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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 11 Aug 2016 (Thursday) 21:34
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Finally doing it: deciding between 70-200 f/2.8 II and f/4 IS

 
MatthewK
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Aug 11, 2016 21:34 |  #1

I've talked a bit the past two years about possibly letting go of my 70-200 f/2.8 II, and exchanging it for the f/4 IS. Well, with the recent discount refurb sale, I picked up the f/4 IS and it arrived today :-)

First impression: so SMALL and LIGHT! The f/2.8 II is a behemoth in comparison. And for that reason alone, I haven't taken this lens out in a long, long time. The f/2.8 vs. f/4 really doesn't matter for me anymore since I am not doing much, if any, event shooting. For low light, f/2.8 isn't giving me much more over f/4, especially since I have primes for just such occasions. Portraits? I've recently added the 135L to the line up, so am covered there.

Basically, after just holding this lens for a short time, I can already tell it'll be fantastic for traveling and general walk around use. Just need to do the usual check and see if this copy works correctly, and in short time I may have my f/2.8 II for sale.

Anyways, I'll throw up some comparison photos here in the next few days, and then announce the decision. I know, I know, everyone cares soooo much about my lens choices ;-)a


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Talley
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Aug 11, 2016 22:45 |  #2

I've kinda done the same... I've had all the 70-200 2.8 IS and the Tamron is no slouch... although I did repurchase the 70-200 F4 IS for some vacationing. It's a decent lens... although I've learned the 70-200 F4 IS isn't as sharp as I remember.


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FEChariot
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Aug 11, 2016 23:27 |  #3

Nice. I have the 70-200/4 IS and the 135L and have often thought about upgrading the zoom to the 2.8 II but I will be keeping the 135L. You'll have to keep us updated on your thoughts once you have had more time to work with both.


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Aug 11, 2016 23:41 |  #4

Talley wrote in post #18093262 (external link)
It's a decent lens... although I've learned the 70-200 F4 IS isn't as sharp as I remember.

Hmmmm, not so sure about that... in my experience anyways. Mine is razor sharp.

Used my friends 2.8 on the 7D2 for my recent trip to Montana and it also sings. I'm not sure I have the skill to tell which is better. Both are damned great lenses; one just happens to do 95% of what I need, costs a lot less and weighs half as much. Easy choice for me.

I have primes if I need something faster. I see no need for the 2.8 for what I shoot.

That being said if I could trade the f4 and only a few hundred bucks for the faster lens I would seriously consider it. At $500-800 though I'm just not interested.


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DreDaze
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Aug 11, 2016 23:42 |  #5

you're doing it wrong...you're supposed to get a heavier lens than the 70-200II...and then all of a sudden it becomes light-weight...


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Aug 11, 2016 23:53 |  #6

The f/2.8 is the way to go if you want a good 280/4 or nice 400/5.6 with teleconverters.
Also, f/2.8 makes for a more precise AF.

The size and weight difference is quite appreciable though.


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Aug 11, 2016 23:55 |  #7

Mine is razor sharp, too. I used to own the f4 version and it was absolutely sharp but when I purchased the f2.8 mkii it became obvious that there was quite a difference. Here are 2 shots by both lenses

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MatthewK
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Aug 12, 2016 04:41 |  #8

FarmerTed1971 wrote in post #18093279 (external link)
Both are damned great lenses; one just happens to do 95% of what I need, costs a lot less and weighs half as much. Easy choice for me.

I have primes if I need something faster. I see no need for the 2.8 for what I shoot.

Spot on with my current mindset.

FEChariot wrote in post #18093275 (external link)
Nice. I have the 70-200/4 IS and the 135L and have often thought about upgrading the zoom to the 2.8 II but I will be keeping the 135L. You'll have to keep us updated on your thoughts once you have had more time to work with both.

Just messing around last night, right off I can see sharpness is comparable between the two zooms. That 135L: on the next level. I'll be definitely doing more comparisons this afternoon after work.

CheshireCat wrote in post #18093286 (external link)
The f/2.8 is the way to go if you want a good 280/4 or nice 400/5.6 with teleconverters.
Also, f/2.8 makes for a more precise AF..

