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Archive 2013 · Canon 70-200 2.8L non-IS or Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS
  
 
charityd
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p.1 #1 · Canon 70-200 2.8L non-IS or Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS


Hello all!
My name is Charity and Iím new here, so greetings from Denver, CO (where itís currently blizzardingÖ).

Iím currently debating between purchasing two lenses: the Canon 70-200 2.8 non-IS and the Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS. This seems to be a common debate, and Iíve read lots of reviews, forum posts, etc, but Iíve backed myself into a corner and canít decide and Iím looking for any additional insight I can find. Fair warning: This post is long (sorry!). Iíve been debating this for a while so thereís a lot of stuff built up in my head.

A bit about me: Iím an aerospace engineer, and Iím definitely not a professional photographer. Photography has, however, become a deeply ingrained hobby that I donít think I could quit even if I wanted to. Iíve had my T2i for almost three years now and hope to upgrade to a 5D Mark iii in the not-to-distant future (itís hard to be patient!). As far as lenses go, I have a Sigma 50 f/1.4, Sigma 17-50 f/2.8, Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6, Canon 55-250 f/4-5.6. The majority of the time I use my 50mm (photo shoots) or my 17-50mm (everyday stuff). As far as what I take pictures of, I almost always have my camera on me and take lots of general ďlife shotsĒ (Iíve maintained a picture-a-day album for over 4 years now). I also love nature/landscape photography (I think itís a requirement if you live in Colorado). Finally, Iíve been doing a fair number family photo shoots for friends and acquaintances and am hoping to expand that side of my photography soon.

Iím wanting to replace my 55-250 4-5.6 with a 70-200 2.8. Iím looking at that particular category of lens because it seems to cover the two things Iíd like to use it for most:
1) Portrait photography Ė As I mentioned above I do a fair number of photo shoots for friends (and hopefully other people soon). I generally prefer my 50mm 1.4 prime (or perhaps an 85mm once I upgrade to a full frame), but then again, Iíve never experienced shooting with a lens of this quality. Also, I hope to get some chances to second shoot some weddings this season and I know that a 70-200 2.8 lens would be excellent for that. (FYI: I don't use a tripod for portraits).
2) Nature/wildlife photography Ė In the past, Iíve used my telephoto zoom to photograph animals in various locations, get closer detail shots for architecture while traveling, and anytime something is too far away. Also, my husband and I will be taking an Alaskan cruise this May, so Iím sure theyíll be lots of wildlife opportunities there (Whales! Puffins!).

So now that you know what I want to use the lens for, hereís my dilemma: Do I go with the Canon L-series 70-200 2.8 without any image stabilization or the Sigma 70-200 2.8 with image stabilization. Iím looking to buy the lens used and they both seem to be going for around $900. Emotionally, the Canon is very appealing; Iíve always wanted an L series lens. I know that L series lenses are unparalleled in image quality. Practically, the OS on the Sigma sounds like a great option (3-4 extra stops!). Also, as I showed above, practically all my lenses are Sigma and Iíve loved them all (with the exception of some back focus issues on the 50mm that will be fixed once I get a camera with micro AF adjust).

In reading the dpreview of the Sigma, I found some disturbing things about sharpness. It says, ďAt 70mm F2.8 the lens is decently sharp in the center, but slightly softer towards the cornersÖbest results are obtained at F4 - F8. Wide open at longer focal lengths, the soft region spreads further into the frame, until at 200mm only the very center is critically sharp, and most of the frame is somewhat soft.Ē (http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/sigma_70-200_2p8_os_c16/4) I know that no zoom lens is sharpest full open, but I also know that I will be using this lens primarily at 2.8 and very often at 200mm. I also know that for portraits I take, the eyes (which I want to be the sharpest) usually arenít at the center of the frame.

