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View Full Version : Canon 70-200 2.8L - do I 'need' it for my uses?


PoohJen
05-05-2011, 10:15 PM
Hi All,
for years I have drooled over the Canon 70-200 L lenses - not that I have any experience with them, but probably because lots of folks rave about them, and because they are way more than this wannabe needs to - or should - spend on a lens.

Been considering a used non-IS version on local craigs list. I don't think I would miss the IS.

I want this lens primarily for sports shots. But my sports shots are mostly outside baseball. So my question is, do I really need a 2.8 for what is primarily daytime, full sun (or overcast) shooting? I use my Canon 40D kit lens and also my Sigma 70-300 (I assume f/4) mostly.

(Fwiw, I've never felt my 40D gets as crisp shots as my Rebel XT does. I plan on doing a side by side comparison next tournament weekend!) Wondering if the Canon lens would produce significantly clearer shots? Is the aperture the main factor for driving the cost? Or are there other qualities (glass?) that factor into this?

Also, has anyone here used an extension with this? Does that reduce the benefit of the 2.8 enough to just say "stick with your Sigma"?

Thank's y'all!:thumbsup2

wenrob
05-05-2011, 10:31 PM
I can't answer all your questions as I'm a Nikon shooter but I can tell you this: I just got the Nikon 70-200 VRII. That sucker is HEAVY. You absolutely DO want the IS, it's just as heavy. Lots of glass to make it F/2.8 throughout. I don't shoot sports but I chose the F/2.8 because I wanted the speed and the ability to isolate my subject.

chloevannah
05-05-2011, 10:51 PM
agree that you really do need the IS version. I have this lens and love it but it is very heavy.

PoohJen
05-05-2011, 11:00 PM
LOL - you guys just added $1000 to my $1500 lens!

I was thinking that since I primarily shoot sports, the IS doesn't lend much to that. I do use a monopod for my 40D - will a lens like this work with the monopod, or more likely have to go tripod?

Also, sorry I wasn't too articulate with my questions. The primary question is whether I will get alot of bang for my buck with this lens when mostly using it for outside, daytime shots.

Gianna'sPapa
05-05-2011, 11:15 PM
I have the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 for my Pentax which has the in-body stabilization. I'll be honest in the old days, there was no stabilization and the photographers held large lenses and did well. Fast forward to today. If the technology is there to help take better images; aka stabilization, why wouldn't you want it! The next question is do you need the 2.8 for daytime action shots. No. I shot daytime football, cheerleading and racing for two years with my Pentax DA 50-200. It performed exceedingly well at about a quarter of the weight. When Nascar and Indycar decided to go to night races at the track at which I work (Chicagoland Speedway), then it became another matter and I needed the 2.8. Hence the 70-200 f2.8 that I currently own.

photo_chick
05-05-2011, 11:53 PM
For outdoor daytime baseball shots? No, the 70-200 f/2.8 L is not a must. IMO if that's the only thing you really want it for, it may be overkill (unless you have the cash and really want it). Not that it isn't a great lens, it's L series and has all the awesomeness that comes with that. Sweeter bokeh, nice heavy build, better contrast and clarity... but it's not a must have for what you're shooting. I have done a lot of daytime outdoor, and some well lit indoor, sports with my old 75-300 elephant. (on a 35mm Rebel G, Rebel XT and 50D). I usually keep the aperture stopped down some for the depth of field that offers and never had a problem getting the shutter speeds I needed at low ISO settings. Nighttime sports is a different matter entirely though.

All that said... I would not get the 70-200 f/2.8 without IS. It's a heavy beast and the weight alone will slow you down a stop or more depending on how steady you are. Then again, if you're using a monopod or tripod (which I never used shooting sports because I move around way too much) you could overcome the weight issue that way.

I you want L series quality with a little less weight and don't have to have the F/2.8, maybe consider the 70-200 f/4 L.

Frantasmic
05-06-2011, 08:39 AM
Why not get the newer f4 version of that lens in IS?

