5 Lens Alternatives to the 70-200mm

The 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is by far the most popular lens across camera systems, be it Canon, Nikon, Sony or any other system. It is part of the Holy Trinity of lenses: the 16-35, 24-70 and 70-200 but gets a lot more attention than the other two. The Canon and Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 lenses feature on our Top 15 Most Rented Gear for 2018 and one of them tops this list!

However, there are times when you cannot lay hands on one of these babies and need to look for alternatives. Or sometimes you just need to get out of a creative block by trying something different. Here is a list of 5 lenses that may be able to help you get the job done:

1. The 70-200mm f/4: If you are not shooting in low light or if your shoot is outdoors and you can control the distance between your subject and the background, this lens is a great substitute for the f/2.8. It is also significantly lighter and cheaper to rent! You just might like this lens a whole lot better than the f/2.8! We have many customers whose first preference is the f/4.

2. The 85mm: The 85mm is one of the best focal lengths for people photography. When shooting portraits or covering events, the 85mm is what most photographers are looking for but they carry a zoom just to stay versatile. If candid portraits and bust shots are what you are mostly after, an 85mm should do the job very well. You can choose between the f/1.8, f/1.4 and f/1.2.

3. The 90/100/105mm: These focal lengths are normally macro lenses and most photographers underestimate their potential as great portrait lenses. If you need more shooting distance than the 85 or you want to throw in a ring shot or two, one of these lenses can help you achieve both. As a bonus, the macro versions usually come stabilised!

4. The 135mm: Another focal length that a lot of veterans love but others steer clear of. The 135mm can give you beautiful bokeh, comfortable shooting distance and significantly lower neck pain than a 70-200. Plus it opens up all the way to f/2 (or f/1.8 if you carry the Sigma Art).

5. The 200mm: If you find yourself shooting at the tele end of a 70-200 most of the time, you should have little trouble shooting with the 200mm f/2.8 prime. A much lighter lens and less conspicuous than the 70-200. However, this option is only available to Canon shooters (and Sony shooters with an adapter).

When looking for substitutes, you do need to check for other things such as stabilisation, minimum focus distance, etc if they are important to you. However, these lenses can get you out of tight availability situations and give you a completely different shooting experience!

So go ahead and try one of these on your next shoot. Share your best pics with us to be featured on our social platforms!

-Abhijit Mutha,
Founder, Primes & Zooms