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.
- 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
.8 + 1.4TC: $1099
70-300 F4-5.6L IS
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.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".