Do you get enough use of the Canon Lens EF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by fred_monsone, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. Hello everyone, after a long time drooling after the Canon Lens EF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM I am seriously thinking of buying it because in just one lens it gives you the convenience of a long-range zoom, great optics and fantastic aperture to cope with low lights and achieve shallow DOF.
    I just wanted to know how much the people out there who own it use it in indoor situations such as studio shoots and wedding cerimonies. I was doing a wedding yesterday and the longest lens I used (on my 20d so not full frame) was my fixed 85mm.
    So before I part with over £1,000 I just wanted to know how much this lens gets used by portrait and wedding photographers.
    Many thanks in advance!
  2. Here's my list of lenses in order of use...
    24-105 F4 IS USM - this is my "walk around" lens - probably 65% of my pics are with this lens
    16-35 F2.8 USM - I use this for landscapes, interiors, etc - about 20% of my pics are with this lens
    70-200 F2.8 IS USM - Outdoors - wildlife,etc - about 10% - however when you need that reach, you need it, and it's a very sharp lens. Downside is the weight - it's a heavy bugger - get a good walk around case
    100mm Macro - 5% - specific shots of plants / flowers, etc
  3. Thanks Tudor. I'm thinking that it's a great lens for portraits but am worried the focal lenght is too long for indoor portraits...
  4. Hi,
    I shot a outdoor wedding in a bigish garden in may, and i used:
    - 28-80/2.8 L on a 5DmkII
    - 70-200/2.8 L IS USM on a 40d
    I think i shot 40% with the 70-200.
    I originally bought it for concert photography. It's a great lens.
  5. Thanks Jan. I found an online shop selling it for just over £1,000 + VAT so I'm seriously thinking of going for it!
  6. Why would you buy something that you think you might not use? Why not wait until you find yourself saying, "Man, if I just had something in the 70-200mm range, I could get all those shots," before you spend the money?
  7. I use one with both full frame and crop frame. My experience has been like Tutor's - I don't use the lens a lot - but when I need it, I really need it, and nothing else will do. I use it primarily indoors in low light.
    It's a heavy lens. When I'm working in a fixed position, I use it with a monopod or tripod. But I can manage the weight handheld if I need to move around a lot.
  8. No but when I need it, I have the old non IS, it can not be beat.
  9. If your main need is a lens for indoor portraits, you can perhaps get what you want - and get larger apertures, lower weight, and possibly lower cost - but getting a few primes.
  10. I use the 70-200/2.8 a lot for outdoor photography, but for indoor stuff you could probably do better with the 85, especially if you can steady it with a monopod and still maintain maneuverability. You know the old saying--zoom with your feet.
  11. I have the non-IS and use it extensively - BUT MAINLY FOR SPORTS. I shoot full frame and will use the 70-200 for outdoor portraits, candids etc... Indoors it is rarely used and for more formal portraits it is rarely used. For portrait and indoor use I would suggest the 85mm F1.8 it is a very good lens, cheap and smaller / less obvious than the zoom. The much cheaper 85mm F1.8 also has better image quality than the zoom. For indoor and outdoor sports this is a great versitile lens and after the 300 F2.8 one of the best around.
  12. In terms of portrait work anything in the range of 70 to 135mm (equivalent) is going to be great. So the 70-200mm lens fits nicely in there.
    However - I would be also concerned with depth of field - I can't swear to this, but it seems to me that zoom lenses have a much narrower DOF than a prime lens. Others can probably weigh in with more specifics that I can.
  13. Almost every time I take photos, I'll ue the 70-200/2.8 IS. In two days this weekend, I used it for 1 portrait shoot and two polo tournaments.
  14. In the weddings I've done this year, I've used a 5d with 24-105L and 40d with 70-200L 2.8 IS and loved the combination. IMO, it's definitely worth the $$ and mine lives on the 40d. It's great for ceremony shots where you can't use a flash or be intrusive to the event. The only downside is that it is big and heavy. Will wear you down if you have to use it all day.
    I've used mine for Portraiture (but it would not be my 1st choice), all types of outdoor sports, some indoor sports and of course, weddings.
    Have a wonder "whatever" and a happy "you know what".
    M. Scott Clay
  15. As a mostly casual photographer its a commitment when I decide to lug mine ( non IS version ) along. It's a spectacular lens and if I was shooting weddings I would certainly have one. I use it mostly for portraits on a full frame body and once in a while for travel or sports.
