Do you mind if I ask what you'll be photographing that you'll require f/2.8, wider focal lengths, and IS? You may want to consider using a camera body with an upgraded AF system (rent to try it out), because this helped me immensely when it came to getting sharper photographs. I've found IS/VR to be a bit unreliable to be honest, having used the Canon 70-200 2.8L II, and the Canon 100mm 2.8L IS. Once I put those lenses on my 5D Mark III, they performed like a dream. Even using my 85mm 1.2L (which is notorious for its slow focus), was quick and snappy on the Mark III.
I realize my suggestion is not the cheap one, but it may be something to consider as you upgrade your equipment, because this is the one body upgrade (I went from xTi -> 7D -> 5D Mark II -> 5D Mark III) that really made an incredible difference in my work.
Just to give an example:
That's shot at f/9, 1/800, and ISO 12800 (which is insane to not have high noise at that value), and that is the first time I've been able to capture butterflies in flight, something I've tried to do (with proper exposure at the time of the photograph being taken, mind you), for years now.
So, just a suggestion, you might want to rent an upgraded body and see if improved AF can compensate for the lack of IS.
I volunteer/work for a non-profit organization that does high fidelity audio recording for US Military families/soldiers designed to both keep them in contact well the soldier is overseas or simply posted away from the family, as well as to preserve and capture the soldier's and families' voices, so they never lose it, all this at no cost to the Military, soldiers, or families. MFV's Pilot Program is based on the Ft. Carson Military Post in Colorado. While said recordings take place I am taking photos so they can both have those and send them to whoever to show them what they're doing, as well as for MFV's purposes to show others what they do. If you care to take a look MFV's website you may be able to see that although the images are not terribly they don't quite pop like they can: [link] (feel more than free to take a look around as well )
Now this often times requires me to shoot indoors with low light and no flash (too intrusive). Right now I'm using a point and shoot to do so, we are looking to get equipment (from Canon) to give us the flexibility we truly do need, both to be able to shoot at high ISOs and wide apertures to stop the action of the younger kids flailing about The 5D Mk III is the first camera I thought of for both it's full frame noise handling capabilities, silent shutter (imperative that it is not loud), and of course the wide array (upgraded AF system ) of other features that will serve to further the professional look and feel of our images. The lens needs to be able to take in a room and get multiple people sitting throughout the lens as well as close in on someone without having to change lenses or get too intrusive. Although IS/VR is not terribly important at 24mm, it becomes more important on the other side of things.
Sorry to leave you a novel to read but you asked for it
And finally, that image is really gorgeous, nicely done on it! I appreciate the advice immensely!
Your post doesn't make much sense. You want a lens that can hit f/2.8 throughout the entire zoom range and that it have either IS (Canon) or VR (Nikon)? There are plenty of Nikon lenses that can remain at f/2.8 throughout the entire zoom range and have Vibration reduction. What's the problem?
I have actually seen none that both maintain VR and F/2.8 that are any wider than the 70-200 F/2.8 which is too close for me to effectively use, something that starts around say 24mm, I've seen nothing. However I'd to be proved wrong if you can name a few!
No problem I appreciate the feedback I can see where you're coming from, and where they are coming from, but when you're going to 70mm or 105mm and in a somewhat low-light situation than IS/VR would be nice! Again, not so much on the wide end of things since in theory you can handhold 1/25, but for 105 it'd be nice to not have to aim for at least 1/125.
You definitely don't need VR or IS at 70mm if you can have f/2.8 throughout the entire zoom range. As you get closer to 100~ I can sort of see why you might need it. What camera do you have? Try pushing up the ISO a little more, and since it doesn't seem possible to get the sort of lens you're after, combine it with a shutter of about 1/80 and learn some hand-holding techniques for more stable photos. That's all I can think of.
I agree to a point, but I mean think of a lens like the Canon 24-70 2.8 Mk II, for an extra thousand dollars in price over the mark I, besides the better image quality I'd almost expect it to be there. I agree with the ISO and that was my plan just wondering if there was a good combo. Also, IS/VR would be helpful for video as well. I appreciate the feedback very much though!
"for an extra thousand dollars in price over the mark I, besides the better image quality I'd almost expect it to be there."
Well I guess that was my point. Lens manufacturers aren't just going to throw in a technology for the hell of it. Especially when said technology (IS/VR) isn't really warranted because of the fast glass (wide aperture, which typically requires faster shutter speeds anyway), coupled with a zoom range that really doesn't need it.
Goes either way, when you're making professional equipment I'd think you'd pull all stops to give the best you can, even 2.8 can't hold up to certain lighting conditions. Or if you're stopping down for a landscape in hopes of getting the phenomenal quality of the lens IS wouldn't hurt if you don't have a tri/monopod...