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Need L-Glass Advice!!!
Old 12-05-2005, 09:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I am about to purchase a Canon 70-200 f/2.8L USM lens. I am trying to decide between the IS (Image Stabilized) and non-IS version.

I mainly do model work, portraiture, and sporting events for the Atlanta Track Club (Peachtree Road Race, Atlanta Marathon, etc). I would like to get the IS version for the great reviews on its stabilization, but I'm worried about paying so much more when the reviews say it is not as sharp as its non-IS cousin.

My questions:

1. Should I be concerned about the loss in sharpness to pick up IS?

2. Where should I buy? I hate paying retail if I can find a better place to purchase.

Greg

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Re: Need L-Glass Advice!!!
Old 12-05-2005, 09:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Another possible lens is the Sigma 70-200 2.8 HSM. You can get it for between $750 and $850 and it comes with collar and hood and case and 6 year warranty. It has been rated as virtually equal to the Canon L lens. It does not have IS, but that usually is not a critical factor in Glamour. I have used mine now for quite some time on the Canon 20D and it works like a champ. So just something to consider.


Recent shot of Haley using the above lens.

Cheers,
rfs
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Re: Need L-Glass Advice!!!
Old 12-05-2005, 09:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Unless you're shooting with studio strobes or using a tripod, you will get better results from the IS lens. Keep in mind if you're shooting digital (or even color film), the sharpness difference between the two lenses is minimal. See William Castleman's comparison between the two lenses for more details.

Where to buy: B&H and Adorama are probably your safest choice if you plan to order from a New York-based store.
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for digital, they\'re equal sort of
Old 12-06-2005, 01:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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According to his analysis, the non-IS version is only noticibly sharper if one is shooting film. In digital, he says it makes no difference, however, I suspect that if you were shooting at a slower than optimal shutter speed, without a tripod, and using the non-IS lens, I think you would see a difference. You would have to decide how important that is. For me, I shoot at the beach often at sunset, under low light, and while I can expect to be able to shoot at 1/125 or even 1/250, having the IS available seems to give me good results on the limited amount of shooting I've done so far. When I was shooting Nikon/film, I would switch to a lighter, faster fixed-length (an 85mm f2, or the 105mm f2.5) to limit camera (and my hand) shake under low light, but I didn't need to do that with the Canon 70-200 with IS. (And I don't know if it will make any difference, but you can turn the IS off).

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio
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Re: Need L-Glass Advice!!!
Old 12-06-2005, 03:52 AM   #5 (permalink)
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A friend purchased the non-IS version and seems pretty happy with it. He does mention that he thinks he would have been happier with the IS version. If you are looking in that lens range, the IS version seems to be what everyone uses. I have always regretted getting the f/4 version when I first got started.

Chris
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Re: Need L-Glass Advice!!!
Old 12-06-2005, 09:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
1. Should I be concerned about the loss in sharpness to pick up IS?

2. Where should I buy? I hate paying retail if I can find a better place to purchase.

[/ QUOTE ]


1) I highly doubt it. Even if there is some minor degradation of image quality, the 70-200 is SO SHARP to start with that you'll never know the difference. But the real question for me is...is the IS lens worth the extra $550 ($1,100 vs $1,650 @ B&H) and the extra 0.4 lbs (2.8 vs 3.2). For me, the answer is clearly no. I've used my brother's Nikon VR lenses, and they are in fact very nice. I shot some water skiing photos, and it did a GREAT job of reducing lens shake. But $550? If I'm going to spend that cash, there are other photographic tools or seminars that would improve my images more.

2) Buy from B&H. They're a highly reputable dealer that provides excellent customer service.

I agree with Fred, though. When I drop the dough on a 70-200, I'll go with the Sigma.
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Re: Need L-Glass Advice!!!
Old 12-06-2005, 09:18 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Greg,

I have the IS and the non IS lens. Both are great. I find that I use the IS more because of the variety of subjects and situations I shoot. I do glamour, sports and dance competitions. With the dance competitions there is no flash photography allowed and the IS works great for that because of the low light conditions.

Terry
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Re: Need L-Glass Advice!!!
Old 12-06-2005, 09:53 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The IS Glass is worth the extra dinero, especially with the sports shooting you will be doing.

And I would follow what the add says, "ya go to B&H"


JasonNJ
GPCB
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Turning Off IS or VR
Old 12-06-2005, 10:15 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Bjørn Rørslett mentioned in his review of the Nikon 70-200/2.8 VR lens that the VR settings affects bokeh at shorter focal lengths. I haven't confirmed if there are differences with the Canon lens, since I've been using it indoors and shooting at 1/60 second (with lots of flash).

I've some examples of background blur from a 70-200/2.8 IS with the IS on below:



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Re: Need L-Glass Advice!!!
Old 12-06-2005, 11:22 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Only you can decide. Some examples from 70-200 2.8 IS Lens using autofocus, f7.1, 200MM, handheld, 100sec. It was only painful when I wrote the check, but now the pain is gone and it didn't even leave a scar!
Finished product



Cropped from above pic with No Photoshop



Eyes Sharpned amount 99% .6 radius 1 threshold



Ken
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