  16. This is a very sharp lens but I always bring this lens with me in a wrong time.
    Every times when I bring along this lens, I find that it is not adequate for me – wildlife, air show, I found that this lens was too short for me (I use FF body). But last time when I attended an end of school activity for my son in his school’s chapel, I just brought along my 24-105 F4 IS USM lens and then I regretted for not bringing alone the 70-200mm one especially that I sat far away from my son!
    In summary, if you shoot in door just in a normal house or room, you do not need it. But if you are in an in door hall like those in chapel or gym, etc., this will be an essential lens!
  17. Howdy!
    I use it for shooting wedding ceremonies from the balcony or the back of the hall on a cropped frame camera. It's sharpness wide open and fully zoomed is not as good as it's siblings (the non-IS 70-200 f2.8, and the 70-200 f4) but it's versatility in low light situations, and the ability to handhold it if necessary, make it indispensible.
  18. "Thanks Tudor. I'm thinking that it's a great lens for portraits but am worried the focal lenght is too long for indoor portraits..."
    Why should it be too long ? The range is 70 to 200, but you will probably not use the 200mm length unless you are shooting sports, or wildlife. For wildlife it might even be a little too short. This is a great lens, very high quality if you don't mind the weight. It focuses fast and locks quickly, unlike other lenses such as the 24-70mm that does some hunting before it locks(In dim light) Mine came with a carrying case like most L series lenses.
  19. So I was doing this wedding out of doors near the ocean. The bride really wanted pictures of the ceremony. The Minister was dead set against my shooting the ceremony. Incidentally he was really disagreeable. However, he was not paying me. So I pulled my non IS 70-200 2.8 out of my bag and in my suit I crawled into a bush not too far away. I shot eighty or so pictures with an arch and water in the background. No one knew until a couple of the guests saw me crawling out of the bush as the ceremony ended. The bride was delighted. On a more serious note I have had that lens since 1997. It is still working as new and I still use it mainly for indoor swimming meets. I used it at weddings mostly to shoot heads, dancing and toasting etc. I have used it for press work, wildlife, lots of high school sports for the paper, portraits in my studio etc. I defy you to tell the difference between it and other lenses after printing for properly lit portraits. I did a lot with quality Medium fomat lenses but never hesitated to use the 70-200 when I was too lazy to change cameras in my studio.
  20. It's such a personal decision. I don't have the 70-200mm IS, but I have its grandfather, the old 75-300mm IS. Perhaps if it were as sterling as my 24-105mm L lens, I'd use it more. On my various cameras, even when traveling, this was one of the least used lenses I had. When you needed the reach, it was just fine, but I'd be unlikely to invest in an arguably better 70-200mm, especially given the greater mass of the latter.
    I do confess a longing for a 100-400mm IS, but that is far less than my longing for the new 16-35mm II, or more particularly, the TS-E 17mm lens. If you don't have a lens in this range, I'd suggest looking at a used 70-300mm IS first, it's lighter and cheaper by a lot, and if you really end up using these focal lengths a lot, it would be easy to sell. Of course, the lower price and good resale value's true of the better lens too if you got a used one.
  21. Have you checked the ratings of this online vendor.
    Isn't £1,000 a bit to cheap for a new 70-200 F2.8 L IS USM?
    Most prices i have seen in the UK are around £ 1,500
  22. "The range is 70 to 200, but you will probably not use the 200mm length unless you are shooting sports, or wildlife. "
    Oops ! Sorry, if you have a cropped camera it might be too long for weddings and for portraits you might have to be constantly stepping back, which cuts down the intimacy between you and your client. Some people like to take head shots with this lens because of the Bokeh but I dont know about full length portraits.
  23. Frederica,
    I own several canon lenses including the 70-200 EF 2.8 L (before the IS came out) and I can say it’s a superb piece of glass although I never use it for indoor portraits. I guess I could but I’d be shooting just head and shoulders. For indoor portraits I use the canon 24-70 2.8 L almost 100% of the time.
    Even outdoors, if I’m shooting portraits, the 24-70 is my choice most of the time. That being said I have used the 70-200 on a number of shoots where I couldn’t (choose not to) get too close to the models (think models in water).
    The last wedding I shot (our sons) I used the 24-70 for all shots including the reception. The 70-200 didn’t even cross my mind to use. If you can afford it buy it but don’t count on using it as your main portrait lens.
