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Old Jan 20, 2004, 6:56 PM   #1
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Default EF 70-200/F4 great "all round?" Or 50-500 Sigma?

It's difficult to argue with an outpouring of pretty fine reviews from users such as is found at the link below. Some "experts" say it's good both indoors and outdoors, some love it for sports, some laud it for portraiture, some claim that they look like fools using it for portraits because it's so long, but, heck, if it works, some say it's as good as, or better than, the f2.8 (and certainly lighter), some say that it's the classic "L" series lens but affordable, rated at 4.92/5, MTF test nice indeed, as you can see here:

http://www.photodo.com/prod/lens/det...0_4L-918.shtml

Have a look at the reviews below:

http://www.photographyreview.com/35m...x.aspx#reviews

Hey, the only thing is...are these guys "really" experts? My guess is "yes." You see, I've bought it but just don't have it yet. It's on it's way. So, you who have it, please comment and tell me if I was a wise or foolish servant of the photog master!

Perhaps some of these comments may help the seeker of a good "affordable" Canon "L" lens to make a proper decision.

Here's the essential question to you readers who "own" this piece of glass: well, do ya like it?
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Old Jan 23, 2004, 1:02 AM   #2
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I like the lens a lot. It may be a little long as an "all-around" lens, with the FOV multiplied by 1.6x.
Build quality is superb. Optically, it is a clear level above all of my other lenses except for the 85/1.8. There is a combination of resolution and contrast that make the images look very sharp, bright, and almost 3-D. You have to see it to understand.
I have occasionally seen this property in images from my Tamron 28-75/2.8 and even my Canon 28-105/3.5-4.5, when at f/8 in higher contrast lighting. Other lenses I have that don't compete are 24/2.8, 50/1.8, 75-300 IS, and the kit lens. They produce sharp images, but the images look dull compared to the 75-200/4 L and 85/1.8.
I'm not an equipment snob -- I wish the other lenses did as well, but there ARE noticeable differences in quality IMHO
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Old Jan 23, 2004, 9:03 PM   #3
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Tom

Thanks for your response, I was waiting for your post to justify my educated guess (educated relating only to the fact that I can read).

I have a 50/1.8 which I am quite happy with, no matter how cheap it was...it does a fine job. When I read all of those reviews from supposed experts with years and years of camera experience (much more than myself to be sure) who seemed, even, at times, to be grasping and grappling for "bad" things to suggest about this lens, I was enraptured by the circus. I was taken aback by those 2.8er's who were almost threatened by the wild action of this strange little lens with a price that is touchable by us amateurs. When I heard about the ones who cast their 2.8 by the wayside after experiencing the somewhat mystical experience of the f4 light L, I had to check out the idea and hope in this forum. You are the first responder, and apparently you own this lens, so I respect your view, and thank you for helping me justify my addiction.

And you can be sure, because of your response, that I will be checking into the 85/1.8. Thanks again!
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Old Jan 23, 2004, 11:25 PM   #4
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Norm,
Glad I had something useful to offer. The 50/1.8 is a very fine lens, especially for its ridiculously low cost, and is great for low light applications. I would always include one in my kit, and it's so light and compact there is little excuse not to do so. It's just that for me, the image quality of the 70-200/4 L and 85/1.8 is almost spectacular. (Your original question concerned the former, so I focused on that. Inadvertant pun.)
I suppose there are better and worse samples of every lens. Maybe I got a couple from the higher end of the acceptable quality range. My 75-300 IS looks good from 75 to about 180mm, so some lenses perform well in more limited conditions, too.
I find photozone.de to be helpful. My results seem to correlate very well with his findings, especially the ones with more than 20 responses. I read a criticism that the surveys are "open" with no screening of posters' qualifications, but I believe that is largely irrelevant. I doubt if few, other than serious amateurs or pros, visit his site more than once or twice. If one can afford many of the lenses, and cares enough to submit "conforming" data (vs flaming a product), one probably has some useful information. If more than 20 such people largely agree, and submit similar findings, there is a good chance of deriving an opinion that is statistically valid.
I like narrative user reviews, too, but suspect that some people post to justify and defend (rationalize?) their purchasing decisions, or to scream about negative experiences. So, it's important to screen these, and filter out the extreme views. No product is either perfect or totally worthless. Usually, if someone can present an objective, reasonable review of a product's good and bad points, their credibility becomes evident, especially in comparison with the flamers and those who love their purchases as status symbols, no matter what. I'd say about one out of three reviews at photographyreview.com meet my criteria, but they are very helpful at filling in the mental picture of a product, and sometimes reveal a not-so-obvious flaw that may be a complete show-stopper for someone.
I've seen great photos from very cheap equipment and lousy photos from incredibly expensive equipment, so we must never forget that the skill of the photographer, and sometimes a bit of luck in presence and timing, are most important of all.
Thanks for your kind words, and best wishes
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Old Feb 4, 2004, 10:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
I've seen great photos from very cheap equipment and lousy photos from incredibly expensive equipment, so we must never forget that the skill of the photographer, and sometimes a bit of luck in presence and timing, are most important of all.
Thanks for your kind words, and best wishes
Oh, how absolutely true these words are. And now, after actually getting the great "L" lens those words ring even more accurately. I think I have now crossed the mystical line from hobby guy to weed wacker. I am now quite positive that, like everything else I've ever used, it ain't the tool but the one who works it.

