Canon 70-300L IS USM Vs Canon 70-200L F4 IS

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Am tossing up between these two lenses and cannot make up my mind. I have researched both of these extensively and they both come very highly recommended. I am leaning towards the 70-300 as I like zooming in close on shots and the 300mm would be ideal, but I have heard of it suffering a bit in Chromatic Aberration and having had a previous lens that also suffered the same problem am rather reluctant because of this. I have also heard that the 70-200 F4 IS is amongst one of Canon's top sharpest zoom lenses and the constant F4 would be nice to have at the longer end of the zoom range. I would not consider using any extension tubes as they slightly deteriorate IQ and F-stop range. I would be interested in hearing from users of both of these lenses regarding IQ and sharpness in particular the 300mm regarding sharpness at 300mm and CA. Also would be interesting to hear opinions on the zoom and focus rings being reversed if it causes any problems when focusing at close proximity to camera and does weight of lens become an issue after carrying it all day. -- Regards, Grace

I haven't yet used the 70-300L however I have the 70-200 f4 L IS and quite frankly it's one of the sharpest lenses I've ever used (prime or zoom) with or without a 1.4x TC. Here are a few sample images. All are straight from camera .jpegs with no PP. Hope these help. Scott IMAGE(http://dpzen.com/dpzattaches/dpzattaches7//201409191844128265.jpg) IMAGE(http://dpzen.com/dpzattaches/dpzattaches7//201409191844158267.jpg) IMAGE(http://dpzen.com/dpzattaches/dpzattaches7//201409191844178269.jpg) IMAGE(http://dpzen.com/dpzattaches/dpzattaches7//201409191844188271.jpg) IMAGE(http://dpzen.com/dpzattaches/dpzattaches7//201409191844208273.jpg) IMAGE(http://dpzen.com/dpzattaches/dpzattaches7/http://1.static.img-dpzen.com/files/g/TS560x560~1804787.jpg)

Hey Scott, Great detail in the cat shot. Heard the same thing on a few sites that this is a great lens in quality and sharpness. Ken Rockwell rated it very highly. I was hoping to get the same quality with extra zoom on the 300mm also. Just wished the 300 had the fixed F-stop that the 200 has. Suppose I am asking for too much I guess. Kenko's are a great product too, we used to sell them at the photo store I worked at. Thanks for your input it's really appreciated. Great animal shots. -- Grace

montygm wrote: Just wished the 300 had the fixed F-stop that the 200 has. Suppose I am asking for too much I guess.
If the 70-300L was a constant f/4, it would have to have a minimum 75 mm front element and would weigh considerably more. It would compare with the 70-200/2.8 plus TC, rather than the 70-200/4 plus TC.

For some time I've owned both. In terms of IQ there was little difference between them. (Viewed at 100% otherwise no difference). I sold the 70-200 because IT had less reach and I found that he 70-300 was more often mounted on my camera. You can't go wrong with either of them.

It's a bit of a compromise I guess on great zoom vs great F-stop. -- Grace

I went with the 70-300L, simply because of the 300mm. In terms of optical quality, the differences we are talking about are minimal. I also have Lightroom, which corrects for the lens profile. -- http://www.paulobizarro.com

