Canon Community Canon Community
 


Reply
Highlighted
Super Contributor
Posts: 211
Registered: ‎01-27-2018

Re: Should you pay extra for IS?

The lens in question is Canon 300mm F2.8 IS mark i vs non IS. Similarly, I am also curious how the Canon 400mm fair in the same comparison, i.e. IS Mark i vs Non IS.

 

My guess is the IS version are considerably newer in terms of manufacturing dates. If I am not mistaken, for both 300 and 400 lenses, non IS were made in the late 90s or easy 2000, whereas the IS versions are made in early 2000 to mid and late 2000s.

 

Thanks.

Highlighted
VIP
Posts: 9,985
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Should you pay extra for IS?

[ Edited ]

[Sigh].

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_EF_300mm_lens 

 

Are you comparing a 30+ Year old lens to a [20+] Year old lens?  I doubt if the version released in th 1980s has the lens coatings commonly found in today's "digital" lenses.  

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
Highlighted
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,029
Registered: ‎01-25-2018

Re: Should you pay extra for IS?

You are correct that in the long telephoto primes, the non IS versions are older.  Unlike some of the shorter glass, once IS was available Canon discontinued the non-IS version given that IS was considered to be a very important feature in this focal length range.

 

Although the IS versions are more complex and have additional elements and lens groups, they also tend to be lighter as Canon used available technology to lighten many of the component parts.  This really shows up in the 400 f2.8 and there are 5 versions of it.  The original EF 400 f2.8 weighs over 14 pounds, the IS II version I have comes in just under 8.5 and the latest version is just over 6 pounds.

 

Optically I am sure that there has been some improvement over the design life of these lenses but any of the 300 or 400 f2.8 family in proper working order is incredibly sharp and will still look great with the 1.4X extender and very usable with the 2X.  I used an EF 200-400 with integrated 1.4X extender last year on a test loan and although I REALLY wanted to like that lens, and it is exceptional, it just doesn't have the same look as the 400 f2.8 and that difference is even more pronounced when each is using a 1.4X extender to hit 560mm.  This is more of a comment on the sharpness of the long primes because the 200-400 is an incredible lens but the compromise necessary to make even a 2:1 zoom gives the prime optics an edge and the 1 F stop loss coupled with the drop in sharpness was enough to convince me it wouldn't replace my 300 and 400 f2.8 glass.

 

Note that if you buy one used, most (probably all) of the variations of these lenses were optically designed to have something in the drop in rear filter holder and the included plain glass should be in place if you aren't using a filter.  I have seen a lot of used ones for sale on ebay with just the holder because the owner used a filter but took it out before selling so if you buy one without the plain glass or a filter you should plan on buying a filter to fit.

 

My first longer fast prime was a 300 f2.8 IS and next was the 200 f2 IS followed by a 400 f2.8 IS II and a 800 f5.6 IS.  I really can't choose a favorite from these because all are capable of producing incredible images with beautiful sharpness, color, and contrast.  The 800 will get the least use because it is more specialized and although the 400 is more of a classic field sports lens the 300 is a bit lighter and does a great job when you are staying on top of the action. 

 

The 200 f2 produces beautiful outside portraits.  I brought it to one high school football game last year and used it to capture some images of the pre-game warmup while I was on the field with the players.  While I was using it two of the football cheerleaders who are also on my daughter's soccer team came up to me to pose for a photo while I was using it and after that photo was posted several of their squad mates made it clear that I had better take their photos with that "magic" lens also Smiley Happy

 

Rodger

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video
Highlighted
Super Contributor
Posts: 211
Registered: ‎01-27-2018

Re: Should you pay extra for IS?

Thank you for answering my question.

 

As stated, I am considering getting either the 300mm or 400mm prime, but can't decide if I should get IS version or not. The price difference between 300 IS vs non is around $1000. Not sure what it is with the 400mm as there isn't that many used one out there.

 

My intended use for these lenses is the occasional wildlife e.g. for my upcoming Yellowstone trip, and bird photography.

 

Thanks.

Highlighted
VIP
Posts: 12,744
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Should you pay extra for IS?

OK, here os the logical answer. "As stated, I am considering getting either the 300mm or 400mm prime..."

 

These lenses at their time of manufacture and use were state of the art.  They were and are very good. Nobody made any better glass at the time than these lenses. Now consider this, they are just as good today as they ever were!  Of course there has been upgrades. My gosh I would hope so. I gave you some options in lenses. Check them out but from what you just said, I believe one of the 150-600mm super zooms (the plastic ones) would be a better, cheaper option.  It sounds like you really don't have need of the extreme build of big Canon telephoto lenses.  And, the build is one reason they cost like they do not because of better IQ. IS or no IS. Most people do not have need of that extreme quality like a full time pro does.

