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To "L" or not to "L"

MJL
Apprentice

Hello!

 

I have googled, read reviews, searched for a definitive comparison to no avail. I cannot decide between the 70-300mm f/4-5.46 IS USM or the 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM. 

 

I no longer do freelance work. Now I just like to take my camera out for myself. I'm looking at the 70-300 mainly for the purposes of photographing the coastal wild horses and for traveling.

 

The difference is about $900. If I for sure will be SO much happier because of VERY noticable differences, I'll spend the money. But I cannot find anyone who can give me an honest answer of yes you need this one vs. no you do not.

 

Does anyone have experience with both lenses or have an opinion of one vs. the other?

 

Thanks in advance!
Michele

19 REPLIES 19

Waddizzle
Legend

I take it this would be your first "L" Series lens? 

 

Both of those lenses have relatively narrow apertures..  I suggest you also consider the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM Lens.  The wider aperture will more than make up for the lack of IS.  Besides, depending upon your camera model and your selected AF point [the center one], you can get better AF performance.

--------------------------------------------------------
"The right mouse button is your friend."

jrhoffman75
Legend

A couple of questions. 

 

1. What camera body

2. Do you need IS? From your intended subjects I'm thinking you are in good light with high enough shutter speed?

3. Do you need 300mm?

 

The non-L version is a slow focusing lens. Probably not great for catching the horses. 

 

The 70-200 f/2.8 is a fine lens. 

 

Consider also the 55-250 STM lens if you don't have a full frame camera. Also the 70-200 f/4L. 

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, LR Classic


@jrhoffman75 wrote:

A couple of questions. 

 

1. What camera body

2. Do you need IS? From your intended subjects I'm thinking you are in good light with high enough shutter speed?

3. Do you need 300mm?

 

The non-L version is a slow focusing lens. Probably not great for catching the horses. 

 

The 70-200 f/2.8 is a fine lens. 

 

Consider also the 55-250 STM lens if you don't have a full frame camera. Also the 70-200 f/4L. 


I agree if you have a crop sensor camera the EF-S 55-250 IS STM is truly unmatched in the image quality per dollar department. It has image quality to match lenses selling at 10 times it's price. No it doesn't have the build quality of an L lens, but, it is far from a cheap feeling lens.

Also,

 

If you do use the tool, and you start comparing EF-s lenses to EF lenses, the tool might have you looking at the lenses with different cameras.  Be sure to check that and be sure you have selected two full frame cameras.

Scott

Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?


@ScottyP wrote:

Also,

 

If you do use the tool, and you start comparing EF-s lenses to EF lenses, the tool might have you looking at the lenses with different cameras.  Be sure to check that and be sure you have selected two full frame cameras.


Or in the case of comparing an EF-S lens to and EF lens, be sure you campare both using a crop camera.


@TTMartin wrote:

@ScottyP wrote:

Also,

 

If you do use the tool, and you start comparing EF-s lenses to EF lenses, the tool might have you looking at the lenses with different cameras.  Be sure to check that and be sure you have selected two full frame cameras.


Or in the case of comparing an EF-S lens to and EF lens, be sure you campare both using a crop camera.


Oops. Of course. 

Scott

Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?


@jrhoffman75 wrote:

A couple of questions. 

 

1. What camera body

2. Do you need IS? From your intended subjects I'm thinking you are in good light with high enough shutter speed?

3. Do you need 300mm?

 

The non-L version is a slow focusing lens. Probably not great for catching the horses. 

 

The 70-200 f/2.8 is a fine lens. 

 

Consider also the 55-250 STM lens if you don't have a full frame camera. Also the 70-200 f/4L. 


It is also my understanding that the 70-300mm "L" is not compatible with the 1.4x extender, but the 70-200mm lenses are. 

The following image is from the Lens Correction module of Canon's Digital Photo Professional.

 

EF_70-200mm_Extenders.PNG

 

I have also found that I need a tripod [actually I get my best results] whenever I'm over 200mm.

--------------------------------------------------------
"The right mouse button is your friend."

The 70-300L lens will bump into the Extender if it is zoomed wider than 250mm. If one is careful and only uses the extender to increase the 300 length it will physically work. 

 

But the f/8 effective aperture limits the cameras that will auto focus, along with focus speed degradation and image quality degradation. But, if one has the extender already and they need a once in a life time capture it can be done. 

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, LR Classic

Hi John

 

I'll be using a 5D as well as a T5i.

 

Most of the time, yes, I will be in good light. On occasion I'm looking at early morning/early evening light as well.

 

As for needing 300- I originally had looked at the 100-400, but the weight sent me in a different direction. I abide by the rules and stay a good distance from the horses, so I was looking for the longest reach without that weight. Although 300 will be great, having the lens on the T5i to reach 480 will be a nice treat, since sometimes the horses are a far distance away.

 

I'm going to look at the 55-250 and 70-200 now. Thank you for the advice on the non-L being slow focusing. Fast is definitely important to me.

 

Thank you!

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