70-200 IS or NON IS?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by valo_soul, May 15, 2006.

  1. Hi guys. Yet another lens question... I know. I own a Rebel XT and
    am seriously debating between the 70-200 IS and the 70-200 non IS L
    series lenses. I mainly want this lens to do portraits with a choice
    of varying bokeh and the ability to shoot in low-light. It sounds
    phenomenal from what I hear and the zoom range is perfect. Will I
    need the IS though? I mean, portraits are basically always shot with
    a tripod and I have a Manfrotto 190PROB. I can understand indoor
    sports shooting and such where you might be shooting handheld and
    the IS would help. I will also use the lens for isolating some
    scenary shots and things to that nature. Is there any difference
    whatsoever in the image quality between the two, or the construction
    or lens elements? Thanks in advance, you guys are always a great
  2. This question and its variations are asked very frequently and previous discussions can be found in the archives. Here's a very brief bit of info.
    The word is that the non-IS version is slightly sharper. I wouldn't know; I've never used it. I can say that my IS version is a very sharp lens, easily sharper than any other zoom I've used (the 17-40/4L USM is my second-sharpest zoom), and it's pretty darn close to my 50/1.4 USM. That's on a 20D. Perhaps a 1Ds II would show the 70-200's limits, but I don't have one and don't ever expect to.
    For your primary use, IS will do nothing for you. If your scenic shots are done on a tripod, you don't need IS there, either; if you prefer to use a monopod or shoot handheld (and I vastly prefer either one to using a tripod), IS is amazingly useful.
  3. Get the IS, if you can't afford it now...then save up longer and wait for it, the Image Stabilizer is amazing and worth every single peny, go try it out at the local store and compare it to the non-IS, shoot something in 150~200mm range and be ready see the IS do its magic when you half press the shutter. I bought my 70-200 IS mostly for portraiture, and love it!

    Check out my 70-200 IS gallery, all taken handheld!
  4. James, I traded my non IS for the IS version and have no regrets at all.
    I appreciate your saying with a tripod there will be no difference but the IS version does
    open up more possibilities should the need occur or your shooting style changes.

    Take Care, Pete
  5. For portraits taken from a tripod, then the IS is not needed, and besides, the non-IS version of that lens is a tad sharper anyways. Both lenses have same contrast, and color rendition, which is excellent.

    What sensor size you using?

    If you're doing mostly portraits, why whould you get a zoom?

    Better and cheaper to get primes (assuming full frame):

    50mm For Body.

    85mm for Head.
  6. Ben Jamin, why would you suggest he get the IS version if he wrote that he shoots mostly portraits AND uses a tripod?!?
  7. The image quality of the non-IS is significantly better, especially at the 200mm end.

    Check out: http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/index.html
    for a detailed review of the lenses.

    But if you're mainly doing portraits in a studio setting, why not get a dedicated portrait lens, such as the 85 f 1.2 or 1.8, which provide better optical quality at less money?

    And don't think that you'll never want to hand hold for portraits, as some unique angles or moments can't be captured tethered to a tripod. Though you still won't need IS if you are using strobes; but you will if you do any outdoor handheld portraits.

    Good luck. Mike
  8. By the way, if you're looking for a lens to do ONLY portraiture on a tripod, and have no intention to handhold or use it for anything else, then save yourself a bunch of money by getting the 85mm F1.8 along with the 50mm F1.4 instead, if money is no issue then get the new 85mm 1.2L II, they're the very best portraiture lens Canon ever made.
  9. Dan,

    He said "mostly", but NOT solely or all. which mean he will be using it for something else, see my above replies.
  10. Wow thanks for the quick responses, everyone. Dan, like I said I'm using a Rebel XT so it's a 1.6x sensor, not full frame. I'll have to look more into the prime lenses. I've just always been kind of fixated on zooms because of the versatility I can have. There's just more choice with the one lens. Is the image quality VERY noticeably sharper/better with the L series primes as compared to the zoom 70-200 L?
  11. Perhaps I should state, to give more of an idea. I would like to do some wedding photography. The portraits of course, as well as indoor shooting at the ceremonies and receptions. I think I will be using this lens in harmony with the 16-35 f2.8L.
  12. I wanted the 2.8 IS of the 70-200. However I screwed up and ordered the non I.S. version (by my own mistake) and only regretted that decision perhaps for just a week. The past 15 months with the non-I.S. 70-200 2.8L has been absolutely regret-free and very fun. It is the sharpest lens in my bag of three 2.8L zooms.
  13. I don't think the quality of the non-IS would be considered SIGNIFICANTLY better. Marginally at best. I tried all flavors of the 70-200 as well as the 200 f2.8 and ended up with the IS version. Reasons are becuase of the flexibility. It is my only long lens. The difference b/w f4 and f2.8 is definitely noticable in bokeh and low light use. The 200 2.8 was a beauty and light but at 200mm, I found it harder to frame properly than shorter primes. The 70-200 f2.8 was a great lens and actually a wee bit smaller than the IS version but they were so close and the IS was so good... it was definitely worth the extra money to me.

