EF 100-400 IS vs 100-300 5.6L vs 70-200 4L

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by sam_hassall, Sep 3, 2001.

  1. What should I go for?

    <p>

    I have a budget that is around the two cheaper lenses I am considering, but could go for the 100-400 IS at a push (plus if I buy it my wife will murder me if she ever found how much it cost me!).

    <p>

    I already have a 28-105 USM II, but now need a excellent long telephoto zoom. I tried out a Sigma 135-400 APO, but sharpness and speed of AF were terrible.

    <p>

    I need a lens that will be great for motorsports and nature photography, so I guess this rules out the 70-200?

    <p>

    Does anyone have experience of these lenses that can help me decide?
     
  2. I have used both of the more recent lenses you mention (ie not the
    100-300 F5.6L). Since you are unhappy with the focus speed of the
    sigma, the 100-300 F5.6 wouldn't be suitable either, because it uses
    the old AFD motor, not a USM.

    <p>

    Also, I suspect that the 70-200 F4L isn't going to be long enough for
    the purposes that you mention. I personally like that lens a great
    deal (I have just had some extremely pleasing results back from it),
    and it works well with the 1.4X TC as well. However, the 2x TC will
    loose AF with most bodies, and also F8 is a very slow lens.

    <p>

    So, I think your best choice would be the more expensive 100-400 IS.
    It's a fine lens optically, as well as in its build. However, it is
    heavy, and much of the weight is in the zooming section of the lens
    (ie the front), making it quite a strain to handle for long periods.
    As you say your interests are motorsport and nature, I think that the
    longer length and IS of the 100-400 are very much worthwhile. Since
    your budget is limited, you can't go the route I have, which is to
    get the 70-200 F4L, 300 F4L IS and the 1.4x TC. However, that is 4
    different combinations to cover the same range as the 100-400, so
    you'd save on a lot of lens switching whilst loosing a little (but
    really not much...so little that it's insignificant to most people)
    optical quality.

    <p>

    All the L series lenses you mention will be very much better than the
    sigma you mention in the optical quality stakes. Like I said, my
    conclusion would be that the 100-400 IS most closely suits your needs.
     
  3. I concur with Isaac, but might also suggest the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM + 1.4 TC (if your wife's going to murder you and all) :)
    You might also look for used 70-200mm f/2.8L USM's (non-IS) when the IS versions are more available. Quite a few might suddenly become available. :) They'd be faster than the 70-200mm f/4L, and less expensive than the 100-400mm IS. Also, as a two-ring zoom (rather than a push-pull like the 100-400), it will be ergonomically easier to use for longer periods. Oh, yeah...one more plus -- it would be a decent 100-280mm f/4 with a 1.4 TC, and a still very usable 140-400mm f/5.6 with a 2x TC. That would be a good option for motorsports & nature, would it not?
     
  4. I own both the 100-400L IS and 70-200 2.8L lenses. The 70-200 is a much sharper, faster, and faster focusing lens. It also produces pictures having much better contrast. I find that the 100- 400 is good for motorsports, where the focus is not on the eyes of the subject, but the 70-200 (coupled to a 1.4 teleconveter) will blow the doors off of the 100-400 for sharpness of facial features (either nature or people). The IS on the 100-400 is nice, but clearly not indispensible. If you can afford to buy the 100-400, I would consider buying a 70-200 2.8L and a Canon 1.4x teleconverter (should be around the same total price). BTW...your wife will not murder you if you remember the rule of thirds...LOL... as far as she knows, the item costs 1/3 of what you actually paid for it.
     
  5. Thanks for all your recommendations. I am no going to have to put
    some serious thought into this (as if I wasn't going to before!). I
    am certain that I won't go for the 100-300L, too old and slow. Now
    it's a two way decision rather than a three way. I have to discount
    the 70-200 2.8L as that costs £1300 plus £280 for the 2X convertor,
    way more than the 100-400L IS, which costs £1250 all in.

    <p>

    Or should I go for a third party lens at my original budget of £500-
    600, which puts me in Sigma EX, Tokina Pro, Tamron SP territory?
    That way I may only lose a limb rather that my life? ; )

    <p>

    Love your new use for the rule of thirds Arnie!
     
  6. For what it's worth, you'll have a much easier time finding a 70-200
    in great condition used than a 100-400IS. The former is now frequently
    selling used at photo.net for under $1000US (650GBP?) and I would
    guess that will only continue with the intro of the new IS. 100-400's
    just aren't very common on the used market (yet) and when they are
    available they often sell for close to new (grey-market) prices.