I have the non-IS version of that, the lens that is about $700. I've shot a lot of baseball in the hot sun and it does fine.

Your photography will benefit from a zoom 2.8 for sure. You may also look at the Sigma 50-150 f2.8. I think older versions of this lens aren't IS either. That might help with the budget.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4007/4676154471_99d8568a1e_z.jpg

mom2rtk
05-06-2011, 09:25 AM
Your photography will benefit from a zoom 2.8 for sure. You may also look at the Sigma 50-150 f2.8. I think older versions of this lens aren't IS either. That might help with the budget.

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I have this lens, but am still reserving judgment. I think I have some front focus issues on my copy, and am considering sending it in for calibration.

Once I get it stopped down a little though it is very sharp. I like the range of 50-150 because I consider the 50 end of it more usable than the 70 end of the bigger lenses.

I will add that this lens has been discontinued. It's not available at B & H, but copies do show up on ebay occasionally.

And at 1.7 pounds, I believe it's more than a full pound lighter than the lens you're looking at.

ChiSoxKeith
05-06-2011, 10:01 AM
If you're shooting sports you don't NEED the IS. It's nice to have, but not a must. I would recommend a monopod if you go with the non-IS version.

I'm looking at getting some version of the 70-200 F/2.8 at some point in my future. Before plunking down the $$$ for it, maybe rent it for the weekend. Sure it will cost you about $100, but you can give it a shot before committing to the cash layout.

What you really want though is the 400mm f/2.8 IS. That adds just a touch to your budget. :rotfl2: I rented one for HS football and it was just amazing. If I had 8K laying around I would have loved to get one while my stepson was playing football.

Anewman
05-06-2011, 12:11 PM
If you're shooting sports you don't NEED the IS. It's nice to have, but not a must.


Correct IS does not offer anything for sports. Yeah it is NICE to have, if one shoots other STATIONARY subjects in less than bright conditions.

Sports require a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the action, such shutter speeds are fast enough to be hand held without the help of IS.

2.8 is obviously not a must for bright sunny day games, but baseball lights are not as bright as our eyes think. As kids get older, night games become more common.

mom2rtk
05-06-2011, 12:24 PM
Correct IS does not offer anything for sports. Yeah it is NICE to have, if one shoots other STATIONARY subjects in less than bright conditions.

Sports require a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the action, such shutter speeds are fast enough to be hand held without the help of IS.

2.8 is obviously not a must for bright sunny day games, but baseball lights are not as bright as our eyes think. As kids get older, night games become more common.

Am I wrong in thinking IS might help because the lens is really heavy and hard to hold steady?

OP......... I don't know how old your kids are, or how much you really can afford for a lens. But if the PP makes a great point about how as the kids get older the games may likely end up at twilight or in the dark.

If you can afford the lens, then better to buy it now so you can enjoy it for the many years to come. Once they hit high school and the sports career potentially winds down, it gets harder to justify the cost for such a short time left playing. It makes more sense if you can sort of amortize the cost over more years of action, so to speak.

And you really never know what might come up you will need it for. I got mine after my son surprised us by going out for the high school soccer team after playing absolutely no soccer since 3rd grade. He played in the fall when the days were getting shorter. Many games I had to put my slow all-in-one telephoto away because I couldn't get a fast enough shutter speed.

Of course, once I bought my 2.8 zoom, he switched to track and cross country. I still use it for that, but proof positive that you just never know.

And boy do I wish I could have used it for all those football, baseball and soccer games leading up to that point. :goodvibes

Anewman
05-06-2011, 01:33 PM
Am I wrong in thinking IS might help because the lens is really heavy and hard to hold steady?



IS helps one hand hold when shooting(mostly stationary subjects) at slow shutter speeds.

If the subject is moving at a fast rate(like running in sports), only thing that will freeze the subject is FAST shutter speed. IS is not much help, since you are(should be) already shooting at shutter speeds within the hand holding capability of most shooters.

