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Archive 2012 · Focus Speed - Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II vs Canon EF...
  
 
PatRat
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Focus Speed - Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II vs Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II v1?


I shoot a lot of concerts in extreme low light situations and I was wondering if the focus speed of the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II is improved and worth the price?
Can't use flash focus assist in these situations.

Works great when there's enough light. When it's dark though... :-\

I have the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS (v1)
Also have a 5D and a 5D Mk II.

Have seen reviews commenting on the Mk II having issues in low light...


Would consider the 200 1.8 but need the versatility of zoom at many shows..

Thanks!

Patrick



Sep 07, 2012 at 01:59 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Focus Speed - Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II vs Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II v1?


I've owned both the 70-200/2.8L IS Mk I and Mk II. I think you might see a bigger improvement in AF performance in very low light if you try a newer FF camera, rather than switching to the Mk II lens. I'm not aware of any problem for the Mk II in low light, in comparison with earlier versions...

P.S. why can't you use the red/IR AF assist from an EX or ST? They're pretty unobtrusive.



Sep 07, 2012 at 04:22 PM
ChrisRD
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Focus Speed - Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II vs Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II v1?


I think the general consensus is that the new version of the lens is quicker to AF...but in extreme low light the F/2.8 aperture and the camera's AF system will become the limiting factors...

So...I'd have to agree with Jim that a camera change...like perhaps moving to the 5D3...will result in significant AF improvements in this scenario...probably moreso than changing from one F/2.8 zoom to another. Going to a faster aperture should also help...but you need the zoom, so...not really an option.

On the 'issues' in low-light...I have not experienced any and I've owned several copies of the 70-200/2.8 II IS and shot wildlife in some near-dark conditions with them (often with extenders attached which obviously makes the situation worse).



Sep 07, 2012 at 04:39 PM
 

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RobertLynn
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Focus Speed - Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II vs Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II v1?


The newer lens is better at everything and focuses just fine in low light.


Sep 07, 2012 at 05:07 PM
rabbitmountain
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Focus Speed - Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II vs Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II v1?


Hi Patrick,

When the lights go down it's the camera that decides to lower the AF motor speed of the lens. It does so because if the lens is driven too fast, the camera might miss the focus point because when light levels are low, contrast is low and the AF system of the camera needs contrast to focus.

You say you have a 5D and a 5DmkII. I have the 70-200/2.8mkII and a 5Dclassic. I tested the AF speed for you in different light levels.

What I did:
- set the ISO to 3200
- set the aperture to f/2.8 (assuming that is what you use for your events)
- look for several dark corners in the house
- tried to focus and determine if the focus speed is lower than in bright light

Findings:
My general conclusion is that this combo focuses as fast as in bright light even when light drops to levels you can't shoot anyway because your shutter speed gets too long to capture anything.
Detailed findings (@ISO3200 and f/2.8):
- @70mm and focus distance 2 metres or more, the lens focuses lightning fast as low as 1/30s
- @200mm and same focus distance, the image is too blurred when starting to focus from MFD, so the AF motor speed drops to turtle mode @1/80s and longer.
- @200mm and same focus distance, when starting to AF from approx. the correct focus distance (you can do this manually, but usually you won't have to if you shoot several images in succession) the AF speed will be very high even @1/30s

When shooting concerts and stuff it really helps to set the focus delimiter to 2.5m-oo, but of course you don't need me to tell you that.

So now you know that the 70-200mkII is not the limiting factor for ISO3200 (assuming you don't shoot concerts @200mm at 1/30s or longer), even for a 5Dclassic. You can repeat the test with your 5Dclassic and the mkI version to see if there is a difference. I would not know, I've never used it.

You also know that buying a mkII will get you the performance you need, even on your current cameras. If you had no reason to upgrade your cameras otherwise, then I suggest you go for it and upgrade to the mkII lens. Additional benefit is that the mkII is very sharp wide open, just where you need it to be. I shoot everything wide open with confidence.

If you should decide you want to upgrade your camera, there are only 2 that I can think of: 5D3 or 1D4. The 1D4 will get you just 10% of extra reach (which is neglegible in my book) but it is more responsive, which you might really like for events.

Hope this helps and good luck!




Sep 07, 2012 at 05:46 PM
PatRat
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Focus Speed - Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II vs Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II v1?


Thanks for the responses and the detailed write up...

I figured I would eventually get the v2 of that lens no matter what but my most recent experience is turning the burner up a bit.

I can't get excited about going to the 5DMkIII yet...

There were times at this last show that it was so dark I couldn't even tell if the camera had focused or not through the viewfinder! Thankfully not all shows are that way but at local venues it is quite common.
The venue isn't thinking about the photographers that's for sure..
I guess they figure if you can "see" the artist, what's the problem??


I sure do love shooting the "pro" stuff at the big venues though!
They know how to light that stage up!

Nothing like shooting an artist at ISO 400/800 at f8!!



Sep 07, 2012 at 06:16 PM





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