I recently posted about a price drop for the 70-300 IS USM lens on Amazon. As of this post it is selling for $400 or just under. This is the best price I have ever seen this lens sell for. That prompted a few questions, comments and emails with thoughts and questions about the 70-200 f/4 L that is just a bit more. The 70-200 f/4 L is selling new for just under $600 and you can buy a used copy for just under $500. 70-200 f/4 L lens is a nice lens. It is an excellent value, very sharp and renders colors so nicely. The 70-300 is very nice too, but it isn't L glass, it does however provide you with an extra 100mm and Image Stabilization (IS). So which would I buy?[Photo samples coming soon]If I was a wildlife shooter on a budget or someone that wanted a zoom to carry around all day/on hikes/walkabouts I would pick the 70-300 IS USM. It is the lightest of the bunch at 1.39 lbs and having that extra 100mm is really nice where wildlife is concerned. It still won't feel like enough if you are trying to get those amazing national geographic like shots but it does a good job and the IS can be very helpful, it is even possible to shoot some video and use the IS for smoother action. One bummer, the lens is USM but not full time manual focus, this is a lens you really want to use with back button focusing. Buy the 70-300 IS USM from Amazon, your purchase helps support this site.If I was a portrait or wedding photographer on a budget the 70-200 f/4 L USM is an excellent lens to take people photos, any photos really but at 1.55lbs it is starting to get heavy and won't be much fun to carry around all day. Buy the 70-200 f/4 L USM from Amazon.There is also the 70-200 f/4 L IS USM, the difference between the lens above is IS, 1/4 pound heavier and about $600 more for a total of just under $1200. I believe it is slightly better optically but I have never actually shot with this lens so I can't say for sure. Again, IS is useful in these longer lenses and this could be used by a sports photographer or a wedding photographer on a budget, though some might scoff at the idea that this is a budget minded lens. Buy the 70-200 f/4 L IS USM from Amazon.And one more lens, because Luke asked ;), the 70-200 f/2.8L USM , we are now getting into dreamy territory. Not a huge amount of image quality difference from the 70-200 f/4 but you get the constant f/2.8, excellent for indoor sports photographers and wedding photographers. But this lens is HEAVY, weighing in at 2.89 lbs with a giant filter size of 77mm. It also cost over $1200. Buy the 70-200 f/2.8 L USM from Amazon.And for another $1000 on top of that you could pick up the 70-200 f/2.8 L IS USM II lens or the original for slightly cheaper. Both are excellent lenses, though very heavy and very expensive. There are also third party lenses like the Sigma and Tamron 70-200 but I have not been happy with the quality of any of the copies I tried. 70-300 IS USM - $40070-200 f/4 L USM - $60070-200 f/4 L IS USM - $120070-200 f/2.8 L USM - $120070-200 f/2.8 L IS II USM - $2100
My Video Review of the Canon 24-70 f/4 IS vs 24-70 f/2.8 vs 24-105 f/4 ISPart IPart IICURRENT CANON REBATES AND SAVINGS UPDATE -Since posting this information I have tested and reviewed the Sigma 24-105 f/4. Watch my review of the Sigma 24-105. It is significantly sharper than the Canon 24-105. Early Thoughts - the new 24-70 f/4 is VERY nice - sharp, the IS works very well and I would have taken it over the 24-70 f/2.8 on my vacation travels without a second thought - it is lighter, smaller and offers an excellent macro feature. My next question is would I prefer it at a wedding over the f/2.8? A stop of light is hard to give up but if this lens had been available when I bought I think I would have picked it and been able to sleep a bit better at night saving a $1000 dollars. Sharpness, color, contrast and chromatic aberration control all seem on par with the more expensive f/2.8 - so it really comes down to that stop of light. Oh and the IS. I think the IS is excellent for general photography and of course travel, it is not as helpful on the wedding day dance floor. And another OH - the Macro isn't going to be the Canon 100mm f/2.8, my go to standard for all Macro lenses but it certainly comes close, shockingly close for someone that just likes to dable in macro now and then. . . I also thought I would see more bokeh difference shooting at f/4 vs f/2.8 and really see much less than I expected. Checking the charts it makes sense - the differences in depth of field between the two at normal shooting differences is slight.All three lenses are excellent and they should be when we are talking about the cheapest(24-105 f/4 IS USM) being almost a grand.The Canon 24-70 f/2.8 Mark II is currently selling for $2200 (Buy from Amazon). I have shot several thousand wedding images with this lens over the last three months and it is a fantastic lens. Sharp wide open though I did have to slightly adjust focus. Color rendition is gorgeous, contrast is top notch - it is really easy to run out of superlatives when describing this lens - Downside are price, no IS, it is a hefty piece of glass with a huge 82mm filter size and it is only so-so at close focusing. I recently took it on vacation and loved the images but felt I would have been happy with a smaller lens and or a lens with a bit more range. Before I bought Canon's 24-70 I tried the Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 with VC (Buy from Amazon). It required serious micro AF adjustments and I repeatedly got lens communication errors, something I have never seen with the Canon. I know there are plenty of photographers happy with the Tamron lens and there are plenty of sharp copies out there. For almost $1000 less you get f/2.8 and IS - you just are taking a bit more of a gamble, in my opinion. Some Tech Specs - 28.4 Ounces with 1 Super UD lens element and 2 UD lens elements and 9 bladed aperture.The new Canon 24-70 f/4 IS sells for about the same (Buy from Amazon) It is a bit lighter, has a suprisingly great macro mode, very good Hyrbid IS and a nifty pinch cap(Bout Canon) this might seem silly but it makes removal of the lens cap MUCH easier when the lens hood is on and facing out. You do lose one stop of light going from f/2.8 to f/4. Filter size is a more wallet friendly 77mm. Weighs 21 ounces - 2 aspheric and 2 UD elements and 9 bladed rounded aperture.The 24-105 f/4 IS(Buy from Amazon) has been around for sometime, it has been a while since I used it, last shot a wedding using it, great lens and an excellent value for an L lens, can be found for $860. filter size is also 77mm. Weighs 23.6 ounces with 1 UD lens element and 8 bladed aperture.