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Photog monkeys. Need lens advice

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Barbaton, Dec 28, 2005.

  1. Barbaton

    Barbaton Turbo Monkey

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    So my parents have graciously offered to buy me a telephoto zoom lens for b-day/xmas, so I'm shopping for one now. Here are the deets:

    -Canon EOS EF mount.

    -Still shooting film but may go to digital at some point. I like having the prints, and scanning the negatives on my film scanner gets me higher res digital than I could afford in a digital body now anyway.

    -Lens would mostly be used outdoors, for bike/ski or at the zoo shooting. Faster would be nice, but L series is out of price so it looks like I'm stuck at F4. I'd like it as fast focusing as possible given the sports aspect.

    -I just got back from B&H, where the remarkably rude salesman spent his time trying to sell me a digital body rather than answering my lens questions. I've been over it a bit with Toshi and WTGPhoben, and Toshi of course thinks I should buy a half dozen primes instead. ;)

    -So far the most promising is the Canon 70-300 IS USM. Mr. B&H said that is more than necessary unless I buy a digi from him and I can't tell if he's right or just being an assclown. The Image Stabilizer is appealing for the sort of long handheld shots at low shutter speeds I'm always taking.

    Anywho, if anyone has any thoughts, I'd love to hear them. :help:

    And for the record I am scouring photo forums too. :p

    EDIT: Suggestions on other manufacturers (Sigma, etc) ok too.
     

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  2. Transcend

    Transcend My Nuts Are Flat

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    Is L out of range, or simply 2.8?

    The 70-200 F4 L is a fantastic lens, and can be had for about $575 at BH I believe.
     
  3. Barbaton

    Barbaton Turbo Monkey

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    Well, 2.8 is def out of range. Could probably stretch to 575. I've been looking at some comparisons between the 70-200 F4L and the 70-300 IS and the latter seems to compare quite favorably.

    Roughly the same price, Image Stab, deeper zoom, and weight make the 70-300 appealing if the images are close to as good.

    Here are a couple of those comparisons:

    http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00EHlL

    http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic2/308680
     
  4. Transcend

    Transcend My Nuts Are Flat

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    The 70-300 can, in no way, come close to the 70-200. Thoese IS units alone cost about $200-250, so as you can imagine the image quality on the 70-200 suffers at the same price point.

    Then 70-300 is much softer throughout the range, but especially at the extreme short end and extreme long end.
     
  5. Barbaton

    Barbaton Turbo Monkey

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    That's what I would have expected too. I was surprised that that lens is doing so well in comparisons. Maybe the 70-200 isn't as good as it could be. :)
     
  6. Mike B.

    Mike B. Turbo Monkey

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    For basically the same price you might also look around for a used Sigma 70-200 2.8 or a new Canon 70-200 f4L. Depends if you really need the 300mm or not.

    Just some thoughts, I'm by no means an expert.

    edit - damn the interruptions, you guys are too quick for me
     
  7. Transcend

    Transcend My Nuts Are Flat

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    I would avoid the 70-300 and get the 70-200, I have used both and the 70-200 destroys the 70-300 in sharpness as well as contrast.

    Also, IS is no good for moving targets, unless you switch it into mode 2 when panning. Besides that it is all but useless. Taking pictures of still objects works quite well.

    The sigma 2.8 is also a good deal at around $600. I just happen to prefer to stick to canon lenses.

    edit: about the 7-2 not being as good as it could be, it is widely known as one of the sharpest lenses canon makes, it comes extremely close to the 300 2.8 (which is widely regarded as the absolute sharpest lens in the canon inventory).
     
  8. Barbaton

    Barbaton Turbo Monkey

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    hmm. that sigma looks interesting. would the IS be worth it as opposed to wider aperature?
     
  9. Transcend

    Transcend My Nuts Are Flat

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    In a word, no. Not even close.
     
  10. Barbaton

    Barbaton Turbo Monkey

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    Ok. There's still the price question. The sigma lists at about 800 new.
     
