Canon 24-70/2.8L vs 70-200/2.8L Lens

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by roger_k, Jun 16, 2004.

  1. Canon 24-70/2.8L vs 70-200/2.8L Lens
    Besides the focal lenght of both, are there any disadvantages
    compared to each other. I already have the 28-135/3.5-5.6 USM IS and
    70-300/4.0-5.6 USM IS. I finally saved up enough money to get
    a "Pro" lens. Since i have the consumer grade lenses at both focal
    lengths, I was trying to contemplate which lens Canon 24-70/2.8L vs
    70-200/2.8L would be a better buy. I know they are both very good,
    but are there any disadvantages compared to each other. Not
    considering focal length? Which would you buy?
  2. They are both "L" and you can not simply compare them both cause they are for different purpose type of shooting. one is Wide angle to normal zoom and the other is telephoto zoom. What is your bigger needs? wide angle coverage or telephoto?.
  3. Well I have a Canon 10D so I fall into the 1.6 multiplier category. I find myself mostly shooting people. Not too much landscape. I like doing portraits and candid shots without people knowing I'm there. I was kinda disappointed with the other 2 lenses. I thought it would have been sharper. I would consider a prime, but I shyed away from the 85mm/1.2L prime because it would become about 135mm. I have a 50mm\1.8 and it's a fun/sharp lens, but I find myself moving far back and in awakard positions if I want to get pictures of a large area. That's why I want to get a zoom. My purpose is mostly portraits, people street photography, wedding, parties ..etc. BTW, I know this doesn't count, but the 70-200L lens has the professional white look. ooooooooohhhhh, wish the 24-70 did..
  4. Roger,

    White look finishing on the lens doesn't make your picture any better does it? for your needs I'd say go with 70-200. I talso just bought the same lens but IS version, actually I own 10D too and also own the 135/2 and 200/2.8 primes but I'd give this 70-200 beast a try.If I don't like it I'll sell it but if I do, I'll sell the 200/2.8 instead since I don't have to buy 85 focal length range to complete my need which is portrait also.
  5. From what you describe, if 50mm is too long, forget the 70-200mm on the 10D. 24-70mm is good but not wide enough. I'd get the 17-40mm f/4L which would effectively be a 27-64mm - best IMO for what you describe.

  6. I'd go for the 24-70 f/2.8 L if you really want one of those two as you've got a decent IS-telezoom for tight people pictures and it's lightweight. Carrying a 70-200 f/2.8 L is hardly inconspicuous, and is much heavier than your current telezoom. You get very shallow depth of field at longer focal lengths anyway, and could use the 24-70 at the long end wide open for portraits. And personally I much prefer the 24-70 the way it is - in black. The lab grey colour of the telezoom, its size and so on attract too much attention in any case. I'm in a similar position (although upgrading from Sigma f/2.8s to Canon L-equivalents) but think I'll go for the 70-300 IS DO next. No, I don't mind the green ring either.
  7. If you find the 50/1.8 a bit long, then the 17-40/4L is a DEFINATE candidate. PLUS, it expands the coverage of your other lenses.

    Another lens to consider is the 70-200/4L. Lighter than the 2.8. Cheaper. White. No IS.

    In fact, the 17-40/4L and 70-200/4L TOGETHER is cheaper than the 24-70/2.8L. A killer combo with the 50/1.8.
  8. I shoot people for the majority of work. I own both the 24-70L and the 70-200L is. They both have their place, and both are excellent for quality of pictures.

    In general (my own experience) the 24-70 will get 3x the use of the 70-200. I use it on a 1D mk2 (1.3 crop), a 10D and a 300d (I prefer the shots from the 1.6 factor with this lens).

    The only real problem I see is an occasional miss with the focus when compared to the 70-200 (which almost never misses).

    IMHO, for the body you use, the 24-70 will be more used.

  9. Ah, I was typing too quick.

    Yes, the 24-70/2.8 is a great lens. Also, a very good focal range. In my case, I found doubling the cost to go from 4.0 to 2.8 aperture unattractive.

    Unfortunately, while canon makes 2.8L and 4.0L versions of wide zooms (ie, the 17-40/4L and 16-35/2.8L) and telephotos (the 70-200's), they do not make a 24-70/4L. Therefore, many people now go with the wide zoom and telezoom, and fill the gap with a 50 prime.

