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Old Aug 25, 2010, 6:34 AM   #1
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Default Reload this Page 55-250mm IS vs. 70-300mm IS USM

Hi everybody,

after having been a frequent reader here for some months I finally registered because I didn't find an answer for my question.
I got a Canon 550D as well as the 18-55mm IS kit lens and the 50mm f/1.8 II. For shooting sports and some nature, I'm planning on getting a telezoom-lens. Now I'm stuck between the 55-250mm IS and the 70-300 IS USM (from Canon). I do know the differences between the two, so my question is if it's worth spending about twice as much money for the 70-300mm? The extra 50mm could be nice, I however think that the 55-250mm would be sufficient in this matter.
And then there's the 70-200mm f/4 L USM lens. I suppose it would be too limiting for my purpose, right?
Should I consider any other lenses too? As money is an issue I won't be able to afford a more expensive lens than the 70-200mm in the near future...

Thanks for your help,
Pascal

Last edited by ZeroGravity; Aug 27, 2010 at 6:28 AM.
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Old Aug 25, 2010, 7:40 AM   #2
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What are the spacifics of the sports you want to shoot? What sports? What level of play? Where will you be shooting from?

What types of nature shots? What animals? Under what conditions?
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Old Aug 25, 2010, 7:55 AM   #3
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I would think first you really have to think what range you will most use, and what you will shoot. You stated that you have a limited budget, so I would think the 70-200 L is out of the picture, since it is over $600.

The 55-250mm is really good, and you can find them new on ebay for $200. I had a Tamron 70-300mm LD di, which if you need that range, is very good for the money, around $160 new, does not have (is) though.

The 70-300 (is) has better build quality, and better sharpness, and if money was not a issue, that would be your best bet.

It sounds like the 55-250mm is your choice, like I said, I bought one about a month ago and love it.
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Old Aug 25, 2010, 11:15 AM   #4
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Thanks for the answers. Mainly I'll be shooting snowboarding, not professional of course so I won't hike on the opposite hill, but I'd say I'll be up to around 350ft away from the action, normally around 150ft though, every spot is different. What I'm looking for is a lens that can (more or less) handle that (when I'm closer I can switch to the 18-55mm). There's however no need to see all the tiny details. Beneath are some links with samples, perhaps they express better what I mean.

By the way, the 70-300mm IS USM is actually not much cheaper than the 70-200mm f/4 L USM (at least here). But there's the question whether or not they're far superior (for my needs) compared to the 55-250mm IS.

Let's forget about everything else I want to shoot because it would be just for the fun of it - if there are situations when shooting some teamsports or nature just aren't possible because of my equipment it's not a big issue.

http://creagerphoto.com/subpages/boo...ELLER_3178.jpg
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_t_w2-ergZR...0/_DSC9279.jpg
http://whitelines.mpora.com/wp-conte...DBK630x420.jpg

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Old Aug 25, 2010, 11:52 AM   #5
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The 70-200 has a fixed aperture and better IQ but the one in the near price range lacks IS so shutter speed is everything but from your sample images with plenty of light you should have no issue maintaining sufficient shutter speed. Now if your going out to the 300mm mark often then thats another story but the 70-200 works fairly well with the 1.4 TC. I have found that any glass that has a very wide zoom range to be weak at some point in the FL, The more zoom there is the more prominant the weaknesses show themselves. This includes the pricey 28-300L! I owned a 70-300 some time ago and was not happy with the build quality. Some of the images it produced were great but my perceived shortcoming is when zoomed all the way out and the end of the barrel protrudes it is sloppy with about 1/2 inch of play. Cant see how you can achieve superior images with a shift in the focal plane like that. If it were me I would invest in the 70-200 and a 1.4TC when you have a chance if that extra bit of reach is needed.
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Old Aug 25, 2010, 12:17 PM   #6
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well the 70-200 and 70-300 would be better for the snowboarding thing. The AF is just faster. And it will keep the subject infocus better.

With the 70-200 vs the 70-300. It comes down to range. If you do not need the greater reach then price is close. And the L is better at the same ranges. But if you need greater reach, you will need the 1.4tc and that adds quite a bit more money to the setup.
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Old Aug 25, 2010, 12:21 PM   #7
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The 55-250 IS is smaller and lighter than the 70-300 IS USM, but it's not as good and it focuses slower. As JustinThyme said, the 70-200/4 is very nice, and when paired with a good teleconverter, should do better, though it won't be stabilized. And that combination will be more expensive.
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Old Aug 25, 2010, 12:49 PM   #8
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150 feet - you'll need 400-500mm for that. So while the 70-200 f4 is a great lens it's way too short for what you want to do. 300mm is way too short. You need to save your pennies for a 400mm 5.6, 100-400L or Bigma. The bigma would be the last choice because of weight and lack of image stabilization.
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Old Aug 25, 2010, 1:57 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the replies. Perhaps I can go to a local store and rent a 70-200mm, that would of course be the best way to find out. If not, I guess I'm best off buying the 55-250mm IS; shouldn't I be able to shoot the way I want with it, I'll know exactly what I need and I didn't spend a whole lot of money in vain.

And yeah JohnG, I was afraid of that answer... perhaps I'll just try to shoot from a closer point or whatever, gotta find out. Thanks anyway!
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Old Aug 25, 2010, 2:01 PM   #10
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except for the snowboarding, the ef-s 55-250mm is a very good lens at a very nice price. Good sharpness.
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