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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Canon 70-200 f/4 L or Tamron 70-210 f/2.8 ???
Showing posts 1 - 7 of 7, (reverse)
06/21/2006 10:37:14 AM · #1
I recently sold my rebel xt, sigma 500dg flash (non-super), kit lens, and 70-200mm f/4 L. I replaced the body with a 30D, the flash with a 430EX, and the kit lens with a tamron 17-50 f/2.8. I was looking for a replacement for the 70-200 f/4 L. I am going to be shooting a good bit of high school sports such as football (the US version), basketball, and baseball. For my personal use, I'll be using it for watersports outside where there's plenty of light. I won't be getting paid much to do the high school sports, so I didn't want to dump a lot of money on a low-light lens unless it was necessary since I wouldn't be using it for personal use in low-light. I was looking at either getting the tamron 70-210 f/2.8 or buying another 70-200 f/4 L if it will do the job. I can get the tamron for $450 shipped, and the 70-200 f/4's sell all the time for $500 shipped. But the bad side of the tamron is that it has trouble focusing quickly. The bad side of the canon is that it may not stop down enough to get a decent shutter speed. What about my 430EX with fast sync shutter speeds? Would I be able to use the Canon at f/4 with my 430EX and get decent shots in fairly low light? How helpful is it going to be for me to go from f/4 to f/2.8 when I have a 430ex to help with the light? Thanks for the advice!
06/21/2006 10:54:11 AM · #2
Hey Casey,

I would recommend going with the Canon L lens. This is not even a close decision in my opinion, but I could see why the 2.8 would grab your attention and that is exactly what Tamron wants, just like Sigma. You will lose usm which is a tremendous advantage for sports and the type of quick focusing you would be doing whether in one shot or ai servo mode. Also the flurite glass makes for a very bright viewfinder and amazingly smooth pictures straight out of the camera, look at the Tulip Corridor shot in my portfolio and the Glower shot they are both shot with this lens, the depth of field is awesome. As for will it be fast enough, you will never need a flash in the types of situations your describing, I noticed even in the shade of overcast afternoon and clouds that I was easily able to achieve a 500 / 1000 speed shutter at ISO 100. Your flash will sync up to 250/ shutter but that is really only useful for when your not going to destroy your mood outside, it is primarily for portrait shots or large indoor venues, ie. gymnasiums and church chapels for example. If you ever need more than 1000 just up to 200 or 400 iso you even have more control than I do with 1/3rd stop ISO adjustments on the 30D. Anyhow get the canon again, I'm surprised considering you had it before? Any other advice let me know I frequently am comparing the lenses / accessories. Good choice on the flash, you went with Canon and I would advise the same for all your lenses, if you find your tamron kit lens ok stick with it. I myself am a firm believer in L / USM / IS / RAW
all of these things will help squeeze more out of your shots.

Best Regards,


Where did you see the canon for 500? I live in Canada and am accustomed to seeing prices in the 799 - 999 range here despite our dollar running at .90 US

What's the best you have seen for a 17-40F4L ? That is the next one I want to get for the same reasons I outlined but on the landscape / wide / architecture side. Thanks!

ps. Pickup Scott Kelby's Photoshop CS2 (I have CS)for Digital Photographers, It will really be an asset for Basic -> Advanced Editing challenges and also for managing and protecting your work. 25$ US Amazon.com.
06/21/2006 11:15:53 AM · #3
Thanks for the reply and the in-depth opinion. I loved the 70-200 f/4 when I had it, and the person I sold it to contacted me after they bought it and said they loved it as well and it was "everything they expected it to be". The tamron 17-50mm I bought just came out recently. It's the same lens as the 28-75 f/2.8 that is so popular with a lot of the members here, except it was designed for better use with the 1.6x crop cameras like the rebels and 20-30D. It's effective focal length on a 1.6x crop is 27-80mm. Maybe it will perform as well as its predecessor has proven to perform. You can pick up the Canon 70-200 f/4 used for between 475 and 525 at fredmiranda.com. There is at least one or two of them sold on there every day or two. I saw one listed on there this morning for $485 shipped. I'm not sure about the 17-40 prices, but I know they are another big seller there. I don't know if you were looking for used lenses though.
06/21/2006 11:50:10 AM · #4
I personally went for the 70-210 2.8, after only trying the Canon out in the store for a few minutes.