    If they made a 24-70/4L, I would buy one tomorrow. Instead, I cover this range with 24/2.8, 35/2 and 50/1.8 primes.
  10. no no no I have the 10D ,17-40,24-70,85mm 1.8 and in the 10D the ones I use like 80% of the time .I know the 24-70 are sharper but the ones that get the job done are the 17-40 (if I had a 1D or one of those 1.3 crop factor Iknow I would use the 24-70 100% of the time) in my opinion if you want to make money out of them and get some awesome results get the 16-35 2.8 they great for enviromental portraits and family portraits ,you already got the 50mm which act like a 85mm on the 10D

    this is what you should do.Buy the 16-35 at Adorama and give them a good try for like 3 days then if you decide they are not worth it return them and get the 24-70. I done it.
  11. I was in a similar situation in regards to lenses. When I bought my 10D I set myself up with the 28-135 IS and 75-300 USM. I was satisfied with the 28-135 but for field sports the 75-300 was too slow. I bit the bullet and sold both lenses and went with the 24-70 f2.8 and the 70-200 f2.8 non IS with a 1.4X TC. It was money well spent. I am going to pick up the 50 f1.8 and am toying with the 17-40 f4 or the 16-35 f2.8.
  12. Forget the 24-70 especially on a 1.6. It is not a useful enough range to warrant the money. Go for the 17-40 or 16-35. If you really want sharp go for the 20/2.8 and 28/2.8. Use your IS zooms when you need flexibility. Get the 200/2.8 when you want a sharp and fast telephoto. Good luck!
  13. >> I would consider a prime, but I shyed away from the 85mm/1.2L prime because it would become about 135mm.

    I shied away from the 85mm/1.2L prime because it is VERY big and VERY expensive. The 85/1.8 is more than enough for me. Then again, I shoot film.

    >> I have a 50mm\1.8 and it's a fun/sharp lens, but I find myself moving far back and in awakard positions if I want to get pictures of a large area.

    Then the 17-40/4 is your best bet. Actually, I'm with Jim. 17-40/4 + 50/1.8 + 70-200/4 is a killer combo.

    Happy shooting ,
  14. Hmm, I never considered the 17-40 or the 16-35? So on the 10D, the 17-40 will become 27-64 and the 16-35 will become 26-56. I thought when shooting portraits or street photography, the usual focal length people use is 80 to 100mm. I guess with these lenses, I would have to do some sneaker zooming if I am looking for the portrait look? I don't mind that at all. I am also looking for sharpness. With my 2 older lenses, I t was hit or miss with sharpness. Maybe I'm a perfectionist or using wrong technique, but even on a tripod, the pictures wouldn't be sharp, compared to other photos I've seen. I want to step into the wedding arena and I can't &%^&#@ up the photos if people are paying for it. I want to be confident that my lens is capable of doing the job. The 17-40 seems good and the 24-70 also. I dunno, on father's day I will be going to B&H to pick it up. This is sooooo much fun trying to figure out what my first PRO lens is going to be. I'm getting sooo excited....But I have to figure out what the hell I want to
  15. Roger, I have the 10D and have gone back and forth with the 24-70 and 17-40. For street photography, architecture, and YES, even people the 17-40mm is best. Here are 4 pictures all shot with the 17-40mm at f/4 (wide open). Yes you have to get close but that's what it's about. 24-70mm is too long. I honestly have no use for that lens in my shooting. I only have the 17-40mm and the 70-200mm IS which I also use for head shots and isolation, etc., but I mostly use the 17-40mm. The 70-200 I use for sports, animals, naure at times, and headshots. At a wedding I'll use my 17-40mm 90% of the time with the 70-200mm the rest of the 10%. These photos are from my recent trip to Romania. I could perhaps have gotten these shots with the 24-70mm but not all my other street shots or architecture shots where I needed 17mm (aka 27mm on the 10D), etc. I shot all these as JPEGs at 5500K for WB and all I did in Photoshop was USM and resize. You tell me this is not a sharp lens. Screw the reviews - this is sharp. These are all at 40mm BTW. My USM was 15, 50, 0 for contrast and 200, .2, 0. Bogdan
  16. Image #2. Again 17-40mm, 40mm @ f/4 (wide open). Bogdan
  17. Image #3. Again 17-40mm, 40mm @ f/4 (wide open). Bogdan
  18. Image #4. Again 17-40mm, 40mm @ f/4 (wide open).

