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Old February 23rd, 2010, 01:04 AM   #1
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Telephoto lens choice: Image Stabilization?

I'm learning to shoot video, but not a beginner in photography...which of these 2 would be best when people shoot video (All types welcome)

EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

or

Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM II

The Sigma is 400USD less, higher aperture but no IS.

As far as photography goes, I'm pretty happy with non-IS lenses I've owned. I'm wondering what people think about this in video?
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 03:35 AM   #2
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Canon 70-200 F4 with or without IS?

Go for the Canon 70-200 F4 IS USM. Mine arrives this morning. I got it brand new direct from Amazon UK for £636 (!!!) - they are normally about £1000 +/- 100 but the price dipped for a day or two about a week ago just before I flew to Norway. Delivery was supposed to have been 5-6 weeks (but I was prepared to wait). Then when I got back from Tromso I got an e-mail saying it would be delivered much earlier than expected. I'm very happy! I've found with Amazon it's worth watching "items of high interest" over a number of weeks on a daily basis - and then striking when these dips happen :-).

I have on loan a Canon 70-200 F2.8 IS USM (the one that's about to be superseded by a new improved version next month) and it's a stunning lens - but not best suited to the 7D as critical reviews will tell you, it's better on a full frame. It's also VERY heavy and BIG which is why I bought the F4 IS version as I want/need the portability over the speed. Reviews cite the F4 as one of Canon's sharpest/best telephoto zoom lenses, especially if you really don't need the F2.8 option, e.g. for indoor or sports stuff. The F4 IS version also has the weatherproofing that the non IS version lacks - I'm pretty sure of that but not totally certain. I've also bought a Canon 1.4X II extender for it and a 15 quid knock off tripod mount ring. I have a Canon 2X Extender on loan (same mate that lent me the 70-200 F2.8 IS USM) but you lose too much image quality and light with that I feel - especially for stills, not so obvious in video - but this is why I went for the lower power one. IS and Autofocus will still work with this huge combined attachment on the 7D (but Autofocus struggled a bit with the 2X Extender in low light scenarios - F5.6 is the cutt-off for it to work properly I think).

I personally regard IS as essential on any telephoto for video. Switching it off on the borrowed 70-200mm F2.8 IS USM reveals just how effective it is when watching video on my big monitors - yes, even on a tripod it can help (especially outdoors) and with skill it's possible to get good video with it even hand held/no rig (if you're as skilled as I've become!). IS is an expensive option but IMO worth every penny. I love the effectiveness of IS on my Canon 17-55mm F2.8 IS too - another stunning lens for the 7D and crops like the 550D I expect (and it's very, very quiet on that lens - hoping it will also be on this new lens - reports generally say it is quiet (UPDATE - reports I've now found say it's not quiet! - see below)...but for anything critical I do double system sound anyway).

The only lens I have without any IS is the Canon 10-22mm - but it's less critical to have IS on a wide angle as I'm sure you know.

I don't know that Sigma but those are my thoughts. Hope this helps!

UPDATE: Well the lens arrived. It looks so small and light compared to the F2.8 IS version - I'll definitely be able to leave this one in my camera rucksack all the time - no way with "the beast". However, effective though it is, the IS on this new lens is much (MUCH!) noisier than I was hoping/expecting. It's so quiet on my Canon 17-55 F2.8 so this came as a bit of a shock! It's very effective... but you would not be able to use any on camera sound capture when using IS with this particular lens as the noise is recorded very noticeably in video by the 7D's on-board mic. Just so you know!
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Last edited by Andy Wilkinson; February 23rd, 2010 at 08:11 AM.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 05:11 AM   #3
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I decided to go with the 70-200 F4 IS USM. This is going on the 1dm4, not the 7D (Which is selling on ebay quite well).

Anyways, I knew noise was going to be an issue but just how much of an issue I wonder. The 17-55 I had for the 7D was not noticeably noisy to my ears, but quite when video was brought into the NLE.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 05:35 AM   #4
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OK. I wonder if anyone else with a Canon 70-200mm F4 IS can chime in about the noise of IS.

