Advice needed: Canon 70-200L/2.8 IS + 2x Extender vs 100-400L/4.5-5.6 IS

Discussion in 'Canon' started by Aaaardvark, Jan 24, 2004.

  1. Aaaardvark

    Aaaardvark Guest

    Hi all,

    I'm struggling with these 2 options(Canon 70-200L/2.8 IS + 2x
    Extender vs 100-400L/4.5-5.6 IS ), and would like to know your
    opinions. The 70-200 would give me the flexibility of the 2.8
    big aperture, while adding the 2x extender gives me the same
    reach as the 100-400.

    I kinda like the fact that the 70-200 is a 2 touch design vs the
    1 touch pull-push design of the 100-400, and having the 70-200 +
    extender would be like having 2 lenses ( 70-200/2.8 and
    140-400/5.6 ). I currently have an old 80-200L/2.8 which I could
    sell off if I got the 70-200.

    I've read the image quality of the 70-200 is top notch, while
    the 100-400 is not quite as good (but still very good for a 4x
    zoom). However, will the 2x extender reduce the image quality of
    the 70-200 significantly ? Enough to make it worse than the
    100-400 at 400mm ?

    Both have IS so will be great at longer focal lengths.I'm buying
    them for some wildlife photography on my 300D, so the effective
    640mm on either lens would be very useful. Any advice/comments
    would be greatly appreciated. Assume that price of both are not
    a concern.


    PS : edit my email address before emailing me directly.
    Aaaardvark, Jan 24, 2004
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  2. Aaaardvark

    Bill Hilton Guest

    From: "Aaaardvark"
    Yes. ... the
    100-400 wins this test, and I think most people who've tried this test
    themselves would agree.
    I have the older non-IS 70-200 f/2.8L and also the 100-400 L IS ... I got the
    100-400 mainly for Alaska where you're shooting from planes or boats or viewing
    platforms or, in Denali, shuttle busses but in general I prefer the optics of
    the 70-200 w/o a t/c or with the 1.4x t/c. With the 2x t/c I agree with
    Reichmann, the 100-400 is better (but nothing to write home about).

    I also have a 500 f/4 L IS and increasingly I'm taking the 500 and the 70-200,
    even to Alaska (where I'm headed in a couple of weeks), and leaving the 100-400
    behind, but since it will be your longest lens I'd probably advise you to get
    the 100-400.

    Bill Hilton, Jan 24, 2004
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  3. Aaaardvark

    Dallas Guest

    Aaaardvark said:
    The 100-400mm is not in the same league as the 70-200mm IS. If you really
    must have 400mm, forget about the 2x extender and spend the money on a FFL
    400mm lens (like the f/4.5L).
    Dallas, Jan 25, 2004
  4. $I've read the image quality of the 70-200 is top notch, while
    $the 100-400 is not quite as good (but still very good for a 4x
    $zoom). However, will the 2x extender reduce the image quality of
    $the 70-200 significantly ? Enough to make it worse than the
    $100-400 at 400mm ?

    Any 2x TC will significantly reduce the image quality of any
    lens, even when talking about a top-notch TC and a top-notch
    lens. Imagine a lens that resolves (say) 100 lines/mm. Slap a
    2x on it and you've spread those lines across 2mm, yielding
    50 lines/mm. And that's assuming that the 2x is optically
    perfect, which of course real-world lenses are not. This
    is ignoring any other issues such as flare (no matter how
    well coated, the extra elements cannot help but make the lens
    at least slightly more prone to flare), reduction of contrast,
    or various optical aberrations.

    This is a fairly frequently asked question here and in the
    Canon EOS forum at, and there's never a consensus.
    There are always people who say they've tried it and the 70-200+2x
    is at least as good as the 100-400, and there are always people
    who say they've tried it and the 100-400 is better than the 70-200+2x.
    The well-known Luminous Landscape comparison makes a good case
    for the 100-400 being sharper, and unlike many of the comments,
    the images are there so everyone can judge for themselves.

    There seems to be a body of opinion that there is a fair bit of
    sample variation in the 100-400, as even those users who are simply
    using it on its own, not comparing it to the 70-200+2x, can't agree
    on how good it is. Some say it's only slightly better than the
    75-300 consumer lenses, while others say it's way better than those
    but not as good as the 70-200s or the L telephoto primes (which
    is only to be expected; the 70-200s are surely Canon's finest
    zooms, and it's not fair at all comparing a professional prime to
    a zoom). So it may be that the better 100-400s are better than
    the 70-200+2x, but the worse ones are worse than the 70-200+2x.

    Do you need or value the 70-99 range, or the speed and superior
    optics in the 100-200 range? If so, then the choice is clear;
    the 70-200 is the only one of the two lenses that can meet this
    need. If the short end is just a bonus, and it's the long end
    that matters, then it's a tougher call. May I suggest another
    option to consider?

    I looked at these two options, as I was planning on replacing my
    100-300/4.5-5.6 USM with a longer, sharper, IS lens, for which the
    100-400 would seem the logical choice. But after playing with the
    100-400 a few times in camera stores and at trade shows, I just
    never liked its mechanics. The zoom torque and focus rings on
    all three samples I tried tended to move together, the push-pull
    design didn't appeal to me, and I found it was terribly nose-heavy
    towards the long end - which is where I expected to be using it the
    most, since I usually ended up using my 100-300 at 300 (and often
    wished it were longer). Add to that the large disparity in quality
    reported for it and I wasn't really sure I wanted the 100-400.

    Price was an object; the 70-200 IS is quite a bit more money,
    and having to add the 2x to it immediately in order to get the focal
    lengths I wanted just jacks the price up even more. If I were rich,
    or a professional photographer, I'd have the 70-200 IS anyway, but
    I'm neither.

    So when I found a used 300/4L IS USM in good condition at a decent
    price, I bought it. As I mostly used the 100-300 at 300, and
    have the 100-135 range covered by another lens, I didn't open up
    a serious hole in my focal length coverage. And I immediately had
    a faster, sharper IS lens, which was most of my original goal.
    I planned on adding the 1.4x at a later date, which I have since
    done, and that takes care of the rest of my goal (longer).

    I lost the convenience of a zoom but the 300 is faster (and surely
    sharper) than the 100-400 or the 70-200+2x at 300mm and handles better
    than the 100-400, and the 300+1.4x is the same speed as either and
    surely no less sharp, if not sharper, than the 400 end of either zoom.[/QUOTE]
    Stephen M. Dunn, Jan 26, 2004
  5. Aaaardvark

    The Yowie Guest

    The best TC for that 70~200 lens is the 1.4 converter. Unless you are spying
    and need forensic evidence, forget teleconverters. I have the 70~200 2.8
    lens without IS. It's either to bloody heavy for routine work or doesn't
    have the reach for wildlife. This is on a 10D where it has 1.6 advantage in
    the first place. I've virtually got a 320mm lens and it isn't long enough
    for me and it's too heavy for day long hand holding.

    I'm just saving my cash for the Sigma 120~300 2.8 which by all accounts is a
    fine piece of glass. So basically what I'm saying is decide first on what it
    is you intend to photograph and then get a suitable lens. Buying an
    extender for the sake of convenience is OK if your work is for personal use
    but I wouldn't like to try and make a living that way.

    The Yowie.
    The Yowie, Jan 27, 2004
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