FOR SPORTS=F/2.8>IS

IS has its advantages but for sports(other than night time golf) it is a waste of money... in this case it is an EXTRA $1,000 or so.

Since you feel that heavier lenses are harder to hold steady, you need to also be aware that the IS version of this lens is even HEAVIER.;)

cpbjgc
05-06-2011, 05:24 PM
I have the 70-200 F2.8 L without IS. I have had it for several years and it has been a great lens. As already noted, if you are only shooting outdoor sports during the the daytime it is probably more lens than you need. You also would not need IS, especially with a monopod (I have a monopod too and it is a great accessory for using this lens). What I do use it for is indoor shooting, usually handheld, for kids performances (bands, school plays, and assemblies) and sports (tae kwon do and gymnastics), not to mention the thousands of uses it can be put to at Disney :rolleyes1.

If you are shooting in lowlight without a flash, this is a really, really good lens, even without IS. As for the IS debate I opted for no IS as


my hands are pretty steady,
I will use a tripod or monopod if I think it will help, and
IS only helps with handshake. It does not prevent motion blur.

My experience has been I have maybe had 1% of my blurred shots from handshake - 99% of the time it is motion blur which IS can not help with at all.

PoohJen
05-06-2011, 06:52 PM
Really great feedback and observations everyone - thank you! To all who discussed dusk/evening shots, I know you are right, we have plenty of games under lights. And my older son is into theatre - the f/2.8 would get alot of use there.

ChiSoxKeith...you are so right - that IS what I REALLY want!!!:rotfl: Honestly, I love a longer zoom. As soon as my win-the-lottery-retirement-plan works out, that's the first thing I'll buy!:cool1:

handicap18
05-07-2011, 03:53 PM
Am I wrong in thinking IS might help because the lens is really heavy and hard to hold steady?

OP......... I don't know how old your kids are, or how much you really can afford for a lens. But if the PP makes a great point about how as the kids get older the games may likely end up at twilight or in the dark.

If you can afford the lens, then better to buy it now so you can enjoy it for the many years to come. Once they hit high school and the sports career potentially winds down, it gets harder to justify the cost for such a short time left playing. It makes more sense if you can sort of amortize the cost over more years of action, so to speak.

And you really never know what might come up you will need it for. I got mine after my son surprised us by going out for the high school soccer team after playing absolutely no soccer since 3rd grade. He played in the fall when the days were getting shorter. Many games I had to put my slow all-in-one telephoto away because I couldn't get a fast enough shutter speed.

Of course, once I bought my 2.8 zoom, he switched to track and cross country. I still use it for that, but proof positive that you just never know.

And boy do I wish I could have used it for all those football, baseball and soccer games leading up to that point. :goodvibes

Right now I mostly use my 70-300mm VR lens for my outdoor sports shots. I have rented the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens for some indoor hockey.

IMO the VR is great. While my 70-300mm lens isn't as big as the 70-200 it is pretty decent in size and I do notice that having the VR/IS makes a difference.

Most of our baseball games are at 5:30pm and after the first few innings I put the lens away because it isn't fast enough (only a fixed f/4.5-5.6) even with higher ISO's. I definitely want the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR for baseball.

Now is it something you absolutely need? No. But if you find your shots are coming out great with it, start showing them to the other parents and offer to take pictures of their kids and charge them. $2-3 for the digital file or offer to make a CD with 10-15 high res shots for $25.

I had one parent who was on my DS's team 3 years ago email me to ask if she could hire me to shoot her son at a few games because she was so happy with the pictures I took that year and doesn't have a good camera to get shots of her son.

I say go for it, with the IS!!!!!

mom2rtk
05-07-2011, 03:59 PM
You do know the most expensive lens is the one you have to buy twice, right??? :goodvibes

PoohJen
05-07-2011, 08:31 PM
You do know the most expensive lens is the one you have to buy twice, right??? :goodvibes

Ouch. Meaning the risk of buying it used?

