What good is the 70-200?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by travismcgee, Jun 29, 2009.

  1. What kind of subject makes you reach for your 70-200?
    As I understand it, in general terms, a landscape or architectural photographer would want a wider angle and a wildlife or an airshow photographer would choose the 100-400 or longer. So what niche does the 70-200 fill? Weddings and portraits? Street photography? Anything and everything?
    The reason I’m asking, of course, is that I’m shopping for a new lens. I have a 40D and a 24-105 f/4 L and I’d like to add a longer telephoto to my kit. I travel for a living, so size and weight are an issue, and I shoot lots of different subjects, including aerial photography like below. That airplane was fairly close, but I still had to throw away a lot of pixels to make the image a decent size even when shooting a crop sensor camera at 105mm. I’m attracted to the quality and sterling reputation of the 70-200 series, but wondering if the 70-300 would be a better choice. I wouldn’t mind being a rich and famous photographer, so a good quality lens is important in case I happen to see a UFO or Elvis or the next cover of National Geographic.
    Your thoughts would be very helpful. What makes you pull out your 70-200 instead of one of the other lenses in your bag?
    Many thanks.
    Cheers,
    Dave
    00TnFD-149259584.jpg
     
  2. I bought mine for shooting live theater (70-200/2.8 IS). It does this very well. I'd use a 100-400 if it were fast enough, but I really need f/2.8.
    I've found the 70-200 to be spectactular for portraits. I've taken it on hikes, and it's good at nature (I don't generally shoot wildlife), though rather heavy to carry around for hours. The size and white finish make it a tough lens for candids, which is too bad because it does excel in that capacity after people start ignoring it.
    I've mostly used it full frame, but recently I shot some crop frame with a 1.4x extender, and that's a lot of fun. I've never really done much telephoto, so it's a new world for me.
     
  3. It's very commonly used as a portrait lens in order to compress depth, and to blur out the background.
    I've also used it very frequently at weddings. It's a great "down the aisle" close-up lens. It's versitile enough up close as well.
     
  4. Events. Conferences, weddings, parties, etc.
     
  5. I carry my 70-200mm f/4L IS lens everywhere as half of a two-lens travel and general photography combination along with the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens. The f/4L IS lens is light enough to carry all day without fatigue. That is why I opted for the f4L IS over the f/2.8L (series) lens. I can carry the 70-200mm f/4L IS lens AND an extra 1.6x camera at the same weight (and price) of the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens,
    I use it for; portraits, isolating portions of subjects, compressing distances and many, many other uses. It is an f/4, 112-320mm equivalent lens which I can with IS assistance, easily hand-hold. It also accepts a 1.4x TC which transforms this lens into a 448mm f/5.6 equivalent with very good IQ and AF while still retaining the IS capability.
    That adds up to a LOT OF CAPABILITY at a relatively small weight.
     
  6. 70-200 f/2.8 non-IS for indoor sports.
     
  7. Sports, theater, candids.
    The 70-200 is IMHO the most useful lens that is available.
     
  8. The 2.8 version is frequently used for indoor/outdoor sports where low-light is an issue. Also for weddings and portraits, as noted above.
     
  9. I rarely use mine ( 2.8 non is version ) but when I do I am always very impressed. I prefer smaller lighter gear but this lens is my 1 exception. I used it for travel for the first time and the size and weight really did not bother me.
    You can get some good reviews of all the lenses here.
    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/
     
  10. The 70-200 / 80-200 / 70 - 210 has been a standard zoom length since they were invented and works best on full frame bodies. It covers the range from mild telephoto (suitable for portraits) up to a reasonable general purpose telephoto. It is designed for hand held shooting. Longer focal lengths tend to need a tripod or at least a monopod for best results. The other advantage of this range is that it is possible to build fast lenses - I shoot the 70-200 F2.8. On an APS-C camera this lens becomes an effective 112 - 320mm lens. The 70 -300 is effectively a 112 to 480 on your camera. While long focal lengths are tempting in general a constant aperture (and usually faster) zoom is better quality. Canon makes two 70-300mm lenses one uses Diffractive optics and I beleive it produces higher quality results than the regular 70-300 although I have not used it. Both of these zooms are faily slow (F4 to F5.6) which reduces shutter speeds and prevents shallow DOF effects such as in portraits.
    In answer to your question on what makes me take my 70-200 F2.8 the answer is:
    Image quality and versatility. I rarely see the need for a lens above 200mm so the 70-200 is the lens I carry around for just in case shots. When I am shooting longer lenses I am usually shooting sports and use a 300 F2.8 occasionally with a 1.4x TC. This is a big, expensive lens and not suited to general use - it is however the fastest focusing Canon lens I own.
    Once you go beyond 200mm your choice is limited. You can either shoot slow, fairly poor IQ zooms or primes. The primes are futher split into two catagories - relatively slow, cheaper and more portable (e.g. 300 f4, 400 f5.6) or faster very heavy expensive primes (e.g. 300 f2.8, 400 f2.8). Either class of primes delivers much better image quality than the zooms. The 100-400 zomm is not in the same league as the 400 F5.6 prime. The other thing to remember is that AF tends to be worse with slow lenses. Most Canon bodies have sensore that are faster and more accurate than with lenses of F2.8 or faster. Most Canon AF systems have a maximum capability of F5.6 and work slower with these lenses. Some 1 series bodies can work in a limited way with F8 lenses.
     