montygm wrote: Am tossing up between these two lenses and cannot make up my mind. I have researched both of these extensively and they both come very highly recommended. I am leaning towards the 70-300 as I like zooming in close on shots and the 300mm would be ideal, but I have heard of it suffering a bit in Chromatic Aberration
Not sure where you could have heard that - it's certainly not true.
and having had a previous lens that also suffered the same problem am rather reluctant because of this. I have also heard that the 70-200 F4 IS is amongst one of Canon's top sharpest zoom lenses and the constant F4 would be nice to have at the longer end of the zoom range.
F/4 at 200 mm is nice to have, I wouldn't question that. But while the 70-300L is slower at 200 mm it's equal lower down the range, and faster above 200 mm than the 70-200 plus 1.4x TC. On average the two lenses are roughly equal, which is what you would expect as they have approximately the same 'entrance pupil' - 200/4 = 50 mm; 300/5.6 = 53.6 mm.
I would not consider using any extension tubes as they slightly deteriorate IQ and F-stop range.
I assume you mean Extender (teleconverter) rather than extension tubes. The 70-200/4L IS is pretty good with a 1.4x Extender, but the bare 70-300L is better. It really is very sharp at 300 mm, if that's what you need.
I would be interested in hearing from users of both of these lenses regarding IQ and sharpness in particular the 300mm regarding sharpness at 300mm and CA. Also would be interesting to hear opinions on the zoom and focus rings being reversed if it causes any problems when focusing at close proximity to camera
I'm guessing you've probably read this in previous discussions. Don't worry about it, it's a complete non-issue and in fact it's wrong to describe the 70-300L's rings as 'reversed'. Many zoom lenses have the focusing ring closest to the camera, it just happens that the 70-200/4L is the other way round.
and does weight of lens become an issue after carrying it all day.
It very much depends on the person carrying it, but my answer would be no. It feels lighter than its actual weight, and I think this is because the weight is close to the camera. This makes it easier to handle and it also swings around a lot less on your shoulder than (for example) my 300/4L IS which is only 100 g heavier but much more of a pain to carry.

I was reading up on the CA issue on Ken Rockwells site. He rates this lens quite highly but does state it does show some CA on photos. It doesn't look any where near as bad though as my 18-200mm, that one had horrible CA and it was really visible to the naked eye. -- Grace

montygm wrote: I was reading up on the CA issue on Ken Rockwells site. He rates this lens quite highly but does state it does show some CA on photos. It doesn't look any where near as bad though as my 18-200mm, that one had horrible CA and it was really visible to the naked eye.
I'm afraid I don't regard Ken Rockwell as a reliable witness!

Thanks for your time and input. PS. I realised I should have meant extenders just after I posted. Without the use of these, are you happy when using 300mm in low light, say late afternoon? Regards, -- Grace

I use my 70-300mm L IS USM at all times of the day but have used quite a bit for shooting wildlife at dusk. On a 450D I have had no problem with autofocus, IQ, sharpness or shutter speed on deer or other mammals. The only time I have had too slow a shutter speed is BIF in low light as I cannot raise ISO above 1600. However I get no better a shot at these times with my 300mm L f/4. I have found the difference between f/4 and f/5.6 has little to no effect. Regards Gelbvieh

I agonised over this choice too - and started and read many virtually identical threads to this one. My choice was the 70-300L and I'm enomously happy with it. I have no personal experience of the 70-200 but virtually everything I read - and I read a lot - was that there's very little to choose in terms of IQ between the 70-300L and the 70-200f4L with the 1.4TC. The choice really comes down to whether the benefit of the constant f4 outweighs the hassle of mounting and unmounting the TC. I don't regret my choice at all - although in idle moments I do wonder how a 70-200f/2.8L with both a 1.4x and 2x TC in the bag when needed would work out.

70-300L IS USM all the way. No regrets. So sharp at 300mm its amazing. Takes the Kenko Pro 1.4x too with little effect on IQ. However I use it without the TC most of the time. Never had an issue with CA. I also have the 17-55mm but would replace the 70-300L first every time. Good luck with your choice. Gelbvieh

Thanks for your input. Seems that most of the users have been quite happy with their choices also. Good to hear when wanting to spend this much money on another lens. Have bought a few duds over the years and am looking at quality and sharpness. Spent nearly $1000 on an 18-200mm Canon lens years ago and it was rubbish, worst CA I have seen. On a price like that you somehow expect quality would have been better, not always so. From now on I am taking me time before rushing in to buy. Thanks again, Cheers, -- Grace