However, as I continue on in the review, I get to the image stabilization results. They show that indeed, you get at least 3 stops back with the OS allowing you to take pictures that would have otherwise had ďvery heavy blurĒ and make them ďsharpĒ (http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/sigma_70-200_2p8_os_c16/5). But then I realize that even with the Sigma OS, the images probably arenít going to be as sharp as the Canon images in ideal conditions. So do I go with the Sigma that gives me better pictures in less-than-ideal conditions (because of the OS) or the Canon that gives better/sharper pictures in ideal conditions (because of the image quality)? Iíve been trying to ascertain if I will usually be shooting in ďidealĒ conditions with plenty of light, and Iím still not sure. How much difference does the lack of sharpness of the Sigma make in ďreal lifeĒ and how much benefit would I really get from the OS in the situations Iíll be in?

Anyway, Iím sorry for the long-winded post, but if youíre still reading this over 800 words later, Iíd really appreciate your input. Thank you!
-CHARITY-



Feb 24, 2013 at 08:16 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #2 · Canon 70-200 2.8L non-IS or Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS


Hi Charity,

Welcome to FM.

I suppose the first thing to consider is, "do I need OS"?

If you plan to take portraits in low light while handholding the camera (i.e. no monopod or tripod), then you probably should have IS, sorry 'OS'. Same goes for nature/wildlife photography in low light, like soon after dawn or before dusk. If you plan to always use a tripod or monopod, then you might not need OS. I've found IS and OS to be valuable for my photography. Sometimes I use monopods and tripods, and sometimes I don't. OTOH, when I can't control the light (and I often prefer relatively low light), and I don't have any support with me, I still like to take photographs.

Cheers, Jim



Feb 24, 2013 at 08:37 PM
Ian.Dobinson
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p.1 #3 · Canon 70-200 2.8L non-IS or Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS


Hi and welcome to FM

Ok the choice between the sigma and the non IS 2.8 is a close one .

But as far as I can tell from the reviews and a few users that have posted on here , it seems as though the OS is slightly better IQ wise than the IS mk1 so it would be a wash between the non IS (which is a bit better than the IS mk1) .

But the AF on the canon will be better . Canons ring USM is faster than sigmas HSM . I have the 120-300 OS and while its a tad better than my old 100-400 (which is not quick) its not upto the other canon USM lenses .

Also the OS is very good on sigma lenses .




Feb 24, 2013 at 08:39 PM
robbymack
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p.1 #4 · Canon 70-200 2.8L non-IS or Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS


IS or OS also helps to keep a steady image in the viewfinder especially with FL over 135. I'd rather have it and not need it than not have it and need it. So in your position id probably opt for the sigma. Have you considered the new version of the tamron 70-200 2.8 vc? It's a bit above your target budget but early reviews look positive. Also for your Alaska trip 200mm on an aps c sensor will just barely be long enough. Look into renting a 100-400 for that trip I think you'll be happy you have the extra reach.


Feb 24, 2013 at 09:08 PM
Ian.Dobinson
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p.1 #5 · Canon 70-200 2.8L non-IS or Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS


robbymack wrote:
Also for your Alaska trip 200mm on an aps c sensor will just barely be long enough. Look into renting a 100-400 for that trip I think you'll be happy you have the extra reach.


200mm on a crop body will be plenty long enough for Alaska , if you rent on of these as well

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2257088/Starving-polar-bear-attacks-BBC-cameraman-pod-Arctic-Norway.html




Feb 24, 2013 at 09:24 PM
RobDickinson
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p.1 #6 · Canon 70-200 2.8L non-IS or Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS


I started out with a sigma f2.8 EX HSM (non OS) and switched to a canon 2.8L (non IS).

The sigmas sharpness was fine, it had pretty strong CA at times. What let it down was its hit rate with focusing.

I'd rather have a lens I trust to focus and manage shutter speeds than a stable but oof shot.

Though I havnt tried the 70-200 OS.



Feb 24, 2013 at 09:35 PM
charityd
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p.1 #7 · Canon 70-200 2.8L non-IS or Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS


Hi, guys-

Thanks for all the responses!

