55-250 IS or 75-300 IS USM? background story

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by rusty2192, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. rusty2192 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #1
    Ok, so heres the deal. I just walked away from the deal of a lifetime (or at least close to it). There was a guy on Craigslist selling his old Canon 75-300 IS USM for $100. I called him up and he said it was a gift with a film body years ago and just never used it because it was so big and heavy. So I met him to take a look at it to make sure it was legit. While there, he pulled out a 420EX that was still in the plastic bag and had never been used. He said he only wanted $25 for it! I had to run out and get some extra cash from my wife who was waiting in the car. I ended up giving him $150 (my wife only had a 50 and he didn't have change, so I figured we'd just call it even) for the 75-300 IS USM and a 420EX Speedlight. I almost felt bad doing it like I was taking advantage of him because he obviously didn't realize what he had. And no, it wasn't a scam, he was just genuinely uninformed to the value of his old camera gear and it turns out that he had someone else that contacted him by email offering $120, so if I hadn't taken it, somebody else would have.

    Ok, so enough with the story, here is my question, I already have a 55-250 IS. Which is the better lens? I just got the 75-300 tonight so I haven't had a chance to put it through its paces yet. I can definitely tell that the stabilization is better on the newer 55-250, but which is regarded to be the sharper (and all around better) lens in good light? I will most likely sell the one that I don't need, and since I got such a great deal on the 75-300, I could easily make a profit by going the ebay or amazon route.
     
  2. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    SLC
    #2
    well considering that the 75-300IS fetches $400+ and the 55-250IS gets $180+, you can do the math. Both lenses ARE SLOW, regardless of the IS. The 55-250 was slow even in moderate afternoon overcast light.

    Personally, I would sell it and make some chedda, or get the 70/200 f/4. What FL do you use the most? What are your shooting habits? ie; landscape, portraits, etc?

    This summer, an elderly couple (retired pro photographer pair) sold me a pristine Nikon Coolscan IV ED for $50. I scanned all my slides (500 or so), and sold it on eBay for like $430 shipped.
     
  3. Policar, Jan 11, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2011

    Policar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    #3
    The 70-300mm IS is considerably more highly regarded than the 55-250mm IS; the 75-300mm IS is an older lens and may not be as far superior. It should still sell for a lot more. Never used either, since I could only afford the 55-250mm, which impressed me.

    Test them and see what you prefer. Neither is inherently better than the other depending on what you want out of it is my guess. Both should have similar sharpness and similar speed at a given f-stop. The larger one probably vignettes less and may be sharper at longer focal lengths but the size and older IS technology detract.

    I agree, I'd much, much rather have either of the 70-200mm L zooms than those two. They should be technically similar enough that it boils down to personal preference (which it always should, but sometimes technical awesomeness trumps utility).
     
  4. rusty2192 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #4
    I hate to say it, but honestly, I'm not even sure yet. I am still new and haven't really established any real habits. With the longer focal lengths, I see myself trying to get some wildlife shots (though I realize even 300mm can be a bit short for that) and also could do some portrait work. So I guess basically I'm still trying to figure out what my style is.

    So far after playing with the lens for just a couple hours so far I think I prefer the 55-250, especially considering its size and weight. I'll hold onto both for a while and get a bunch of shots and hopefully some controlled tests before I make up my mind.
     
  5. TWLreal macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2006
    #5
    You may just as well keep it for the novelty value.

    It is the world's first interchangeable SLR lens Image Stabilizer after all. This was in 1995.

    Just about every subsequent telephoto Canon has made after the original EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM (not to be confused with the original EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 and the EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 USM from 1991), including the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS, should prove to be superior optically.

    The EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM does have USM going for it but focusing speed will be the last thing you worry about on consumer level telephoto zooms.

    It's quite possibly of much higher feel in build quality and finish than your EF-S lens and you have a shiny Canon Image Stabilizer plaque to go with it.

    Novelty.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. elmateo487 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #6
    Two options in my eyes. Buy a cheap used 55-250 until you can afford to sell it and buy a 70-200 L (they can be had for 500)

    or spare the money and don't get the 70-300 and save up and buy the 70-200 L

    step two: take pictures and be happier than you ever have been with image quality.
     
  7. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2001
    Location:
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    #7
    I've had the 75-300 IS for awhile (perhaps 2001?). While I was still shooting film in 2004, I found it to be soft at the long end, so shortly after I moved from film to a 20D and was looking for a primo lens for my first African Safari I dropped the bucks for a 70-200L IS f/2.8 with a 1.4x as a functional replacement/upgrade.

    To be honest, I don't think that I've really done much testing with the 75-300 vs. the 70-200x1.4x combination...based on my older film shots, I simply know that the latter has "better" image quality, although it clearly is a lot larger/heavier, and a lot faster autofocus, particularly in "gloomy" lighting conditions.

    I'll see if I can find some time to do a decent side-by-side comparison.

    -hh
     
  8. Policar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    #8
    Curious what you find. For comparison, the 55-250mm is awfully slow and autofocuses slowly, so even with IS it's a bit of a nonstarter for low light, at least at full telephoto. I'm sure it's fine by f8 or f11 but it's not that sunny all the time. It's rather amazing for the price, though, and speed is a much bigger issue than is sharpness. It and the new kit lens are sleepers.

    I worked with someone who uses the 70-200mm f2.8 all the time and it's fantastic. All the long L lenses seem to be rather great.

    The f4 L seems pretty nice for the money and size, though, and the high-megapixel crop bodies provide a built-in 1.6x extender. It's high on my list of stuff I'd love to have if I could afford it.
     
  9. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    SLC
    #9
    uh, he stated that he has the 55-250IS and got this lens. He is keeping both ATM to test them..it is in the OP.

    The 70-200 f/4L is superior in everyway. It is probably THE best "L" value out there..
     
  10. MSM Hobbes macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    Location:
    NE Hoosierana
    #10
    FWIW - with my 50D I've the 55-250 IS and a 70-200 f4 IS L (along with few other lenses), and enjoy shooting each one of these two. I'll use the 55-250 when its mucky out, not wanting to chance the 70-200 (even though its weather-sealed, not taking chances in some conditions!), and then also when wanting to do some macro work,,, which the 70-200 is not built for. The 70-200 is excellent, fast, high IQ lens. So, with that said, point being is I'd recommend keeping the 55-250, sell the 75-300 (which IMHO is not that good of a lens to begin with), and use those funds to help acquire other / better lenses of interest. Curious - what body do you have?
     
  11. rusty2192 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #11
    I have the T2i. Thanks to everyone for chiming in. I'll probably keep both for awhile to play around with. So far I have been more impressed with my 55-250, which admittedly is almost a decade newer. I plan on getting out this weekend in the daylight to see how they both fare in the real world.
     

Share This Page