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Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD
APS-C sensor cameras including the 80D, 70D, 7D Mk. II, 7D, EOS M and Rebel models for HD video recording.


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Old September 22nd, 2009, 03:33 PM   #1
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Tele Lens Question

I am interested to hear people's thoughts on these two lenses, which are about equally priced (around $1200)

Canon 70-200 f4 IS
Canon 70-200 f2.8

Obviously for about 800 more you can go all the way for the 2.8 WITH IS, but let's just say I want to be a little more budget minded. Just trying to weigh the pros and cons of each for the 7D and wondering whether I'd rather have the IS or the 2.8. I would say I am more a tripod shooter than handheld (probably especially at telephoto range), but am I losing a lot without the IS?

Thoughts?
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 03:39 PM   #2
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Personally, I'd get the f/2.8. The extra stop of light is more useful to me than any number of stops of handholdability because I wouldn't hand-hold a 300mm-equivalent on a DSLR for video anyways.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 04:04 PM   #3
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Daniel, I think that makes a lot of sense. The number of times I am handheld at a long zoom on my EX-1 are like zero.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 04:21 PM   #4
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I agree, in general. But it depends on what you will shoot. If you're doing films with a tripod, dolly, or jib, skip the IS. If you are running lightweight with a shoulder rig or monopod in daylight, get IS.

Me? I went with primes, including the 200L. I only put 35mm or wider on the shoulder rig. (This is on the 5D2, of course.) But I'm doing narrative. If I were doing documentaries in the field, I'd have a different set of guidelines and IS zooms.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 04:26 PM   #5
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Just playing devils advocate here, but even with a tripod, that telephoto would show every puff of wind, and every touch to the cam with a finger, so unless you are only going to be shooting inside with that lens (?) maybe IS wouldn't be a bad thing after all?

I don't have experience with that long a lens on a DSLR, but my old V1 had the ability to be 30x zoomed in, and man, was it sensitive to vibration from the slightest things....
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 05:25 PM   #6
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It really depends on the tripod. I have a boat anchor: Bogen 516 on 3192 legs. As long as I mount the camera directly on the plate (no juicedLink, rails, or other stuff that could act as a spring), it's rock solid with the 200L on the full frame 5D2. I haven't used it in a typhoon though...

On a 501HDV, the results would be... different. ;)

In general, I'd rather go for solid support in the first place, rather than hoping that IS will fix the flaws.

On our recent 48-hour shoot, we did one jib shot. The camera came down to face level, stopped for some dialog, then went down to ground level as they walked away. We had some bounce during the stop for our best take. It was visible, even though we used a 28mm lens. We could have taken it out in post, but ran out of time. IS wouldn't have fixed it...
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 06:53 PM   #7
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I believe the important purchase is the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM . I suggest budgeting from that point.

The 70-200 f4 IS is Canon's sharpest zoom. It's main advantage compared to 2.8 is small size. But the other three 70-200 models Canon offers are very good. The small difference in sharpness probably wouldn't be visible in video, even with careful study.

I use the f4's with fast primes. Without fast primes I would use 2.8 zooms. But the choice of long lens is less important that the 17-55 purchase.

The least expensive good long zoom is the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM at about $500. Good used 70-200 f4 (non-IS) are common and may be under $500.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 08:24 PM   #8
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Thanks all. Already picked up the 17-55 IS and have a few primes. May see if I can rent the 70-200 somewhere whenever I decide I need that.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 09:18 PM   #9
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Generally with a lens that long you're probably going to be shooting outside, so I'd probably go fof the the f4 with IS.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 11:01 PM   #10
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Agree with Bill. Why do you need f/2.8 when the ISO is clean? I'd get the f/4.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 11:22 PM   #11
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Again, it depends on what you shoot.

We did some stuff with primes (back in the auto / Nikon lens days) where the shot was setup with lights at 2.8 or under. We then went to use the Nikon 200mm f/4 prime for a closeup. Oops. Not enough light. Time to change the lighting. Maybe with manual control, we could have handled it, but it reinforced the idea of having a similar set of lenses across the range.

One of my first projects was in a music store with tinted windows on a cloudy day. They had lots of lights (I didn't), but they were spots, and the walls were dark. The f/2.8 lenses were on the noisy side. The f/1.8 was so-so. A faster lens would have been very nice.

Those experiences led me to sell my 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS with no regrets - until the day I brought primes to the racetrack. Manual control had just been released. The slower IS lens would have done nicely on that daytime, hoof around the track shoot.

Since narrative is our focus, fast lenses beat IS. If daytime events are your thing, go for the IS zoom. It's all about the right tool for the job at hand.
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Old September 23rd, 2009, 10:48 AM   #12
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Also -- if it's primarily a *video* application we're talking about here, then most likely you will not need IS since you'll be shooting from a tripod (at least I hope so with these long focal lengths).
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Old September 23rd, 2009, 12:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
Agree with Bill. Why do you need f/2.8 when the ISO is clean? I'd get the f/4.
FWIW, according to my non-scientific tests, f/5.6 on my 5D2 has about the same noise as f/1.6 on my XH-A1, when both are in the same low light tungsten situation. The XH-A1 ramps down to f/2 at short telephoto, so that would make the f/4 only 1.3 stops better than the XH-A1. But the 70-200 f/2.8 is very heavy, and the I.S. version is expensive, so I, too, recommend the f/4: that's what I did.
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Old September 23rd, 2009, 12:35 PM   #14
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Daniel,
Did you get the IS version or not?
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Old September 23rd, 2009, 12:43 PM   #15
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Daniel,
Did you get the IS version or not?
I got this I.S. I don't use the I.S. very much for video, because I'm usually doing on-camera sound, but I use it a lot for stills and clips that don't need sound. (The I.S. in this particular lens is a bit louder and more annoying than some other I.S. lenses, FWIW.)

It's got sharper optics than the non-I.S. too, which is useful for still photography. (Put a 2X TC on there and it's almost as sharp as the 100-400 f/4.5-5.6)
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