Thanks for the reply and your time, I have also been intensively agonizing over the choice just as you. I am hoping the 300mm at lower light will not be too much of an issue with higher iso and unsightly noise. Cheers, -- Grace

montygm wrote: Am tossing up between these two lenses and cannot make up my mind. I have researched both of these extensively and they both come very highly recommended. I am leaning towards the 70-300 as I like zooming in close on shots and the 300mm would be ideal, but I have heard of it suffering a bit in Chromatic Aberration and having had a previous lens that also suffered the same problem am rather reluctant because of this. I have also heard that the 70-200 F4 IS is amongst one of Canon's top sharpest zoom lenses and the constant F4 would be nice to have at the longer end of the zoom range. I would not consider using any extension tubes as they slightly deteriorate IQ and F-stop range. I would be interested in hearing from users of both of these lenses regarding IQ and sharpness in particular the 300mm regarding sharpness at 300mm and CA. Also would be interesting to hear opinions on the zoom and focus rings being reversed if it causes any problems when focusing at close proximity to camera and does weight of lens become an issue after carrying it all day. -- Regards, Grace
at least with my copies the 70-300L was center frame and wide open: definitely sharper at 70mm similar at 100mm less sharp at 135mm a trace less sharp at 160mm a little sharper at 200mm noticeably sharper 201mm-280mm than the 70-200 f/4 IS + 1.4x TC as for CA at the edges the 70-300L: definitely had more at 70mm had a little bit less at 200mm had less for sure 201-280mm than 70-200 f.4 IS + 1.4x TC (the 70-200 f/4 IS + 1.4x TC definitely captures more detail than more heavily cropping the bare 70-200 so if you need reach the 1.4x does help) 70-300L is shorter by a fair amount, a bit fatter and heavier it is pretty good at 300mm, even wide open it's ok the 70-200 f/4 IS was super hard to give up, the best zoom i had ever owned but the 70-300L is too and the 70-300L got used 90% of the time so i sold the 70-200

Hi there, Interesting why the CA is slightly more at 70mm than at the longer end of the zoom range. Does it show up as a gradient colour cast on edges of photo or as a distinct magenta line around the edges of the subject itself? -- Grace

montygm wrote: Am tossing up between these two lenses and cannot make up my mind. I have researched both of these extensively and they both come very highly recommended. I am leaning towards the 70-300 as I like zooming in close on shots and the 300mm would be ideal, but I have heard of it suffering a bit in Chromatic Aberration
never heard of it. mine 70-300 is free from CAs. like totally
and having had a previous lens that also suffered the same problem am rather reluctant because of this. I have also heard that the 70-200 F4 IS is amongst one of Canon's top sharpest zoom lenses and the constant F4 would be nice to have at the longer end of the zoom range.
longer end of 70-200/4 is [email protected] for 70-300 it's [email protected] so 2/3 of a stop. but it's a compromise to make between longer focal range or more speed.
I would not consider using any extension tubes as they slightly deteriorate IQ and F-stop range. I would be interested in hearing from users of both of these lenses regarding IQ and sharpness in particular the 300mm regarding sharpness at 300mm and CA.
I've only played with 70-200/4 IS twice and it's a very nice lens. lighter than my 70-300L and with the extra 2/3 stops at 200mm. but I simply need the 200-300mm range more than those extra 2/3 stops.
Also would be interesting to hear opinions on the zoom and focus rings being reversed if it causes any problems when focusing at close proximity to camera
not really there is one minor point to remember about 70-300 - it's varifocal while 70-200 is parfocal. for macro work it'd mean that you always need to adjust focus if you change the focal length, to some extent it's also visible with normal focusing distance (like 20-50 meters).
and does weight of lens become an issue after carrying it all day.
not for me (I carry 10kgs on my back nevertheless), but it's personal matter I guess

Hi there, I agree. It's always going to be a bit of compromise when choosing zooms. I don't think there exists the perfect lens with all the feature one is after. It comes down to deciding on what you want more. Thanks for taking your time to reply. -- Grace

Seems to me the 70-200f4 is neither fish nor fowl. Not really fast enough for serious sports and low-light work - the 70-200f2.8 wears that crown - and not long enough for the kind of general stuff the 70-300L excels at. In your shoes I would buy the 70-300L without hesitation unless the 70-200f2.8L IS II was an option. Brgds

