70-200mm f/4.0 L vs 70-200mm f/4.0 L

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by chien_chiang, Jun 1, 2009.

  1. Hi, I just recently purchased a Canon Rebel Xsi which comes with a kit lens which is ok, but not great. I was looking for a decent zoom lens as my first lens purchase, but am not sure which lens between the two I referenced was better suited for me.
    I do mostly action, nature, and macro photography, 80% outdoors/20% indoors.
    Which lens is better suited? Canon 70-200mm f/4.0 L or Canon 70-200mm f/4.0 L?
  2. Canon 70-200mm f/4.0 L or Canon 70-200mm f/4.0 L​
  3. Go with the 70-200 f/4.
  4. Go with the 70-200 f/4.​
    I disagree, go with the 70-200f/4
  5. Both are fantastic, but I lean towards the 70-200 f/4.0 L
  6. I think either one would be great!
  7. I would not recommend either of them.
    If you want a really great lens, just get the Canon 70-200mm f/4.0 L.
  8. No, no... it's the EF 70-200/4 L that you want. Don't accept anything less.
  9. 70-200mm f/4.0 L vs 70-200mm f/4.0 L​
    Boy, that's one of the toughest questions I've seen here in recent memory. I checked some reviews and test, and it turns out that the results are mixed. Some of the tests are very positive for the 70-200mm f/4.0 L, but when I went to other sites reviewing the 70-200mm f/4.0 L those were really positive, too.
    I compared some lens tests - there are a number of sites on the web that provide these - and, wow, the results here are hard to figure out, too. The tests on the 70-200mm f/4.0 L really look great, but when I search on the 70-200mm f/4.0 L I find that it tests about the same.
    In a way it comes down to what you are looking for in a lens - which is often a question of what and how you shoot. For example, if you shoot outdoor sports where you'll typically shoot at smaller apertures than f/4 and where IS won't provide much value the 70-200mm f/4.0 L is probably your best bet. On the other hand, if you are a landscape photograph who shoots from the tripod at apertures smaller than f/4 the 70-200mm f/4.0 L could be the right choice.
    This is tough. Usually I can come up with a good reason to recommend one or the other, but here the choice is much more complex. In the end I think you'll need to do some research, think carefully about your specific shooting needs and decide for yourself whether the 70-200mm f/4.0 L or the 70-200mm f/4.0 L will be best for you.
    Good luck!
  10. It appears that this is Chien Chiang's very first posting on Photo.net. I hope Conan O'Brien doesn't start out this way tonight on the Tonight Show. :p
  11. If you read the label, the 70-200 f4.0L does not support outdoor photography; not without an extension tube anyway.
  12. For the sake of representing the member that always gives a recommendation not asked for, i will say you should get:
    The Sigma 70-200 f2.8 if you need AF speed.
    The Tokina 70-200 f2.8 is you want superb optical performance.
    Or the other canon 70-200 f4 L that you didn't mention!
  13. Looks like an unfair comparison to me. Really an apples to oranges type of deal.
  14. Chein, Canon makes four 70-200 lenses.
    • 70-200 F2.8
    • 70-200 F2.8 IS
    • 70-200 F4
    • 70-200 F4 IS
    All are regarded as having very good optics and excellent build quality. There is very little difference between them other than maximum aperture, weight, and IS (Image Stabilization). If you don't want a heavy lens, get the F4 version. The F2.8 version is heavier but opens one stop further allowing a one stop faster shutter speed and reduced depth of field. The F2.8 version costs more than the F4 version. The IS versions cost more than the equivalent none IS version. If you want to take pictures of sporting events late in the day with low light levels the F2.8 is a better choice. For landscape, nature, or sports during mid day, the F4 is a better choice.
    The IS versions have a sensors inside that can detect vibration when the camera is hand held. The IS system then moves some of the lens elements to cancel out this vibration allowing you to hand hold the lens at a lower shutter speed that a lens without it. Without IS at 200mm you generally need a shutter speed of at least 1/320 second to get a clear picture when hand holding the camera. With IS you can get a clear shot at about 1/80 of second shutter speed. Get the IS version if you can. It is worth it in my opinion.
