Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
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September 9, 2009
by Andrew Alexander
Released in 1995, this venerable successor to the 80-200mm ƒ/2.8L employs a complex optical formula of 18 lens elements in 15 groups, with 4 elements being ultra-low dispersion glass. Still available new today, Canon introduced an image-stabilized version of the 70-200mm ƒ/2.8 in 2001, which is not the same lens with the addition of IS: this new lens adds five more glass elements, and is heavier and more expensive.
The lens is a constant ƒ/2.8 lens, compatible with full-frame cameras. On a digital body with an APS-C sized sensor, the lens will produce an effective field of view of 112-320mm.
The 70-200mm EF ƒ/2.8L USM ships with a case and petal-shaped lens hood, takes 77mm filters and is available for approximately $1,250.
The Canon 70-200mm ƒ/2.8L USM is impressively sharp, one of the sharpest zoom lenses we've tested in the 70-200mm range. This is made even more impressive by the fact that the lens design is approaching fifteen years old, designed well before the advent of the digital SLR camera.
The lens is exceptionally sharp at 70mm; even wide open at ƒ/2.8, we note results just above 1 blur unit. Stopped down to ƒ/4, it's tack-sharp pretty much all the way to ƒ/11. At ƒ/16 we begin to note some diffraction limiting. But even at ƒ/22, performance is still very good at 2.5 blur units across the frame.
Over 70mm, wide open performance at ƒ/2.8 isn't as exceptional - here we note results between 1.5 and 2.5 blur units, which is still quite good. This copy of the lens also shows some slight de-centering at ƒ/2.8 which could account for some specific corners which are softer than others. Still, stopped down to just ƒ/4, the lens becomes nicely sharp between 100-135mm, at just over or right on the 1 blur unit line. Again, it's sharp all the way to ƒ/11 and diffraction limiting becomes more obvious at ƒ/16 and above.
If there's a weakness, it's probably at 200mm, where we don't see tack-sharp results as we do at the shorter focal lengths. Wide open performance isn't as good at ƒ/2.8, where de-centering produces a soft upper right corner approaching 4 blur units; overall performance is around 2-3 blur units. Stopping down does improve sharpness, but it isn't until about ƒ/5.6 that the soft corner is reigned in substantially and we see results at the 1-2 blur unit level. At ƒ/8 it's the best it will get, with the majority of the image showing around 1.5 blur units and the right corner showing almost 2 blur units. At ƒ/11 diffraction limiting sets in and performance degrades slightly as the lens is stopped down further.
Fully stopped-down performance, at ƒ/32, isn't recommended - images show about 5 blur units across the frame, with focus becoming particularly uneven at the 200mm setting.
On the full-frame 5D, the sensor is a bit harder on the lens, showing softer corners that aren't visible through the 20D. The above notes apply to full-frame performance, with a few exceptions: at ƒ/2.8 the lens is very good, showing an average performance of around 1.5 blur units below 200mm. At 200mm a small sweet spot of sharpness is available in the center of the frame, but the sides of the image are quite soft at around 3-4 blur units. Stopping down improves the quality of the image, but you'll need to stop down to ƒ/5.6-ƒ/8 to obtain maximum sharpness, which in this case means just over 1 blur unit below 200mm, and just under 2 blur units at 200mm. If you're keeping score, fully stopped-down performance is actually better on the 5D than the 20D, where at ƒ/32 we note results of around 3-3.5 blur units across the frame.
CA tolerance is also very good with this lens, especially in the midrange (100-135mm) where the numbers are extremely low. At wide angle (70mm) and telephoto (200mm) CA results are a bit higher, but happily at these settings CA is kept at it lowest with the lens used at its wider apertures: stopping down increases CA along a fairly linear curve. However, even fully stopped-down, the lens doesn't exceed the level of 6/100ths of a percent of frame height.
On the full-frame 5D, CA tolerance is the same, if not slightly better.
On the cropped-frame 20D, corner shading isn't really an issue; the only setting which produces any corner shading of note is 200mm, where at ƒ/2.8 we note corners which are 1/3EV darker than the center. At any other setting, light falloff is negligible.