IMAGE(http://dpzen.com/dpzattaches/dpzattaches7//201409191844268274.jpg) IMAGE(http://dpzen.com/dpzattaches/dpzattaches7//201409191844308275.jpg) IMAGE(http://dpzen.com/dpzattaches/dpzattaches7/http://3.static.img-dpzen.com/files/g/TS560x560~1889184.jpg) Do you shoot FF or crop? 200mm isn't really long enough for full frame (sorry couldn't resist sick and tired of hearing..."24mm isn't really wide enough for crop". I love my lens! It is sharp with fast AF and it isn't too heavy to carry around all day. - Rebecca

Hi Rebecca, Thanks for the photos. Great to see. I shoot with crop sensor at the moment. have been awaiting to upgrade to the new full frame camera from Canon but have been rather underwhelmed by it's specs like many other Canon users. I like to shoot outdoors, animals, sceneries and people. Had some doubts on the F-stop if it could handle dimmer lighting conditions hand held, and if the IS is good. Heard some reports form websites stating that the IS is actually much better on the 70-300mm IS USM ( NON L ) version than it is on this lens. -- Grace

I have both. I bought the 70-300L about a month ago and was trying to decide if I should sell my 70-200/4 IS but I'm keeping both. I haven't done any detailed comparisons but the 70-300's mid focal range is not as sharp by a hair. It's tack sharp at the two ends but at 200 the 70-200 wins but probably not enough to really make a difference. I'd say if you need the reach the 70-300L is the way to go.

Hi Marc, Thanks for your reply. I would also keep that 70-200 if I were you. I always hear lots of great reviews on it regarding sharpness. I would love to get my hands on one and see the result blown up on my computer. -- Grace

Hi all, Firstly thanks to every one for your kind feedback. It's been a while since I have read this forum, time just gets the best of you some times. Wanted to say I did end up buying the 70-300L lens a few months ago. Found the contrast and colours excellent! However I don't know if it's me but the depth of field seems extremely narrow even when shooting on f8 for example, I seem to have a few more misses than hits with lens as far as focusing is concerned even with a decent shutter speed. Don't know if it's just the weight of it hand holding maybe? When it is sharp...the detail is perfect. Maybe I need more practice using it. Kind regards, Grace.

montygm wrote: Wanted to say I did end up buying the 70-300L lens a few months ago. Found the contrast and colours excellent! However I don't know if it's me but the depth of field seems extremely narrow even when shooting on f8 for example, I seem to have a few more misses than hits with lens as far as focusing is concerned even with a decent shutter speed. Don't know if it's just the weight of it hand holding maybe? When it is sharp...the detail is perfect.
Depth of field isn't lens dependent - 300 mm f/8 is the same whatever the lens. But you're right that it's narrow with a long lens - the depth of field at f/5.6 isn't enough for the front and back of a sparrow to be in focus at the same time so you do have to focus very precisely. You seem to be mixing up focusing and camera shake. If you're having problems I'd suggest starting a new thread, and post some examples.

I would pick the 70-200 if I were to pick one. optically, both are excellent. I really like the constant aperture. I shoot in manual a lot of times, and its a pain to have to change settings. if I am shooting wide open. On a crop, the 70-300 may make a little more sense. here is my thing. on full frame, 300 is in No man's land. 200 is usually all I need for compressed landscape and people and general walk around.. if 200 is not long enough on full frame, 300 hardly ever is, and 400 barely is (mostly wild life). I can see on a crop, 70-300 covering some wild life territory. the 70-200 does not extend and is lighter, and I like the handling. Optically they are both very good, and autofocus is superbly fast and accurate with both.

Thanks for your time to post comment. 70-200 is a great lens depending on which version you have. Heard a lot of good things about it as far as image sharpness is concerned. It's just a shame it is so long, and if you have the F2.8 extremely heavy too...not exactly an inconspicuous one to carry around though...but fantastic IQ. Regards,

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