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Old Mar 17, 2008, 2:22 AM   #1
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Hi I am a toddler in the new world of dSLR and never imagined a few months before while moving from compact (12X optical) to dSLR that lens selection has been so difficult.

At the same time, I must admit that ef50 f/1.8 has given very good results I am happy with my decision to move to dSLR.

The choice of 70-200 vs 70-300 IS has been particularly baffling. Though not experienced, I feel I should buy a lens which I can use for years without any lingering feeling for the other one.

I believe ef 70-200 is better optically so I feel inclined towards this one. Landscape is what comes to my minds as a typical use of this lens for me. I am trying to make out how to use it effectively even with lack of IS.

I thought of monopod/ tripod but I think that may not be quite practical for my purpose. I never used these things and may not be comfortable in using those right from the word go on this lens.

I asked a photography trainer and he says 70-200 is a standard zoom and it is within human limits to hold the lens in hand for such range of focal length. He adviced me to practice holding weights and develop muscles for steadiness.

Still I think because of the crop factor, holding the lens for 320mm effective focal length would be difficult. I tried holding a plastic mug filled with water and observed that every 1/2s or less the water level got a shock due to unsteady hands. The weight of the lens though not more is not less as well.

Though there is lot of discussion on 70-200 vs. 70-300 IS, I could not get till what focal length 70-200 can be considered hand holdable (I am aware there is a thumb rule of 1/ focal length as guidance). In my country, there is bright sunlight most of times of the year but there can be cloudy weather as well when I will need to use it.

Also for me it is workable even if I can use 70-200 lens for the range of 70-135 mm to begin with. Later as I develop confidence, has more experience and having used to the lens I can use the lens for longer focal lengths of 200. I can even take a chance to finding some temporary supports for longer lengths is needed in those special cases.

Using compact, I used roughly

Upto 36mm - 50% of times.
Upto 70mm - 70 % of times
Upto 180mm - 90% of times with some good closeups.
> 180 mm - 10% of times may be just to use that longer length as a toddler enjoying a toy (which is why I do not feel inclined towards 70-300 zoom).

Instead of 70-300IS I also feel using ef 100 f/2 would be better. But having the zoom range of 70-135 for my use will be better than ef 100 f/2.

Can someone please help me in this aspect? Till what focal length a normal person with a normal grip on lens can use ef70-200?

Thanks a lot.
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Old Mar 17, 2008, 5:20 AM   #2
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Firstly welcome to Steve's, I'm sure that you will find everyone here very helpful so hopefully we can help you learn.

It's nice that you have given quite a lot of detail which always helps us understand your concerns.

Basically there is no easy answer to your question as we all have different techniques and improving your technique will really help what you can get. I personally find that I can shoot with a 300mm lens on a crop body at about 1/250s the majority of the time. Now depending on which body you are usingyou should be able to get good, usable results at ISO 400 or 800 so you can easily get that shutter speed up if needed.

Now when it comes to lens quality the 70-200 is a lovely lens always getting good reports, the 70-300mm IS also comes out as pretty much the best of the bunch of the70-300s so it is a very good 'consumer' lens.

Before getting into the IS issue (this comes up a lot of the time), have a look at this thread which is discussing this in detail http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...amp;forum_id=2

When shooting birds in flight I use a 600mm lens handheld (780mm 35mm equiv on my 1D) as I have the shutter speed high enough so it's about technique, strength, using the correct settings for the environment etc. So most people can hand hold a 200mm lens pretty easily in normal circumstances. With my 70-200mm f2.8 IS, I only turn IS on when shooting in low light, non flash environments apart from that it is off.

Hope that helps and feel free to ask more if I've not answered everything or if other things have come to mind.

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