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by Bart Arondson

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I've been reading 70-200 f4 is vs 2.8 non is for days and still I don't know what to do. Ok..at the moment I do not do weddings. I do portraits (babies on up), I do photo shoots of a kid or kids running, playing, jumping in some field. I am commissioned to shoot landscape, buildings, horses, dogs (a lot of dogs) sometimes stationary, as a dog can be, or moving. I might shoot outdoor sports, not often. I have been known to shoot theater plays with just stage light available. I pretty much use a canon 24 - 105 to do all of this. I want a 70 - 200 and I really want a 2.8. I do not use a tripod as I started out a street photographer and love hand held shooting (better control) SO??????? can I get a 2.8 NON IS someone help me....Please!!!

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marked as duplicate by mattdm, MikeW, Paul Cezanne, dpollitt, Itai Sep 7 '13 at 23:02

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

1  
Take a look here and here –  Szabolcs Sep 7 '13 at 16:36
    
@Szabolcs - it's a fairly minor point, but both of those appear to refer to the mk1. They do however probably still apply to the II version. –  AJ Henderson Sep 7 '13 at 16:49
    
This question has appeared in various forms here many times. See my answer to this question for a run-down of many of your options. photo.stackexchange.com/a/36192/15871 –  Michael Clark Sep 7 '13 at 22:22
    
@AJHenderson What mk1 version are you talking about? The only Canon 70-200 L with a mk2 version is the f/2.8 IS II. The only 70-200 f/2.8 non-IS version Canon has ever made is the original 1995 design. There is no mk 2 non-IS 70-200 f/2.8. –  Michael Clark Sep 7 '13 at 23:37
    
@MichaelClark - ah, I didn't realize they didn't refresh the non-IS when they refreshed the IS. My bad. That does change things a lot. –  AJ Henderson Sep 8 '13 at 3:02

2 Answers 2

It depends on what you are shooting and how you are stabilizing the camera. For theatrical shooting I use a monopod and an EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II. I still have to time my shots when the performers are relatively still.

The image stabilization on the EF 70-200mm f/4L IS is good for 3-4 stops. On a crop body without IS, at 200mm you wouldn't want to shoot handheld below about 1/320 sec. With IS, you could drop down to about 1/40 or even 1/20 sec. But that requires that your subject isn't moving.

If your subject is moving very fast, the shutter speed needed to freeze the motion is going to make IS superfluous. Shooting sports like football or soccer from the sideline requires a shutter speed of around 1/500 sec. or faster. The horses and dogs you shoot can move faster than most athletes, and you are probably trying to shoot them from closer which necessitates an even higher shutter speed.

If you are shooting from a stable tripod, the extra stop of the f/2.8 version would probably be more valuable to you, if the lens is sharp enough for your needs at f/2.8. You will also be able to get more bokeh with the f/2.8 than the f/4 lens.

You will not gain anything in terms of shutter speed or IS in moving from the EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS to the EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS. The 70-200 is a little sharper and has more reach, but gives up even more on the wide end.

There are a few other things to consider:

  • EF 70-200mm f/2.8L was introduced in March 1995. This design is almost 20 years old!
  • EF 70-200mm f/4L IS was introduced in November 2006. It is a much newer design.
  • Tamron SP AF 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD was introduced in 2012. You might want to consider this lens as it includes Vibration Control (VC) - Tamron's version of IS and compares favorably to the non-stabilized EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L and is priced at around $1,400 (Adorama)-1,500 (B&H, Amazon) USD. Here's the review at The-Digital-Picture.

Some people think the four versions of the EF 70-200mm "L" are all pretty much the same lens with various apertures and with or without IS "added". They are not. Each lens is an entirely independent design and reflects the state of materials and lens design technology available at the time they were released. The newer F/4L IS is sharper at f/4 than the older f/2.8L. Even the f/2.8L IS design, over a decade old having been introduced in 2001, is not as sharp as the f/4L IS.

Of course the king of the hill of Canon 70-200mm "L" glass is the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II. Introduced in 2010, it is at an entirely different level in terms of sharpness over the entire focal length and aperture range. It is also considerably more expensive. Back in 2010 I needed a good, constant aperture telephoto zoom lens. I considered all of the options you are now considering, plus third party lenses available at that time as well. I came to the realization that if I bought anything less than the f/2.8L IS II I would always wonder if I should have bought it instead. I decided to wait a little longer and save enough to get the f/2.8L IS II. That is one of the best decisions I've ever made in terms of photo gear. It is the best zoom lens I have ever used. I had to save for quite a while to be able to buy it. Many meals that could have been eaten in restaurants were cooked at home. Many other things I wanted were put on the back burner. The cost of this lens was totally forgotten when I looked at the first images I shot with it. It is worth every penny I paid for it. I consider it some of the best money I have ever spent on anything.

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Personally, If you are shooting by hand without even a monopod I'd want to get the IS version. The f/2.8 is very nice though. I have the 70-200 f/2.8L IS II and it's a phenomenal lens. If you can't afford that yet, I'd personally suggest saving until you can. It is worth every penny of the cost if you are going to use it extensively and can afford it.

Outdoors in broad daylight, with the f/2.8 shutter speed will probably be high enough it doesn't matter, but if you decide to do anything that occurs in darker spaces, you will end up wishing you had the IS when shooting on the longer end of the lens, but giving up the f/2.8 to keep IS is a high cost in my opinion.

Put another way, dropping from f/4 to f/2.8 limits what you can do in ALL conditions. Losing IS only limits what you can do in select conditions, but when you have to shoot in them, you will wish you had spent the extra to get it.

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