  11. Sports where I am close to the action.
     
  12. Fast is good, hard to have too fast a lens. On the other hand, 200mm is not all that long these days.
    I have the ancestor of the 70-300mm IS lens, the 75-300mm IS (as usual I bought it a week or so before the newer lens was announced) and despite its terrible reputation, I find it does what I need from a zoom telephoto.
    Reviews of the 70-300mm are pretty good, especially on the APS-C sensor bodies (link ). When I replace my old lens, though, I want the 100-400mm IS (or maybe its successor?). I'm now shooting both APS-C and 35mm sensor cameras and would like to get back that extra length on the latter.
    I've got a large collection of 500mm lenses (mostly mirror) and while long primes are nice, there's no substitute for the flexibility that you get from a zoom. Unless you're in some kind of hide, you normally can't predict what precise focal length you need. Primes are better optically, to be sure, but only have the one focal length.
    I will note, in case you might be interested, that nice copies of the Reflex-Nikkor 500mm f/8 lens are usually under $300 when you can find them (especially the non-AI versions). Less expensive, and less sharp, mirror lenses are legion on eBay, but I'd avoid all but the later Spiratone ones (I have them most of them, should have started with the Nikkor;).
     
  13. Sports, potraits, landscapes, candids.
    Weight training
     
  14. 70-200 f2.8 non-is is without doubt, my most used lens. Dance recitals, theater, sports (indoor & outdoor), scenic, weddings, etc. If I need wider I will use my 24-70 2.8. Occasionally I will swap it for my 85 f1.8 for portrait work or if the dance/theater environment is too dark.
    The only thing I miss is a longer lens for wildlife and some sports where I need to reach down field.
     
  15. I use mine for landscapes and cityscapes and anything else I may need it for
     
  16. Simple example, these pretty gals demanded use of my 70-200:
    00TnOZ-149317684.jpg
     
  17. The 4 IS on a 50D.
    My wife uses it for all school related events and gets pretty great results.
    I use it for city-shooting; architectural details, strange compositions, scavenging doves & gulls etc etc etc. Plus it worked great in a local butterfly garden. Nobody will mistake this for a macro but it's absolutely great for anything the size of your thumb and up.
     
  18. Not too much makes me pull it out nowadays in stark contrast to the old days ... that was my go-to lens for everything from concerts to model shoots to birding, you name it. These days that thing is just too big and unwieldy and sometimes just a burden to carry around for two of the things above - now, it's just birding I pull it out for but once I get a different lens, maybe I won't even use it much for that anymore.
     
  19. With a 40d, I'd use the Sigma 50-150... same reach as 70-200 on a FF sensor, half the size & weight.
    and I'd use it Everywhere , that lens never left my D300 until I sold the camera.
     
  20. I Think that the 70-200 f2.8L IS is the best lens that Canon makes. That said, I shoot air shows, boat races and high school sports mostly night time. I also shoot weddings, senior portraits, and family shoots. I have used the 70-200 on all of the current 1 bodies as well as most of the 1.6 frame bodies. I do use the 24-105 f4L for the wide angel shots but for the action shots I use the 70-200 some times with 1.4 extender for longer range in daylight. I like the nifty 50mm for indoor sports from the floor But I still like the 70-200 for the bleachers. If you don't have one it should be your next lens. Regards, Bill
     
  21. Exactly what Richard Crow said above. I used to have the non-IS 2.8 version and found that I was leaving it in the bag at times directly because of the weight. I now have the IS version, in f4, using it with a 5D and I am very happy. I don't need the extra stop however; if I did, I would be in a bind. For the kind of photography I am doing, my combination of 24-70 f2.8L, 85 f1.8, and 100 f2.8 handle any need I have for lower light.
    Having said that - I used to have a 40D and used the 70-300 IS for outdoor portraits and nature and it was an excellent lens. Tack sharp on the cropped sensor body, but when I went full frame I knew I needed the higher quality.
     
