70-200 f2.8 IS2 or 70-200 f4 IS plus a 85mm f1.8 Prime

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by av_pics, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. I have a 7D along with 15-85 f/3.5-5.6 lens and a 100mm L macro. I'm looking to add the 70-200 to my set to give me more shooting range- Indoor, I'll be mostly taking snaps of my daughter who has started to crawl. Outdoor, I'll be taking our family snaps and also Wildlife snaps - Birds in particular. I have ordered a 400mm 5.6 for my telephoto needs.
    I would like your help to decide between a 70-200 f 2.8IS(2) and 70-200 f4+ 85mm prime. I am more inclined in getting the latter since I have tried taking portraits indoor with my macro and the light still does not seem to be enough. Hence the 85mm choice. For outdoor, I hear that 70-200 f4 is a great choice. As for portraits with macro, I feel that it tends to amplify the facial hairs and scars. Please let me know your views..
  2. For me, at least, I would go with the f4 over the f2.8 due to weight. Also I would try to massage the budget to get IS.
  3. There's a lot to be said for your second approach. When you need it, you'll have as fast/shallow as f/1.8, you'll have a lighter zoom, and you'll save money.
  4. I'd get the f/4 IS zoom plus the 85/1.8 as well, mainly for weight. I shoot with a 70-200/2.8, but I shoot mainly in low light. It's a large, heavy, and expensive lens, skip it if you don't need the aperture.
  5. Thanks for the response everyone :) . I'm planning to get the 70-200 f4 IS . How's the 85 1.8f for indoor photography on a crop (7D). Will 50mm be a better choice? And one more query - How's the Bokeh of 70-400 f4 compared to the 2.8 ? I've read that 70-200 f4's IQ is real good. Anyone tried out both?
  6. I have tried taking portraits indoor with my macro and the light still does not seem to be enough. Hence the 85mm choice.
    The 100L macro is an excellent portrait lens and it has IS. The 85mm 1.8 is a very good portrait lens and does not have IS. If you are having problems with low light with the 100L I would predict you are going to have problems with the 85 1.8. I just don't see where gaining a bit over one stop with a wider aperture and loosing 1-2 stops (depends on who you ask) in IS gets you anywhere but a narrower depth of field which could be a challenge to a lot of shooters. Sounds to me you need more light, i.e. flash or strobe.
    As for portraits with macro, I feel that it tends to amplify the facial hairs and scars.

    It isn't the "macro" that is "amplifying" the detail. It is the fact it is a very good lens. This should not be a bad thing. Any very good to excellent lens is going to do this. I'd rather have all the detail I can get and soften it up in post than take a soft picture and want more.
    Will 50mm be a better choice?