  19. 2nd try! Image #4. Again 17-40mm, 40mm @ f/4 (wide open). Bogdan
  20. Roger, I forgot to add that while for traditional portraits you DO want a longer focal length (especially for headshots where you don't want to distort facial features), you can't have it all in one. That's why I also have the 70-200mm. You could also get the 17-40mm and the 50mm or the 85mm for the 10D. No need for 70-200mm unless you shoot a lot of sports, conferences, formal portraits, etc. Too expensive. The 17-40mm and a 50 or 85mm would be ideal and light. Less noticeable. And TRUST me, in photojournalism you do NOT want to be noticed or draw attention with large lenses, etc. But using a 200mm lens and standing far back in the shadows to me misses the point of you being involved in the picture taking process. You get a different feel when you are close to your subject. This is a fear that one has to overcome - being close to the subject. So again, I'd recommend the 17-40mm and if you want for headshots a 50 or 85mm. That combo is cheaper than the 70-200mm for which you'd have less use alone. Here's another picture at 17mm @ f/4 (wide open) unmodified except for the same USM and resizing. I could NOT get this and tons of other shots like it with the 24-70mm. I used a polarizer here to darken the sky and underexposed. The monk is NOT a statute but frozen by the shutter. I was waiting for something to walk into my frame to make it more interesting and dynamic. I used 5200K for this. Another shot at 17mm @ f/4 with a 6000K warmer WB. See how diverse you can be? So you can go from shots like the above at 40mm @ f/4 to this at 17mm @ f/4. Bogdan
  21. Another at 17mm for you to see. Bogdan
  22. In your second posting you mentioned that 50mm was too long, hence the idea of the 17-40 and 16-35 instead of the 24-70. Half of the 24-70 may be too long for you as well.
  23. Awesome picture with the church. Very crisp and love the way the polarizer saturates the picture. Hmm, why didn't cannon make an L 17-40 @ 2.8. The only reason i'm hesitating with the 17-40 is the lens is not fast. I know it's a wide angle, but will 4.0 give me enough DOF for portraits? I have a 50mm,1.8, but what if I need to make a candid portrait and have the 17-40 on. Will it have enough DOF?
  24. Bogdan: Excellent advice and samples. I like your work!

    Roger: A larger aperture/faster lens will produce *less* DOF, not more. Maybe it's just a language/choice of words thing, and by "more DOF" you actually meant "more background blur," but it appears that perhaps you have the relationship between lens speed (maximum aperture) and DOF backwards.

    If you want maximum background blur (minimum DOF), then that's an additional factor in the equation, but is it worth double the price of the 17-40? Only you can decide. Be aware, however, that if the DOF is *too* narrow, you can run into problems like only *parts* of the face being in focus; i.e., nose "sharp," eyes "blurry." (And who wants that?)

    Canon doesn't make a 17-40 f/2.8 most probably because it would obviate the 16-35 f/2.8. The focal ranges of these two lenses is just too similar, even though the differences are "magnified" on a 1.6x digital.
  25. Jon,

    Thanks. I just got back from my vacation and am worn out from all the shooting, bending, etc. And I'm shooting a wedding this weekend -but for fun!


    I had the 16-35mm for the extra stop, but wide open it's too soft for me. The 17-40mm is Canon's best ultra wide zoom IMO. The extra stop will give you a *bit* more background blur, but not as much as you may think. Honestly I can't say I miss it that much. It's up to you. For me price wasn't an issue - quality was. And believe it or not the 17-40mm is better IMO, and others have said so as well.

    On the other hand I could never live with a telephoto like the 70-200 at anything but f/2.8. While the 70-200 f/4 L is excellent, there I absolutely need the extra isolation which is more apparent.

  26. forget the blurry effect that can esayly be done with photoshop.
  27. uups !!! no that one this one
  28. And the above picture shows both what can -and cannot- be done with photoshop.

    Viewed onscreen, at full monitor height, the image looked ok.

    But when my browser first opened the image, it was at full size. The use of the "lasso" to put the girl on a seperate layer from the blurred background was PAINFULLY apparent. I have had the same problem when needing to correct exposure on a foreground subject when the background required no correction.

    It was also clear that the focus was FAR from sharp to begin with.

    To me, this image points out why you NEED to shoot wide open. Lasso and blur can work, but it a) takes a long time to make it work and b) produces mediocre results.

    Note that I am not sure a F2.8 aperture would have been appropriate here. At F2.8, the DOF for a 50mm at six feet is a scant 5.4 inches. F4.0 would be 7.75 inches.
  29. OK, I am not a professional but aspiring to become one with daily practice and I have fun shooting... So here's my question, I honestly do not like to use any type of flash, even indoors. If I shoot in low light, I just bump up the ISO to get the shot. I know it becomes more grainy, but if the compostion and feel is right, the photo will be sucessful. Saying this, if I shoot with the 17-40 as my main lens at say a party; there is regular tungsten low light, would I be able to take sucessful photos without bumping up the ISO to 400/800/1600. I really would like to keep the ISO down (100/200) indoors, but in this situation (which I probably will do most of my paid shooting), wouldn't a faster zoom do me better. I am just exploring my options. It's my first L lens, and I just want to cover all ground...
  30. Speaking about DOF, here's a picture I shot of my ceiling fan strings.

