Spring 2012

Spring 2012
by ani

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I've been doing photography for awhile but I don't know a lot about lenses. I'm looking into 200mm(+) lenses (for future reference). I have a few questions about the difference between these lenses.

What is the difference between the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM and the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM? The only difference I can see is that one is longer and cheaper?

And why is the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM cheaper than the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM? I would have thought that the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM would have been more expensive.

Also the same thing with the EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM and the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM? The EF 70-200mm f/4L USM looks a lot better and is cheaper.

Sorry for asking lots of questions, I was just very curious about the differences. Thank you for your help.

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2  
you have to specify your subjects. also you have to do some reasearch on your own before asking here – aaaaaa Mar 3 at 5:36
3  
Possible duplicate of What is aperture, and how does it affect my photographs? – mattdm Mar 3 at 5:46
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Possible duplicate of Why do some lenses cost so much? – scottbb Mar 3 at 6:11
up vote 7 down vote accepted

What is the difference between the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM and the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM? The only difference I can see is that one is longer and cheaper?

The first has a f/2.8 maximum aperture and image stabilization, while the second has a smaller f/4 aperture and no image stabilization. The larger aperture needs larger lens elements, and a good image stabilization system also adds cost. Between the larger aperture and IS, you'll be able to shoot handheld in lower light with the pricier lens, and the larger aperture also gives you shallower depth of field for better separation of your subject from the background. The f/2.8 version also has better weather sealing.

Canon also makes a 70-200mm f/4L with image stabilization and a 70-200mm f/2.8L without image stabilization, both priced around $1200, so if you want the larger aperture without IS or don't mind the smaller aperture but want IS, you have those options.

And why is the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM cheaper than the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM? I would have thought that the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM would have been more expensive.

The larger f/2.8 aperture on the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM requires significantly larger lens elements. As well, notice that it's f/2.8 throughout its range, whereas the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM is only f/4 at the wide end of its range, and goes down to f/5.6 at the long end.

Also the same thing with the EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM and the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM? The EF 70-200mm f/4L USM looks a lot better and is cheaper.

The 200mm f/2.8 is a prime lens rather than a zoom, so it's going to be sharper. With it's larger aperture, it's one stop faster. The trade-off is that it's not a zoom, so you lose the convenience of being able to zoom out to a wider field of view.

The 70-200mm f/4L is IMO a great lens, especially if you're on a budget and can get along without IS. There's one in my bag right now. It's smaller, lighter, and less expensive than it's f/2.8 siblings, and if you're shooting moving subjects in daylight (say, kids playing soccer) you're probably using a shutter speed that doesn't require image stabilization anyway. That covers a lot of what people do with a telephoto zoom, and depending on how you look at it, it's either 1) easy on the wallet, or 2) a gateway drug to the world of Canon's L lenses. But the other lenses you mentioned have important advantages and are worth a good look if those features are important to you.

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And small info about second point. 70-200 have internal zoom, 70-300 have external zoom, change size when you zoom. Its not something very important but its characteristic of the lens. And to make internal zoom lens is more expensive. – Romeo Ninov Mar 3 at 7:22
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If, however, you're shooting kids playing soccer at night, you're going to want, nay, need that F/2.8. Even a reasonably well lit high school field is too dark to shoot at F/4 (in my experience). – FreeMan Mar 3 at 15:40

What is the difference between the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM and the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM? The only difference I can see is that one is longer and cheaper?

The clue is in the lens names. One has a maximum aperture of f/2.8, while the other's is f/4. Also, the f/2.8 lens has image stabilisation, as indicated by the IS designation. These two advantages over the f/4 lens are of course going to increase its price.

I would have thought that the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM would have been more expensive.

[...] The EF 70-200mm f/4L USM looks a lot better

I wonder why you think the 70-200mm lens looks better than the 200mm prime lens. I'm not saying it's not, but "better" depends on your requirements. Having a longer zoom range does not necessarily make a lens better or more expensive. Generally what makes a lens more expensive is better quality glass, better designs for correcting distortion and wider maximum apertures. Prime lenses will often be better in these regards than a zoom.

It might sound a little glib, but generally with camera lenses, you get what you pay for.

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