  22. landscape doesn't have to be made with a wide angle lens, though i think landscape photographer would rather take a 200mm f2 for best results in the corners (well who actually does that?). portrait is a nice "niche" as well as weddings as you mentioned already.
    any kind of sport inside a hall usually is good for a 70-200 and concert photography is also often done with a 70-200.
    "wild life" is a wide term, really depends on how close you are to your subject.
    i mainly use the 70-200 for portraits though with my d700, also used it when i still had the d80, its a good lens for many situations...
     
  23. All of the above, but a few surprises as well.
    How about bicycle racing:
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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I frequently use it for photographs of natural subjects:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Or even landscape:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    One heck of a versatile lens.
    Dan
     
  24. I use a 40D, the 70-200 F/4L is the lens that is on the camera the most when I'm shooting racing cars. I do have a 400 F/5.6L that I also use but the zoom is there for 75% of the shots. Great color and contrast, excellent AF performance, pics crop without loss of IQ.....a fantastic lens that no bag should be without!
    00TnX3-149387584.jpg
     
  25. I carry a Canon 10-22; a Canon 25-105 and the 70-200. The 70-200 is remarkable for hand-held shots in decent light, and on a tripod you can shoot anything I think.
     
  26. I carry a Canon 10-22; a Canon 25-105 and the 70-200. The 70-200 is remarkable for hand-held shots in decent light, and on a tripod you can shoot anything I think.
    00TnXC-149389584.jpg
     
  27. It's the best all-around lens, of any make.
     
  28. I use it for sport (soccer, tennis, sailing, basketball etc.), portraits, street, travel..and love it!
    The range is excelent if the lens is used on full frame body, on asp-c body it is little too long for everyday use.
     
  29. In 35mm, my favorite for airshows was a 100-300/4. A 200 just wasn't enough reach. On a 1.5-1.6x camera, I find 300mm too long for aircraft - I just can't frame well with it, and I'm not as steady with it. The 70-200 would be perfect, in my estimation.
     
  30. size and weight are an issue [...] I’m attracted to the quality and sterling reputation of the 70-200 series, but wondering if the 70-300 would be a better choice.​
    70-200/4 IS is your best bet but as far as value for money goes, the crown goes (IMHO of course) to the 70-300 IS. Personally, I recently swayed away from zooms in favor of primes.
    Happy shooting,
    Yakim.
     
  31. "I travel for a living, so size and weight are an issue."​
    I have three versions of the 70-200 (both IS's and f4 non-IS) -- yeah, I've been meaning to sell something any day now -- and I have the 70-300 also. If I traveled for a living, the 70-300 is the one I'd always have with me: light, black, sharp, and 50% more reach. Not as big a maximum aperture as any of the 70-200's, but not much slower than the 70-200/4's (and if I traveled for a living carrying a 70-200/2.8 everywhere would be out of the question).
     
  32. Many thanks, everybody. Great advice, as always.

    Cheers.
     
  33. I use it for Portriates, and sometimes landscapes
     
  34. SOME FINE photography with your, out of your lens GDM. Sweet.
     
  35. I don't use my 70-200 F4 IS that much but I do like the results I get. It's very sharp and light and the IS means you can handhold to about 30 th second at 200mm.
     
  36. My 70-200 f/2.8L IS on my 1DM3 is heaven for indoor sports. I shoot lots of swimming at all levels, from youth to senior swimmers and I am often amazed at the quality of the images I get with this lens. Also great for portraits, flowers, landscapes, you name it - my favorite lens by far. Get any of the four versions of the 70-200 depending on your needs - I believe that they are all fantastic. You will not be disappointed.
     
  37. My 70-200 f/2.8L IS on my 1DM3 is heaven for indoor sports. I shoot lots of swimming at all levels, from youth to senior swimmers and I am often amazed at the quality of the images I get with this lens. Also great for portraits, flowers, landscapes, you name it - my favorite lens by far. Get any of the four versions of the 70-200 depending on your needs - I believe that they are all fantastic. You will not be disappointed.
     
  38. I concur heartily with Ken's comments. Superb shots, GDM :) They certainly made this thread worth reading to the end ;-)
     

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