The lens I haven't mentioned is my 100-400 II. It's definitely a lot slower, but when I need reach, that's the lens on my camera. But like the f/2.8 II, it's a boat anchor for casual use needs.


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MalVeauX
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Aug 12, 2016 05:44 |  #9

Heya,

I was in a similar boat with a 300mm & 400mm. I tried a few different flavors and ultimately found myself being happy with the slower F4L version of the 300 with stabilization. It's all about the comfort and the weight. I like to go out and bird for hours at a time and lugging weight gets old fast, and really, unless the background is right behind the subject, there's just no real reason to need F2.8 for me, so I'm happy at F4 and F5.6 and even F8 depending on the light as it still shows isolation quite nicely with lots of distance behind the subject.

I actually sold my 70-200's. As you mentioned, if I needed a fast telehpoto in that range, I had a prime that was better. And I found I really didn't need the entire focal range, as I generally was some where near 70mm or 135mm or 200mm. I ultimately just use a 90mm & 200mm now and I'm happy with that, as I don't really need fine adjustment between them. Just my observation for my use though.

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MatthewK
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Aug 12, 2016 06:29 |  #10

Yeah, the f/2.8 vs. f/4 isn't a large enough difference for me anymore. On the rare occasion where background blur is what i'm after, 200mm @ f/4 and a good subject-to-background distance will blur things nicely. And if I need gooey, dreamy, delicious bokeh, the 135L can't be beat.

I think right now as it stands, before I've tested this particular copy, I'm 85% sure I'll sell the f/2.8 II. Trying to think of anything that would give me second thoughts... maybe if the f/4 IS was mushy soft, but all reports have it equal to or slightly exceeding it's big brother.

Actually, the wife is giving me grief because the f/2.8 II is her favorite lens. And that's only because she thinks it takes the bests photos of her :-D


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Aug 12, 2016 06:37 |  #11

It's all about what works for you.

I also found for me that I didn't need F1.4 and was happy with my F2.8 primes (telephoto) as I still got enough isolation for a pleasing look, without the issues that come with ultra-thin depth of field (like 85L, F1.4 lenses, etc).

If I were to get a 70-200, I would myself just get a normal 70-200 F4L again. I sold my old one because I just didn't use it. I was mostly stopping down to F8 or F11 for landscape because I didn't do portrait with it and really it's just too long for me for a "walk around" even on full frame. I didn't need IS on it because I was on a tripod.

Test them out, see what feels good to you. That's all that matters.

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Aug 12, 2016 07:40 |  #12

With an f/2.8 max f-stop lens, you also take advantage of your camera's high precision AF point(s).

Yes, the f/2.8 is a bit heavy, but not compared to other things we lift in day-to-day life. And while it's only one stop better than the f/4 version, you're getting that one stop improvement all along the zoom lens. I'd you're going to the effort of making a great photograph, why not use the best equipment you can afford?




  
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Aug 12, 2016 08:11 |  #13

crap... after investigating my percieved lack of sharpness with the 70-200 F4 IS lens... mind you this is the 4th different 70-200 F4 IS lens I've had on my 5D3 I made a rookie mistake...

the MFA was set to -4 on both W and T due to my previous lens.... after looking at my ranch photos that was enough to cause a slight front focus and a softening of subjects due to slight OOF...

so ticked at me for this. Reset to 0 and lens appears to be tack sharp to what I expect.


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Aug 12, 2016 08:14 |  #14

my $0.05 worth is that's great for you . I'm on my 4th 70-200 f4 with I/S. why #4? for some reason I would like to try some thing else and always came back. on the 2.8's I had them all and I only learned by doing. this 70-200 f4 is a KEEPER. now , the other 70-200 f4's were good but through my thinking the grass is greener on the other side , it wasn't . because I'm a slow learned my 70-300L and my 100-400 mkll are going to my grave with me. so, enjoy what you have, be it cameras, lenses, time, friends, family, children, grandchildren, JUST ENJOY...............


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Post edited over 2 years ago by itsallart. (2 edits in all)
     
Aug 12, 2016 08:25 as a reply to  @ promod's post |  #15

the flower image was taken with your 15-85mm lens according to EXIF and at f7.1 and it certainly doesn't have that quality of the 70-200 no matter what version.


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Finally doing it: deciding between 70-200 f/2.8 II and f/4 IS
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