The tamron is a much bigger and heavier lens, due to the aperture. It doesn't seem to focus as fast, which is a shame, but if you need the 2.8 then you can probably deal with it. I end up using it wide open a lot when I shoot, whether to decrease DOF or get the shutter speed I need if I'm using it handheld. Image quality wise, I'd say the Tamron is most likely not as good - it does have some CA in bright light, and the focus on mine is not always accurate. It's managable though, and I've gotten some shots I'm very happy with with it.

Oh, and the Tamron should come with a tripod collar, whereas the Canon one is extra. Combined with a battery grip and a tripod, you could just twist the camera by the tripod collar and switch to portrait mode without unclamping the tripod or moving your hand position.
06/21/2006 01:01:37 PM · #5
I have the tamron 70-210 2.8 - it has some nice features, like USM for manual focusing override and a limit switch so the lens doesn't rack from one extreme to the other focus wise.

I don't have any issues with CA (my canon 50 1.8 does though). Using the 2.8 without the hood will get some flare and lower contrast, so i always use the hood. And my focusing is dead on every time - this is the best lens i have regarding that - on a 300D, 20D and 30D. 100% dead on every time. I don't think i've missed at shot for focus reasons with this lens.

Focus speed? has not been an issue for me, seems comparable to my other lenses. Canon's L glass with USM is probably faster, but it costs more and for me it's not been an issue.

On the plus side this lens works great with tamron TCs. the 1.4 and 2 or both stacked - focus keeps working (in good light anyway, haven't tried low light with the TCs).

And to compare apples to apples - you need to compare a 2.8 lens to a 2.8 lens - like the sigma 70-200 2.8 (at $800ish) or the canon 2.8 ($900ish). The 70-200 f4 is one of the sharpest lenses out there - but for nightime HS football it doesn't matter.

as for the flash - you got the smaller weaker one...and not sure about flash rules on the sidelines, but that flash will have a hard time on a football field.
06/22/2006 10:52:06 AM · #6
I would agree with Prof_Fate on the 430 being weak for football field, however you have to look at the bulk of what your doing. If you think it will work for 80 - 90 % then great also you said you arn't getting paid much for your school photojournalism so I would say the 430 for personal use your other factor is very strong, also keep in mind later on when you get another flash in the 580 series you can slave your 430 to it for side light, bounce flash etc. I would still recommend going for the 70-200f4L canon, you cannot expect to get the same results out of non professional glass, as good as some of the alternatives are for speed, ie sigma / tamron... when your capturing memories quality should be number one as far as image goes and Canon Flurite is going to do that for you. This 2.8 business is overated unless your really doing the things that require it. It's also not as nice to carry around as a F4 for the sake of weight etc,I have practically all my gear in my Lowepro 180 backpack. As for used lense s I do not recommend buying them especially higher end. NO one is ever going to admit to dropping a lens ever so I'd rather not find out later when my lens fails that there was physical issue and canon etc wants a ton of money to fix.

Best of luck,

06/22/2006 11:02:43 AM · #7
man, has canon got a good marketing department!

Tamron and Sigma and Tokina make professional level glass. I hear Nikon does too. It doesn't have to be an 'L' lens to be 'professional'. Some of canon's L lenses are weather sealed and that can be a true benefit if you need it, but to say you need to use L glass to get 'professional quality images' is just a bunch of snobbery or ignorance, cause it ain't the truth.
I'm not picking on you, but I hear this often enough and it pisses me off.

If you think you should only use the best glass then you need the best camera - get a 1Ds mk2 and shoot 100% in RAW. Using anything less, is, well amatueur! Sorry, but canon says the 20D is NOT a professional camera, so I guess it's images are not either.

And there is a BIG difference in what a 2.8 lens does over a 4.0 lens - one stop brighter (or faster or less noise), 3 times the focusing accuracy, faster focusing due to the brighter image, better low light focusing, you can use a 2x TC and a 1.4, and of course the bokeh/DOF.

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