    None of the 70-200 Canon lenses have true macro capabilities. For macro work with these lenses you need extension tubes and or a close up attachment lens. My preferences is for extension tubes. Extension tubes don't have any lenses in them therefore they don't degrade the optics of the lens.
    I have the 70-200 F4 IS lens and it is one of my favorite lenses. I do mainly landscape and nature work. I would also recommend that you use the Photo.net search function (in the upper right corner of the screen) and type in 70-200. This question comes up about once a week and the search function would find a lot of information for you to look at.
  15. stp


    Steven F., thanks -- I know Chien Chiang will be helped by the kind and complete response you provided.
  16. stp


    Omitted repeat (although it probably warrants a repeat).
  17. I have not got either lens so should not comment but have heard of variants within, we need these enlightning threads now and again, chien what is your budget as there is not much $ diference with these lenses ? ;-]
  18. Hmm.. between "a" and "a" I would choose "b". Get 2 or 3 primes, one macro and happy shooting!
  19. Poor Chien Chiang ..............where are you my friend. I have a question for you. My question is about your camera. Why did you choose Canon Rebel Xsi over Canon Rebel Xsi? If you answer this question correctly, then you will find out which lens is better for you. By the way, I would rather have Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L with IS than Canon 70-200mm f/4.0 L or Canon 70-200mm f/4.0 L.
  20. @Dan,
    I'm not even a Canon guy, and you had me pissing myself lauging... LMAO.
  21. Sorry Chien, the boys are having a little fun, this photography business can get a bit too serious so we all need this every now and then. Steven F. offers good advice. Whichever of these lenses you purchase you can't go wrong, I think the F4LIS is the way to go. Good luck
  22. What about the Nikkor 70-210 f4 with eos adapter.
  23. I have the 70-200 f/4 L and as much as I like it, I often wish I'd have gotten the 70-200 f/4 L. Typical buyers remorse, the guy in the store told me the one I got was worth the extra $$, and me being pretty insecure in my decision making, decided to go with his recommendation. I'd probably prefer the reach the 70-200 would've given me but I'm stuck with the one I got now...
    Say, anyone got any preferences on the 100-400 f/4-5.6 L versus the 100-400 f/4-5.6 L? Figured we could cover it in this thread instead of starting a new one :)
  24. i have the 70-200 f/4 L and i love the lens. its smaller size compared to the other 3 variants is a great feature and it is the cheapest of the 4 variants if budget is an issue. having no IS has not been much of an issue for me since i try to shoot with a tripod whenever i can. if you do mostly daytime outdoor shots, then it is even less of an issue. it's a great first "L" lens for anyone.
  25. I'm certainly gonna check my posts twice from now on with you guys around... :>}
  26. This thread was akin to going to a foreign country and observing another loud mouth, arrogant American standing 10 feet away from me, making an ass of himself.
  27. Guys, I really hope you do not get that kind of answers next time you post a question here. OK having some fun, but try to make fun of those you know and have been on this forum a while, and not of newbies. That kind of response can for sure turn many newbies away from the forum.
  28. Best post I have seen in a while, get the f4 IS.
  29. I had my fun earlier - so now I'll post my own experience with the 70-200mm f/4.0 L. (Or is it the 70-200mm f/4.0 L... let me check... sorry... ;-)
    I've had the non-IS version of the EF 70-200mm f/4 L for a number of years and I have used in on cameras ranging from the Digital Rebel XT to the 5DII. I also use several longer and shorter L zooms and several non-L primes.
    You asked specifically about action, nature, and macro photography so I'll focus on those.
    By "action" photography, I'm assuming that you mean something like sports. I'll assume that you know that the 70-200mm range would be right for whatever sport(s) you cover so I won't get into that question. What about the suitability of this lens for sports aside from that? If you shoot action sports you will, in almost all cases, shoot at a high enough shutter speed that the lack of image-stabilization (e.g. - "IS") won't be an issue. If you shoot in good to OK light the f/4 aperture will likely be fine as well. There can be some advantages to having a larger f/2.8 aperture available even in those conditions, but there can also be some disadvantages including the price and bulk/weight of the lens. On the other hand, if you shoot indoor sports where you cannot or prefer not to use flash, the f/4 aperture might well be a liability. You obviously pick up a bit more leeway by going with the f/2.8 (possibly non-IS) version of this lens... but an alternative that may be even more interesting would be to get one or two large aperture prime telephotos.
