Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L

by Mike
(Readfield, Maine, USA)

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8


"I am an intermediate amateur looking for a relatively fast lens for shooting sports in low afternoon light and under stadium lights. Here is my question: I cannot afford a new EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, so would I be better suited to try to find a refurbished (and more affordable) version of the IS II or to pick up the lower-priced version without the IS? "

Hi Mike from Maine,

Thanks for your question about the Canon 70-200 zoom lens!
The good and bad news is that you do have several options. Good, because you're not limited and go in one of several different directions. Bad, because it might be harder to narrow down to the one choice.

My quick answer is that with sports you need such a high shutter speed to freeze the action anyway that image stabilization is not that beneficial in my opinion. I actually only use image stabilization when I am shooting portraits in low light situations. My disclaimer though: I don't shoot a lot of sports. There are three major factor in making your decision.

1. What camera you own

Since you're looking at the 70-200, I'll assume you have a full frame Canon camera. If you don't, please get back to me as my answer will definitely change. Full-frame DSLRs do a much better job with high ISO settings.

If you have a really recently released Canon camera body, I'd unequivocally recommend an f/4 version of the lens. You only lose one stop of "fastness" going from f/2.8 to f/4 and you can crank up the ISO settings, get really fast shutter speeds, and get quite acceptable levels of noise in your photos. I rarely use an f/2.8 aperture. I find the depth of field so narrow at f/2.8 that I try to shoot at f/5.6 or f/8 whenever it's possible.

2. The Type of Sports You Shoot

Super fast-moving sports like soccer and football require really fast shutter speeds-I like 1/800 second and preferably faster. Slower moving sports like wrestling, softball, baseball, and track give you some opportunities to shoot a little slower because it's easier to anticipate the best timing.

Bike race shot with Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens


If you shoot indoor events like basketball or you're shooting under the lights at night, you may have to spring for the extra money and get an f/2.8 lens. You'll need to get every advantage you can in such a very low light situation.

3. Your strength and steadiness

The f/4 version of the Canon 70-200 is so light and so easy to handle. The 70-200mm f/2.8 was my first Canon telephoto zoom and I used it for likely 10 years before even getting an f/4 in my hands to do a comparison for the CanonGeek website. I literally started laughing when I first held the f/4 in my hands because it felt so light.

My Other Comments

I would definitely avoid the newest and priciest, go with a refurbished or a used lens. If you try an f/4 and you find it's performance comes up a little short, you can always sell it and upgrade to an f/2.8. The marginal advantages from an f/2.8 for you are outweighed its higher costs.

When I shoot high school soccer games I now switch back and forth my Canon 70-200 f/2.8 and a Tamron 150-600 with the image stabilization switched off on both cameras.

A 70-200 lens is not really a great sports lens. The maximum zoom of 200mm really won't get you close to the action, particularly with most outdoor sports. It would work well for wrestling, basketball, and tennis because you are usually physically much closer to the action.

I hope my perspective helps you make a good choice. Feel free to add a comment below.
Good luck
Bruce


RELATED POSTS


Canon 70-200mm F/2.8
Canon 70-200mm F/4
Canon 70-200mm F/4 Alternatives
Tamron 150-600





Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask The Canon Geek.


Author Bruce Lovelace
Bruce Lovelace Signature

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.

View some of Bruce's photos on Instagram  and Flickr  Join the Tribe: YouTube. Visit the Canon Geek FaceBook Group. Bruce runs photo workshops and provides 1 on 1 digital photography coaching.







You might like these



Search for articles on this Site:


Recent Articles

  1. What (Canon) Camera Should I Buy

    Sep 26, 20 06:20 AM

    My budget won't really allow me to buy a full frame camera upgrade. What is the best crop sensor canon camera for landscape photography, please? Many thanks,

    Read More

  2. Is the Canon EOS 70D a Good Sports Camera. Get Both Sides of This One

    Sep 24, 20 07:11 AM

    Quality sports photos. What's the best camera for sports? Is the Canon EOS 70D a Good Sports Camera?

    Read More

  3. What is The Canon 90D Good For? Canon EOS 90D Review and Sample Photos

    Sep 24, 20 07:01 AM

    I bought mine because of its video capabilities and high speed frame rate but what's the the Canon 90D good for? Is it a professional camera? let's find out.

    Read More



Sign up for a monthly update

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name
Then

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Canon Geek Newsletter.