I have seen recently the $1500 non-IS go for $1250 on eBay - why bother risk getting it used at that price point???:confused3

I have had good experience buying a used lens on eBay before, but it is a risk. At least locally on Craig's List, I can check it out first. :thumbsup2

(btw, DH is NOT helping me resist - he said "buy it with the tax refun - Happy Mother's Day!):love::rolleyes1:cutie:

wenrob
05-07-2011, 08:39 PM
Ouch. Meaning the risk of buying it used?

I have seen recently the $1500 non-IS go for $1250 on eBay - why bother risk getting it used at that price point???:confused3

I have had good experience buying a used lens on eBay before, but it is a risk. At least locally on Craig's List, I can check it out first. :thumbsup2

(btw, DH is NOT helping me resist - he said "buy it with the tax refun - Happy Mother's Day!):love::rolleyes1:cutie:

I took it to mean in a teasing way to get the top of the line because most of us are on that never-ending quest for bigger, better, faster. So in effect you'll eventually buying it twice.

mom2rtk
05-07-2011, 08:45 PM
I took it to mean in a teasing way to get the top of the line because most of us are on that never-ending quest for bigger, better, faster. So in effect you'll eventually buying it twice.

Yes, this is what I meant. When I settle for something less than what I really want, I'm usually happy for a bit, but then still have this nagging voice telling me I should have just gotten what I wanted in the first place........... So if you make sure you get what you want the first time, you don't have that problem.

Sorry to confuse!

PoohJen
05-07-2011, 10:02 PM
Good point!:thumbsup2

Now I want that lens ChiSoxKeith mentioned!!!:rolleyes1:surfweb::scared1:

pointandshoot
05-07-2011, 10:38 PM
OK, here is the good news.Last year i sold a 10 year old Nikon 80-200mm 2.8 in perfect condition for more than I paid. If you buy good glass and take care of it, it will retain most of its value. Cheaper lenses do not based upon my experiences.

Shot the lens today at a dance recital. Terrible, low lights. I needed every bit of the IS, lens speed, and very high ISO to get some keeper shots.

In the end, ask yourself what you plan to shoot. If you are shooting outside, daylight kids soccer, no need for this lens. If you are shooting inside sport or action, go for it. It is a nice lens for many other purposes as well but it has weight. If landscape is the plan, no need. But like I said, good lenses are an investment.

Chuck


http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2677/5697624897_cfb1be2d8b_b.jpg

PoohJen
05-07-2011, 11:50 PM
Wow, gorgeous shot, Chuck!

mom2rtk
05-08-2011, 10:48 AM
Wow, gorgeous shot, Chuck!

Ditto that! :thumbsup2

Absolutely STUNNING!

pointandshoot
05-08-2011, 10:50 PM
Thanks for the kind comments. Very appreciated.

Through I friend I found out who the girl's mother was and got her several of these photos. Both kids are very talented. I am posting the rest in the Canon thread.

Chuck

bob100
05-09-2011, 07:10 AM
Hi All,
for years I have drooled over the Canon 70-200 L lenses - not that I have any experience with them, but probably because lots of folks rave about them, and because they are way more than this wannabe needs to - or should - spend on a lens.

Been considering a used non-IS version on local craigs list. I don't think I would miss the IS.

I want this lens primarily for sports shots. But my sports shots are mostly outside baseball. So my question is, do I really need a 2.8 for what is primarily daytime, full sun (or overcast) shooting? I use my Canon 40D kit lens and also my Sigma 70-300 (I assume f/4) mostly.

(Fwiw, I've never felt my 40D gets as crisp shots as my Rebel XT does. I plan on doing a side by side comparison next tournament weekend!) Wondering if the Canon lens would produce significantly clearer shots? Is the aperture the main factor for driving the cost? Or are there other qualities (glass?) that factor into this?

Also, has anyone here used an extension with this? Does that reduce the benefit of the 2.8 enough to just say "stick with your Sigma"?