    "Nature" could mean a variety of things and it encompasses a variety of shooting methods. If "nature" to you implies "landscape" and you shoot from a tripod, the non-IS version of the 70-200mm lens is an outstanding choice on virtually all counts. As with all four of the EF 70-200mm zooms, image quality is outstanding for a zoom and very competitive with a number of alternative primes. If you work from a tripod the IS feature is far less critical. If you tend to travel on foot when you shoot nature - as I do - you'll appreciate the fact that you get all of this optical quality and versatility in a smaller and lighter package than the f/2.8 zoom.
    If "nature" means "wildlife" to you, things get a bit more complicated: what types of wildlife (big/small, scary/benign, moving fast or static?), shooting from a tripod or handheld? lighting? The 70-200mm range, even on a crop sensor camera, is likely to fall a bit short for many bird photographs, for example, while it could work well for photographing large but generally-non threatening animals like deer. However, if you shoot slow moving beasties (as opposed to, say, birds in flight) having IS could be valuable for you.
    A 70-200mm zoom would not typically be your first choice for "macro" photography, but there are some macro-like uses where it excels. I often use this lens for photographing wildflowers since I can use the long focal length to isolate the flower from the background when shooting at f/4 and because I can shoot from a bit further back - often an advantage when shooting from the tripod.
  30. I think we scared him away :-(
    Happy shooting,
  31. I've got them both. Trust me, you can't go wrong, although I personally prefer the 70-200 f/2.8 IS.
    Then again, you might want to look at the 70-200 f/2.8 IS.
    All four are nice lenses, in any case.
    Don't listen to these other guys. They're just razzing you.
  32. If you will be handholding this lens, get the IS version. Otherwise save your money.
  33. I thought this was going to be another pointles "which lens should I buy" thread but it turned out to be quite entertaining. Thanks!
  34. Hey, I knew that question would get a lot of responses, but wow, I didn't expect this much attention.
    Now that we got some people interested, the real question was between a 70-300F4.5-5.6 IS and a 70-200 F4L.
  35. A masterful, brilliant strategy! Get everyone's attention, then pop the real question when we're all done snickering. Leads me to think that perhaps you may not be the novice at forum posting that you appeared to be....
    Okay seriously though. Obviously the latter will give sharper photos. To what extent, I don't know. Aren't there a variety of reviews of both of these lenses floating around the internet? If you are truly interested in the longer range of the 70-300, might I suggest the 100-400 instead? The one downside I can think of with this lens is that it is a push-pull zoom.
  36. [T]he real question was between a 70-300F4.5-5.6 IS and a 70-200 F4L.
    Ohhhhhh. I'm glad we got that straightened out.
    The 70-300 f/4.5-5.6L IS is not, in my opinion, a very good lens. I sold mine quickly.
    There is, however, a DO version of it that costs about twice as much that is reputed to be quite good.
    Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS

    Google it for reviews.
    Here is Castleman's review:
  37. Note the following from Castleman's conclusion:
    The Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM is a compact, very fast-focusing zoom telephoto lens that provides generally excellent imaging function including excellent image stabilization at a high price. It is a weak performer at 300mm. It generally provides noticeably better performance than the cheaper consumer 75-300mm lens.
    If you don't expect to go beyond 200mm very often, I really do recommend the 70-200 f/2.8 IS. It has been a real workhorse for me. Unfortunately, it is a rather expensive lens. Please Google it as well. A lot of people use and love that lens. (There is a non-IS version of it, but I have never used it.)

  38. Best bang for the buck is the Canon EF 70-200mm f4L, however, if you like the the crutches effect IS gives you then spend double the money for the same sharpness in the IS version.
    I don't like the 70-300F4.5-5.6 IS
  39. Check out the table of comparisons at this link:
    Only you can decide if IS is worth it for you. It is for me at events such as plays or concerts, where a tripod is just not an option.
  40. The DO version looks to be a much better lens, but is also more expensive. I was looking for something in the $600-$800 range which limits me to either the 70-300 f/4.5-5.6L IS and the 70-200 F4.
    From everyone's informative comments I think the 70-200 is a better product.
