70 - 200 2.8 - advice needed

Messages
34
Edit My Images
Yes
#1
Hello,

I own a Canon 7D and am likely to stick with the Canon system in the future. I have an interest in dog photography and am thinking of doing this on a commercial basis moving forward. I also like to shoot wildlife, events and general landscape / holiday stuff.

My go to lens for action is the Tamron SP 70 - 300. An impressive lens for the money but lacking in light and a bit soft at longer focal lengths. It has a sweet spot at around f8 but clearly this is not ideal unless the light is very good. I'm really looking for a little extra sharpness and better subject isolation.

Assuming I can move on that lens for around £200, I will have about £700 to spend on a replacement. I've long wanted an Canon L 70 - 200 2.8 but have never been able to justify the expense. However, it now seems that the earlier versions of that lens at just about in my reach on the used market.

However, I am aware that other 2.8 options (Tamron and Sigma) do exist in the used market, and compare pretty favourably to the earlier Canons

Based on your experience, what would you recommend to pair with my 7D moving forward.

Thank you.
 
Messages
2,031
Edit My Images
Yes
#2
The F4 is a better buy for most, much lighter.
I had one for several years until I sold my 5Dii and it was the sharpest lens I had, a pleasure to use.
The version without IS is cheaper still but not sure I'd recommend it.
 
Messages
5,426
Name
Darran, Daz or ****
Edit My Images
Yes
#3
Mpb are selling the mk1 Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS for around £550 but with a little patience you might get a better deal via Ebay.
I've previously owned the f/4 version and it was a fantastic lens.
You've mentioned wildlife but not been specific.
If you want to shoot small birds then either a 100-400 or a 150-600 would be beneficial.
However as you've mentioned light plays an important factor.
I own a Tamron 100-400 and the sweet spot is between f/8-f/11.
I mainly shoot birds in aperture priority and in bad light the trade off is lower shutter speeds and higher ISO but it hasn't yet caused me a problem.
The Canon 100-400L IS mk1 is still a good lens and I've previously owned one.
This time the reviews of the Tamron were quite good and I bought one new as it was cheaper than a used Canon version.
However as low light may be you concern a f/2.8 may be a better choice with perhaps a tele converter but I expect you would lose f/2.8.
 
Messages
835
Name
Alistair
Edit My Images
No
#4
I have the Canon 70-200 f4 L IS and while it's a good lens, the f2.8 is better for low light.
I've used both the f2.8 IS Mk1 and Mk2 and found that image quality wise, there's not much in them but there is a difference in weight.
If you're upgrading from a Tamron SP 70-300 (assuming the VC model), the weight of the f2.8 will take a lot of getting used to, especially if you're hand-holding it shooting moving subjects.
For comparison:
Tamron 70-300 VC: 765g
Canon 70-200 f4 L IS: 760g
Canon 70-200 f2.8 L IS Mk1: 1570g
Canon 70-200 f2.8 L IS Mk2: 1490g
Sigma 70-200 f2.8 EX DG OS: 1430g
Tamron 70-200 f2.8 DI VC: 1470g

The other thing to think about is reach. Do you find yourself at 300mm a lot of the time? If so, a 70-200mm is going to be a bit too short.
Then your options get a little more complicated, you could go for a 100-400 (both Tamron and Sigma have just released a new version around the £700 mark) or you can go for the 150-500/600 options, but none of these will be f2.8. Sigma do make a 120-300 f2.8 though which could be found around £700 secondhand.
As suggested above you could put for example a 2x teleconverter onto a 70-200 f2.8, so it becomes a 140-400 but your aperture becomes f5.6.

Personally, I'd try to borrow or hire one of these lenses to see if the weight and reach work for you before buying.
 
Messages
6,372
Name
Graham
Edit My Images
No
#5
I don't know the Canon system all that well but it might be worth mentioning that for dog photos I would imagine IS is of little use for you. As in I presume you're either shooting them in their environment running around in which case shutter speed will be way up. Or in a lit studio. On that basis, a 70-200 2.8 L (non-IS) would sound ideal to me and I presume saves a bit of money vs. the alternatives.
 
OP
OP
N
Messages
34
Edit My Images
Yes
#6
I have the Canon 70-200 f4 L IS and while it's a good lens, the f2.8 is better for low light.
I've used both the f2.8 IS Mk1 and Mk2 and found that image quality wise, there's not much in them but there is a difference in weight.
If you're upgrading from a Tamron SP 70-300 (assuming the VC model), the weight of the f2.8 will take a lot of getting used to, especially if you're hand-holding it shooting moving subjects.
For comparison:
Tamron 70-300 VC: 765g
Canon 70-200 f4 L IS: 760g
Canon 70-200 f2.8 L IS Mk1: 1570g
Canon 70-200 f2.8 L IS Mk2: 1490g
Sigma 70-200 f2.8 EX DG OS: 1430g
Tamron 70-200 f2.8 DI VC: 1470g

The other thing to think about is reach. Do you find yourself at 300mm a lot of the time? If so, a 70-200mm is going to be a bit too short.
Then your options get a little more complicated, you could go for a 100-400 (both Tamron and Sigma have just released a new version around the £700 mark) or you can go for the 150-500/600 options, but none of these will be f2.8. Sigma do make a 120-300 f2.8 though which could be found around £700 secondhand.
As suggested above you could put for example a 2x teleconverter onto a 70-200 f2.8, so it becomes a 140-400 but your aperture becomes f5.6.