Mounted on the full-frame 5D, light falloff is substantially more noticeable. The lens follows a trend along all focal lengths; at ƒ/2.8, the corners are almost a full stop darker than the center; at ƒ/4, we note around a half-stop of light falloff; at ƒ/5.6, the falloff reduces to about a third of a stop. At ƒ/8 the lens reaches the quarter-stop level.
On the 20D, distortion isn't much of a factor: just +0.25% barrel distortion at 70mm in the corners, and -0.2% pincushion distortion at 200mm in the corners. There's a point of 0% distortion at around the 100mm mark.
Distortion is predictably a bit more prominent with the lens mounted on the 5D. At 70mm we note +0.5% barrel distortion in the corners, and at 200mm, it's almost -0.5% pincushion. Fortunately the distortion pattern is fairly linear and should be fairly easy to fix in post-processing (if you need your straight lines to be absolutely straight). Again, there's a break-even point at around 100mm which shows very little distortion.
The EF 70-200 mm ƒ/2.8L uses Canon's ultrasonic motor technology to achieve fast, almost totally silent AF operation. Focusing is quite fast for a lens this large, it taking just over a second to slew from closest focus to infinity or vice versa. That's not amazingly fast, but is pretty nimble for a lens this large, with this much glass to move around while focusing. The focus slew time seemed to be independent of focal length, taking as long whether at 70mm or 200mm. Focus lock was also very fast and sure-footed on our test bodies, and the large ƒ/2.8 maximum aperture will let Canon bodies with special wide-aperture AF provision focus even more accurately.
As a lens with the USM specification, you can override autofocus results at any time by just turning the focus ring.
With a minimum close-focusing distance of 1.5m (just under 5 feet) and a magnification rating of 0.21x, this isn't really a lens you'll want to use for macro work.
Build Quality and Handling
Like all the white-body L-series Canon lenses, build quality on the EF 70-200 mm ƒ/2.8L is exceptional. It's built like a tank, and frankly weighs like one as well. This is a heavy lens - almost three pounds heavy - not one that you're going to want to hand-hold all day. The included tripod collar is removeable, and balances very well with typical bodies: It was just slightly front-heavy with our EOS-20D mounted on it. A monopod with a ball head would be a great way to work with this lens. The monopod would relieve your arms of the weight, but the ball head would give you good freedom of movement.
The lens isn't weather-sealed like its image-stabilized cousin, though it does feature the same eight-bladed aperture. Canon had moved beyond aperture rings by this point, but there is a recessed distance scale, protected by a clear window. Distances are indicated in feel and meters. There is no depth-of-field scale. Two switches are available on the side of the lens: one to enable and disable autofocus, and a focus limiting switch, with selections for 1.5m - infinity, or 3m - infinity.
This is an internal zoom/internal focus lens design, so the body of the lens doesn't extend during either zooming or focusing, nor does the front element rotate. That means this lens will work well with front-element filters that are rotation-sensitive, like polarizers and graduated neutral density filters.
The zoom ring is the larger of the two, at 1 3/8'' wide, composed of a dense black plastic and textured with rececssed ridges. The zoom ring turns quite smoothly, although it has a bit more resistance than those on some lenses. A quarter turn runs the lens through its range of focal lengths.
The focusing ring is just under an inch wide, composed of the same dense black plastic, but with shorter recessed ridges. The lens ends in hard stops at either end of the focusing spectrum, and manual focusing is fairly smooth with this ring. The lens will focus slightly past infinity.
The 70-200 mm ƒ/2.8L comes standard with a large pental-shaped hood that does a good job of shading the front element from flare-producing light sources. That said though, the lens does appear to be fairly prone to flare if you have a strong light source hitting the front element. You'll definitely want to keep the hood in place if you're shooting in direct sunlight or other situations where strong light sources could cause flare. When not in use, the hood can be reversed and stored on the lens for storage.
Canon EF 70-200mm ƒ/2.8L IS USM ~$1,900
Both lenses are similarly sharp, though in our test copies the non-IS lens was much sharper at 70mm and ƒ/2.8; at 200mm and ƒ/2.8, the edge went to the IS version. Stopped down to ƒ/4 or smaller, it's hard to tell them apart. Performance for CA, distortion and corner shading are similar between the two lenses. Apart from a little more weight, length and image stabilization, the two lenses are practically identical - if you don't mind the extra cost.