  11. Transcend

    Transcend My Nuts Are Flat

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    Yup, it is close-ish to the canon 2.8 version which lists about $1100.

    My advice is to get the canon 70-200 F4. You will be more then happy, it is a much better and much better built lens then the 70-300.
     
  12. Barbaton

    Barbaton Turbo Monkey

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    Ok. Do you have a sense of how much of a pain it is to use/carry? They look to be roughly the same length and weight. I'd be using a photo pack to carry anyway. Another potential hiccup is that I already have 58 and 72mm filters but i'd have to get them for 67 for 70-200. Not that big a deal but it's another couple hundred assuming i don't scrounge which i probably would.
     
  13. Transcend

    Transcend My Nuts Are Flat

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    The 70-200 f4 is a damn light lens for a lens of it's size, particularly when weighed next to a 2.8 of the length.

    The 70-300 IS will weigh a good chunk more, those IS units are NOT light.

    What do you need filters for? I have a cheapo tiffen i use on it when shooting in crappy conditions, besides that I never use one. You pay a premium for good contrast and color in an L lens, don't make that premium a waste by sticking filters on it.
     
  14. narlus

    narlus Eastcoast Softcore
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    while we are on the Canon kick, what's a good lens to replace the limited lens (18-55mm) lens which comes stock w/ the rebel XT? the L70-200mm sounds like a good bet but it's a bit pricey. what about the EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM? i know it's not an "L" series camera but it's half the cost and my camera body's not prosumer quality either, so would the L really be worth it?
     
  15. Transcend

    Transcend My Nuts Are Flat

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    L lenses make a big difference in specific areas, if you don't need the quality, and are not looking in a similiar area , then it isn't worth it.

    For the 18-55 replacement, i love the 50mm 1.8 prime @$70. For wide angle duties i have a 17-40 F4 L. You don't need an L lens to get nice pictures, but it can help drastically reduce post processing by giving you nice contrast and color. I sold a few photos taken with a 50mm 1.8 this season, the cheapest lens I own by far, but under the conditions I was shooting under, it was way more appropriate then my lenses that cost 25x more.

    The 24-70 2.8 is also a killer walk around lens, but also L and pricey.

    Really, lens choice is dependant on what you are going to do. Do you shoot outdoor sports, indoor sports, your kids in the house in bad lighting, your dog in the yard, landscapes, macro etc. Lens needs will vary wildly depending on what you want to do.

    If you are only shooting landscapes for example, you could get away with a 3.5-5.6 variable lens, as you will be using f8 most of the time to control DOF. If however, you are shooting indoor sports, you will probably want a 70-200 2.8, or one of the 1.8 or lower primes. You may want IS for shooting the kids indoors, but remember that IS cannot stop actionm only hand shake.

    IE: IS will help you shoot your kid on the sofa at 1/60th @200mm indoors and have a nice picture. It won't help you freeze a soccer player kicking a ball, which will need 1/200th of a second miminum to freeze the action.

    FYI - The rebel Xt is considered a prosumer body along with the 20d. Basically all non 1 series SLRs from canon are. The g6, pro 1 etc etc are their lower end cameras. The quality from a 350d matches a 20d, it is only missing a few features the average user won't ever need. It's a great camera.
     
  16. narlus

    narlus Eastcoast Softcore
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    sweet, thanks for the info fraser. btw, the wife dug the DH jersey too :thumb:
     
  17. Barbaton

    Barbaton Turbo Monkey

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    Have you actually worked with the 70-300 at all or are you just guessing? I held it today and it is light. It was significantly lighter than the 70-300 non-IS I also looked at. According to the specs pages the IS lens is .16 lb lighter than the F4L.

    As for filters, I often use polarizers, particularly if I'm shooting through glass. Also, don't forget that I shoot film, so I keep a UV-haze on the front; and I occasionally shoot black and white, so I still have red and fluorescent lighting filters that I would use. I know a digi body can do all that for me except the polarizer. Again filters aren't really that big a deal, but they're there.
     