Jim - Yes, I'm debating on whether or not I need the IS. I think most of the time I will be shooting with this lens I'll be shooting outside during the day, so it doesn't seem like IS would be as a big an issue. If I'm in the mood for indoor portraits, I have my 50mm 1.4. The one case where I could possibly use a long zoom in low light would be indoor event photography. I don't do that often but I could see myself using the lens then. The question is will I need the IS often enough to justify the lower IQ of the Sigma? I'm still having a hard time answering that...

Ian and Rob D. - Good points on the focusing speed. I hadn't really thought through that, but I think fast focusing is something that is a high priority to me. For portraits, I'm often taking pictures of children, who don't generally sit still and wait for the focus to lock and for wildlife, fast focusing would be a clear must. So you guys feel that the Canon has the distinct advantage over the Sigma when it comes to focusing speed?

Robbymack - I hadn't thought about the issue of keeping the image in the viewfinder steady. I could see that being very useful. I agree that I would rather have the IS and not need it than to not have it and need it, I'm just not sure it's worth the IQ (and apparently focusing speed) hit. I did look at some of the Tamrons, but I was generally unimpressed with the reviews (I recall reading that the focus was slow and loud). Also, I forgot to mention that I do plan on purchasing a teleconverter (probably 1.4 but maybe 2.0), so I figured that would get me enough reach for the Alaska shots. Of course, that also knocks me down a stop or so, which would mean IS would become more important...*sigh*.

Thanks again for all the input!
-CHARITY-



Feb 24, 2013 at 10:36 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #8 · Canon 70-200 2.8L non-IS or Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS


Ian.Dobinson wrote:
200mm on a crop body will be plenty long enough for Alaska , if you rent on of these as well

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2257088/Starving-polar-bear-attacks-BBC-cameraman-pod-Arctic-Norway.html



Woah! I've been in polar bear 'situations' three times; twice where I could see 'em. Once from a helicopter, and once from a ship. Both times, they did their level best to get to me, to eat me and the other fellers with me. The third time was just the other fellers. They were warned, "Don't go outside (Resolution Island), there's bears"! The went out and came screaming back! They bearly made it!

P.S. I'd use my 18 ZE for at least some of those photos.



Feb 24, 2013 at 10:41 PM
Ian.Dobinson
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p.1 #9 · Canon 70-200 2.8L non-IS or Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS


charityd wrote:
Hi, guys-

Thanks for all the responses!

Jim - Yes, I'm debating on whether or not I need the IS. I think most of the time I will be shooting with this lens I'll be shooting outside during the day, so it doesn't seem like IS would be as a big an issue. If I'm in the mood for indoor portraits, I have my 50mm 1.4. The one case where I could possibly use a long zoom in low light would be indoor event photography. I don't do that often but I could see myself using the lens then. The question is
...Show more


Focus speed:

Kids running around are most likely well withing the sigma HSM ability. But does the sigma have a focus limiter (I don't know if it does or not but sigma are bad for not putting them on good lenses) . My 120-300 OS is pretty good speed wise unless it has to hunt and then it can take a second to come back to focus. Not a big deal MOST of the time , but it can get you when you least want it .
But ultimately its only really taxing subjects that you are left wanting the extra zip of the canon system .

OS: yes that viewfinder 'float' is a great benifit. I shoot an 80-200L (still the best tele zoom ) and its the one thing I notice . I've had the consumer 70-300 IS and a 100-400 (not the greatest IS even) and now have the 120-300 OS and the 'float' can be a great help keeping the AF point on target , which can help with the above AF hunting point as well.