 

For the same money you can get a brand new lens with IS and the latest greatest IQ ability. Plus it will be lighter and smaller much easier to handle.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
Highlighted
Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,493
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

Re: Should you pay extra for IS?

[ Edited ]

@limvo05 wrote:

Thank you for answering my question.

 

As stated, I am considering getting either the 300mm or 400mm prime, but can't decide if I should get IS version or not. The price difference between 300 IS vs non is around $1000. Not sure what it is with the 400mm as there isn't that many used one out there.

 

My intended use for these lenses is the occasional wildlife e.g. for my upcoming Yellowstone trip, and bird photography.

 

Thanks.


When you talk about a lens whose IS version costs $1000 more than its non-IS counterpart, you're talking about a very expensive lens. And with a lens of that sort, you should probably be concerned with resale value. My off-hand guess is that the IS version would be worth significantly more at resale, especially if, as some have suggested, most future long lenses will have IS. So averaged over the life of the lens, the extra cost of IS may be less than it appears.

 

One caution, though: If mirrorless, specifically the R series, really takes off, no EF lens may be worth all that much at resale. You pay your money; you take your chances, I guess.

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
Highlighted
VIP
Posts: 9,985
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Should you pay extra for IS?


@RobertTheFat wrote:

@limvo05 wrote:

Thank you for answering my question.

 

As stated, I am considering getting either the 300mm or 400mm prime, but can't decide if I should get IS version or not. The price difference between 300 IS vs non is around $1000. Not sure what it is with the 400mm as there isn't that many used one out there.

 

My intended use for these lenses is the occasional wildlife e.g. for my upcoming Yellowstone trip, and bird photography.

 

Thanks.


When you talk about a lens whose IS version costs $1000 more than its non-IS counterpart, you're talking about a very expensive lens. And with a lens of that sort, you should probably be concerned with resale value. My off-hand guess is that the IS version would be worth significantly more at resale, especially if, as some have suggested, most future long lenses will have IS. So averaged over the life of the lens, the extra cost of IS may be less than it appears.

 

One caution, though: If mirrorless, specifically the R series, really takes off, no EF lens may be worth all that much at resale. You pay your money; you take your chances, I guess.


Bob,

 

Because AFMA becomes a moot point with mirrorless bodes, many users are reporting that the older great whites are sharper than when they are used with the 1Dx Series bodies.  The older lenses may be a good fit with the new mirrorless bodies.

 

But, I would still be reluctant to pair a 30+ year old lens with a modern mirrorless because of the lack of "digital" lens coatings.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
Highlighted
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,029
Registered: ‎01-25-2018

Re: Should you pay extra for IS?

If the lens is properly focus calibrated for the 1DX (or any other DSLR body), its sharpness isn't going to improve with mirrorless.  There is a lot of mirrorless placebo affect from the evangelical wing Smiley Happy  It is quite possible that a great white (or any lens) used on an older 1 series body which requires calibration by Canon service or a new 1 series body that wasn't calibrated properly by the owner would appear sharper on a mirrorless body.

 

And the 1DX II and 1DX III offer DPAF through liveview for anyone who wants to experiment.

 

Rodger

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video
Highlighted
VIP
Posts: 12,744
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Should you pay extra for IS?

"... its sharpness isn't going to improve with mirrorless."

 

Rodger you are right,... maybe!  The lens can't get any sharper, no matter what some folks like to say, but the camera can.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
Highlighted
VIP
Posts: 9,985
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Should you pay extra for IS?

"Bob,

 

Because AFMA becomes a moot point with mirrorless bodes, many users are reporting that the older great whites are sharper than when they are used with the 1Dx Series bodies.  The older lenses may be a good fit with the new mirrorless bodies.

 

But, I would still be reluctant to pair a 30+ year old lens with a modern mirrorless because of the lack of "digital" lens coatings."

 

---------------------------------------

 

My mistake.  I misspoke.

 

"..with mirrorless bodes, many users are reporting that the images from the older great whites are sharper...."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
powered by Lithium

LIKE US on Facebook FOLLOW US on Twitter WATCH US on YouTube CONNECT WITH US on Linkedin WATCH US on Vimeo FOLLOW US on Instagram SHOP CANON at the Canon Online Store
© Canon U.S.A., Inc.   |    Terms of Use   |    Privacy Statement