I know that I'm comparing apples and oranges here, but this is something that really bothers me.

I'm looking to buy my next tele lens, and I'm trying to choose between the two. 70-200 II seems like a logical choice, as the lens is superb, especially that I'll be using this lens for weddings. But than, 300mm is considered one of the best/the best canon lens, and I've read a lot on how good it is.

My goal is to make the best pictures possible. Which of those lenses should I go with and why?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ "The best picture possible" is the right picture. That has only a very loose connection with technical perfection. If you can't be where you need to be to take the right picture, it doesn't matter how perfect the lens is. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2719
    Commented Jul 12, 2013 at 21:57
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ 300mm is too long for almost all weddings unless you for some reason are always forced to the back row of the ceremony. It's as simple as that. Don't buy it for weddings. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented Jul 13, 2013 at 3:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just because it is a superb lens doesn't not make it suitable for weddings. It seems you are familiar with shooting weddings, at least I would think so if you are spending this kind of money, but in my experience I rarely use lenses over 200mm. Weight is as important to that decision as is simply being too tight. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented Jul 13, 2013 at 3:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ If Do use the 70-200 IS for wedding just keep an extra battery, the IS is big battery drain. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 13, 2013 at 4:26
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ 300mm is great for shooting weddings you aren't invited to. ;-) \$\endgroup\$
    – Robin
    Commented Jul 15, 2013 at 15:01

2 Answers 2


It depends on your needs. 300 is nice to have for weddings, but most of your shooting isn't going to be from that distance. You also should note that the minimum focus distance on the 300 is 2 meters. If you were to get the 70-200 and use a teleconverter you could get to either 280mm at f/4 or 400mm at f/5.6 with a minimum distance of only 1.2 meters which is substantially closer.

There is also the fact that the 300mm costs more than 3 times that of the 70-200mm. You could also get a 100-400 f/4-5.6L and a 70-200 f/2.8 and still have a significant savings left over which is slightly better at 400mm than the 70-200 with the 2x tele.

While the 300mm f/2.8 is a great lens, if you are doing weddings, I just don't see how it is going to be useful to you. Being a prime it will be limiting and it's really too far to have to shoot from. Also, at 5.2 pounds for the lens alone, it isn't going to be able to be used by hand. You'd need stabilization which also wouldn't be wedding friendly. It's really more targeted at sports and wildlife than events.

Disclaimer: I personally just purchased the 70-200 f/2.8L IS II to compliment my 24-70 f/2.8L II and am contemplating the same teleconverter suggestions I made to you. I've actually got trial versions of the extenders coming in a couple weeks. I've been very pleased with the lens, it is super fast and remarkably sharp, though not quite as sharp as the 24-70 in my opinion.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I would definitely carry the 70-200 over the 300m at a wedding, although you will never catch me with a camera at a wedding.... Both are good lenses, so I'll go for utility and flexibility; the technical difference between the two is unlikely to ever be noticed by anyone w/o a loupe... \$\endgroup\$
    – chuqui
    Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 4:46

The pure image quality of the 300mm prime is better than that of the superb EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II, but that isn't worth much if you need a wider Field of View (FoV) than the EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II provides on your camera body. Likewise, the 70-200 is arguably one of the world's best zoom lenses, but if you need more reach at f/2.8, even the great performance this lens is capable of with an EF 2X III will not be fast enough.

The decision on which of these two lenses to buy has much less to do with the absolute image quality of each lens and almost everything to do with which one will allow you to take the photos you need. The 70-200 is obviously much more flexible and can go from half body portraits at 70mm to closeup sports shooting when mounted on a Full Frame camera. The 300, on the other hand, has some serious reach, especially if mounted on an APS-C body and is capable of absolutely Superb image quality. Only you can judge for yourself which will allow you to capture the images you want or need.


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