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HELP!!! IS or not (1 Viewer)

TOF Trev

Well-known member
Hopefully someone can help me sort this out in my mind.
I have been looking at the Canon 70-200 f2.8 lens.
My problem is, do I need IS or not.
I do mainly bird photography, but also other wildlife. I do photograph, birds in flight if possible, as well as static on a tripod in a hide.
Hope someone can shed some light on this (£800/ $1300 difference)
Thanks in advance
Trevor

|:mad:|
 

GYRob

Well-known member
If your going to hand hold the lens below 1/500 sec then it would be handy if not then you wont gain much at all.
Rob.
 

johnf3f

johnf3f
Just a personal view but I do not find IS that useful as, generally your subject will require a shutter speed higher than your focal length would normally dictate (I hope that made sense!). For example if shooting small birds I am normally running 1/800 sec or faster so IS isn't much use and for birds in flight IS is best turned off anyway. Another advantage of turning your IS off is that your camera + lens will focus faster.
However when you just don't have enough light and firm support then IS is useful. On all my IS lenses my default position is off and, so far this year, I have used it only once - 6 days ago when shooting Grey Wagtails hand held with my Canon 800mm lens. Even then I only used it to stabilize my view of the bird as I was shooting at 1/2500 sec so it wouldn't help with image quality.
Just a thought but a 70-200mm lens seems very short for birds - how close can you get? Have a look at the Canon 400mm F5.6, no IS, but it would give you a lot more reach.
 

TOF Trev

Well-known member
John,
I didn't really explain myself very well.
I use a Canon 100-400 for most of my action work, but feel that a 70-200 will be more versatile, if in a hide, diving kingfishers or for relatively close work. I am in the process of selling my Canon 300 f4
Trevor
 

2slo

Well-known member
Well I own the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II, it was the next lens I bought after I got my 7D kit and I've taken thousands of images with it. Firstly, it's a brilliant lens. Whether the IS is on or off, AF is lightening fast. When you buy this you get, IMHO, the best lens in this zoom range. The IQ is sharp right across the aperture range (inc wide open) and the lens has done everything I've asked of it. It will pair really well with the 1.4x TC III to give a 98-210mm f/4 and also quite well with the 2x TC III to give a 140-400mm f/5.6. With the 2x TC you're just about at Kingfisher range (although I've found 1000mm to be too short for Kingfishers at times). I disagree with the comment above about the IS, to me it's well worth the money. I've gotten shots with this lens handheld in low light at very slow speeds where the IS has saved the day. I wouldn't be without it.
 

johnf3f

johnf3f
John,
I didn't really explain myself very well.
I use a Canon 100-400 for most of my action work, but feel that a 70-200 will be more versatile, if in a hide, diving kingfishers or for relatively close work. I am in the process of selling my Canon 300 f4
Trevor

Wow a 70-200 for Kingfishers! I use 800mm on full frame for kingfishers and rarely bother taking pictures over 15 meters - I normally work at 6 to 10 meters and a little less for songbirds (though I have to use extension tubes to reduce my minimum focus distance). You must be getting really close to use a 70-200 - well done!
I am not trying to put you off IS, it is a good feature, just that it is far from essential.
By the way if you fancy a mint Canon 70-200 F2.8 L IS Mk1 - let me know. I have found that I have no use for this focal range - hence the lens is virtually unused.
 

TOF Trev

Well-known member
Thanks to everyone for the advice.
I am going to hire one next week for a trip to see the puffins and see how I get on.
John, thanks for the offer, but I will see how I get on next week first
 

TOF Trev

Well-known member
Thanks to everyone for the advice.
I am going to hire one next week for a trip to see the puffins and see how I get on.
John, thanks for the offer, but I will see how I get on next week first
 

johnf3f

johnf3f
Thanks to everyone for the advice.
I am going to hire one next week for a trip to see the puffins and see how I get on.
John, thanks for the offer, but I will see how I get on next week first

Good luck with the Puffins! Are you going to Skomer Island? If so a 70-200 is a good choice, last time I went I used a 300mm prime and it was a bit long at times.
 

TOF Trev

Well-known member
John, no, originally booked for Skokholm, next door, but the goalposts were moved. So now off to Farne islands
 

malc1

Well-known member
I've not been to Skomer, but spoke to someone who did who was very disappointed. Went to Farnes two years ago and am going again in two weeks and can't imagine how it could be better. Close-ups of puffins, shags,terns, guillemots, razorbills is how I remember it. Eiders as well. The only downside is reliance on the weather for being able to land.
 

Telephoto Paul

Well-known member
I've not been to Skomer, but spoke to someone who did who was very disappointed. Went to Farnes two years ago and am going again in two weeks and can't imagine how it could be better. Close-ups of puffins, shags,terns, guillemots, razorbills is how I remember it. Eiders as well. The only downside is reliance on the weather for being able to land.
I've not yet made it to the Farnes, but I think you have to describe the two locations as having different strengths. Skomer's strength is that you can stay overnight. I had a puffin colony to myself under the glow of the magic hour each day. I wouldn't visit Skomer as a day trip, yet that's the only option for the Farnes.

That said, for the Guillemots and Razorbills, the photos ops are more restricted because the cliff faces aren't accessible except form the landing area steps. And there is no tern colony.
 

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