Canon 70-200 f4, IS or non-IS

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Coheebuzz, Mar 8, 2007.

  1. Coheebuzz macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2005
    Nicosia, Cyprus
    Hi guys and good evening

    I've been busting my head for a week now over this but still can't decide what to get, so i decided to turn to MR.

    I've been saving up for the 70-200 f4 L IS for a while but now that i finally have the cash am having a few second thoughts. The problem is that the non-IS version costs almost as half, and with the spare money i can also get the 100mm f2.8 macro that i really, really like.

    So i want to ask people who have used both lenses, is the IS really worth the $500? I've never used a lens with stabilization before so i can't form an opinion. It will be a while until i'll be able to afford another lens so i want to make the choice i won't regret.

    So can you flip the coin for me?

    70-200mm f4 plus 100mm macro or 70-200mm f4 IS?

  2. Rickay726 macrumors 6502


    Dec 29, 2005
    New Jersey

    i have the 70-200mmf4 non is i like it alot its perfect i have herd from many people that the IS version is nothing spectactular.

    i also have the 100mm 2.8 macro i got it the same time i bought my 70-200 its an awsome lens
  3. Mantat macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2003
    Montréal (Canada)
    What are you going to shot with it? That is the first question you should ask youself!!!

    Coming back from my recent trip to Vietnam, I wish I had a 70-200F4IS insted of my 2.8. The IS would have been so much better in the temples!!!

    On the other hand, IS is totaly useless when shooting fast action.

    If its a general walk around lens, go for the IS. You can always use the **** filter (dont remember the name, maybe 500D ?!?) to reduce the minimum focussing range of the lens if you want to do some macro shots.

    If you arent going to use the full range of the zoom, it would be better to get a prime set at f2.8 or below. Scratch that, I dont want to mess your mind even more ;-)

    When buying lens, its always better to get the best you can afford and wait for the next purchase because once shot, you cant improve a picture.
  4. miloblithe macrumors 68020


    Nov 14, 2003
    Washington, DC
    Have you thought about the new Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 USM IS? Same sort of price as the 70-200 f/4, not much slower (f/5.0 at 200mm, same f/5.6 at 300mm if you get an extender for the 70-200). It's about as sharp and has IS. It's not an L, so it's not as well built and the front element rotates when focusing. So there's that too.

    Also, the IS version of the 70-200 is water/dust sealed, and the non-IS version isn't, for however much that's worth.
  5. Sdashiki macrumors 68040


    Aug 11, 2005
    Behind the lens
    why do macro lenses even quote the largest aperture when its completely useless in terms of macro photography...where the smallest f-stop matters most!?

    just a pet peeve.
  6. atari1356 macrumors 68000


    Feb 27, 2004
    Because you can use it for things besides macro photography? From what I've heard, the 100 f/2.8 actually makes a nice sharp portrait lens.
  7. Sdashiki macrumors 68040


    Aug 11, 2005
    Behind the lens
    Very true. At infinity, they are nice all purpose lenses.

    I like that lenses are advertised with the largest f-stop.

    Only, with macro, it would be a better choice to give the smallest one.
  8. Coheebuzz thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2005
    Nicosia, Cyprus
    Thanks for the answers.

    About the general walk around lens, i prefer a wider angle zoom for everyday use so i'll be using the kit lens for now, until i get something better at a later stage.
    The 70-200 will be used for nature/landscape/wildlife and some sports subjects. I like the versatility of the zoom so i don't want to go with a prime. I also don't want to have any regrets later as you did on your trip to Vietnam, that's why i started the thread!

    Now for the macro, i would like a true 1:1 macro and possibly up to 3:1 with some mods, which would be almost impossible on the 70-200. That's why am considering the 100mm f2.8 as a dedicated macro lens.

    Yes i've actually went over every single model in the past month and the 70-300 was in my list too amongst others. But i want to get the best glass i can afford, as everyone is suggesting and the 70-200 is clearly superior on this area.

    So guys, one last question about Image Stabilization, how well does it work? Does it eliminate the need of a tripod under overcast conditions and allow me to take a sharp, handheld shot at let's say, 200mm, 1/50? Or am i just hallucinating? If it works so well then i'll go for the IS version and leave the macro for later.
  9. Mantat macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2003
    Montréal (Canada)
    Just a small precision, you wont be able to shoot much wildlife with a 70-200. Even 300 is too small. For good shots, you need to be in the 400+ range BEFORE the x1.6. Of course its possible to get good shots at 200mm, but you have to be lucky and very patient. Even with my 400L5.6 I am having an hard time getting some birds!