  18. merrrrjig

    merrrrjig Turbo Monkey

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    Get the 70-200 f/4, IS does NOTHING on those cheap lenses, I found a bit of a dif. on the 70-200 2.8L IS, but it doesnt work for panning, a good lens to replace the stock lens would be the 17-40L or 28-135 IS USM, I have the 28-135 and its pretty good, and the IS doesnt do crap!
    Edit: get a step up, or step down adapter thing for the filters if ur that deperate!
     
  19. Barbaton

    Barbaton Turbo Monkey

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    WTGPhoben's happy with his 17-85 EF-S lens that has IS. I'm sure he'd be happy to give you details. The Rebel XT can take that new mount. It is an F4 and up lens. He says the IS makes a difference.
     
  20. Barbaton

    Barbaton Turbo Monkey

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    Duh. forgot about those. not big deal problem solved!
     
  21. Transcend

    Transcend My Nuts Are Flat

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    Sweet! Thanks for helpin' out, I appreciate it!

    barb: I have used one, it was not at all impressed with the results it gave me. There is no way the same lens weighs LESS with is then without. You may have been comparing different generations of the same lens, as the 70-300/75-300 etc has been through various iterations. The 70-200 2.8is for example, weighs significantly more then the 70-200 2.8 non IS.

    As for filters, I hear ya. Most people simply toss on a chepo haze filter to protect the front element, and in essence wasted a ton of jack.

    Gotta agree with Merr about the IS on cheapo lenses being a waste. On my 300mm however, the pan IS (mode 2) is incredible for highspeed pan shots of cars, bikes etc.

    Edit: That 17-85IS has issues, at least from people I have spoken to who have one. They have been pretty dissapointed. IS at the wide end is pretty pointless, as you can get a nice sharp shot at 1/30th of a second anyways.
     
  22. Barbaton

    Barbaton Turbo Monkey

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    I don't think they were the same lens with or without IS, but different products entirely. My point was that on the internet the 70-300 IS is supposed to be lighter than the F4L you suggested. I didn't try that one today in person because it hadn't occurred to me, but based on all your suggestions will definitely look at it when I go to the store again, though I think I will go to a more helpful place than B&H. :p
     
  23. Transcend

    Transcend My Nuts Are Flat

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    It probably is lighter due to being a variable aperture lens. This means less glass is necessary at the long end, meaning lighter weight. Non L lenses also have less lens groups and use plastic as the body material, not metal (all L lenses are metal construction) saving on weight again.

    .16 pounds is pretty much not noticeable. I use a a 1dmk2 though with 300 on it much of the time, so I am pretty used to the weight now. Get a good neckstrap (optech ones are awesome, and i have 3 of them on my various bodies and long lenses now).
     
  24. Barbaton

    Barbaton Turbo Monkey

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    Oh, and something else that may be clouding the conversation is that apparently the first try with the 70-300 was crap. Old slow USM motor, 1st gen IS; evidently a pretty horrible lens. They've just replaced it with a new one that I've seen great revs for set against the F4L. Do you know if the one you've used was the old one or this new one?
     
  25. Barbaton

    Barbaton Turbo Monkey

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    I don't think I'd notice that weight difference that much. I'm surprised your head hasn't popped off with that rig. ;)
     
  26. Transcend

    Transcend My Nuts Are Flat

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    Not sure to be honest if it was a new or old version. The 75-300 is abhorrent, the 70-300 was better but just not up to the task. I mean, it's a decent lens, but when it has a relatively close price to the 70-200L, it's almost a no brainer from my point of view. You then get an excellent lens, instead of a mediocre one.

    As for losin' my head...monopods are key. :cool:
     
  27. WTGPhoben

    WTGPhoben Monkey

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    you're right, it doesn't work particularly well while panning, but I don't think that's really the intent (at least not on this lens). According to the manual, it is not designed to deal with moving images. It is designed for stabilizing still images at slow shutter speeds, that's all. In my experience it works pretty darn well. The following image is of the Panthaeon (sp?).

