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Image Stabilization or not?

Posted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:07 pm
by flightuk
I am considering getting back into aviation photography. I need to completely refresh my kit and looking at a new camera and lens. Camera Canon 6D Mark II and a 70 - 200mm F4 L USM. Both of these choices are purely down to budget, 6D cheapest new full-frame, and 70 - 200 F4 L USM cheapest new decent L series lens.
I am considering buying the IS version of this lens but not sure how good it will be, I say this because I will be typically shooting in good light conditions where a fast shutter speed can be achieved. I am also not so sure how effective IS lenses work when panning.
Lots have people have also told me to get the F2.8 version of this lens as it is better, however, I can't ever remember shooting aircraft at F2.8. Does anyone have a steer for me?

Re: Image Stabilization or not?

Posted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:47 pm
by airkas1
The only time I shoot at 2.8 is when it's completely dark outside. If you don't intend on shooting in such conditions, I don't think it will make a big difference compared to the F4 version (I have a 16yo 70-200 F4 and it still produces amazing quality).

IS is nice to have, but if you have steady hands and indeed only shoot in good light conditions, you could very likely do without as well. If you intend to do panning photos, it would help, but ultimately that's a budget vs practability decision.

Re: Image Stabilization or not?

Posted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:57 pm
by flightuk
Many thanks for the reply, you have confirmed my suspicions........

Re: Image Stabilization or not?

Posted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:43 pm
by vikkyvik
flightuk wrote:
Lots have people have also told me to get the F2.8 version of this lens as it is better,


It might be better for low-light applications and such, but it's honestly hard to imagine any telephoto lens being sharper than my 70-200 F4 L. Especially for the relatively low price.

So if that's the range you require (70-200 mm), and you don't have a pressing need for F2.8, then I'd go with the F4.

Based on your requirements, sounds like IS isn't necessary. If you'll be shooting at around 1/200 or faster, I'm sure you'll be fine.

Re: Image Stabilization or not?

Posted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:23 am
by flightuk
Many thanks for the reply, I think for my requirements the F4 non IS is the way to go. It's easy to get caught up in all the marketing speel and end up buying kit that isn't necessary

Re: Image Stabilization or not?

Posted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:06 pm
by JakTrax
I own the original 70-200 f/4 L (non-IS) and for the money there's nothing else like it (including outside the Canon world). I also own the new 70-200 f/4 L IS II, which is slightly sharper and has noticeably better AF, but it's nearly three times the price. The newer version does, however, mean that the original IS version is now available at a lower price. I've never used the original f/4 IS but it is apparently a hair sharper than the non-IS.

There's a lot of talk about the latest iteration of the f/2.8 being sharper but realistically that'll only be at f/4, where the 2.8 is already being stopped down. If you don't need the benefits of f/2.8 (shallower DOF, low-light performance) it's absolutely pointless spending the extra cash.

By the way, there's no real marketing spiel going on — it basically boils down to whether or not you want/need IS and how much you're willing to pay for it. Is it better to have it? Of course. But it's not a necessity.

Re: Image Stabilization or not?

Posted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 4:21 pm
by Bostrom
flightuk wrote:
Lots have people have also told me to get the F2.8 version of this lens as it is better, however, I can't ever remember shooting aircraft at F2.8. Does anyone have a steer for me?


I don't know where you plan on shooting, but if it involves a bit of walking the f/2.8 has the disadvantage of being 700 g heavier than the f/4.

Regarding IS, I agree with the others in the thread. It's nice to have, but in good light conditions it might not be worth paying for.

Re: Image Stabilization or not?

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:01 pm
by cpd
IS lenses are helpful for panning, and the F2.8 great for photos taken in the dark, you can use lower ISO and get a cleaner image with still reasonable shutter speeds.

I used to love using F2.8 and ISO1600.

They are heavier lenses though. If you won’t do any photos at night of moving planes, then it might not be necessary.

Re: Image Stabilization or not?

Posted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:42 pm
by Starfuryt
I have a nikkor 70-200 f2.8, the 2nd one, not the latest. I usually don't shoot faster than F7.1 or F8. That being said my 70-200 produces noticeably sharper photos at F8 and 200mm than my 200-500 F5.6 at the same settings. Perhaps I also don't have a great copy of the 200-500. The vast majority of my photos are taken with the 200-500 however and the quality is just fine after scaling down to 1500px.