I need to buy a new telephoto lens like, today or tomorrow, to have it shipped in time to receive before leaving for my Sonoma shoots on the 25th and 26th.
I am stuck between the 70-200mm 2.8 IS L and the 70-200mm 4.0 IS L (both Canon). (**please note: both of these lenses are L-series lenses, and both have image stabilization).
I have been to Glazers and had conversations with the guys there, have talked to a couple of photographers I know who have used both, have read reviews and I am still stuck right on the fence. I need to make a decision ASAP, so that I can get it in time for the Sonoma trip. I also have like NO time right now to spend reading every review and doing any in-depth research.
Here is what I HAVE read/know:
The 4.0 is significantly lighter and smaller than the 2.8. I held both of them yesterday and was truly shocked at the difference in weight. In fact, the 70-200 4.0 may even be lighter than my 24-70 2.8 L. (yep, I just looked it up and it IS lighter than my 24-70). This is a big consideration for me as anyone who has watched me work knows (no, I am not missing an arm or anything, it’s just my photography style that plays a big role in what I can use effectively and weight plays a big role). FYI: I don’t ever plan to use a tripod with either one of these- they will be hand-held 99% of the time- hence the need for IS.
I have used the 2.8 IS L, and loved it, although it was heavy. Heavy enough I worry that it might take too much of my attention off my subject, as I am concentrating on holding my camera and brick-like lens. I don’t want to feel encumbered by my camera/lenses or anything else while I am shooting. Also, fully packed my crumpler whickey and cox backpack is *heavy*. Any less weight will be appreciated by my arms and back, especially while traveling.
I have also read that the 4.0 is a significantly sharper lens. (mmm, sharp good).
The downsides that worry me about possibly going with the 4.0 over the 2.8 are: if I am shooting late afternoon and there is little available light, will I have enough light hitting the sensor to prevent blur in my furry moving subject. I do know that the image stabilization on both helps in this respect but that the 4.0 gains you another stop (or several) only if your subject is stationary. If it moves all bets are off.
The other major difference between the lenses? Oh, $600-$700, with the better price going to the 4.0.
So, you’ve got a lightweight lens that is super sharp, has image stabilization, and is part of Canon’s fancy glass series, and $700 less expensive, OR, the same lens, only much heavier, softer in terms of sharpness, $700 more (it’s a $1700 lens), BUT, a wider aperture so better for low light, esp moving subjects IN low light.
Sure I could rent the lens from borrowlenses.com or Glazer’s, but I need to own the lens anyway. I don’t like the idea of paying $100+ to rent a lens that chances are good I will purchase right away anyway. Ideally I’d rent both and take both with me, but there is no way they would both fit in my pack.
I have also looked for used 70-200mm 2.8 IS L lenses every single place that sells used lenses (trust me I have looked), and they are impossible to come by, short of buying one from some shady character on ebay who can’t tell you where it came from/why there are selling. And still, is the 2.8 what I even want?? The weight thing, sharpness factor and gut level feeling have me strongly leaning toward the 4.0, but I don’t want to end up disappointed. I vowed a long time ago I would never use anything slower than a 2.8 for pet photography!
Help me out here- what should I do??
UPDATE 2:50 pm
I realized I should put what I need the lens for in this post!
I have the 24-70mm 2.8 L and use that about 75% of the time (the rest of the time I use the 20mm 2.8 prime and 50mm 1.8 prime).
I will need the telephoto exclusively for outdoor photography, at varying times of day. I don’t shoot anything but dogs (kitties inside but I use the 24-70 for that), so that is what it will be used for at least 98% of the time. No people, no weddings, no events, etc (I don’t do any of that photography).
I want to be able to capture long shots, more for dramatic effect than anything else.
I have no idea what time of day I will be shooting for my destination travel shoots. Most likely early morning and mid-late afternoon for most of them.
I will need to use the lens for at least 3 or 4 sessions in one day. I’m thinking about 30-45 minutes of use per session amounts to about 3 hours of use in one day over the course of 5 or so hours. Multiply that by as many as 3 days in a row for travel sessions in 2009.
I have an upcoming trip to Sonoma and will need to use the lens as much as I can over the weekend for a handful of private client shoots on location. All dogs of course. I *don’t* want to be limited by how much my arm muscles can handle. But then I also don’t want to lose any shots by using a slower lens. (and there is the dilemma)
I may use some auxiliary light, and can have my clients hold reflectors on the dogs while I am zoomed in on them, but in general it will be natural/available light.
I think that pretty much sums it up! Thanks everyone for your help!! It means a lot to me. 🙂