I don't mind this lens, it's okay, but it definitely isn't going to give me something I don't "earn" myself through creativity, practice, and dedication...not to mention having fun.

Thanks for the wise words, oh guru of photogs!
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Old Feb 5, 2004, 12:18 AM   #6
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Norm, glad to see this thread as I am wrestling with which way to go on this very lens. As of yet, I don't own one, but it is at the very TOP of my list of things to get in the VERY near future! I had the opportunity to shoot all 3 lenses with my cam 2 weeks ago and am very impressed with all 3. Part of me says to go for the f/4 lens as the price is definately a draw, as well as the overall weight of the lens. On the other hand, the 2.8 IS is an incredible piece of equipment with the possibilites of using TC's to get greater zooms while still maintaining a reasonable f stop. Wrestling is probably the wrong word...it's more like obsessing. I came REAL close to ordering the 2.8 IS tonight but didn't. Something tells me that the f/4 will suit me just fine and the extra cash saved can be applied toward a long prime...say the 400 f/5.6...I need to win the lottery, that's all there is to it. :lol:

Looking forward to seeing some more feedback on these lenses.
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Old Feb 5, 2004, 1:36 AM   #7
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Well, today I miss the f stop, tomorrow I may not. As we both know, photography is about as stable as a cat on a hot tin roof. I always like to have an excuse for poor shots so perhaps I'll keep my F4 and claim that it's aperture just doesn't open up enough when the shots get bad, just so it isn't me but the lens. I hate it when good excuses are lacking. So, if nothing else, bad shots with my f4 is because I was too cheap and weak armed to go out and buy the 2.8. But I really know that it was because I didn't listen to all of you wise experts here on Steve's forum. Oh well, I'll live with it. I'm actually pleased that the "L" dream has landed and come down to earth where it should be. Back to basics, and that's the best place to be. I was in the recording industry for a long time and heard some of the worst music from people who owned some of the best equipment...how soon one forgets.
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Old Feb 5, 2004, 4:48 AM   #8
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Ohenry

The other benefit that the weight of an f/2.8 brings is the shallower DOF... ie it pops sharp subjects from their blurry background better, but if you don't care much for portrait work with that kind of perspective outdoor then an f/4 is surely more economical and portable.

The way I see it is: Cost is a one time deal... Buy it and then you'll forget how much you pay after you enjoy your purchase (or use this expensive lens with the next wonder body that Canon will put out). I hate the feeling "I wish I should have bought the other lens", this "obsession" will never end then... How about practicing on thoses muscles now!

BTW I have an obsession too... I wished I bought the ∑ 120-300 f/2.8 instead of my 50-500 (an excellent lens), like you said with a 1.4xTC I can have my cake and eat it too: ie a 420 @ f/4 (or 600 @ f/5.6 with a 2xTC) :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Old Feb 5, 2004, 11:00 AM   #9
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Well, I bit the bullet and ordered the 70-200 f/2.8 IS this morning. I had almost convinced myself that I could do just fine with the f/4 lens, but I reviewed the shots that I had taken with all three models and the one shot that kept sticking in my mind was a shot that was taken inside the mall at 1/10th sec f/2.8 using IS. It convinced me that, although the f/2.8 may be overkill in many cases, the IS will definately come in handy in the long run. Is the extra stop worth $500 over the f/4 or another $500 worth having the IS? I can't answer that, but as NHL pointed out, the cost is a one time factor but you keep the lens much longer.
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Old Feb 7, 2004, 8:57 PM   #10
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o henry...

Have fun and I look forward to seeing some of your product.
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