  24. Just answering the title question: this lens often comes out of my bag and onto my (full-frame) body for a few shots, and then is often relegated back to the bag, replace by 24-70 (or 24-105), or a simple 50mm. It is very good at what it does, delivering sharp candids and wonderfully out-of-focus backgrounds, and at least on full frame it gets "close" to normal focal length, but I just don't use it that often. It's quite a load to pack around, too ;)
    BTW, I'm not a weding photographer, but this is my experience with it.
  25. I used to have the 70-200 f2.8IS and I sold it after a year for two reasons...
    1. It was a huge beast to keep in your camera bag just in case you may need it. It is a seriously heavy fella and unless you plan on getting a lot of use out of it then it is a real burden to cart around on the off-chance you'll need it.
    2. When shooting wide open at f2.8 it was just too soft, disappointingly so.
    I sold it and bought the 200mm f2.8 prime which is razor sharp wide open and is much lighter and more compact so I can leave it in my bag at all times.
    I must say that when you have a shoot that you know will require 100mm - 200mm local lengths the 70-200 is awesome. Once you stop down to f4.0 and beyond the image quality is stunning and the IS is also very effective. However, for occasional use and for shooting at f2.8 I would avoid it.
  26. I enjoy photographing people and kids. FWIW, I opted for the 135mm 2.0L over the 70-200mm 2.8L. I can shoot 135mm wide open and get sharp(er) results and shallow(er) DOF than with the 70-200. Although one can never ignore the versatility of the 70-200, especially during a more fluid setting such as a wedding. 135 is, for lack of a better word.
  27. Thanks to everyone for the valuable feedback. here are some points to answer some of the comments you made:
    - i do have an 85mm 1.8 and I did use it. However indoors I found that it was not long enough from the back of the cerimony room to do the 'kiss shot' and other close ups (my partner was at the front so she took those and we were OK)
    - the 2.8 aperture would allow me to work indoors without flash when you have some natural light
    - I would like a zoom because when you are outside, shooting the guests, they are invariable milling around and you need different focal lenghts and sometimes zooming with your feet is not enough in these circumstances
    - I am thinking that maybe the 24 - 105 3.5 is a more suitable choice but I know nothing about this lens apart from the specs which seem suitable for the needs I expressed above
    Many thanks!
  28. Nobody has said it, but have you considered the 70-200f4L IS? This lens is the same weight as the 135 and 200mm primes and yet has a 4 stop IS - effectively in terms of camera-shake avoidance a 200mm f1. While it will not freeze action as well, because of the IS you can use it exactly where you would use a f2.8 zoom (whose IS is not quite so effective). It is also $600 cheaper than the larger zoom. While is might not be exactly what you instinctively think of when thinking wedding, it does bear thinking about. Also as it is such a small size and weight, you don't leave it at home much. On the other hand if low light is really what you need then the 135mm f2 is a real blinder of a lens - but it is obviosuly not as versatile.
  29. Not stabilized on Canon but there's also the Tokina 50-135/2.8 which might be a more useful range on a smaller sensor body in a package that's actually a little smaller than the 70-200 f/4 , and costs a little over $500.
    The 24-105 L IS is actually f/4 rather than f/3.5. I read it's a good lens but 105 really isn't that much longer than your 85mm so it would be handy from a versatility standpoint but wouldn't do much to extend your reach.
  30. Jamie, yours must have been bad, my 70-200 is super sharp at 2.8.
  31. It's worth every penny. From indoor sports such as basketball and gymnastics, to portraits, to landscapes, to some closer wildlife, the 70-200 has you covered. It is extremely sharp all around, however, the chromatic abberation wide open is ehhh .. but it is a zoom lens. And a really damn good one at that, in fact probably one of the best out there. I say if you have the cash, just buy it, and never look back.
  32. "Jamie, yours must have been bad, my 70-200 is super sharp at 2.8"

    I tend to agree with you there but I never had the chance to try another to compare it to. Having said that, the ISO12223 crops on Digital Picture seem to reflect the findings on my lens i.e. crap wide open. If yours is sharp wide open then make sure you keep hold of it!
    I do feel that the 70-200 f4 IS is a better lens. It is sharper wide open (compared to my f2.8) and has better IS. The much smaller size and weight make it much more attractive to me if I were to buy another.
  33. I have the non-IS version and I hear its a bit sharper so maybe its that. I just used it for some portraits and I had to soften things up a bit in post after using it at 2.8. Either way I can't believe its that bad wide open. Must be something wrong.
