Canon EF 70-200mm f4 L IS USM vs Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8 L NON IS vs ????????

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Hello everybody

I have recently switched back from Pentax to Canon EOS, and I am looking to get one of the 70-200s, the main two I am looking at are the f4 IS and the f2.8 non IS (same price). So far I couldn't find any useful comparisons on the net, as most reviewers pit the F4 IS against the f2.8 IS, and not the NON IS version.

I know the following so far: f2.8 is heavier and bigger, and doesn't have the same level of weather sealing as the IS versions (both f4 and f2.8).

How do these two stack up against each other? How about the mark 1 version of the F2.8 IS or the Sigmas (non OS and OS versions).

Looking forward to you replies
thanks in advance
 

Peltigera

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IS lens have a movable element that the camera moves to stabilise the image. That means the moving element is never in the optimum position. If you don't need the image stabilisation, go for the non-is lens and get slightly better images. If you do need the image stabilisation, use a tripod.

Do you need the weather sealing? Personally, I don't use my cameras in the rain (but I appreciate that some do) so weather sealing is no issue at all for me.

Using a tripod and keeping out of the rain will get you a much faster lens.
 

j-dogg

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f4L IS owner here

Images are tack sharp, if you don't need the 2.8 get the 4 IS. It is literally the sharpest lens I've ever shot with, color rendition is legendary as with all L lenses and it weighs a lot less than the 2.8.
 

Les Sarile

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I had the non IS 70-200 f2.8 L and it is sharp wide open and worked great even with the matched 2X Canon teleconverter. The one thing about the Canon L's vs any other brand is autofocus with my EOS1's and 3's are superfast even very poor lighting - never missed a focus. I have since gotten rid of all my AF lenses and the other thing I found with my Canon L's after I sold them was that I got my money back. Of course I kept them in great shape and had a filter since opening the box.
 

spijker

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I also have the f/4 IS and upgraded a few years ago from the f/4 non-IS. I haven't noticed a difference in sharpness. I would (obviously) go for the IS instead of the larger aperture of f/2.8. The IS gives you more than 1 stop advantage wrt camera/lens motion blur and the lens is more practical to carry around. I rented the f/2.8 IS once before I bought the f/4 non-IS and found the f/2.8 IS too bulky and heavy. Unless you really need the shallower DoF of f/2.8 but since you ask the question, I assume that that's not the case.
 
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A few things for you to consider.

Image stabilisation remains a gimmicky counter-top selling point; and it is a battery drain over non-IS L-series lenses (since Canon's disastrously power-hungry 75-300 IS zoom with below par optical performance). A floating element mounted to a gyrosensor gives the lens a somewhat disconcerting purr in use. The IS version of these lenses also require more correction to elements before and after the floating element.

The f2.8 is a heavy lens to cart around. I bought the 70-200 f4 non-IS in 2004; yes, like others, I can speak chapter and verse of its optical performance across the range and it is light enough to tote around every day. Filter size is 67mm so what fits the Pentax 67 also fits this.

L-series lenses have come down in price a great deal in the last few years; not sure why, because they are equally as effective on digital bodies as on 35mm/analogue.

All Canon L-series lenses have the same effective weather resistant treating applied. This does not mean you should blithely fire away in a torrential downpour; a very light shower is inconsequential. A bath is the end.

And lastly: avoid the afterthought temptation of slapping a $20 filter on any Canon L-series lenses. The front elements of these lenses do need protection; most as aspherical or SLD, so filters, if and when used, must be chosen and fitted with care.
 

andrewf

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I disagree that IS is a gimmick. It has made a big difference to me. You've only got to turn it off to see how effective it is.

The 2.8 range have three lenses. It's commonly regarded that the IS II is sharpest, Non-IS is next in line and the IS (1st gen) is least sharpest. Thats not to say its bad.

The F4 and F4 IS are both very sharp with the F4 IS being the sharper of those two. The F4 is and F2.8 IS II are about the same in terms of optical "quality" but the F4 is about half the weight.

