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Author Topic: Autofocus performance 20-200L 2.8 IS vs. Non-IS  (Read 1389 times)


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Autofocus performance 20-200L 2.8 IS vs. Non-IS
« on: September 04, 2009, 06:23:16 pm »

Sorry about the typo in th post subject. It should have been "70-200..." not "20-200...".

I know this is an old, and perhaps tired, subject (IS vs. non-IS on Canon 70-200L 2.8), but I couldn’t find the one missing piece of info that I need to make a decision. I’m in the eleventh hour of deciding between IS or Non-IS of the Canon 70-200L 2.8. Two weeks ago, I was all on board for the IS version. Then, in reading various posts, I was shifting to the non-IS as I mostly shoot for my daughters soccer. I understood that I was giving up some IQ for the IS version, and IS would be of no value for sports. However, I also take shots for my company’s conferences as well as lots of family events where I could really use the IS. And, in reading about the IQ differences between the two options, there appears that it’s only a “slight” difference. So, I was back on board to the IS version. However, one question remained that I couldn’t find an answer to… “is there any performance difference in “auto focus” between the IS and non-IS versions?”. I had seen one review where they raved about the auto focus in the non-IS version, and the same reviewer did not reference this on the IS version. As a side note, I currently have the 70-200L 4 and shoot with a 20D (I know I need a body upgrade—but I’m going with lenses first). I’m going for the 2.8 along with the 1.4 extender with the understanding that I will gain some very good flexibility to shoot sports along with indoor shots. Thanks in advance for any input on this old subject.


« Last Edit: September 05, 2009, 12:44:31 am by WilliamMooney »

Jonathan Wienke

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Autofocus performance 20-200L 2.8 IS vs. Non-IS
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2009, 08:45:13 am »

Go with the IS. AF is no different between versions. The difference in absolute image quality is very small when a side-by-side comparison is made on tripod with MLU. But the difference when shooting off a monopod or handheld is quite significant. IS is far from useless even when shooting sports or other action. It won't eliminate subject movement blur (you'll need to hone your panning technique for that), but it will significantly reduce camera shake, which is still going to be an issue unless you're shooting action from a locked-down tripod (highly unlikely). Just because IS only reduces one of two kinds of blur present when shooting astion doesn't make it useless. I have the IS version, and image quality is VERY good.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2009, 08:46:02 am by Jonathan Wienke »
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