  41. It has to be better than the 70-300 f/4.5-5.6L IS (non-DO version), which I could not recommend to anyone.
    The Canon EF 70-200mm f4L is reputed to be very crisp.
  42. The OP seems to be a master in marketing - in a flash we know him - after the first post! ;)
  43. I would get the Canon 100mm f/2 Macro prime lens instead. It fits your needs more closely than a zoom.
  44. Given your budget, I'd get the 70-200mm f4. I have it and love it. Add a 1.4x tele-extender when you can afford it - costs you one f-stop but extends your reach. I use this combination all the time for day-time kid sports - mostly soccer and baseball. I've heard that 100-400mm is also quite sharp except near 400mm, but I've never used it. I doubt the utility of the 100mm f/2 prime for outdoor sports, although it'd be great for gymnastics or basketball.
  45. Now that the Photo.net games have come to a close at 4:46 p.m., and if you would have conducted a quick search on the two lenses, you would have come up with this May 17, 2009 posting > http://www.photo.net/canon-eos-digital-camera-forum/00TNfi.
  46. I don't own any of the 70-300 so I cannot comment on them. I do own the 100-400 and haven't noticed any softness issues at 400mm. The photo bellow is cropped image from the 100-400 at 400mm, F7.1, hand held. I think the shutter was about 1/600 sec. The 100-400 is also a good lens however it is weighs conciederably more than the 70-200F4 and is well out of his budget.
  47. I have the 70-200 f4 and the 100-400 as well. Love both of them beyond almost all my other lenses. The 100-400 is fine at 400 with f8-11ish. The 300 isn't really long enough to be worth sacrificing quality at the higher end (if it does, I know know), whereas with the 200 you know it's a fantastic lens.
  48. Sorry for posting a tiff. Here is the JPEG.
  49. I had both and if I were to buy one again it will surely be the 70-300 IS. Reason is simple: I find IS to be extremely important in tele, and especially in a slow tele. It is (IMHO of course) much more important than better AF and BQ.
    BTW, I found IQ to be indistinguishable between the two.
    Happy shooting,
  50. It has to be better than the 70-300 f/4.5-5.6L IS (non-DO version), which I could not recommend to anyone.​
    Are you sure you're not talking about 75-300 IS..?
  51. I had both. The 70-200 f/4L is optically fantastic, but when used w/o tripod the lack of image stabilisation can be an issue. The 70-300 IS is not quite as sharp as the 70-200 between 70 and 200 mm, but the difference is not worlds apart. It has a slight performance drop at the long end - but the 70-200 doesn't yet offer this focal length. Mechanically the 70-200 f/4L is much much better (autocfocus too). But what about usefulness ?
    Wildlife: Often no tripod - IS plus 300mm is a clear advantage over the 200mm but it often can't be long enough.
    Sports: The 70-300 has only f 5.6 at 200mm. A clear one stop plus for the 70-200 f4/L. The shorter exposure brings here more than IS. Wich focal length/range is adequate depends on the type of sports.
    Landscape detail: If you're hiking in the mountains without tripod IS will be an advantage. In all other situations landscapes are better shot from a tripod. Slight advantage in terms of image quality for the 70-200 then.
    Macro: Both lenses are of limited use. When used to isolate flowers etc. the 70-200 has a nicer background blur.
    Indoor: Forget both.
  52. The 70-300 has only f 5.6 at 200mm.​
    IIRC it is f/5.0 and not f/5.6.
    Happy shooting,
  53. I've tried them both and ended up purchasing the 70-300 IS because I found myself using beyond 200 mm all the time. IMO, the image quality of the 70-300 IS, is great (on my 40D). If you have an option to rent these lenses, I strongly recommend doing so. I guess, if you know you're not often shooting beyond 200, you may as well go with the 70-200 (but get the IS).
  54. I have the 70-200 f2.8L-IS and I absolutely love it. It works very well with the Canon 1.4X and 2.0X tele-converters in full IS mode. It's a bit on the pricey side but I have found the investment well worth it. It tends to go on sale through some of the Internet-based retailers (Amazon.com, Adorama, B&H, J&M, and a few others) right around Christmastime. So, if you can wait, you'll get a bit of a better deal.
