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Canon 70-200 f4 IS vs f2.8 Non-IS

Tony Craig , Feb 03, 2012; 05:58 p.m.

Not for pro use and I would like some advice. I do not do fast moving sports, but would like a lens that could be used indoors for school functions. Crop bodies, some wildlife, some portraits. Appreciate your input.


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J. Harrington USA (Massachusetts) , Feb 03, 2012; 06:08 p.m.

If your camera body does well at high ISO, that would be a factor for indoor shooting w a 70-200. Which body will you lens go on?

Tony Craig , Feb 03, 2012; 06:11 p.m.

T2i and 50D

Marcus Ian , Feb 03, 2012; 06:12 p.m.

While the f2.8 will produce superior bokeh and DOF control (especially on the crop), the benefit is arguable. Certainly many users feel their f4 IS units perform fine in those respects. To me, I find the added stop is well worth losing IS, but then I shoot a lot of portraits, and do so on FF. How much that functional loss will affect your shooting (especially indoors (limited shutter speed), and on the crop (with increased noise, and focal length)) is going to be largely determined by your technique.

For most uses 'general purpose' uses though, I think you'd be just as well served by either, with the IS giving a less experienced shooter a distinct advantage w/ the f4 IS (vs. the 2.8 non-IS).

Tony Craig , Feb 03, 2012; 06:17 p.m.

Thanks Marcus. I am a less experienced shooter and lean toward the IS. Just picking the collective brain for compelling reason to get the faster lens since both are available to me.

Philip Wilson , Feb 03, 2012; 08:39 p.m.

I have both these lenses and shoot APS-C (7D), APS-H and full frame. I find the F2.8 is great for sports - especially indoor but generally prefer the F4IS for it's lighter weight and smaller size. Real world IQ there is little to choose between them. Unless you shoot fast moving sports indoors (e.g. hockey) or want the shallow DOF for portraits I would suggest the F4 IS. In terms of handholding I really find little to choose between the two lenses and generally do not need IS on the zoom as I generally have a fast enoug shutter speed. For portrait use the 100 F2.8L Macro, 85 F1.8 and 50 F1.4 (on APS-C) will do a better job than the zoom without the size and weight.

John Bellenis , Feb 03, 2012; 08:46 p.m.

I own two of the 70-200 versions, but neither are the ones you're looking at! I have the 70-200 f2.8 IS and the 70-200 f4 (non IS). While both are exemplary lenses, if I don't need the additional stop or IS, I will invariably reach for the f4 lens as I much prefer using it. The size and weight are perfect for hand-holding for long periods of time, and I just prefer it ergonomically. However, when you need that extra stop and / or IS, then the f2.8 lens is essential.

Oddly enough, if I had to keep just one I'd keep the f2.8 lens for it's extra flexibility, but I still prefer to use the f4 version when I can (which is actually most of the time). Having both is ideal and most importantly gives me much needed redundancy when away on location. I originally bought the f4 version as a back-up lens and was surprised that I liked it so much that I use it whenever possible.

Tony Craig , Feb 03, 2012; 08:56 p.m.

I used to have the f4 non-IS and sold it. At the time, I recall thinking I'd like it better if it had IS. I did admire that lens, which produced many good images for me. On a related note, as I age I realize I am not as able to hold my equipment as steady as when I was younger. That's the dilemma I have placed myself in...steady or speed.

Thanks all for your input so far!

John Bellenis , Feb 03, 2012; 08:59 p.m.

Well they aren't mutually exclusive... you could get a 70-200mm f2.8L IS...

Puppy Face , Feb 03, 2012; 09:00 p.m.

I owned both versions of the 70-200 4L and greatly preferred the IS version: sharper, much more flare resistant and, of course, great IS function. The only downside to the IS version is it costs more...
My 70-200 4L IS review:

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