Canon EF 70-200mm ƒ/4L USM ~$640
Canon makes the 70-200mm ƒ/4 lens in image-stabilized and non-IS versions. Both are significantly lighter and smaller than the 70-200mm ƒ/2.8. The lenses are very similar to their ƒ/2.8 counterparts: stop down the ƒ/2.8 lenses to ƒ/4, and you've got extremely similar performance across sharpness, CA, distortion and corner shading. Essentially, if you don't need ƒ/2.8, there's a big financial savings available for you.
Sigma 70-200mm ƒ/2.8 EX DG HSM APO ~$750
The Sigma performs very well when stopped down to ƒ/4, matching the performance of the Canon. But at ƒ/2.8, there is a definite edge to the Canon. Please note that Sigma has produced a new version of this lens, so these results may not stand to current scrutiny. Results for CA, distortion and corner shading are similar. HSM focusing, similar to Canon's USM performance, provides fast and quiet autofocus.
Tamron 70-200mm ƒ/2.8 Di LD IF Macro SP AF ~$750
The Tamron performs extremely well, slightly sharper than the Canon at ƒ/2.8 above 70mm. Stopped down, it's a match, perhaps a nod to the Canon. CA is slightly higher, but distortion and corner shading are similar. Tamron's autofocus isn't quite as fast nor as quiet as Canon's.
The Canon 70-200mm ƒ/2.8L USM performed very well in our tests, perhaps not as sharp as we'd like at 200mm and ƒ/2.8, but quite impressive at 70mm. CA tolerance is very good, distortion is low, and corner shading is very low. Build quality is very high, and autofocus performance is excellent. For the money, you can't go wrong with this lens.
The VFA target should give you a good idea of sharpness in the center and corners, as well as some idea of the extent of barrel or pincushion distortion and chromatic aberration, while the Still Life subject may help in judging contrast and color. We shoot both images using the default JPEG settings and manual white balance of our test bodies, so the images should be quite consistent from lens to lens.
As appropriate, we shoot these with both full-frame and sub-frame bodies, at a range of focal lengths, and at both maximum aperture and ƒ/8. For the ''VFA'' target (the viewfinder accuracy target from Imaging Resource), we also provide sample crops from the center and upper-left corner of each shot, so you can quickly get a sense of relative sharpness, without having to download and inspect the full-res images. To avoid space limitations with the layout of our review pages, indexes to the test shots launch in separate windows.
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM User Reviews
10 out of 10 points and recommended by nhla350 (1 reviews)Fast, Sharp, Colour ,Slick AF, Creamy Bokeh , Build and ISNone... OK ! If really picky the weight but what do you expect
STUNNING....simply Stunning on a crop (7D) or a FF (5D3).reviewed November 23rd, 2015 (purchased for $2,299)
Have used for three years now for sports, events and some portrait work. The go to lens on most occasions has been this beauty.
Just today I sold my 300 F4 that was bought at the same time for "sharp " extra reach but it hardly saw action. (That was a good buy for some one @ $1050)
Instead I have used the 70-200mm with both 1.4X & 2X EXT iii's to get extra reach when needed, and even with a 1.4 this beautiful piece of kit beats the 300mm F4 hands down. With a 2x Ext its probably a dead heat except the 70-200 is longer.
If you are thinking about getting one just take a deep breathe and go for it! You won't be disappointed.
I still retain my 70-200mm F4 IS USM as a lightweight option when weight matters.... but whilst also brilliant , the F4 is not in the same league when it comes to resolution! Few things are !
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9 out of 10 points and recommended by mariuspavel (5 reviews)sharp and buid qualityprice - better IS on Mark 2 version
I tested this lens a week ago and it looks and performs good, but i prefer Mark 2 version that i own.reviewed July 19th, 2014 (purchased for $2,000)
Pictures a took with this lens: www.mariuspavel.ro/foto-nunta-zarnesti-eliza-si-cornel/
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Danno (2 reviews)Build quality, sharp at 2.8Fragile hood
Bought this lens second hand from a shop yesterday.reviewed May 18th, 2014 (purchased for $1,225)
I wanted to buy the 4IS, but bought this lens instead.