You can take this list with a pinch of salt but here's what seems to be the general consensus of IQ of 70-200/2.8 lenses (I've not included the new Tamron or Nikon )

Best to worst
Canon 70-200 IS mk2
Canon 80-200L
Canon 70-200 non is
Sigma 70-200 OS
Canon 70-200 is mk1
Tamron 70-200 non VC
Sigma 70-200 DG macro mk2
Sigma 70-200 DG (non macro) and the older non DG
Sigma 70-200 DG macro mk1

Note all are pretty much close .
Also the Tamron non VC can be a problem due to AF inconstancy and slow speed (don confuse with the new VC model
The sigma macro mk1 is bottom again due to the inconstant AF (they brought the mk2 out very quickly)

Now if your factoring in AF speed then that brings all the canons to the top and then the sigma lenses .
The 80-200 is not slow (not fast either) but its weak point is servo AF which can be quite jittery (its better on a 1 series)

Hope that helps .

My 2. Cents . The only lens I'd give up my 80-200L is the mk2 IS



Feb 24, 2013 at 10:57 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #10 · Canon 70-200 2.8L non-IS or Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS


I've owned three of the top five in Ian's list, and I'd rank them in the same order; IS Mk II, MDP, IS Mk I. For "raw" IQ, I'd place the two EF 70-200/4L lenses between the MDP and IS Mk I.


Feb 24, 2013 at 11:01 PM
 

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tanglefoot47
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p.1 #11 · Canon 70-200 2.8L non-IS or Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS


like your list Ian I had the Sigma loved it OS worked great but there are two things I didn't like about the Sigma 1. no limiter switch 2. Resale value it's a hard lens to sell but not all people worry about things like that


Feb 24, 2013 at 11:54 PM
PetKal
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p.1 #12 · Canon 70-200 2.8L non-IS or Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS


Mikey, good to see you around here ......I've heard you were banned or something.......perhaps that was not an FM ban, but some other forum.


Feb 25, 2013 at 12:16 AM
dkmiles1
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p.1 #13 · Canon 70-200 2.8L non-IS or Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS


I have the sigma 70-200 OS and its my bread and butter lens - if you get a good one. Sigma, though showing strong signs of better QC these days - can still be hit and miss in the focus department (front/back focus, jackhammering to find focus, etc.). That said I love my siggy 70-200 with OS. I actually bought the canon 70-200 mark ii and sent it back. It was better than the sigma, but optically I didn't feel there was a $1,000 difference. YMMV.... No experience with the non IS version, but I understand its damn good as well.... Comes down to how much do you need the IS/OS....


Feb 25, 2013 at 12:20 AM
tanglefoot47
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p.1 #14 · Canon 70-200 2.8L non-IS or Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS


PetKal wrote:
Mikey, good to see you around here ......I've heard you were banned or something.......perhaps that was not an FM ban, but some other forum.


yes we know where i was banned but over their I am now back but no more spamming



Feb 25, 2013 at 01:51 AM
tanglefoot47
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p.1 #15 · Canon 70-200 2.8L non-IS or Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS


dkmiles1 wrote:
I have the sigma 70-200 OS and its my bread and butter lens - if you get a good one. Sigma, though showing strong signs of better QC these days - can still be hit and miss in the focus department (front/back focus, jackhammering to find focus, etc.). That said I love my siggy 70-200 with OS. I actually bought the canon 70-200 mark ii and sent it back. It was better than the sigma, but optically I didn't feel there was a $1,000 difference. YMMV.... No experience with the non IS version, but I understand its damn good as
...Show more


Don't know about their QC i just bought the Sigma 17-50 2.8 OS and was defective right out of the box. I also read in that other forum from which I was banned that other people had the same issues. It would not lock on focus kept cycling back and forth.