    Also, Canon tends to offer some rebates on this lens every now and again, sometimes right around Christmastime, too. That way you can maximize your value. However, some of those same dealers simply advertise the lower price with a buried disclaimer that says "price includes instant rebate" but their prices are exactly the same as they would be in the absence of the rebate. That way the dealers try to maximize their profit and screw the unsuspecting online shopper.
  55. bs


    You can also take a look at non-Canon options. The Sigma 70-200/2.8 DG EX version (or whatever alphabet soup follows its name) seems to offer nice price/performance option if you can live without IS.
    I use the Canon 70-200/4 non-IS version as it's lightweight and a great performer, but I've been thinking about trying the Sigma for the extra stop.
    Good luck with whatever you choose.
  56. 70-200mm f4 used on eBay and elsewhere fits into your price range. Get it, don't even bother with the 70-300mm.
  57. The 70-200 f4 is an outstanding lens and the 70-300 is not even in the same league. The 70-200 f4 L is one of my favorite long lenses, I wish Nikon made one.
  58. I was curious so I looked on Ebay for used 70-200mm f4 and found about a zillion of them. Why is that if they are so great? BTW-didn't see any 70-200mm f4 IS, alot of 70-200mm 2.8 though......
  59. The IS version has only been around for a couple of years and the non IS version alot longer. I suspect people want IS. I have the non IS version and think it is fantastic.
  60. I have a 70-200L f/4 non-IS for sale....give me a shout.
  61. I was curious so I looked on Ebay for used 70-200mm f4 and found about a zillion of them. Why is that if they are so great? BTW-didn't see any 70-200mm f4 IS, alot of 70-200mm 2.8 though......​
    Because a) the lens has been around for quite a while, b) lots of people purchase this lens as their "first L", and c) a fair number of them eventually find reasons to get the f/2.8 IS version.
    Notice that d) is not that "this is a really poor lens that lots of people want to unload as soon as they get it. ;-)
  62. I have owned both the Canon 70-300 4-5.6 IS and the Canon 70-200 f4 L. It is a difficult decision as they are both very good lenses and which is better for you depends on your kind of photography.
    - If you want best sharpness - go for the 70-200 f4L
    - if you want better colour and conttrast - 70-200 L
    - if you want smaller size - 70-300 f4-5.6
    - if you need mage stabilisation - 70-300 IS OR if you can affoord it 70-200 f4 IS
    - if you don;t like white lenses - 70-300
    Tricky decision - and good for you for not being fazed by the jokes.:)
  63. I have the 70-200/4 non-IS and it is a great lens. I probably would have purchased the 70-300 IS lens or the 70-200/4 IS had either been available since I agree that IS is invaluable in a telephoto lens. I tried the 70-200/2.8 IS but found it heavier than I was comfortable with (and I have a selection of fast primes for portraiture).
    You don't say what you want to photograph. If you want to photograph rapidly moving subjects then the 70-200/4 has faster autofocus. I will eventually replace my 70-200 with the IS version. IS really is invaluable.
    Optically the 70-200/4 is very slightly better but both a very decent. You can add an extender to the 70-200/4L to get of the extra reach of the 70-300 without giving up much sharpness (especially on your crop factor camera) but AF speed suffers markedly.
    I guess I would lean towards the 70-300 IS unless you need AF speed. For most people the extra reach and IS outweighs the slight edge in sharpness, faster AF, and better sealing of the 70-200/4.
    The 70-200/4 is almost as light as the 70-300 IS but it is no where near as compact. The 70-200/4 is 172mm long while the 70-300 IS is only 143mm long. Thus the 70-300 is easier to pack and that is before you consider the huge hood of th 70-200.
  64. My wife has the 70-200L Non IS. It is a fantastic lens, and relatively inexpensive, but needs a tripod (monopod didn't help as much as we thought) when the light starts to fade. As someone said above, you can get a faster version (f/2.8) with and without IS, or the f/4 version with and without IS.
    The only thing to decide now is how much weight, size and money do you want to contend with? Have fun shopping.
  65. since you are 80% outdoors.. I would suggest the 70-200mm F4. NON IS since most outdoor days have enough light.
    amazon has good prices on them. I believe $560 new shipped.. free 2 day if you have prime =)

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