Despite reports of this lens not being sharp at 200mm, I find this lens sufficiently sharp at 2.8. Yesterday I was carrying my gear through an afternoon of shopping with wife and daughter to test the weight. I find the lens less heavy than expected. Most people complain too much?
I have tested this lens against 200mm F/2.8 fixed and the 70-200mm F/4 IS. The 70-200mm 2.8 gave nicer colours than the fixed 200mm. The 4IS was boring, as I don't see the point of buying a lens similar to my 24-105L. What would I gain by spending so much money? The 70-200 2.8 is really special, I don't care about weight.
Today I shot at the first commune of a friends daughter. Light was challenging, but with a 2.8 it was fine. With the 4IS I wouldn't have such nice photos, your lens can stabilise, but you won't stabilise children.
I do miss stabilisation in low light of it's expensive brother, but I spend much less now and wait with that investment.
Excellent lens, build quality, image quality including colours, just awesome. I have the 85mm F/1.8, in low light colours change, the 70-200 shows good colour and contrast at 2.8 so important.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by JRenato (5 reviews)Talvez a melhor em sua categoria.Nada.
Zoom de Qualidade Superior.reviewed January 13th, 2012
Exelente em todas as distâncias focais.
Nitidez e Contastes Irretocáveis.
Foco de Altíssima Velocidade.
Talvez o Melhor zoom 70x200 2.8 !!!!!
8 out of 10 points and not recommended by touristguy87 (33 reviews)the pros are just not all that great for the consthe obvious: size, weight, limited focal-length range...cost...
I had this lens for a week. It's just not all that much. Aside from the obvious stuff like the weight (it's about the weight of a freaking cinderblock) and the size (it's like carrying around your forearm, though it will fit in a backpack), it has a few sneaky cons to it. But I will sum it up by saying that if you need this lens then you will deal with the cons (and they are numerous), if you don't really need this lens, then you will happily return it.reviewed September 12th, 2009 (purchased for $1,500)
The question is, how do you know that you really need this lens before you actually buy one and hump it out to the field and take shots?
Well, the only outstanding reason I can see to buy this lens is if you need a 70-200mm F2.8 zoom and nothing else will do. The IS is superfluous because while it's neat to take 200mm handheld shots at F2.8, handholding this lens gets old fast, and with good technique you can do that with a Tamron 28-300VC at 1/8s or so, which is a far more friendly carry than this lens. So it's the sheer speed and bokeh at F2.8 that justifies this lens. Or maybe you're shooting film, for some reason, and need every ounce of speed that you can get. And true, at F2.8 wide open you get some extra focus-precision with Canon cameras. So yeah if you need a good 200mm F2.8 lens, then this is the ticket.
Otherwise the 70-200 F4 and a whole lot of other options make more sense.
In which case you're just going to buy it regardless. Unless you're thinking of switching to Nikon, because if you're that hung-up on SNR you're probably going to switch to a D700, D3 or D3X too. I think, though, that after lugging this sucker around a few times & dealing with its limited FL range you will try very hard to find another way to get the shot without using this lens. Or else you will wish for the 200mm F2.0 or even the F1.8 (at...$4500 new). But I think that most shooters will want either a faster, shorter lens or a faster, cleaner camera or a combination of the two and some NR.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by AljoschaNiko (3 reviews)Already very sharp at f/3.2, excellent build quality, good handlingOn my exemplar sharpness @200mm begin's at f/5.6
As I got to shot pictures the first time with this lens, I felt that "High level" of this lens. It's really professional and very good in build quality and optical performance. But on my exemplar, the sharpness at 200mm just begins at f/5.6 and the "wow" effect of sharpness is at f/8. I expected to be a little bit sharper wide open. But when it's sharp and when you get one team with your lens, you can really produce awesome results! I highly recommend it to every one who needs excellent build quality and excellent optical performance as well as in low light situations!reviewed May 23rd, 2009 (purchased for $1,268)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by tanglefoot47 (2 reviews)Fast, sharp, white, 2.8, great colors, contrastNone
I love this lens I have owned all the 70-200 and settled with this non IS. It's fast, great for LL sportsreviewed January 30th, 2009 (purchased for $950)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Andy__ (1 reviews)Excellent IQ, fast AF, solid feelA bit heavy
This is an excellent lens all round I think. I have owned mine for about 3 months and couldn't be happier.reviewed December 6th, 2008 (purchased for $899)
I have taken pics at two motorsport events and the results have been stunning. Sharpness, detail and colour are outstanding. Thought about the IS model but decided for an extra $700 USD it wasn't worth it. Not for an enthusiuast like myself anyway.
