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    So! Here I am, I am debating on 70-200mm *Canon* I can’t decide between 2.8 or the 4… With the 4 I can go non-IS… Save myself a bit of money and have a good portrait lens. It’s the only lens missing from my arsenal really. Any thoughts? Should I fork over the money and go with the fast glass or would the F4 USM non IS be a good stepping stone?


    Not a portrait photographer, but I would think if you are not shooting commercially, or dealing with a lot of low light situations like for weddings That the 4 non IS would be fine.  I might get told differently by people that know better and possibly have used this lens though.

    I always rent my lenses first before I purchase them.  You could give them both a try, or even just the 4 and have your answer


    I just ponied up and got the 2.8 IS it is an extra stop of light which is nice.


    I have both the f/4 non-IS and f/2.8 IS lenses.  I seldom use either.  I got the f/4 when I got a 30D and added the f/2.8 when I got a 1Ds.  A Sigma 18-200 lives on the 30D and a Sigma 18-250 lives on my 550D.  Frequently a Canon 28-300 is on my 5D and the 1Ds has a 100-400.  For low light when I don’t need focal length, I use faster prime lenses.

    But, last weekend I was shooting in low light with the 70-200 f/2.8 in the 5D at ISO 10000 to get some shutter speed.

    Of those two lenses, I think your choice of the f/2.8 with IS, while it is heavier and more expensive, was the right choice.  The extra stop gives less depth of field while IS lets you shoot at slower shutter speeds, so it is more versatile.


    This is true. I am actually getting the 3D here in the next two weeks, I am excited. Going from a 60D which will become a back up to a full frame is going to be err *cough* AMAZING! I’m looking forward to it. Thank you CC for the input there. I was like meh for an extra few hundred bucks why not just get the 2.8


    Tirandia – if you can afford it, do yourself a favor and get the 2.8.

    I have had both versions of the f/4 and both versions of the 2.8, I know currently have the 2.8 II with the IS.

    The advantages of the f/4 are the weight savings, portability, and image quality. If you do any kind of action photography, the IS will come in handy more than you’ll know. The good thing is that it is very fast and very responsive, but will drain the camera battery down a bit whenIS is used.

    The 2.8 is a far better lens, but it does come at a substantial cost in both $$ and weight. Now in comparison, the cheaper of the bunch is the non-IS f/4 but you also save because it has the fewest elements of the 70-200mm group, only 16. The IS f/4 version has 4 additional elements, 20, so your not only paying for the IS but some additional glass.
    The f/2.8 versions also differ slightly between the IS and non-IS versions. The non-IS f/2.8 has 18 elements where the IS version has 23 but also has a fluorite front element.

    In my opinion the Mark II version of the f/2.8 with IS is the best of the bunch, but it comes at that added price. I understand, if your on a budget, the f/4 is fine, I had one and the images are excellent from it. The f/2.8 will allow you that extra stop of light which will help in those lower light situations, just like CC stated.

    I loved my f/4, but wanted something better, so I got the 2.8 and kept the f/4 for a backup and those shots where the 2.8 was just too big and heavy to use.
    Good Luck and if you get the 2.8, you won’t regret it.


    I know I’m late to reply! I ended up with the 200 F2.8 non-is. I didn’t realize this till I had won the auction. Boo! But the lens is… AMAZING. While yes it weighs a lot its also become one of my favorite lenses to use haha. I got it for 750 all said and done. Now I’m saving to get the IS version. I don’t do a lot of sports or action but being able to hand shoot at 1/4 shutter speed seems rather nice.


    Let me be the first to say – IT DEPENDS.

    Money is an issue for me. I am a college student. I got a used f/4 non-IS for under $500. If money is not an issue for you, go for it – get the extra stop in the 2.8.

    You may want the 2.8 for the lower depth of field, but you can get fantastic depth of field with a 70-200 without paying a thousand more dollars by using a cropped sensor camera, shooting towards the 200mm end, and positioning you and your subject correctly.

    Image stabilization, in most cases, would be useless for me since I’m often shooting outdoors with a shutter speed of 1/80 or higher.


    Case in point: Brad Wing, Steelers punter, signing autographs




    A shutter speed of 1/80 would not generally be enough to use the 70-200 and get sharp photos. Especially if you use it on a crop body. F4 200mm has thin depth of field no matter though. Heck I go to f8 quite often at 150ish mm to get enough depth of field and that is where the IS really shines.

    The bokeh difference between various lenses can be down to far more than the aperture used though. The entrance pupil will affect the shape of the bokeh even at the same focal lengths and aperture. Bigger front elements do better. The f2.8 will also focus quicker in worse light and it will let the camera activate more cross type points. There is no question that the 70-200 f4 non-is represents tremendous value though.


    1/80 is generally fine for me with a steady hand, but not ideal. Of course a mono or tripod helps.

    That’s important too – you will never get good bokeh if you think it’s only about the aperture.

    The low light performance would be the biggest reason to switch for me.

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