Which Telezoom to choose?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by sebastian_klamt, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. Hi everybody,
    always struggling for a suitable lens-kit for acceptable costs, I'm thinking about a fitting telezoom. I'm torn betwixt the 70-200 f/4 L USM and the 75-300 f4-5,6 IS USM, and I don't know which one to buy. Some say that the 70-200L without IS is awful but it is an "L" lens, and can it be so bad? The 75-300mm is quite intersting due to the price, although the other one is only 120€ more expensive. But the 75-300mm has an IS...
    I'm a bit confused, because it should be my one and only telezoom, with not being a professional! At the moment I use adapted FD lenses for tele, but the IQ is very poor, nevertheless my 80-200 f/4 SSC has an acceptable zooming range for my needs, so I thinks 200mm would be enough.
    What do you think, and does anyone of you have experiences with the mentioned lenses?
    And another question: Is it clever to use on of those lenses with a teleconverter, or is the f/stop too poor then?
    (By the way I have an EOS 60d-camera)
    Thanks for your comments and best wishes for 2013!
  2. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Do you mean the EF70-300mm F/4~5.6 IS USM - that is a better comparison for purchase.
    I would not buy the EF 75-300 F4~5.6 IS USM. It is an older lens.
    In any case - I suggest you seriously consider saving hard for a little longer, to get the IS verson:
    the EF70 to 200 F/4 L IS USM.
  3. What are you planning to use it for and what is your budget?
    I have used the 70-200 f/4 IS and non IS and both are fabulous lenses. The IS helps if you are not shooting in bright light and do not want the weight (or need the small DoF) of the f/2.8, obviously.
    I also have the EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 and that, too is great. However, I would only buy this if you really need the additional length, as the optical quality is not up to the 70-200. While it is still a great lens, the distortion and vignetting are quite noticeable on a full frame. Not so much on a 60d though.
  4. I have the 70-200/4 and in no way could it be described as awful. I've been using mine regularly for ~8 years. It's sharp,
    light and superb quality.
  5. Hello folks,
    thanks for your - as usual - quick and helpful responses, of course I mean the 70-300 4-5,6 lens.
    I need the focal length for animal cportraits in zoo or nature. So - of course more would always be better. But I don't seek the biggest zoom, but the best IQ, because this - in my opinon - is one of the main topics with tele-photography. And I don't want the aberrations I get from the adapted FD lenses.
    My limit is around 500€, it's not, that I can't afford more, but my wife says, it's not economical to spend more for one lens, with not being a professional!
  6. Another post to confirm the 70-200 f4 L is a magnificent lens without IS - possibly the best zoom I have used. I swapped it for the Canon 70-300 f4-5.6 IS as I liked the compact size and weght of the non-L lens. It is a nice lens without challenging the 70-200 f4 L for sharpness and contrast especially at the long end. Another 70-300 to consider is the Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD which comes out very close to the canon 70-300 but is a bit less money. This one might please your wife more!

    If you just want the best image quality go for the Canon 70-200 f4 L and you will not be disappointed. If however like me you prefer something lighter, smaller and blacker then the Canon 70-300 f4-5.6 IS (or the Tamron equivalent) might suit you better.
  7. Another vote for the 70-200 f4 L without IS. It is a truly good lens. It is quite big and it's not something I carry around much, but it is sharp.
  8. Here are some examples from my portfolio of shots taken with a Canon 5D + Canon 70-300 f4-5.6 IS USM lens. I am not holdinng these up as anything exceptional - just the sort of image quality you could expect with this lens. The IS is very useful especially at the long end of the 70-300 range.
    heavily cropped image :
    pretty much full frame :

    All these shots except #4 were taken hand-held on a very windy clifftop where the IS was very useful. I think the non-IS Canon 70-200 f4 L would have been a real disadvantage here and possibly needed a tripod.
