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Author Topic: Good start 55-200 or 70-300  (Read 10020 times)

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AMJ

« on: February 19, 2008, 15:46 »
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Sorry I am sure this has been hacked over many many times but being a newby and after reading a lot of threads I still would like some input on what you guys feel would be a good lens for me. 

I just upgraded from a Canon Powershort S2 IS to a Rebel Xti that came with just the stock little 25-55 lens.  95% of my pictures are nature scenes such as these:





The last one is shaky and I couldn't get my Powershot to focus in on the object for whatever reason and I was in a hurry to catch up with the GF further down the trail. 

I am looking for a good quality lens that will match up well with the Xti and be able to fit other bodies as I upgrade that will shot these types of pictures and give me the ability to zoom in on distance object such as ElK or Dears face and get a nice clear shot from 50 yards away but also shot good shots from say 5 feet. Basically a good all around 70 - 200 lens. 

What would you guys recommend in the $200 - $500 range?

The 2044b002 seems like a good lens for $300?



digiology

« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2008, 15:55 »
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Just make sure it has VR/IS.

« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2008, 15:55 »
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I've got the 70-300 IS and love it.  The IS works really well, and the lens is quite sharp, comparing favorably to L lenses in resolution tests.  It is a little slow, so no long range, low light, action photography, but in well lit situations, or lower light static subjects it is perfect.  It would be perfect for the type of shots you have above. 

Shot #2 is not a focus issue, the shutter speed was too slow, there is motion blur from the camera moving.  Shot #1 is out of focus, or the lens resolution is awful, there is nothing sharp in the image.

I have an S2 IS, it took some good pictures, but looking back, now that I can see photographs much better and the defects that they contain, wow are the pictures crap, at least side by side with the SLR at the full size resolution of my monitor.  Printed out at 4x6, they look great though.  I never could tell if the IS did anything or not with that camera, when it kicks in in my tele, it is like the lens is on a tripod, it is very noticeable.

Here are a couple of example shots from it, similar to yours, all handheld:
(stopped down to f/7.1 at 300mm, sunset)
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2400/2041416124_aa18a9bfc3_b.jpg
(stopped down to f/7.1 at 70mm, plant detail)
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2154/2173252687_bdabd682a0_b.jpg
And one of my faves:
(wide open (f/5.6) at 300mm, this is as bad as it gets in good lighting)
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2278/2178788631_4554876975_b.jpg

(you might need to click to zoom in (firefox), the size first shown in the link is a poorly interpolated, jaggy downsample).
« Last Edit: February 19, 2008, 16:27 by Waldo4 »

« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2008, 18:01 »
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If you intend to shoot landscapes, 70-200mm is not the best option IMHO: you will miss the 20-70mm range at your first sunset  ;)

As my main lens, I use a Sigma 18-200mm. For that price ($450 on Amazon for the new stabilized version), this is a very interesting lens as it covers the full focal range you may need for 90% of your shots.

It is not my highest quality lens, but it is still a very good lens.



« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2008, 19:00 »
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You mentioned Elk and Deer, if that is what you have your heart set on,  from my experience with them, they have a tendency to hide until about 30 minutes before sunset.  You may need a fairly bright lens if you want to keep your ISO low, and I'm guessing for the prices you mention the lenses are likely 5.6 at 200 focal length?  And quite honestly,  200 lens is often not close enough.  I'm pretty sure you will not get a closeup of a deer face with a 200 lens.   

I had a 70-200 Nikon lens in this price range.  It seemed to be all I needed when I bought it, but I soon outgrew.  It was absolutely horrible for shooting both nature and sports.  It was too dark, as well it was too slow and couldn't keep up to the action on the soccer field.  I'm much happier with the 2.8VR.  (But it cost 6 times as much too.).

Some lenses work well with converters (not all are compatible).  You might consider a higher quality short lens and a converter to extend the length by say, 1.4 or 2 times by sacrificing a couple stops of light.   

I'm not trying to be the voice of doom!  But, obviously I didn't know enough to purchase the better lens the first time.  To be honest, I bought it a couple days before I shot my first stock photo.  What do I know?  That first photo with that lens is still one of my best sellers and just happens to be... of elk!

« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2008, 03:40 »
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Optically best in the 70-200 range close to your price range is the EF 70-200 4L.

No image stabalization.

I've heard good things about the 70-300 4.5-5.6 IS. 

I've head bad things about the 55-200.


Eventually, the ultimate lens in this zoom range (which is my favorite lens), is the 70-200 2.8L IS, but that costs $1700 or so.  It's got 1 stop more aperture and a few stops of IS.  A good in-between lens would be the 70-200 4L IS, which is a little over a thousand.


Great thing about lenses, unlike camera bodies, is you can always sell thing for very little depreciation.  I think I lost less than $100 on my 70-200 4L when I sold it (not bad for something $580 new).

« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2008, 10:53 »
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It really depends on your application.  When I got my 70-300 IS, I weighed the pros and cons of it and the 70-200 f/4L very hard since both are very similarly priced (just above my price ceiling, where you generally should be looking for optics) and the IQ is quite good for both.  For both:

70-200 vs 70-300:
IQ -> 70-200 (though it isn't a big gap, especially on a crop sensor, nothing like the drop to the Sigma or Canon 75-300 which is a big noticeable rift)
Handholdability in non-ideal light -> 70-300 (3 stop advantage on short end, 2 on long end, because of the IS vs aperture differences, the IS really works well)
Weight -> 70-300 (light for a tele, though also not a big gap, the 70-200 isn't that much heavier, all other L tele's are though)
Build -> 70-200 (L's are built like tanks, the 70-300 is built solid though)
Range -> 70-300 (Extra 100mm comes in handy, though a TC can extend the 70-200 for additional cost)
FF Use -> 70-200 (Both can be used on a FF without a problem, but the 70-300 has poor edge IQ that is hidden by a crop sensor)
Resale -> 70-200 (L's hold their value well, though the 70-300 is still a Canon FF, it isn't going to lose value like a Sigma, it will still be worth quite a bit)
Prestige -> 70-200 (It has the white paint and red stripe, generally a pro, but the 70-200 is more obvious and attractive to a theif).

It was a very tough decision, looking back I'm glad that I went the way I did, it fits what I do better.  If you walk around a lot for long periods (especially not always in bright sunlight), have a crop sensor (and plan on staying that way for a little bit), and rarely use a tripod, the 70-300 is probably a better bet.  If much of your work is on a tripod, or you spend short periods walking (or with less stuff, I carry a ton of crap on walkabout), or have a FF sensor, the 70-200 is the way to go.  On an 8 MP crop sensor, the IQ differences are minimal, on a 12 MP FF sensor, they become much more magnified and are noticeable, especially in the corners.
 
« Last Edit: February 25, 2008, 10:58 by Waldo4 »

« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2008, 11:13 »
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Prestige -> 70-200 (It has the white paint and red stripe, generally a pro, but the 70-200 is more obvious and attractive to a theif).

Here's a factoid for ya - if what I read on the Internet last week is true.  The big Canon lenses are white because the typical user will sit in the sun for extended lengths of time shooting sports or wildlife.  The white reflects light = cooler lens.  Apparently things can get pretty hot inside all the black equipment and cause damage to circuits, etc.  You can buy still black Canon lenses, but they are usually specialty order and more $$$.

« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2008, 12:30 »
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Prestige -> 70-200 (It has the white paint and red stripe, generally a pro, but the 70-200 is more obvious and attractive to a theif).

Here's a factoid for ya - if what I read on the Internet last week is true.  The big Canon lenses are white because the typical user will sit in the sun for extended lengths of time shooting sports or wildlife.  The white reflects light = cooler lens.  Apparently things can get pretty hot inside all the black equipment and cause damage to circuits, etc.  You can buy still black Canon lenses, but they are usually specialty order and more $$$.


The justification for having a cooler tele lens is because the Tele L's use fluorite glass lenses.  Those are softer than standard glass, and deform more due to heat variations. 

But it sure is a great marketing campaign, as you can always tell L's at a sporting event.

« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2008, 13:51 »
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I own the 70-200 F4 and it's a great lens. If you can buy the IS model it seems it's even better (without counting the IS factor).

and with a 1.4 converter it will become a 100/300 or close.

and still a great lens.

« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2008, 10:18 »
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Prestige -> 70-200 (It has the white paint and red stripe, generally a pro, but the 70-200 is more obvious and attractive to a theif).

Here's a factoid for ya - if what I read on the Internet last week is true.  The big Canon lenses are white because the typical user will sit in the sun for extended lengths of time shooting sports or wildlife.  The white reflects light = cooler lens.  Apparently things can get pretty hot inside all the black equipment and cause damage to circuits, etc.  You can buy still black Canon lenses, but they are usually specialty order and more $$$.


The justification for having a cooler tele lens is because the Tele L's use fluorite glass lenses.  Those are softer than standard glass, and deform more due to heat variations. 

But it sure is a great marketing campaign, as you can always tell L's at a sporting event.

It makes a lot of sense, I have heard that before.  The coefficient of thermal expansion for metal is greater than it is for glass, metal expands and contracts more than glass.  The glass in all large buildings is seated on foam or rubber backer instead of directly in the metal frames, otherwise on a hot day all the windows would break.  Lens glass, in addition to being very expensive, is also fairly flimsy (as glass goes, it isn't 2" laminated plate glass).  With a plastic lens body however, the coefficient of thermal expansion can be controlled (probably a big factor in the formulation of Canon's exact lens plastic) to be equal to or less than that of glass, so the body, even hot, imparts no stresses on the lens glass to temporarily warp (when cool it snaps back to normal) or crack the glass.


 

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