Zoom versus f

Discussion in 'Sports' started by james_goller, Jul 8, 2009.

  1. Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM - $1800
    Canon Telephoto EF 200mm f/2L IS USM - $4,800
    I have been using a 7-300mm zoom. I have never shot with a fixed lens.
    What is your opinion on using a zoom versus a fixed?
    In this case, I assume the price difference is due to the difference between f/2.8 and f/2. However, I always hear photographers say you need 2.8. There isn't too much mention of using anything lower.
  2. "Lower" f-stop numbers mean a wider aperture, which means the lens is gather more light. When you here people recommending f/2.8, they mean nothing slower than that. Faster is always good! But, as you see, it's also stupifyingly expensive - and long, fast lenses also get large and heavy, very quickly.
  3. If you are willing to do without the 70-part, look at the 200mm f2.8L ($800 range). I use mine for football/soccer and somewhat for basketball. If I had the cash, I'd get the 70-200 2.8L without the IS, but that is me.
  4. I use Nikons 70-200/2.8 VR and the fat 200/2.0 VR for sports and nearly always choose the fixed 200 - outdoors most of the time together with a 1.4x-teleconverter. With the prime I miss some (close) shots I could have captured with the zoom but counting in all aspects (especially handling and image-quality) I prefer the fat 200 by a wide margin. I use the zoom when I shoot sports in good light and when the action will happen close to me.
    Good alternatives to Canons 70-200/2.8 IS are the 300/4 or the 200/2.8 for outdoor-sports and the 135/2.0 for indoor-sports.
    Hope this helps and please excuse my english, georg.
  5. Thanks.
    Nathan, why would you not want the IS?
    Aren't you losing flexibility by using a fixed lens?
    I am considering getting the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS, but I just want to make sure I consider my options.
  6. Yes, you lose flexibility when you use a prime instead of a zoom. You also lose (for the same aperture) a lot of weight, and often a lot of cost.

    As pointed out, the 200mm f2.8 is about half the cost and weight of the 70-200mm f2.8 (not to mention the IS version). The 200mm f2.0 is a lot more expensive, and probably as heavy, but lets in twice as much light.

    Personally, I use the 135mm f2.0 for sports, (on my crop body, that gives the same field of view as the 200mm on a FF body), and I have never missed the zoom option. Imagine the shot first, and make sure you're in the right spot to take it.
  7. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "why would you not want the IS?"

    I can't answer for Nathan, but I have the EF70 to 200F2.8L and use it almost exclusively for sport. The IS is not required by me, because I am shooting at a shutter fast enough to freeze the subject action, which also is faster than that required to avoid camera shake. This particular lens is not overly long - even on an APS-C body - and I usually require above 1/320s - which I can easily pull at FL = 200mm – and at that Tv I usually use a monopod. The only time I wanted IS for my lens was when I covered some Snowboarding events (outside of the norm for me) and I borrowed an IS version for that job: specifically to use the IS panning function - which is very good.

    I suggest you look two aspects:

    1. Will you use the lens for any other purpose other than sport?
    2. Do you cover sports where panning IS mode would be beneficial?

    If "yes" to either then consider the IS version.


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