Feb 25, 2013 at 01:53 AM
charityd
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p.1 #16 · Canon 70-200 2.8L non-IS or Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS


So it all comes down to do I need the IS enough to NOT go for the L-series IQ and settle on the Sigma instead? I'm not really sure how to go about deciding if I actually need the IS. When I shoot portraits, it's in enough light that I don't *think* I'll need IS. My lowest shutter speeds for portraits are usually around 1/60, but that's not very common at all. I'm usually closer to 1/200 or a good bit higher. For wildlife, again, I think that will be during the day, so not a bit issue light-wise. But of course, I need to consider the addition of a TC for most wildlife, which will knock down my available light a bit. Wedding photography is a bit more of a wildcard for me as I've never actually done any wedding photography (but I hope to do some second shooting in the future) so I don't really know what to expect there. The final situation I'd use it in is indoor event photography, which I'm pretty sure would benefit greatly from IS.

I just read another review (http://blog.thomasfitzgeraldphotography.com/2011/12/sigma-70-210-f2-8-os-hsm-nikon-real-world-review/) that talks about how soft the Sigma is at 2.8. They say it's a great lens around f/4 (which I've heard elsewhere), but I know I'm usually going to be around 2.8-3.2. I just don't know how noticeable the softness will be in real life.

I feel like I'm talking myself into the Canon, but I'm really nervous about not having the IS. How can I decide if I'll be okay without it?

Also, I've never had a lens with a focus limiter. How big of a deal is that? Thanks!



Feb 25, 2013 at 02:21 AM
tanglefoot47
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p.1 #17 · Canon 70-200 2.8L non-IS or Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS


charityd wrote:
So it all comes down to do I need the IS enough to NOT go for the L-series IQ and settle on the Sigma instead? I'm not really sure how to go about deciding if I actually need the IS. When I shoot portraits, it's in enough light that I don't *think* I'll need IS. My lowest shutter speeds for portraits are usually around 1/60, but that's not very common at all. I'm usually closer to 1/200 or a good bit higher. For wildlife, again, I think that will be during the day, so not a bit issue light-wise. But
...Show more

IMO the limiter is huge makes for faster AF and less hunting



Feb 25, 2013 at 02:23 AM
dkmiles1
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p.1 #18 · Canon 70-200 2.8L non-IS or Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS


charityd wrote:
So it all comes down to do I need the IS enough to NOT go for the L-series IQ and settle on the Sigma instead? I'm not really sure how to go about deciding if I actually need the IS. When I shoot portraits, it's in enough light that I don't *think* I'll need IS. My lowest shutter speeds for portraits are usually around 1/60, but that's not very common at all. I'm usually closer to 1/200 or a good bit higher. For wildlife, again, I think that will be during the day, so not a bit issue light-wise. But
...Show more

You can always get the Sigma from a reputable place like B&H and/or Adorama and if it isn't sharp, or doesn't focus correctly, they'll take it back no questions asked. The Sigma is worth taking a shot... If it doesn't work out or if the IS/OS isn't valuable enough, return it and then get the Canon... You really can't go wrong with either.

There is some value to the focus limiter, it reduces the amount of travel time the lens will have when focussing... Just the same, the HSM motor of the Sigma is fast enough to not make too much of a difference, but that's subjective....



Feb 25, 2013 at 04:00 AM
tanglefoot47
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p.1 #19 · Canon 70-200 2.8L non-IS or Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS


dkmiles1 wrote:
You can always get the Sigma from a reputable place like B&H and/or Adorama and if it isn't sharp, or doesn't focus correctly, they'll take it back no questions asked. The Sigma is worth taking a shot... If it doesn't work out or if the IS/OS isn't valuable enough, return it and then get the Canon... You really can't go wrong with either.

There is some value to the focus limiter, it reduces the amount of travel time the lens will have when focussing... Just the same, the HSM motor of the Sigma is fast enough to not make too much
...Show more

Canon is faster and with the limiter makes it even faster than the sigma the USM is much faster



Feb 25, 2013 at 04:35 AM
tanglefoot47
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p.1 #20 · Canon 70-200 2.8L non-IS or Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS


Oh yeah it gets really expensive sending lenses back after awhile the savings is gone buy Canon

Edited on Feb 25, 2013 at 03:07 PM · View previous versions



Feb 25, 2013 at 04:36 AM
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