    It was at 50mm/1.8, with flash. I have no idea how the background came out so dark. Anyway, this thread has actually thought me something. When I usually shoot portraits, i always shot at 1.8 or 2.0. I have no idea why? with my 50mm/1.8. It would be hit or miss in regards to sharpness of the entire subject. I always wanted a blurry background and thought this would give the desired effect. After reading this thread, I learned have learned the reason my photos were not as sharp, it's because I opened up the lens all the way. So since I have the opp to buy an L lens, I am also contemplating the 17-40/4L. So when would I ever use the 1.8/2.0/2.8 stops? maybe when I'm shooting insects or something?..
  31. first of all the pictures that I posted when printed looks awesome ,Iknow is not the best work but I have been learning new ways to get a better at it and I just found a better one which I am going to post it on the digital forum so everyone interested can learn it and maybe benefited from it .
    Roger if that is what you have in mind practis with the 50 mm 1.8 and if the results are good then get the 28mm 1.8 prime which in your camera becames 48 or so .If you have lots of money get the 24mm 1.4 .those are the best lens for what you want to do. High ISO and a fast lens.
    may be in raw and hig ISO.

    Enjoy learning
  32. A few points;

    Lenses (including "L" lenses) tend to be sharpest when stopped down one or two stops.

    The 50/1.8 is a good prime. Despite the low cost, you would be hard pressed to determine if an "L" zoom would be sharper. I would venture to say at F2.8, the 50/1.8 may be sharper. The same may be true at F4.0. The primes are simple lenses. The zooms are complex lenses, and to get "prime quality" in the zoom, you have to pay a premium.

    (there is another factor => The "L" lens is built better than the $75 prime => better motor, better weather sealing, metal lens mount, etc)

    The reason to buy the "L" zoom is for the *convienience* of the zoom.

    As for sharpness of photos, there are a few factors;

    1) Quality of lens (but it is hard to beat the 50/1.8)

    2) Accuracy of the focus. The 10D AF sensors are about twice as large as the engravings in the viewfinder. If you focus on the eyes, the camera may focus on the nose. The camera may miss focus. Heck, if you MOVE in a focus-recompose step. . . At F5.6 or F8, the depth of field is deep enough to cover focus inaccuracy.

    3) Depth of field => the wider the aperture and longer the lens, the tighter the zone of sharp focus. At a point, since humans don't have flat faces, you won't get the whole face in focus. Take a look at this link. . .

    I shoot fast primes (24/2.8, 35/2, and 50/1.8). If I take a picture of a single person, I will tend to shoot wide open. If two people are in the shot, I tend to think of F4 or F5.6 unless the two are hugging. Any more than two people, I use F8.

    Flash is a whole other topic. As for why the "subject is ok, but the background is dark", keep in mind the simple rule of ETTL photography: Flash will expose the **active focus point at the moment of exposure** Read
  33. So, if I can afford it right now (which I can) everyone seems to give their thumbs up for IS. But hey, is it still possible to get razor sharp pictures @ 200mm , handheld without IS. No one has answered this. Before there was IS, I'm sure people were able to produce razor sharp images. I'm just bring up issues to discuss so memebers with the same questions get both sides....
  34. Sorry the previous post was meant for my other thread...
  35. OK it did the focal lenght calculations for the 10D 1.6 multiplier. These are just approximations.
    17-40 = 27-64
    24-70 = 38 - 112
    70- 200 = 112-320

    So I'm pretty confused now, if you compare the 14-40 and the 24-70, there is only about a 10mm difference in focal lenght. 17mm becomes 27mm and 24mm becomes 38mm. And the 24-70mm covers the entire range on the upper mm end of the 17-40. So now I guess I have to justify if a difference of 10mm (on the low end) and about 4 stops is enough to pay another $700 for. What do you think. Would you pay $700 for those advantages. Also, is 10mm make much of a difference?
  36. 10mm is a HUGE difference. Yeah mathematically it doesn't sound like much, but it IS visually. That is why I stopped using the 24-70mm on the 10D for my shooting. On a full frame I'd use it of course. But that's me, my shooting style, and my focal length preferences. I can't wait to get the MarkII to get even more wide angle (22mm) from my 17-40mm (instead of the 27mm I get now on the 10D). Yes 5mm is still a HUGE difference.