I own the 2.8 IS II and it is very sharp on 35mm ( and that other non analogue format) but weighs a ton and gets on my nerves some times. In day light, the F4 is the better option but when light drops and you need every stop you can get, the 2.8 can halve your shutter speed.

I usually shoot mine at F4 anyway, just to give a bit more DoF but it's nice to have the option of 2.8. And chicks dig big lenses :wink:
 
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Fixcinater

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I think any amount of sharpness between any of these lenses is borderline academic when you consider having f/2.8 will give you the possibility of faster shutter speeds/shallower DOF, whereas the f/4 IS would give you ability to handhold at slower shutter speeds. I've used the f/4 IS, both versions of the 2.8 (although not the newest IS version II) and have no complaints about the optical abilities of any of them. I would also disagree on IS being a gimmick, it allowed me to get shots I could not otherwise get.

Which is more useful to the way you work, and your subject matter? That's something only you can decide upon.

As for the third party lenses, I would skip them due to poorer resale value, more potential issues when upgrading camera bodies (although rare, it does and has happened where people cannot use the older third party lenses with newer bodies due to advancements in lens/body communications that the reverse-engineering cannot handle), more potential issues with support (I know they all service their own products but being able to send everything into Canon after a drop would allow for them to test it all together and ensure proper focus and performance and whatnot). Of course, I live about an hour away from Canon's US service depot, so maybe others would value that ability less. They won't look at aftermarket lenses nor adjust bodies to work with them.
 

Chan Tran

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I am a Nikon guy so I am not familiar with Canon. I have an off topic question. Which are the camera models that support IS? I meant only film cameras.
 

ntenny

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I am a Nikon guy so I am not familiar with Canon. I have an off topic question. Which are the camera models that support IS? I meant only film cameras.

It's self-contained in the lens; works on any EOS body.

Personally, I think I'd go for the smaller lens, unless (1) you really want the extra stop for shallow DOF, (2) you want to maximize shutter speed to freeze the subject AND you can focus on that subject at f/2.8, or (3) you have the carrying capacity of the Incredible Hulk and don't care a bit about the extra weight.

-NT
 
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Ok another update:

after having pined over the options available and having my opinion swayed in many different directions by well meaning folk, I have come to the conclusion that the 70-200mm f4L IS is the best option for me. Canon quality, smaller lighter than the f2.8s and affordable. funny thing, I only bought a film EOS the other day, long after this thread was started, talk about doing things backwards. (in all fairness, I have a dslr, which gives me an excuse to buy good lenses I can use on 35mm too :tongue: )

thank you ALL for your input on this, much appreciated

Ricus
 

ntenny

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You won't regret it. Those are some serious optics. Congratulations!

-NT
 

RidingWaves

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Don't forget the option of just a 200mm lens; Many people find themselves shooting either at 70mm OR just at 200, in which case the excellent 200mm f/2.8 EOS is a lighter option with a fast 2.8. Couple that with an 85mm f/1.8 (a fine optic) or 100mm f/2 and that might be even less money.
 
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Ricus.stormfire
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Don't forget the option of just a 200mm lens; Many people find themselves shooting either at 70mm OR just at 200, in which case the excellent 200mm f/2.8 EOS is a lighter option with a fast 2.8. Couple that with an 85mm f/1.8 (a fine optic) or 100mm f/2 and that might be even less money.

Always an option too, I have looked at the 100mm Macro (both L and non L), the 135mm f2L, the 200 f2.8 L, the 85mm f1.8 (no way can I even think of the faster version), the 100mm f2.... but for the sake of not switching lenses the whole time, I opted for a zoom. The 85mm f1.8 stands out as a fast prime I might get a while after I get the 70-200mm. As for zooms I also looked at the aging 80-200mm f2.8L but even though it's the cheapest zoom I could get....I don't want to get stuck with something that might need costly repairs done in a few years.
 

StoneNYC

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got a 70-200 f2.8 IS mk1 at a reasonable price in the end.....

Enjoy. I have the mk II model, but had the mark I they are both excellent. I don't bother shooting under f/5.6 for decent DOF but the 2.8 makes focussing much better in low light.
 
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