Thank's y'all!:thumbsup2

if you primarily use the lens for outside sports then 200mm might be too short. Take a look at the sports section in this Canon forum
http://photography-on-the.net/forum
you will see lots of different lens used - 300mm primes, Canon 100-400, sigma 100-300, etc.

ChiSoxKeith
05-09-2011, 01:05 PM
Good point!:thumbsup2

Now I want that lens ChiSoxKeith mentioned!!!:rolleyes1:surfweb::scared1:

The 400mm lens is a beast. VERY, VERY heavy. No way I could have shot it hand held for more than a shot. Monopod was definitely needed.

pointandshoot - great job on those dance recital pics. Now I have to scour all of my sources and see if I can pick up a freelance gig in the next couple of weeks to pay for a 70-200 f/2.8.

PoohJen
05-09-2011, 07:41 PM
if you primarily use the lens for outside sports then 200mm might be too short. Take a look at the sports section in this Canon forum
http://photography-on-the.net/forum
you will see lots of different lens used - 300mm primes, Canon 100-400, sigma 100-300, etc.

Thanks for the link - I was in the market for some additional sites!:thumbsup2

Yep, I do love a long zoom, although the kit lens (28-135) works fine for pitching pictures (distance-wise). Son is also first base, so can get by with kit for that too, though my 70-300 has been a work horse over the years, taking shots of all the boys on the team!

To be honest, since his long-time, most-awesome team broke up almost two years ago, I haven't had much enthusiasm for shooting baseball.:sad2: He's played for a few teams since then, but it just wasn't the same (the other was like shooting family). He's just defected to another high-performance team though, so I'm hoping that reignites the photo enthusiasm for me - I think it will!:thumbsup2

Master Mason
05-15-2011, 11:54 AM
I can't answer all your questions as I'm a Nikon shooter but I can tell you this: I just got the Nikon 70-200 VRII. That sucker is HEAVY. You absolutely DO want the IS, it's just as heavy. Lots of glass to make it F/2.8 throughout. I don't shoot sports but I chose the F/2.8 because I wanted the speed and the ability to isolate my subject.

I disagree completly, you don't really need the IS version. If your shooting sports, then then you need to have your shutter speed fast, and at the speed you need to stop the action, you have taken all of the camera shake out of the equation.

As for needing the f/2.8 I use it all the time when shooting sports, it lets me shoot through the backstop and you don't even know its there, it lets me isolate the players, it lets me keep shooting well past when everyone else has put their cameras back in the bag, because I can open it up to keep my shutter speed up.

wenrob
05-15-2011, 12:20 PM
I disagree completly, you don't really need the IS version. If your shooting sports, then then you need to have your shutter speed fast, and at the speed you need to stop the action, you have taken all of the camera shake out of the equation.

As for needing the f/2.8 I use it all the time when shooting sports, it lets me shoot through the backstop and you don't even know its there, it lets me isolate the players, it lets me keep shooting well past when everyone else has put their cameras back in the bag, because I can open it up to keep my shutter speed up.
Been covered in the thread. I pointed out I didn't shoot sports and that I couldn't answer all questions, just give my opinion. :confused3

willibobs
05-17-2011, 05:00 PM
Hi, I am new to this forum but have the 70-200 F2.8IS and can only sing its praise.

That said 75% of the time the IS is turned OFF!

The reason for this is that if your shooting sports photography and moving in both vertical and horizontal plane IS will not do anything at all for your shots.

If you are panning (motorsport etc..) then you can turn the IS to setting 2 and this will aide you in that it turns off the horizontal gyros but keeps the vertical gyros on so minimizes that plane of movement.

If using for portraits etc... in low light then the IS is an absolute god send.

Also bear in mind that the f2.8 gives you faster focusing and more accurate focusing depending on the focus points/camera used.

Hope that makes sense, it does to me but then I know what I want to say but maybe not how to relay it. :rolleyes1