Personally, I'd try to borrow or hire one of these lenses to see if the weight and reach work for you before buying.
Wow - that's really detailed advice. Indeed - the extra weight will be an issue. Reach-wise, one of the reasons I am looking for a 2.8 is so I can teleconvert it and still get a reasonable light performance from it. Does anyone have experience of a 1.4 converter on a Canon 70 - 200 - especially on a 7D? To be honest I rarely extend beyond 270 anyway because I know the results aren't especially good at that range.

Thank you very much for your reply.
 
OP
OP
N
Messages
34
Edit My Images
Yes
#7
The F4 is a better buy for most, much lighter.
I had one for several years until I sold my 5Dii and it was the sharpest lens I had, a pleasure to use.
The version without IS is cheaper still but not sure I'd recommend it.
Thank you. Yes I have thought about the F4 very seriously. It remains an option, but I guess two things are in my mind

1) I am not used to lenses (code for I can't afford them) that are tack sharp wide open. Would this really be sharp at F4 all the way through the range?
2) I woud like the option of adding a tele-converter later... not sure if the F4 would lose too much light to be workable in a lot of conditions.
 
Messages
5,426
Name
Darran, Daz or ****
Edit My Images
Yes
#8
I've used a canon 70-200L IS with a 1.4x tele converter and from memory I got some cracking shots but that was in 2010.
I'll try and dig out some examples for you
 
OP
OP
N
Messages
34
Edit My Images
Yes
#9
You've mentioned wildlife but not been specific.
Thank you again.

I guess the wildlife is an extra. Mainly garden birds, livestock on country walks, stuff on holiday. I am not by any means a serious birder or wildlife spotter. I have heard that the Canon L 400m prime is an outstanding and affordable option for those who are.

However as low light may be you concern a f/2.8 may be a better choice with perhaps a tele converter but I expect you would lose f/2.8.
Yes. The 7D Mark 1 is till a fantastic camera, but it's low light performance is not great when compared with more up to date models. That said I think my money is better spent on lenses than say upgrading to the Mark 2 or going full frame.
 
OP
OP
N
Messages
34
Edit My Images
Yes
#10
I've used a canon 70-200L IS with a 1.4x tele converter and from memory I got some cracking shots but that was in 2010.
I'll try and dig out some examples for you
Really kind of you - much appreciated.

Thinking maybe of taking a plunge on an early L2.8. Renting first would be a wise choice but I'm probably looking at around ten percent of purchase price to do so . sadly don't know anyone locally who has one to try. I guess these things hold value so I could always sell if I was not completely happy. Unlikely to go through Ebay either way as I have been (almost) burned in the past there
 
Messages
5,426
Name
Darran, Daz or ****
Edit My Images
Yes
#11
Thank you again.

I guess the wildlife is an extra. Mainly garden birds, livestock on country walks, stuff on holiday. I am not by any means a serious birder or wildlife spotter. I have heard that the Canon L 400m prime is an outstanding and affordable option for those who are.



Yes. The 7D Mark 1 is till a fantastic camera, but it's low light performance is not great when compared with more up to date models. That said I think my money is better spent on lenses than say upgrading to the Mark 2 or going full frame.

I know a 16 year old lad who uses a 7D mk1 and a Canon 400 prime.
I can honestly say that he takes exceptional photos.
Another photographer said his photos are better than any he's seen with people using the same lens and a canon 7D mk2 and I have to agree with him.
I've never owned a 7D but I remember complaints about it being noisy in low light.
However, we have shot together in low light conditions and his photos were still stunning.
He tends to shoot in manual mode and perhaps that is to his advantage.
 
OP
OP
N
Messages
34
Edit My Images
Yes
#14
I have the 70-200 2.8 non is and it’s spectacular. If you’re sticking with the canon system - it’s worth all of £500 if you shop around.

Worth remembering it’s still a current lens - so repair and service is not an issue.
Thanks - is that the mark 1? I think we're currently on Mark 3, which by all accounts isn't that much of a step up from the 2?

Got to say that the VC on my current Tamron is spectacularly good - but very often redundant as I don't need it. Just helps me to frame shots most of the time.
 
Messages
835
Name
Alistair
Edit My Images
No
#15
Thanks - is that the mark 1? I think we're currently on Mark 3, which by all accounts isn't that much of a step up from the 2?
There are 3 versions of the f2.8 IS and also one version of the f2.8 non-IS. This non-IS model is the same basic lens design as the MK1 IS, but without IS. So it's an older design, but still a good f2.8 L lens.
Here's a comparison of the stats on all the 70-200mm lenses from Canon: DPReview comparison

If you're concerned about weight, go to a good camera store and ask to compare a couple of lenses. At least by putting them on a camera and holding them you'll get a good idea of whether the weight is going to be a problem.
 
Messages
1,818
Name
Meeten
Edit My Images
No
#17
I have a mk i 70-200 2.8is (it gets heavy after a while) .
I also have a 1.4 TC that sits in my bag.
For me it is a great lens and the 1.4 on it does not affect the quality largely. But, there is a drop in quality.

The question you need to answer is do you NEED a length greater than 200 (and the added reach the 7d gives you)?

Perhaps if you can answer the above, you can put a post in the Wanted section. Buying it in your budget should be possible and I'm sure you can sell it on with little financial loss. Consider it a long term loan for little outlay.....
 
Last edited:
Top