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Old Sep 28, 2011, 11:18 PM   #1
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Default Buying a Canon L-Series telephoto zoom

I want to buy a Canon L-Series telephoto zoom, but can't afford the EF 70-200 f/2.8 IS USM II, so I would like some advice to decide which one of the following lenses I should buy:
* 70-200 f/2.8 USM
* 70-200 f/4 IS USM
* 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM

Thanks & regards,
Gabriel.
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Old Sep 29, 2011, 7:25 AM   #2
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Other than you want to own an "L", what do you intend to use the lens for? That will determine what lens is most appropriate.
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Old Sep 29, 2011, 12:06 PM   #3
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I agree with John. I own two of the models you called out, but they serve different purposes. What do you hope to do with the lens (sports, portraits, travel) and how you plan to use the lens (compact travel, low light, shaky hands) also come into play. Steven
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Old Oct 2, 2011, 7:58 PM   #4
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Thanks for your replies. I have used my previous telephoto zoom mostly to take portraits, pictures of animals, candid pictures of children and details of buildings/landscapes during travel. I intend to us the new one for the same.
I have used a tripod during certain trips (e.g. safari in Africa) or when I travel by car, but quite often prefer to shoot without it. As most of the pictures are done while travelling or on vacation, light conditions vary significantly.
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Old Oct 3, 2011, 1:41 PM   #5
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For me, what you shoot is what I bought my 70-300 L for. It is shorter than the 70-200 gives a great IS system (4 stops) the big drawback to it is the relativly slow aperature (F4-5.6), to me not a big deal as this is not one of my sports lens'. Another great lens would be the 70-200F4IS. sharp, good IS and lighter. This has less range, but would give you a better moving target lens. it is also a little cheaper than the 70-300L. The 70-300L and the 70-200 F4IS both have outstanding optics and are really sharp! Steven
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Old Oct 3, 2011, 10:34 PM   #6
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Thanks Steven!
Any other opinions/comments?
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Old Oct 5, 2011, 6:51 PM   #7
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Hi Gabriel

I have the Canon 70-300mm L lens you list in your initial post. It is my only "L" lens, though I have a number of other high quality Canon lenses (eg 15-85mm, 100mm f2.8 macro) and the Sigma 10-20mm.

You wrote in answer to John and Steven's questions "what will you use the lens for" that you intend to take portrait, animal, children and 'architecture and landscape' detail photos. I think the 70-300mm L will be a 'all round & travel lens' for your needs.

For sports or very low light applications, a f2.8 lens will have an advantage - however a f2.8 lens has the (perhaps significantly) disadvantage of weight/size - particularly if you intend to travel with it. As you wrote you plan to travel with it, I find the 70-300mm a very very good travel lens.

While, as Steven wrote above, the 70-200 f4 IS is lighter (by 290gr) - what really impresses me (and many other users of the 70-300mm L) is that the 70-300mm is a short lens (shorter than either 70-200mm f4), and its centre of gravity (most of the weight) remains nearer the camera. On my Canon 7D camera it doesn't feel as heavy as it is / looks - and I often use it all day.

The other aspect is that the 70-300mm L does not 'jump' to f5.6 soon in its focal length (as some other zooms do). It is:
f4.0 from 70-103mm
f4.5 from 104-154mm
f5.0 from 155-228mm &
f5.6 from 229-300mm
So in comparison to the 70-200mm f4, it is either the same (at wide end) or only a third of a stop to two-thirds of a stop slower (at the tele end).

For standard portraits, 70mm & f4.0 is very handy, and often you do not need f2.8 for many portrait settings (contrary to what some people think). For animals (wildlife) - you want as many mm as you can get. Thus 300mm is an advantage over any of the 70-200mm lenses. The 100-400mm L is not on your list above. I have tried the Canon 100-400mm L lens, but was not as happy with it (size / weight / image quality, zoom method, weaker IS) compared to the 70-300mm L.

The focus speed & accuracy, build quality and handling of the 70-300mm L would suit your purposes very well. As written above, the 70-300mm lens is very very sharp. My copy is tack sharp corner to corner at every combination of aperture and focal length. Nearly all professional reviews praise it, especially as a telezoom on a APS-C (1.6x crop) Canon camera body (eg www.photozone.de www.canonrumors.com etc) There can still be a bit of sample to sample variation even on L lenses (though there's significantly better quality control on Canon L lenses) - so it seems www.slrgear.com got a 'bad copy' of the 70-300mm lens they reviewed. If you check out the actual user reviews on that site, or on www.fredmiranda.com you will see nearly all users (including 'everyday' amateur, hobbyist and professional photographers) rate it very highly.

Gabriel, perhaps the best page I can direct you to is this one, from the digital picture - as it talks in detail about the 70-300mm L lens, AND compares it with the other Canon L lens options you listed above.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/R...ns-Review.aspx

I've added at least my 2 cents worth in my long post here... I really can't praise the 70-300mm L enough, and for my purposes it fits perfectly (which sound fairly similar to what you might use it for). My most common 'travel kit' (which I'll go away for a number of days at a time with) is my 7D with the Canon 15-85mm lens and 70-300mm L lens. This combination fits comfortably in a Lowepro Rezo 170 AW bag.

All the best with your decision. Please let us know what you decide - and then share some photos here!

Regards

Paul
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Old Oct 5, 2011, 10:08 PM   #8
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I agree and I guess I did not say, but the 70-300L is the sharpest lens I currently own. Most of the shots my wife really loves of our kids came from this lens. Is it a do everything lens, no, but for what you indicated it may be just right. Steven
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 5:46 PM   #9
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Paul,
Thank you very, very much for the good and thorough advice. I did not respond earlier simply because I have been too busy with my work that I didn't have to time for this, but now after reading your mail and checking some of the links I have made up my mind and will proceed with the 70-300L.

Steven,
Thanks also to you.

Best regards,
Gabriel.
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