting Clickhappy (Reply 16):
Take a look at what any pro uses.

My thoughts too.  bigthumbsup 
It's a beautiful night to fly like a phoenix...
 
aero145
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Fri Apr 27, 2007 10:40 pm

Quoting Clickhappy (Reply 16):
Take a look at what any pro uses.

Well, there are many non-pros that use the 70-200 f/2.8L glass.  Smile

[Edited 2007-04-27 15:50:59]
 
AC773
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Sat Apr 28, 2007 9:19 am

Quoting Aero145 (Reply 19):
Well, there are many non-pros that use the 70-200 f/2.8L glass.

...Because they've seen what the pros use.  Wink
Better to be nouveau than never to have been riche at all.
 
aero145
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Sat Apr 28, 2007 10:10 am

Quoting AC773 (Reply 20):
...Because they've seen what the pros use.

...And they like to train their muscles.  Wink
 
monteycarlos
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Sat Apr 28, 2007 10:39 am

Quoting Aero145 (Reply 21):
And they like to train their muscles.

And avoid camera shake.
It's a beautiful night to fly like a phoenix...
 
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acontador
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Sun Apr 29, 2007 12:03 am

Please guys, come on!  Cool
We ALL know that the 70-200 f/2.8L is a slightly 'better' lens in terms of image quality than the 70-200 f/4L, no doubt about that (just read all reviews), but it's like comparing apples with bananas, since they are far apart in price.
So, I think we can also ALL agree that in it's price class the 70-200 f/4L is definately one of (if not the) best lenses around.
Now, if you have the budget, you can always look higher in the price segment, but, for me at least, then I would go straight to the 100-400...as Royal said,

Quoting Clickhappy (Reply 16):
Take a look at what any pro uses.

 Wink
Just sit back, relax and have a glass of Merlot...enjoy your life!
 
aero145
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Sun Apr 29, 2007 12:44 am

Quoting Acontador (Reply 23):
straight to the 100-400...as Royal said,

But 100-400 is f/4.5-5.6, so it's very, very consumer...  drool 


 stirthepot 



j/k
 
747438
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Sun Apr 29, 2007 12:56 am

Quoting Aero145 (Reply 24):

Thing is David, it's a lens for grown ups  mischievous 
 
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clickhappy
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Sun Apr 29, 2007 12:58 am

I didn't now Canon made a f/2.8 100-400. Whats the price? How much does it weigh?
 
AC773
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Sun Apr 29, 2007 1:20 am

Quoting Clickhappy (Reply 26):
I didn't now Canon made a f/2.8 100-400. Whats the price? How much does it weigh?

They do! The Miami Observatory uses one, and they get some great shots with it. Aero145 might find it a bit difficult to handhold though.  Wink

Better to be nouveau than never to have been riche at all.
 
aero145
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Sun Apr 29, 2007 3:14 am

Quoting 747438 (Reply 25):
Thing is David, it's a lens for grown ups

No, that's Royal's Canon 100-400mm f/2.8L.  devil 
 
Silver1SWA
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Tue May 01, 2007 7:55 pm

Thanks guys.

Quoting Acontador (Reply 23):
Now, if you have the budget, you can always look higher in the price segment, but, for me at least, then I would go straight to the 100-400...as Royal said,

Please, read above. I really do not have much use for a lens that powerful. Most of my aviation photography will be from fairly close range, and I need something that can zoom out beyond 100mm. Right now, with my 18-55mm lens, and the borrowed 80-200mm lens, I use the 18-55mm lens for ramp and taxi shots, and the 80-200mm lens for all runway/ground-to-air activity at the airport. The 80-200mm lens is too strong...lol. I have to wait for the planes to taxi away a bit before I can get them completely in frame. It just doesn't zoom out far enough...I could use just a tad more room. I would expect the 70-200mm to help some with that situation. I know I wont have this kind of access at every airport...but SAN is where I take aviation-related pictures since I'm there 5 days a week.

I am interested in the Canon 70-200mm L lens. I can buy the base model, the 70-200mm f/4L USM for a darn attractive price. OR, I can go for one of two better versions of the lens for roughly the same price difference. My dilemma consists of...

A. Should I spend that extra money for one of the two better lenses, and

B. Which one is the better choice for that extra money.

I'm torn on whether or not I should go for image stabilizer, or the extra f-stop. If I could afford the f/2.8L IS version, I wouldn't have this dilemma. But, I cannot, and probably will not be able to afford such a lens for a long time. That would definitely push the limits of my budget.

As I sort of mentioned above, the airport will not be the only place this lens will see. From what I have read, and from images I have seen taken with the f/2.8L, that lens can do some really amazing things. At this point, I am leaning towards that lens because it can do more in other areas of photography. It sounds a bit more versatile.

Thank you all for your help. I appreciate it. I reiterated some of my previous points to hopefully steer this discussion back to finding a suitable lens choice for me, based on my personal needs. I appreciate suggestions for other lenses such as the 100-400mm, but as I already said, I'm really not interested in such powerful zoom.

[Edited 2007-05-01 12:56:49]
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
monteycarlos
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Tue May 01, 2007 8:12 pm

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 29):
As I sort of mentioned above, the airport will not be the only place this lens will see. From what I have read, and from images I have seen taken with the f/2.8L, that lens can do some really amazing things. At this point, I am leaning towards that lens because it can do more in other areas of photography. It sounds a bit more versatile.

Your problem is solved by this statement alone. Why would you EVER go with a less versatile lens if you had the option?

Take it from the amount of professional photographers using that equipment, its the better lens.
It's a beautiful night to fly like a phoenix...
 
aviopic
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RE: I Would Like Some Advice On Lens Choice.

Tue May 01, 2007 9:59 pm

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 29):
I am interested in the Canon 70-200mm L lens. I can buy the base model, the 70-200mm f/4L USM for a darn attractive price. OR, I can go for one of two better versions of the lens for roughly the same price difference. My dilemma consists of...

Borrow a Sigma 70-200/2.8 from somebody to see if it suit your needs.
New price is roughly the same as the Canon F4 version and the quality pretty much comparable to Canon's F2.8
The truth lives in one’s mind, it doesn’t really exist

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