    Stats:
    lens 17-85 4-5.6 IS
    ISO 800
    f/5.6
    focal length 85mm (x1.6 as the body is a 20d)
    shutter 1/10
    camera was handheld

    there's no way I could have held the camera steady enough without IS and I wasn't about to hump a tripod around Rome with my girlfriend on vacation.


    100% crop

    (note: pink color-cast is not in original image, it only appeared when I converted to jpg from 16bit tif)
     
  28. Transcend

    Transcend My Nuts Are Flat

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    The IS works exceptionally well in circumstances like what is shown above. It gets rid of all that hand shake, and gives you a good 2 stops to play with. Which means lower useable ISO creamier shots (or a shot where none would have been possible otherwise).

    IS mode 1 absolutely should not be used for panning, it will try to counteract oit and lead to a weird choppy pan. Mode 2 works really well, not sure if that lens has mode 2.

    If you have a switch on the side such as this one, swap it over to mode 2 for panning.



    Mode 2 makes shots like this one really easy to get. This suby was cruising about 70 on the interstate. I was on a hill at a rest stop, 1/90th at 100 ISO.

     
  29. Barbaton

    Barbaton Turbo Monkey

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    Keith, does your IS have the pan mode that the new ones do? I want to know if it just doesn't work or if they added it because your IS doesn't handle panning...
     
  30. WTGPhoben

    WTGPhoben Monkey

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    I only have one mode for IS. You have to buy one of those pretty white lenses for such cool toys.:)
     
  31. Transcend

    Transcend My Nuts Are Flat

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    IS pan mode works very well. Regular IS only works under specific conditions. In particular, when you are shooting under your lens length on a non-moving target. IE 1/100th of a second, on a 200mm lens. Most of the lower priced lenses do not include mode 2 nor the new mode 3, which is tripod aware.
     
  32. Barbaton

    Barbaton Turbo Monkey

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    Aah. Not so my friend. :)

    In fact, the very 70-300 I've been looking has mode 2, though sadly not the afore-mentioned mode 3. :)
     
  33. Barbaton

    Barbaton Turbo Monkey

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    oh, transcend, do you know if the 70-200L has internal movement? One of the things that could be annoying about the 70-300 for polarized shots is that the barrel spins when it focuses...
     
  34. Transcend

    Transcend My Nuts Are Flat

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    Most L lenses are internal movement. The 70-200 is no exception. I think the 24-70 and 100-400 are the only ones which do not. And ya, a moving front element is annoying as hell.

    Mode 3 is pretty rare, and so far only a few lenses have it.
     
  35. merrrrjig

    merrrrjig Turbo Monkey

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    In my experience w/ IS on my lens: 28-135, I can see almost no difference when shooting a still object at a slow shutter speed, but When I did it w/ the 70-200 2.8L IS it worked very good, I am just saying that I think that the L lenses have better IS systems
     
  36. Toshi

    Toshi Harbinger of Doom

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    thad, the 70-300 IS looked better than the 70-200/4 in the fredmiranda thread you posted. don't listen to fraser :D the 70-200/4 does have the advantage of no length change or rotation on focusing or zooming, however, and is just light enough that you can get away with not having a tripod ring for it.

    with that long white lens, at f/4 :D




    do note that the 135/2L would clean up on anything mentioned in this thread... really ask yourself if you need the zoom.
     
  37. WTGPhoben

    WTGPhoben Monkey

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    I was merely being glib.
     
  38. stevew

    stevew unique white person

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    All this jibber jabber, I need to read my manuals.
     
  39. Barbaton

    Barbaton Turbo Monkey

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    I like having the options. I also don't have 900 dollars to spend on 135/2L. When I win the Powerball I'll buy a 5D and one of every L prime and a minivan to carry it all. ;)
     
  40. narlus

    narlus Eastcoast Softcore
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    so what did you end up w/ ?

    i've been pretty damned happy w/ the 70-200 f/4