This has been an excellent purchase for myself and I highly recommened this lens.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by PsiBurn (8 reviews)sharp at f/2.8, great bokeh, fast AF, solid buildheavy [but not as heavy as I thought it would be], attention drawer
My first L, and I couldn't be any happier.reviewed May 8th, 2008 (purchased for $1,190)
This lens is built well, albeit without weather seals, but from what I can see, can take a good beating. That, and the images it produces, are some of the many reasons I got this over other competing 70-200 models.
It's still taking me some time to handle the lens properly as it is quite heavy, but it is not as heavy as I thought it would be, if not, quite well balanced, esp. w/ a battery grip on a 20D/30D. That, and ppl's eyes are seriously drawn to this lens...
Overall, I'm glad I got this lens. I thought about the f/2.8 IS and the f/4 IS, but after what happened to my 17-55 f/2.8 and the IS mechanism bugging out on me, I wanted to stay away from IS for a bit and was very glad Canon still made this model, even after over a decade.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Sea Dragon Rex (5 reviews)Very sharp lens. Fast silent focus. Beautiful bokehLarge white lens that stands out
This is an awesome lens. It is very sharp and the bokeh is incredible. It is built like a tank and the only reason I don't rate it 10 in build quality is because it doesn't have a weather seal at the base.reviewed January 7th, 2008 (purchased for $1,033)
It is a big heavy lens so you have to get used to the weight. It also attracts a lot of attention because of the size and color. I've used this lens with my XT and 40D and love it with either camera (though it feels better balanced on the 40D).
10 out of 10 points and recommended by fergusonjr (15 reviews)Incredible Image Quality. Big Aperture. Superior Build-Quality. Super Smooth ControlsWeighty.
I'm not quite sure how this lens could possibly be any better, except for the addition of IS. This is a phenomenal lens. I didn't add the price to the list of Cons, because at $1,100 I think this lens is a pure bargain.reviewed January 19th, 2007
Like the 70-200 f/4L, the zoom and focus rings on this lens are as smooth as butter. This lens feels exceptionally tight and solid.
In comparison to the f/4 lens, I had expected that this f/2.8 lens would have some trade-offs and downsides as result of its larger aperture. But I was wrong. This lens produces the same incredible images with the same fantastic sharpness as the f/4 lens, even down to f/2.8. I expected at least to see some kind drop-off in edge-sharpness, but I was wrong. This lens is perfect.
The f/2.8 really makes a difference for achieving faster exposures without having to up the ISO. We're talking about being able to capture at twice the shutter speed. I did some quick tests of trying some stop-action captures, and the difference between f/2.8 and f/4 in many cases resulted in getting the shot and not getting the shot . . . one picture stopped and sharp, one picture kinda stopped and slightly blurred. To me, the f/2.8 makes this a feasible indoor lens, although I haven't had a chance to test it in indoors to a great extent. Another benefit of the larger aperture on this lens is that the background blur (bokeh) is even smoother and deeper than on the f/4. You'd certainly expect this to be the case, but the blur on the f/4 is already nice enough such that you don't necessarily think about looking forward to it on the f/2.8 . . . but once you see it, you notice it!
I really cannot imagine how this lens could be improved, except perhaps by the addition of IS (which you can get for an additional $600!), or by the addition of another 100mm of zoom. I suspect that Canon found a a sweet spot here with the 70-200, where they could achieve a very useful, fairly wide-range zoom without any compromises. The addition of another 100mm would probably make the lens suffer in some way or another, either in sharpness or CA . . . not to mention size and weight, especially at f/2.8. No, this lens is perfect.
It's important to note that this is Canon's one and only f/2.8 telephoto-zoom lens, and the level of care they've put into making this their flagship telephoto-zoom is evident. It's perfect . . . did I mention that already?