  34. The 70-200 f/2.8 IS is my most frequently used Canon EOS lens. Next would be my 24mm f/1.4, which is so fast I rarely have to use a tripod. (I have the 24-70 f/2.8 but rarely use it, for some reason--probably because it does not have IS. When I do use it, it is great.)
    The 70-200 2.8 IS is remarkably useful in many indoor situations.
    I have wide angle zooms that also don't get a lot of use. I almost never shoot a 50mm lens or my 85mm f/1.2, which I will sell soon.
    Let's face it: it all depends on the type and style of shooting that one does.
  35. Jamie and Tommy, when I bought mine the IS version was very new - I shot (film) on both the IS and Non-IS 70-200 F2.8 lenses and found the non-IS version to be sharper and cheaper so I bought the non-IS lens. It may be that the IS version has more variation in quality than the non-IS version.
  36. I just sold mine after 4 enjoyable years. Reason for sale: Just don't use it enough to justify the cost of keeping it. However, if I was a wedding or a sports photographer I'm sure I'd keep it.
    Happy shooting,
  37. Tommy,
    I did borrow a non-IS version a year or so before I bought my lens and that was definitely sharp wide open. My lens was a disappointment. Sounds like it could be another case of lens variability from Canon. I really am delighted with my 200mm prime though.
  38. You should wait till October for the Canon EF-S 40-125 f/2.8 IS.
  39. Plain and simple this lens is amazing. Ran test on it through out the aperture and zoom range and it is tack sharp. I even hand hold this with confidence at a 60th. This is my primary lens during the ceremony for all of my candids. Also when shooting sports it's very fast when focusing.
  40. Everyone, I have just bought a second hand 28-135 f3.5 IS from ffordes to see whether this will help by giving a longer zoom range than I had while giving me a decent aperture.
    I am going to play with it this weekend. If I then think I still need the longer focal lenght, increased aperture and improved glass, I will look at the 70-200 again. But right now I'm looking to see whether I can get away with spending less. Thanks for all the input. best,
  41. I have the Canon 70-200 f2.8 L IS USM lens. I use it on a canon EOS 1Ds Mark II. Together, this is a heavy setup (10 pounds), but, I don't mind the weight. I use the lens, but, I do not use it very much, because I have found a much better combination, in terms of color saturation, sharpness, contrast, 3-D effect, minimal distortion, beautiful Bokeh (especially in Macros), with Hasselblad lenses on the 1Ds Mark II.
    I have a friend who was a die-hard Canon digital man, until he saw my Canon EOS-Hasselblad photos.
    I use the Canon 70-200 f2.8 L IS USM in situations where I am shooting a moving target, or, if I want to capture spontaneity. With a manual lens, one does not have the time to focus - by the time the photographer sees the shot, it's gone before the lens is set. There are many situations in which the IS digital lens - in AF mode - is far superior to a manual lens.
    I almost always shoot with a narrow depth of focus, so, a manual lens in moving situations is not nearly as user-friendly as the digital lens with AF and image stabilization.
    There is one exception to the aforementioned. If the movement of the model is choreographed to move in the same plane, then [it is my opinion that] a manual Hasselblad lens will take a superior picture.
    If the image is still, I choose a Hasselblad lens, 90% of the time.
    I shoot all my photos is RAW format and edit with Adobe Photoshop CS3. The RAW format allows me to "go back in time" and shoot the same image over and over again. As far as I have learned, thus far, this can be done only with the RAW format.
    In summary, it boils down to your shooting preference.
    If you like shooting moving photos - sports, social events, children, animals - by all means, if you have the money to spend, I recommend adding a 70-200mm f2.8 L IS USM to your lens collection. Incidentally, the IS feature is definitely worth the extra money.
    If still shots - portraits, posed photos, macros, architecture - are what you like to shoot, then, I would definitely spend my money on Hasselblad lenses and adapt them to a Canon EOS.
    I shoot both moving and still, so, use both digital lenses (on AF) and Hasselblads. Of the two, I personally, love the Hasselblads.
  42. Mine is welded on my 5D and it is by far the sharpest zoom I have. For a crop sensor, I would NOT buy it. If you plan on moving to full frame, buy it. The lens is truely magical and every time i download my CF cards, it make me smile! V/R Raz
  43. My 70-200 2.8L IS spends an awful lot of time on my 30D and is useful in so many different shooting situations. I love using it on my crop-sensor camera, but I also love using it on my 1vHS when shooting film.

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