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