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Surajit May 26, 2009 5:33 AM

70-200 F/4 Vs 70-300 IS
Sorry to bring the same topic. I am a PhD student and not rolling on cash. I recently upgraded from S2IS to 40D and have tamron 17-50 F2.8 and 50 F1.8. Need a telephoto lens within 500-600 Euro (when u buy in Europe if not more expensive!). I don't want to regrate later and updrade. I prefer shooting low light scenes of cities (not indoor sports or fast action). But I can use the tamron for the same! The telephoto I sometimes might use for wildlife (I know 100-400 L is great but out of budget!) as well as normal travelling around. Will I regrate buying 70-200 instead of 70-300 IS? 70-200 I can sill use the same filters, advanntage. No plan to be a pro.
Any kind response will be appreciated!

JohnG May 26, 2009 10:40 AM


Originally Posted by Surajit (Post 971941)
The telephoto I sometimes might use for wildlife (I know 100-400 L is great but out of budget!) as well as normal travelling around.

You're going to have to decide how much you want to shoot wildlife. The 70-200 f4 is not a good wildlife lens. So, yes, if you want to shoot wildlife you'll be disappointed. But it's a fantastic lens for a 70-200mm lens. Great optics, fast to focus and great build quality - it's a pro grade lens.

The 70-300 is slightly better for wildlife but 300mm is still short. It's smaller than the F4 and has very good IQ for a consumer lens. What I don't like about it is the plastic build (most consumer lenses are plastic) and the fact that the front turns during focusing (as opposed to the f4 which focuses all internally so nothing on the outside moves).

So, bottom line is - if you're doing a lot of widlife you'l be disappointed with either lens (a 400mm 5.6 is probably a better choice). Of the two though the 70-300 will do better for wildlife or anything else you need the 200-300mm range for the f4 will do better if you stay within 200mm.

There is a market for both lenses and they both sell well. It's like trying to choose between a socket wrench and a crescent wrench - both good at what they do and both could do the other's job but both excell in different areas.

Surajit May 26, 2009 3:11 PM

Thanks a lot JohnG. Just anoather point, if I use a 1.4xTC, I can still almost reach the same focal length and still have F5.6. If I use a tamron, It will be almost in the same budget.
But, how important is the IS to have at this focal length? For applications like taking photographs of nigh scenes at cities etc will it be of much use?

JohnG May 26, 2009 3:27 PM

If you're shooting night scenes the proper piece of equipment is a tripod - end of story. IS is a poor substitute for a tripod in that situation. If you want people out and about at night - you need external flash, not IS or tripod.

I'm not sure which Tamron lens you're referring to - the 70-300? It is good optical quality but AF isn't as good as either lens you're considering. So from a sharpness perspective it's a good alternative to the Canon 70-300 but if you need AF (like for your wildlife shooting) the AF of the Tamron isn't as good.

Surajit May 26, 2009 4:13 PM

Thanks again and I understand that. I was visiting a cave inside a mountain in Croatia recently and borrowed a canon 18-200 IS (EFS mount). Not happy at all with the result and regrate for not carrying a tripod or at least a mono pod.

Any practical experience about performance of canon IS? Keeping everything same, how much slower shutter speed can be achieved with the IS compared to non IS canon lens?

I am kind of leaning towards canon 70-200 L F/4.

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