    <p>

    Btw, word on the street is that the 1.4MkII TC is optically identical
    to the MkI, so there too you could save money by buying used as some
    photographers rush to buy the new model.
     
  7. I'd forget the zooms and go for a 300/4L (with or without IS). Very
    sharp, fairly fast, great AF and you can always add a 1.4x if you need
    more reach.

    <p>

    Zooms are nice, but cost you in terms of speed, sharpness and $$ once
    you get into the telephoto range. The 70-200 is great, but too short
    for a lot of sports and nature work.

    <p>

    There's also the 75-300/4-5.6 which isn't razor sharp at 300mm but is
    fairly inexpensive, has IS for handholding and is sharp enough for
    many uses. I wouldn't try to make posters from images shot wide open
    at 300mm, but for 5x7 or even 8x10 prints it's not as bad as many
    people (most of whom haven't ever used it) say it is.
     
  8. Hey folks,

    <p>

    I've been following quite a few threads today, and I was wondering
    what the story is with the EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 How does it handle
    at the extremes?

    <p>

    Thanks for your time!

    <p>

    Loree
     
  9. The 28-200?!!!! Not in the same league!!! I am becoming unhappy with
    the performance of my 24-85USM in comparison to the L series lenses
    being mentioned here (and my own 70-200 F4L, 300 F4L IS, 1.4X TC).

    <p>

    As for third party lenses....I'll refrain from ranting on about them,
    but believe me, an L series will be cheaper in the long run. It will
    last longer, in terms of its build, its optical quality (ie you won't
    start to itch to get something better) and most of all you won't
    outgrow it as a photographer.

    <p>

    I wouldn't be happy with 70-200 F2.8L + 2x TC as a 140-400, as
    mentioned above. The 2x is known not to be brilliant, and the 100-400
    would be better. The primes would of course deliver better results
    than the zoom, but I think, given the (assumed...please correct if
    wrong) amateur status of Sam, I doubt the difference would be
    critical.
     
  10. OK, so my choices are now:

    <p>

    100-400 IS L
    70-200 f4L
    75-300 IS (No FTM and a rotating lens)

    <p>

    Another option would be a 100-300 4.5-5.6 (FTM and non-rotating lens).

    <p>

    I have heard good reports about the 100-300 4.5-5.6, although it is
    an old lens, launched in 1990, so maybe it's due for replacement.
    Can any shed any light on this?

    <p>

    In doing this I could buy a nice 50mm 1.4 EF with the money I will
    save.

    <p>

    What d'you all think?
     
  11. Or get purist.......

    <p>

    Sell my 28-105 USM II and buy:

    <p>

    (All EF) 28mm f2.8, 50mm f1.8, 135 f2.8, plus third party 2x
    convertor to make an occaisional 270mm f5.6, until I can buy the 100-
    400 IS L, plus an extension tube for macro work to go with any of
    them.

    <p>

    Oh, and a nice new gadget bag!

    <p>

    I presume that I will obtain much sharper images than using the 28-
    105 and 100-300 USM zooms, and will only have to carry one extra lens?
     
  12. As the 70-200mm focal range might be too short for the types of photography you enjoy (as Bob Atkins suggests), that would leave the expensive but far better 100-400mm f/5.6L IS USM vs the less expensive 75-300mm f/5-5.6 IS micro-USM (or the 100-300mm USM).
    I've no experience with the 100-300mm, so I can't suggest anything there.
    To help you out with the other two, here's a summary:
    100-400mm f/5.6L IS USM Cons:
    • 3 times more expensive than the 75-300mm f/4-5.6
    • It's a big lens (no, really...especially zoomed out to 400mm)
    • Heavy Pros:
    • 100mm greater focal length coverage (valuable for both motorsports & nature photography)
    • More features: FTM (Full Time Manual over-ride), Mode 2 Image Stabilization allows panning (very important for bikes & birds! ;-), Non-rotating front barrel (good for using polarizers, graduated filters [if you care])
    • Better optics (the fluorite & super UD glass make a big difference) & better design
    • Built to professional standards (longer life & greater reliability)
    • Compatible with Canon's 1.4x & 2x TC's
    • Ring type USM motor and internal-rear focusing is far faster than the 75-300's micro-USM
    75-300mm f/5-5.6 IS USM Cons:
    • Micro-USM motor is not as fast or as quiet as the Ring-USM. It does not allow for Full Time Manual focus override (except on the 50mm f/1.4 USM -- go figure)
    • Front of lens rotates (annoying with polarizers & graduated filters [again, if you care])
    • Optics are not as good (what do you expect? :)
    • Build quality typical for this price level (primarily poly- carbonate lens housing & mechanism materials)
    • Focal range not as great (300mm vs 400mm)
    • Will not accept Canon TC's
    Pros:
    • Under $500 US cost
    • Light weight & compact size
    It seems to me to be a fairly clear choice -- get the 100-400mm if you can afford it. Otherwise, the choice is less clear. go for the 75- 300 if you want IS. The 100-300 f/4.5-5.6 is $190 less than the 75- 300 IS, and has ring-USM (with FTM) -- but you don't gain any aperture speed & lose IS. It should focus faster than the 75-300 (slightly), and you could pick up another lens with the cost savings.
    Does this help at all?
     