    You are going to have to do some work on your own here to figure that out. No one can tell you answers that fit your needs (or your house)
    Reading between the lines and sensing your inexperience with these things I'd suggest borrowing or renting some lenses to see if they are what you need and/or want.
    The 70-200 2.8 IS II is one of the best lenses out there and I've been in situations outside where I've used it at it's limits and was gratefull I had f2.8 and IS and not a 4 (with or without IS.) In my use there is no reason to worry about weight.
    There are so many opinions and so many ways to get things done.... My best opinion is: Rent before you buy and buy used.
    Have fun.
  7. Aravind, to compare bokeh between different lenses, go to flickr.com. You can search for relevant photos with search phrases like "bokeh Canon 70-200 f/4 IS." I can't speak to the 70-200/2.8 IS II, but I do own the 70-200/4 IS and find that the bokeh is very neutral, which IMO is a good thing. It's not creamy, and neither is it harsh. I would guess the same is true of the 85/1.8, which is very similar to the 100/2, which I own. The 100/2 has a neutral bokeh.
    A lens with a neutral bokeh yields the maximum possible sharpness, as spherical aberration is optimally corrected. It is undercorrection for SA that results in the creamy background (and harsh foreground) bokeh, but that diminishes sharpness. Overcorrection for SA results in creamy foreground and harsh background bokeh, BTW -- and also diminishes sharpness.
    To determine what focal length(s) would work best for you, look back through images you've taken with your various zoom lenses (if you have them). It should be apparent from the EXIF information which focal lengths you use the most. I would suggest you narrow your analysis even further to see what focal lengths you prefer for wide-aperture shots, as presumably you'd be using the slower zooms otherwise.
    And yes, I find that my 70-200/4 IS and 100/2 both have superb IQ. However, there's much more to IQ than just the lens. Good technique is perhaps 2/3 of the equation.
    Finally, I agree with the comment above that overly sharp hairs, pores, scars, etc. are not a problem. They are the result of a good, sharp lens. You can always soften excessive detail in postprocessing, but you can never add detail that the lens is not able to capture.
  8. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "How's the 85 1.8f for indoor photography on a crop (7D). Will 50mm be a better choice?"​
    As already suggested only you can best answer that - you know your own house and you have a 15 to 85, try out a few Focal Lengths with that lens
    . . . I assume you are referring mostly to capturing your daughter inside the house? On an APS-C camera I tend to use my fast 24 or perhaps my fast 35 for that job (and my house has a few big rooms).
  9. The 85/1.8 is a great fast and compact lens. I love the length on the crop (~135 FOV), but it may be a little long for this kind of candid captures. If you do pick up the 70-200/4 and a prime, for those duties you've described, I'd say 50mm is a more usable FL than 85mm. I (personally) can't recommend the EF50/1.4 for these duties, especially as you'll have a tendency to be using it WO and near (where it's IQ is at it's worst), but I've found that the Sigma 50/1.4 gives me significantly better IQ in this region - for portraiture (candid, and otherwise) it really shines.
  10. I'm a Nikon shooter so I can't comment on the optical quality of the specific Canon lens, but I was faced with a similar choice. My primary interest is landscape, with a secondary interest in portraits. In my case the 70-200 f/4 is about half the weight of the f/2.8 ( big factor for me)-so that was my choice. I have the 85 mm f/1.8 that I find is a great head and shoulders lens. For me this has been a nice combination.
  11. Like Phil I also shoot Nikon and the 70-200 f/4 and 85 f/1.4D is an awesome combo and works quite well with a cropped sensor. The two together is less than the cost of the 70-200 f/2.8.
  12. Thanks guys for all the responses. Your help is really appreciated. I'm renting out some lenses this weekend as suggested. In India, rentals are less and hence overbooked and used lenses are hard to come buy but like you guys suggested, it'd be great if I could try these out before settling on one. Thanks!
  13. It's a good idea and I take a similar approach, although I have the Sigma 85/1.4 and the Canon 135mm on FF + 70-200 f4IS.
  14. I wouldn't necessarily get the 85/1.8 just for low light portraits. For best results you'd normally stop it down to say f/2.5, and then there is not much difference between that and the new 70-200 f/2.8, which is very good wide open. Then there is the image stabilization in the zoom which will also help a lot. The issue is more whether you are comfortable wanging around a big white zoom lens inside.
  15. Another rig to consider, realizing that either of the 70-200mm L can be a great portrait lens, is to get the EF 70-200mm f/4L IS, an EF 1.4x TC-III and an EF 25-ET and you'll have some money to spare.
    I shoot birds and wildlife, plus travel and landscape, with a bit of portrait and macro thrown in. I typically carry a two-camera rig, with my 70-200/f4L IS mounted on my 7D and my 500/f4 (with and without TCs on my 5D MkIII). I carry both the 1.4x and 2.0x TC-III and a 25-ET (extension tube) so that I can increase the reach of either lens. I can also turn either of those lenses into a macro lens with the combination of a TC (no change in minimum focus distance) and the 25-ET, which shortens MFD. The 500mm is on one shoulder and the 7D/70-200mm is slung around my neck. Hence, the lesser weight is much appreciated when lugging the whole thing through wetlands and woods.
    Here's a bee shot with my 7D, EF 70-200mm f/4L IS, EF 1.4x TC and EF 25-ET, hand held. You can see the sharpness, contrast and bokeh all in this one shot:
    BTW, a macro lens is not going to emphasis facial hair unless you move right in and shoot up the nose, which you can do, but that's not the point in using it for portrait. It will not de-emphasize, but you can do that in post, if you like. A large aperture will shorten DOF, just like with any other lens. It's simply has a shorter MFD, that you will not use for portrait.
    BTW, I carry my rig, either on-camera or in vest pockets, so that I'm ready for almost anything. In addition to the gear mentioned, I've got an EF 15mm f/2.8 fish-eye and an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS in the vest.

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