    Good luck.

  14. Hi,

    I owned the 70-200 f2.8 (non-IS) for 2 years, recently I switched to the IS version, and I have to say I dont regret it. If you going to do any shooting in dim light, you will not regret it.

    If I could do it again, I would have waited and get the IS in the first place. Still no big regrets as the non-IS version is a very good too.

    I guess it just boils down to what is your subject going to be. If you shoot sports IS wont help you much (IS does not help you freeze motion - hence save money and get the non-IS), but if you just need a great all around 70-200 that helps with lower shutter speeds, you will be very happy with the IS.

    For me its a no-brainer, I would go for the IS.

  15. 70-200 IS will serve you very well, since you said you'll be shooting ceremonies and receptions, then by all mean get the 50 f1.8 too...it's only 79 bucks, it WILL come in VERY handy in low light condition when needed. I don't know if you do this for a living or hobby, if "I" was doing this for a living then I would get all primes, the 35 F1.4L to cover the low end such as group shot, 50 F1.4 for midrange, and either 85 F1.2L II or 135 F2L to cover the longer range, like candid or head and shoulder shot, yup...that's exactly what I would do ;-)
  16. Q: Lens Elements? A: Answer

    70~200 2.8L has 18 Elements in 15 Groups.

    70~200 2.8L IS has 23 Elements in 18 Groups. Plus and 8-blade circular aperture, for stated, "More pleasing back ground blur."

    Q: Image Quality? A: More elements that light has to pass through. Could introduce more distortion that needs to be corrected for.

    A lens for primaily portraits, you'd be better off with an EF 85 1.8 or 85 1.2L II
  17. For weddings...get the IS version. There are too many times at a ceremony or a reception that you cannot use a tripod/monopod/etc.

    But in your original post...I think you have it all backwards. For sports and action stopping shutter speeds, I do not use IS. For portraiture and low-light settings, I have IS on.
  18. Ken, I don't know about you, but I most often cannot hold the non-IS 70-200L with required steadiness...I had the non-IS, but after a few months replaced it with the IS version...I hated totting around a tripod, especially at focal length 200.

    The IS version allows for lower ISO settings, and faster apertures when hand holding, which in my case was worth the extra $$.

    Funny thing however, I use my 200L prime much more then my zoom, so my situation is paradoxal...I prefer IS yet I use the 200L much more then my 70-200L...go figure.

    Which lead me to start a thread on why I should keep my zooms when I only use my primes....now I digress...
  19. Hmmm.. so now perhaps I should be seriously considering primes instead. Long story short; 2 or 3 good primes = smarter choice for better all-around images?
  20. les


    James, do not stress to much over it. Get the IS, it is worth it. If you come to the conclusion that the image quality is not sufficient for you - you can always sell the IS version with little loss and try some primes. Not that the difference would be enormous - but who knows, maybe it would make you happier.
  21. James, everyone has a different opinion based on their own experience and useages. The best way is to just rent the IS lens to see how you like it. In my area it rents for $25/day which is pretty reasonable for a $1600 lens.

    As for primes, they are usually sharper/contraster than zooms since they have fewer elements. As such, I only use primes when shooting portraits on a tripod in a studio, since I have plenty of time. But when I'm in a hurry and I'm handholding, I reach for a zoom, especially for one with IS since it gives me 2-3 more stops, which I always need when I do weddings since I find flash offensive during the actual ceremony. But that's just my style, everyone's different.

  22. I have several primes, 85mm, 135 and 200, none of which have IS. So when using them I need a monopod. That's OK most of the time but there are times when it would be nice to just carry a camera. So I got the 70-200 IS and I'm happy with it.

    So I'd suggest that if you want to hand-hold, get the IS. If you can go with a monopod or tripod, get the less expensive lens.
  23. Oh dear how did photographers get all those lovely sharp handheld pics from their 70-200 2.8s before IS/ VR was invented?

    If you have good technique, steady hands and access to a monopod when light levels drop, then you can save a fair bit of loot by getting the non IS version.

    If you have the delerium tremens and associated bad hand shakes and blurred vision, or if price is not a problem, then IS, AF and green mode will make you a master photographer (NOT)

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