    Roger, honestly I'd say for your first L get the 17-40mm and stop worrying so much. In the end it's the shot that counts, not bickering about bokeh and other minutia. After you play with and experiment with the 17-40mm L you will learn a LOT and you will have all the answers to a lot of the questions you ask here.

    Belive me, because I have been there as have others, that the 17-40mm is a HELL of a lens. It's probably Canon's best ultra wide zoom. It's also cheap for an L! Don't worry so much about f/2.8 on it. I HAD the 16-35mm and sold it after a year because the 17-40mm is better IMO. I don't miss the extra stop that much. For portraits I use a prime or my 70-200mm @ f/2.8. But as shown in my photos, I also shoot portraits with the 17-40mm@f/4 and they look fine to me. And the difference in blur with the 16-35mm@f/2.8 vs. f/4 is/was not that great. Wide open the 17-40mm is much better than the 16-35mm is wide open. 16-35mm doesn't look good until f/4 anyway. It may on the 10D since you aren't using the whole lens, but put it on a film body or a 1Ds and you'll see how soft it is at f/2.8.

    The reason I recommended the 17-40mm is because on the 10D its range is what would suit your needs best, based on what you say you want to shoot. You don't need more that that and the 50mm you have. Learn first and buy later. When I started out I was also overwhelmed about lenses and bought too much. In then end I just have 2 zooms and a 85mm prime! That's it! You will have a focal range of 27-64mm and 80mm on the 10D with the 17-40mm and the 50mm. This is enough for you to learn on and chances are you will actually keep them forever.

    You mentioned you don't like to use flash but aspire to be a pro. Well I'm not sure what you want to shoot, but chances are you will HAVE to learn flash, E-TTL, etc. It's not easy, but important IMO if you want to be versatile. I use flash all the time. Initiall in my starter days I also avoided it because it was hard to use and I was clueless. But I can show you some of my flash photos and you can't even tell one was used.

  37. Hey Bogdan, thanks for the detailed reply. Maybe I am thinking about it too much. I guess I'm so excited and I can't wait till Sunday to go to B&H. I would love to see some of your work with your 17-40 and also flash shots. That's a whole other world..flash.
  38. Yeah, I concur.

    Just buy the 17-40/4L. :)

    For me, the 24-70/2.8L is an ideal focal length (although many prefer the 17-40 for a 10D), but the simple fact is that there is no 24-70/4L and the 24-70/2.8L costs more than the 17-40!

    BTW: I don't consider the 17-40/4L a "bargain". It is low cost only compared to the 2.8L zooms. The other 4L zoom, the 70-200/4L, is about $575, even cheaper than the 17-40/4L. (BTW: I also recommend the 70-200/4L)
  39. Well guys, in the past 2 weeks, I have literally tested the 24-70, 70-200 and the 17-40. All 'L' lenses. I also played around with my 50mm 1.8. I bought each of the lenses and returned it after testing. I had a budget of $3000 dollars. After testing, I would examine each picture at full resolution. I shot the all pictures on a tripod with cable release. Shot at apertures and shutter speeds. My result was not to get a zoom lens at all. Not even a 'L' zoom lens. Why? Because I was browsing my pictures last night and stumbled upon my 50mm/1.8 pictures. They were tack sharp at full resolution. I didn't have to search for a sharpness like I had to in all the 'L' lenses. My 50mm was unused only for a few times I shot with it. My point is that I was so happy that I had the money for my first 'L' zoom and was scrutinizing all the lenses I bought. Little did I know the 50mm in my bag was so amazing. I shot with it alot this week and the images were awesome, indoors and outdoors. The sharpness in the hair was there at full resolution... I didn't have to search for it, it just poped out of the picture.... So here's what I've decided, since my focus is tack sharp images, I went out today and purchased the 85mm/1.8 lens. I cost me around $400.... I took about a 100 photos today and guess what, it's is as sharp as the 50mm/1.8. Now I know what type of lenses that satifys me. I was spoiled by zoom lenses, but I've actually found what I was looking for and I don't mind sneaker zooming because I know I will get the shots. So I have $2600 left in my budget, I just need a wide angle and I'm happy. I have a 28-135 IS lens, but I will never use it. I'll leave it for my wife to use because she doesn't care what type of lens is on the camera. I can say that I have converted to 'primes' after testing the 3 'L' zooms. They disappointed me, the 50mm which costs $65 bucks impressed me. Thank god I found it hiding in my camera bag all the way on the bottom. I struck gold...
  40. I'm happy with you.

    The only thing that I find amazing is that it took you so long to realize ... what every newbie gets told 100 times on comparable forums if he asks for a tack sharp lens. No insult intended :)

    Best regards,

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