    I have been contemplating buying the L range Canon 70-300 f4-5.6 L IS USM as the lower contrast at 300mm is particuarly noticeable. However I have not bought it yet so maybe that shows that the standard 70-300 f4-5.6 IS is good enough for my amateur purposes.
    If these shots had been taken with the 70-200 f4 L then I would have expected even with cropping that they would be a little sharper and better contrast and colour.
  9. I have been contemplating buying the L range Canon 70-300 f4-5.6 L IS USM as the lower contrast at 300mm is particuarly noticeable.​
    to clarify I should have said the lower contrast of the standard Canon 70-300 f4-5.6 IS at 300mm zoom range is particularly noticeable.
  10. Use the 70-200mm with an EF 1.4X TC-II when you need to go over 200mm. The IQ on all of the L-series 70-200mm Canons is excellent, with great contrast and colors. You should consider saving for the IS simply because you shoot in low light and could use it. Some always shoot this lens at high SS and don't seem to miss the IS. OTOH, many of us use this lens a lot in all kinds of conditions and love the extra flexibility that IS provides.
  11. Colin,
    I use the 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 L to supplement my 70-200 f/4 when I need the reach. I use it almost exclusively for football shots and as I am addicted to L glass! It has great contrast and clarity (some examples as follows). However, yours look good to me!
  12. I was shocked when I tried to use my 70-200 F4 L IS with the IS turned off. At the long end I found that I needed to be at
    1/500 to avoid camera shake. In my old hands, IS is a god-send.
  13. If I were you, Sebastian, I'd look for a used copy of the 70-200/4 L IS. I picked up my used a few years ago, and it has become my most-used lens, particularly outdoors. I find IS to be an invaluable feature on longer lenses.
    I don't know where you heard/read that the 70-200/4 L non-IS is "awful," but the IS version is purported to be a little sharper. And it's effective sharpness, given that it has IS, is of course much greater.
  14. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks for clarifying what lens.
    For your stated purposes the Image Stabilization will (likely often) be of benefit to you. Although you mention that Image Quality is your main concern, it would be sticking your head in the sand to dismiss the value of Image Stabilization for taking Pictures with the lens Hand Held. As you mentioned this will be your only tele-zoom . . . all the more reason to consider ALL the criteria and benefits.
    The consideration that the EF 70 to 200 F/4L USM is ‘awful’ is just silly, as many have already mentioned – but seriously considering the usefulness of Image Stabilization to you and to your requirements is not silly and in no way has to do with whether you are amateur or professional.
  15. Another vote for the 70-200/4 L. If I were going to spend any more money it would be for a used original Canon EF 70-200/2.8 L.
  16. , of course I mean the 70-300 4-5,6 lens.​
    I've owned the 75-300 IS, the 70-300 IS (non-DO, non-L), and the 70-200/4 IS. I've found the 75-300 IS to be better than reputed, but still not as good as the (surprisingly quite good) 70-300 IS. And I've found the 70-200/4 IS to be a bit better optically (and a whole lot better built) than the 70-300 IS. I understand the 70-200/4 non-IS is very similar to the IS version in image quality.
    If you're choosing between the 70-300 IS and the 70-200/4 non-IS, I think your biggest deciding factor should be whether you need the IS. If you plan on shooting at shutter speeds longer than 1/fl (for instance 1/300 sec at 300mm), the IS would be quite useful. If I were on a budget, I would probably choose the 70-300 IS non-L non-DO over the 70-200/4 non-IS, but of course I'm not you!
    FAIW, I currently own both the 70-300 and the 70-200. I carry the 70-300 when I need more reach and more compactness. I carry the 70-200 mostly for candid portraiture where I want an edge in image quality.
    For your purposes, you might also want to consider the EF-S 55-250 IS. You can save quite a lot of money with EF-S lenses (and have a smaller, lighter lens) if you don't need the full frame image circle of the EF lenses. Relative to the other lenses, this one has its respective strengths and weaknesses; however, it would be the most affordable of the bunch -- generally a bit more center sharpness than the 70-300 on a crop camera, and yet a bit more edge/corner softness (according to Canon's MTF charts).