  13. My apologies -- I refered to the 75-300 a couple of times as a f/5-
    5.6, when it is in fact an f/4-5.6 (I wish we had the ability to edit
    our own posts, or had a confirmation screen like photo.net)!
     
  14. Seems to me that you're considering that tentative first step into
    the L series, Sam. Now you're coming up with alternatives that won't
    hurt in the wallet quite as much, but then, as I said before, won't
    last as long. The step into L series is well worthwhile, but as I
    discovered (to my financial cost), there's no going back. You'll
    start to see faults in lenses you were happy with before, and want to
    have more L series lenses. :).

    <p>

    My father has a 28-105 USM and 100-400 L IS and he is very happy with
    that combo. He also has the 100-300 USM you mention, and that is a
    perfectly reasonable lens, as long as you remember that it is a
    consumer lens, and not up to the L series.

    <p>

    My initial recommendation stands. Go for the 100-400 IS, I doubt
    you'll regret it.
     
  15. Dear all,

    <p>

    Thankyou for all your advice, I went for Bob's suggestion in the end,
    and avoided a potential breakout of war with my wife.

    <p>

    I bought the IS 75-300. Although it is not an L lens, and doesn't
    have total battleship build quality, it does suit my needs for now,
    plus is only cost me £320 with a Canon £100 rebate.

    <p>

    Rest assured, I will pursue L series ownership in the future. At
    present, if I am being honest with myself, I don't feel that I am
    advanced enough as an amateur yet.

    <p>

    Thanks again.

    <p>

    Sam
     
  16. Hope you have fun with it, and get some good shots Sam!

    <p>

    A word of advice, which I have already said in another thread on this
    forum: If you wish to take any panned shots, you MUST disable the
    stabiliser, otherwise the shots WILL be blurred. The 75-300 IS does
    not have mode 2 stabilisation, so you have to make do with none at
    all for panning.

    <p>

    The concensus seems to be that if you have a dual mode IS lens (ie
    all IS lenses except for the 28-135 and 75-300) mode 2 should be your
    default setting, as it works for both static and moving subjects, and
    only switch to mode 1 when you have time and are sure you're shooting
    static. I certainly find that works for me, with my 300 F4L IS (420
    F5.6 IS with 1.4X TC).
     
  17. Sam,
    <p>
    Good call, keeping the domestic peace & all! :)
     
  18. Have had many problems with aftermarket lenses. Anywhere from total
    failure on film cameras to a software "lock-up" on the digital bodies.
    The 70-200 2.8 Canon USM is a remarkable piece of equipment. I cannot
    imagine a lens with better color and resoulution. My compliments to
    Canon's designers.
     
  19. Sam, I just bought a EF 100-400 IS and I love it. Personaly I can not tell any difference in sharpness as with the 70-200 f 2.8
    Exept at the 100mm end, which I hardly use . The Quality of the 70-200 F 2.8 & the F 4 are about the same. Iwould say it
    depends a lot on what kind of photography you like as to how much focal length you need. I do a lot of candid portraits, so I prefer
    the 100-400. Just remember a portrait shot with a 100mm is usually about (3 Ft) around 1 meter. 6 or 7 ft with 200mm and
    about 12-15 ft with 400mm. By the way I had a 28-105, but I wasn't happy with the sharpness. Traded for a 28-135 IS, much
    better. The 100 -400 is verry expensive but, its better than buying a focal length that's not long enough plus a converter, and
    then having to sell them at a loss and then buying another one. A 200mm with a1.4X is only 270mm. If this enough focal length
    then go fo the 70-200 F2.8 Don't use a 2X converter, you won't be happy with the results.
     

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