Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS III vs Similar f/4.0 for Canon 90d (or any crop sensor)

by Miles Hanley
(Columbia, SC)

Canon 70-200 f/4 Vs. f/2.8

Canon 70-200 f/4 Vs. f/2.8

"I just purchased the Canon 90d and bought the ef-s 17-55mm f/2.8. I am looking at purchasing the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 is iii and I just read your article on the 70-200mm f/2.8 vs. the f/4.0. You made some compelling arguments for getting the less expensive f/4.0. And this would make sense on a full frame camera. But with crop sensor cameras the crop not affects the focal length but also the minimum and maximum (if not constant) aperture. So the f/2.8 is effectively an f/4/5 and the f/4.0 is effectively f/6.4. Would this make it more sense to purchase the faster lens with a crop sensor camera?"

Hi Miles,

Congrats on choosing the 90D. I am really enjoying mine too, for several reasons! The topic of the comparison of the Canon 70-200 f/4 vs. f/2.8 is a fascinating topic for Canon nerds like me (and perhaps you). My biggest points for choosing the f/4.0 vs. the f/2.8 are price and size. But, I've got to tell you. You can't go wrong with choosing the 70-200mm III.

Effective f-stop on Full Frame vs. 90D crop sensor

Although technically maybe the "effective" f-stop might be different, it's the practical differences that matter. Whether you use am f/4 lens or an f/2.8 lens set on f/4 the same amount of light will enter your 90D all the same. If you can afford the f/2.8, you're going to love it. I've been shooting the majority of portraits I shoot with the 70-200mm f/2.8 I for many years.

Also, How many times will you be shooting either of the 70-200mm lenses at the smallest apertures? The amount of benefit of having that extra full f/stop (twice as much) and the added background blur (bokeh) are the 2 factors that make the most difference in your shooting.

I encourage you not to get too wrapped up in minor technical differences-I'm guilty of this frequently-and focus on your technique and creativity.

Miles, Thanks for your question about choosing a Canon 70-200mm f/4.0 versus the f/2.8 version. I think it's just a matter of the situations you're in, both financially as well as the situations you photograph.

I look forward to hearing back from you to see whether you select the 70-200 f/2.8 III or the f/4.0.

Thanks,
Bruce
Canon 70-200 f/2.8
Canon 70-200 f/4.0


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Author Bruce Lovelace
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Bruce Lovelace is the publisher of Canon Camera Geek. Read more about him on the About Page. He also publishes how to articles and camera gear reviews at the Photography Tips website.

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