IS is very quiet/near silent on the borrowed Canon 70-200mm F2.8 IS lense and on my Canon 17-55mm F2.8 EF-S.

Just wondering if I got a duff lense? - the IS works and is noticeably very effective (in either of the 2 modes) - but this functionaility comes with a sort of constant grinding/gear noise. It's the same type of noise that the other two lenses have, just much louder! I can live with it if it's normal and maybe it'll quieten down a little with a bit of use - but just want to know if I've got a duff lens and need to return it for a refund then go and buy a £1000 copy :-(

...Thanks in advance for any comments on this from owners of this particular lens out there!
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 06:15 AM   #5
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With my 17-55 on the 7D I hear a grinding noise. If you check out Phillip Bloom's site, somewhere on their he does a test with a Zoom H4n and compares quality and you can hear the noise of the IS on the lens he is using.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 07:28 AM   #6
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If you can afford it the 70-200L 2.8 IS is a fantastic portrait lens. My favorite for both stills and video of people in SDOF shots.

As far as lens noise is concerned, it is only an issue if you use the on camera mic, a bad idea in most cases. Use a lav or at lest a shotgun mic. Better yet a separate audio recorder.

Most video cameras will pick up zoom or focus noise from the built-in mics. That is why most shooters don't use the built-ins.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 07:31 AM   #7
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I have both the EF 17-55mm IS USM and the 70-200mm F/2.8 L IS USM (both used on a 7D). Image Stabilization on the latter is definitely louder.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 07:48 AM   #8
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OK, as I said I use double system sound for anything important. Yes the F2.8 IS version is superb as I've been using it the last few weeks - but a superb lens that I never have with me because it's too heavy or a F4 version that's light enough to always have with me in my Canon kit bag is what made me choose the F4 IS version. My mate said I can borrow his F2.8 anytime I need it too as he rarely uses it on his 5DMkII(!) Basically, if I want to lug heavier gear around I use my EX3 kit - the whole point about the Canon kit for me is that it's light, highly portable and draws minimal attention from Joe Public when shooting on the streets of Cambridge (or wherever).

I've looked at Bloomies video (thanks for the pointer - I'd forgotten he did that!) and dug around and it seems I'm not alone in thinking the Canon 70-200mm F4 IS has a louder noise than most people expect - typical discussion below.

70-200 f/4 IS noise: Canon SLR Lens Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

At least I know this is normal for this lens. Maybe my mates F2.8 just has unusually quiet IS!!! Certainly my 17-55mm is whisper quiet with IS....I guess there are some manufacturing and material/design tolerances/differences at play here too (within each Canon lens model and between them too).

Thanks for the info everyone. Now I can relax and enjoy my absolute bargain!!! Hope you enjoy yours too Jason - when it arrives!
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 08:08 AM   #9
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F4 for video is just way to slow, go for outdoor only or unless you have the 1DMK4, why not wait for the Sigma 70-200 2.8 with OS about to come out?, might not be as sharp as Canon when comparing still but probably can't tell a difference with video and I'm sure be a whole lot cheaper.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 09:04 AM   #10
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If you're shooting at 200mm you're best off on a tripod and if you have a decent one you wont need IS so, it will just be extra weight and an additional element to break.

Also, I agree with the posters who say F/4 is too slow, go for f/2.8. If you shoot a lot of stills hand held get the IS otherwise don't sweat - the cinema industry has been doing quite well without IS for the past hundred years. Though, at the price Andy paid for his f/4 IS it's pretty much a free lens!
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 09:17 AM   #11
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Yes, it was a great price!!!! :-)

Sure, F2.8 is king of the hill for video as it gives you more flexibility, bokeh etc, and tripod is the main solution, no argument with that - but I've shot some stunning video hand held at F4 at 200mm and for me portability and weight were bigger factors in my personal equation. Also, for me, if I need the F2.8 to borrow, I just ring my mate up and he hands the lens to me in the pub that night.... over a pint or two = even more :-)
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