    My suggestion would be to get the 70-200IS, use it for a week end with and without the IS and see for yourself. If you dont like it, just return it. Most good store will take it back without a problem if you buy another. Later on, if you are interested in wildlife, you can get a 400mm prime.

    Also, something that you havent taken into account: if you want to do macro, you need a kick ass tripod! Thats another 200-300$.
  10. jayb2000 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 18, 2003
    RI -> CA -> ME
    I am one of "the others" (nikon user), however I have a lens with the "Vibration Reduction" similar to the IS.

    It does not eliminate the need for a tripod, especially in bracketing or very low light situations.

    But compared to a 50mm prime, it is amazingly easy to get sharp shots for handheld stuff.

    I would suggest get the macro now, shoot a bunch with it and save the cash you have towards the IS lens. That way it will seem quick to save up again and you will have some fun shooting macro shots in the meantime.
  11. jlcharles macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2006
    Wenonah, NJ
  12. Coheebuzz thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2005
    Nicosia, Cyprus
    Am not very interested in photographing small birds. Smallest bird i might shoot will probably be a flamingo. Plenty of those at this time of year. :p

    Off-topic, there isn't much wildlife left to photograph anyway where i live, the hunting season is just over and last weekend on a mountain hike the only thing to photograph was empty shotgun shells. Horrible!!

    So i might go to the canon dealer and check both models out but am not buying from my country, the non-IS version retails for £700CYP, thats almost $1600USD! Am ordering from bhphoto and i've been hovering over the 'checkout' button for about a week now. :)

    Yeap am aware of this, but the crappy one has to endure for now! I've also had success at 1:1 handheld using the reversed lens technique so a true macro would seem like heaven to me right now!

    It's actually the 100mm f2.8 thats making my decision hard right now...

    EDIT: I just ordered the 70-200mm F4 non IS and the 100mm f2.8 macro!

    It was a last minute decision because i was in favor of getting the IS version. But when i decided to add a cheap macro coupler to the order to satisfy my macro needs for now, i saw that the 52mm-58mm rings were out of stock! I saw this as a sign from the jedis and ordered the other 2 lenses instead. The only think to hope for now is good lens copies!

    Thanks for all the help guys, i'll post shoots as soon as i get them.
  13. stagi macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2006
    I think the IS is definately worth it!!! For me shooting weddings I always need to hand hold it at a 1/15 of a sec and the IS makes a huge difference.

    -- Mark
  14. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Jan 1, 2007
    With any telephoto lens, I consider it better to have IS than not have it. :cool:

  15. xrays macrumors member


    Jan 6, 2005
    Toronto, ON
    Not sure if it's been discussed much before, but there's another option for macro photography... You can buy a set of extension tubes that pass controls through to the lens, thus allowing you to reduce the minimum focus distance of a lens. Much like reversing a small lens, the further away a lens is from the body, the closer it can focus, which provides magnification with longer lenses.

    I use this technique with my 70-200 f/2.8 lens, adding a 12mm or 20mm extension to the lens and shooting insects from about 24" away. It's not macro at that distance, but the objects are much the same size in the viewfinder as with using a 50mm lens and being 2-4" away, which can be difficult. Add to that the zoom range, and I have a pretty powerful close-up lens that's bright and fast. I use the same extension tubes with my 50mm lens to do real macro photography, which allows me to put the lens less than 1" from an object.

    I picked up a set of 3 extension tubes (three different sizes that can be combined for even more distance from the camera sensor) about two years ago, and I always have them with me if I'm doing any sort of product shots, or if I'll be out shooting flowers or anything else like that. They saved me from having to spend hundreds on a dedicated macro lens (the set cost me about $60), and I can use them with any EOS lens and they maintain full AF control at the same time.

    PS> Both sample shots were taken with my 70-200 f/2.8, though I can't recall which extension tube was connected (probably the 20mm), shot from about 30-36" away. Each image approx: ISO-400, 1/500sec@f/5. The final image is of the set of three extension tubes.

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  16. cgratti macrumors 6502a


    Dec 28, 2004
    Central Pennsylvania, USA
    I shoot with the 70-200 f/4 without the IS and don't find I really need it. Anything longer than 200mm I would most certainly buy the IS version.

    I wont spend the extra $$ for the IS if I feel I dont need it, as I grow older and my hands start to shake more I may jump on the IS version of the lenses. But right now I am as steady as a rock (LOL).

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