  17. At the tele end, your photography is likely to see tangible benefits from the IS - more so than the quality of the 70-200/4. So, while the 70-200/4 is 'better' in absolute terms, the 70-300/3.5-5.6 IS is likely to get you closer to the absolute limits of the lens. I think it's likely you'll see better imagery from the 70-300 than from the 70-200. The extra 100mm at the long end is nothing to shake a stick at either (and very critical) for your subject, since, on top of the added vibration (due to a lack of IS), you then also have to crop to get similar framing.
    While the 70-200/4 IS has even better IQ, you still would need to crop to get similar framing...
  18. Sebastian,
    I'll probably get flamed for this but, here it goes . . .
    In your original posting you indicated that you thought 200mm would be enough reach. So, naturally most of the advice given was for one of the excellent 70-200mm.
    Then in the last paragraph you indicate or ask about using a teleconverter. Which tells me that 200mm really won't be enough reach.
    Then later in the thread you state;
    "I need the focal length for animal cportraits in zoo or nature."​
    So here's my take & advice on your desires for a telezoom.
    • Forget about the older 75-300 f/4-5.6 IS. Although it does have IS, I don't think you would be very happy with the IQ of that lens.
    • IS becomes very valuable for any hand-held shots, and in my humble opinion is well worth the cost difference at telephoto focal lengths. Gaining another stop or so is an added bonus. However, IS has become a necessity for me as I'm nearing 60, and probably still have better hand-holding technique than many.
    • Not all lens will mount to a teleconverter! Do the research and make certain the TC & lens you select is compatible with each other. In any case, you will probably have to rely on manual focusing. I would also recommend should you consider a TC, stay away from the 2X's, because of IQ compared to one of the 1.4X TC's.
    So, to sum it up in a nutshell, . . .
    Are you certain you wouldn't be better served in the long run to save a little while longer, or make the plunge and get the EF 100-400mm L IS USM?
    Having looked through your portfolio and gallery, I think you would be better served with this lens for these reasons.
    • It does nice close-up work of insects such a Butterflies and also of Flowers. No, it's not Macro but the 100-400 has very good close focusing ability. I don't have the figures readily available. Do the research and check the specifications.
    • It has IS (2 modes of which mode 2 is for panning)
    • It is compatible with all Canon TC's should you decide 400mm is not long enough.
    Should you get one of the shorter lens, then consider the cost of adding a TC when you find you still need more reach, . . . well, you do the math.
    Also, please take into consideration that nearly any "L" lens will hold a good resale value compared to the used market of non L's.
    Just my .o2 worth. But most of all, do the research and make a good decision for your telephoto.
    Best wishes,
  19. James -
    I was thinking much the same, but frankly, the 100-400L that you could get with that budget is probably not worth getting. Which would then be a complete waste.
  20. It is a shame that the 200mm f2.8 does not have IS. It is a great performer, but for hand held shots would be more challenging.
  21. Hi,
    when you tell me the 70-200 L is a great lens indeed, I'll go for a used one. I always dreamed of an L lens for my arsenal and none is more suitable than the 70-200 f/4 L. Maybe I'll combine it with a teleconverter, later!
    Thanks so long, to all of you, it's a pleasure to post in this forum!
    Happy new year from Germany,
  22. Hi,
    when you tell me the 70-200 L is a great lens indeed, I'll go for a used one. I always dreamed of an L lens for my arsenal and none is more suitable than the 70-200 f/4 L. Maybe I'll combine it with a teleconverter, later!
    Thanks so long, to all of you, it's a pleasure to post in this forum!
    Happy new year from Germany,
  23. Hello again,
    today I got an almost new 70-200 f/4 L from Ebay, with hood and bag for 410€.
    I think that's quite OK. I'm very excited hoe it will work!
    Thanks to all of you for your advise!

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