The only slight negative I can think of mentioning for this lens is the weight. It is about twice as heavy as the f/4 lens, and it's certainly noticeable. The f/4 is about the same weight as the Rebel, and it feels nicely balanced on that body . . . it's almost a perfect match. The f/2.8 is roughly twice the weight of the Rebel, and the balance definitely changes toward the lens. It's hefty enough to make you start thinking about whether you should be attaching your shoulder/neck strap to the lens rather than the camera. So, this is a little compromise, but the performance on this lens is so phenomenal, you forget about the added weight pretty quickly.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by six100 (10 reviews)Prime-like overall image quality (simply beautiful and sharp images). Impressive bokeh. Usefull 1.5m minimal distance focus switch. "L standard" 77mm filter thread. Best USM lens I ever used, period.Price, but you get what you pay for (worth every penny). White...but you get used to it and in the end you start loving it. The original hood is very expensive.
My best lens ever. If you hear someone say "the image quality is similar to primes" believe him. It is a prime with a 70-200 range.reviewed January 8th, 2007 (purchased for $1,200)
This lens produce an impressive bokeh, one of the best I've seen. And what can be said about USM...it's just addictive. Fast, silent and precise. Once you try it, you don't want to go back to anything else.
One thing to note about this lens is the price for a replacement hood (ET-83II). I bought this lens second hand and since the hood had some marks over it but the rest of the lens was mint I decided to go and buy a new hood just to match the awesome conservation of the lens. 45 bucks was the cheapest I could find...if you add the delivery cost to that you have a lot of money for a piece of plastic...of course you can get a 77mm hood from some other brand...if you don't mind going < 100% original. Besides that and the 1k+ price tag, this is a dream lens to have. I would only replace it with a bigger range lens with similar performance.
Some pics taken with it:
9 out of 10 points and recommended by samo (4 reviews)Awesome IQ, great multipurpose range.Heavy, expensive.
The ultimate event lens. I use this baby to shoot weddings, mounted on a 5D, and boy it delivers. It's really sharp even wide open, with very good contrast and color, autofocus is fast and accurate. My keeper rate is very high. On the downside, it's heavy and feels unbalanced without the battery grip, so add more weight to the formula.reviewed January 1st, 2007 (purchased for $1,140)
This is one of the best midrange tele-zooms in Canon's lineup, just be careful using it if you have a bad back.
0 out of 10 points and recommended by MarkW (1 reviews)No comments I just bought this lens yesterday
I have another question since I only bought this lens yesterday I haven't been able to try it out. However, what is the difference (if there is any) that my lens body's color is off-white whereas I only see clear white sample pictures on the internet?? Who's got any ideas?reviewed December 16th, 2006
10 out of 10 points and recommended by kwk36 (5 reviews)fast, well made, sharpnone
I must admit I was less than impressed with my first images from this lens. I am not new to photography but I am new to autofocus. My other lenses have been forgiving of my AF ignorance. This lens however, showed me that autofocus, like any other tool, must be learned and used correctly. My problem was keeping the focus point in use on fast moving subjects and using the correct focus mode for the subject. Once I got this through my head I have found my images to be good and sharp. This is a well made lens with great performance and it made all the difference in getting the shots I needed on my last shoot. I didn't even consider the IS version. I guess I'm still a little too "old school" for that. I can't see why anybody would regret buying this lens, it's top notch.reviewed December 10th, 2006
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Michael LV (3 reviews)Sharp, good color and contrast for all Zoom rangeHeavy
Excellent resolution, color and contrast even on F#2.8 in mid field. With aperture from 5.6 full field is great, considering it is a Zoom.reviewed December 6th, 2006 (purchased for $1,200)
A bit too heavy but it makes a good return on effort to carry.
Overall I am very happy with this Lens and will not give it away.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Lawrence88 (5 reviews)Awesome IQ, bokeh, build qualitynone
What more can be said about this lens? It's one of the main workhorse of many professionals. I use mine mainly to cover events/concerts/publicity events/etc with superb results. You can't beat the bokeh except with the fast long primes, but then they won't be flexible. In the beginning my focusing sight shakes a little from holding it although most of the time it will not usually affect image sharpness in the end (I am spoiled by IS I guess) but after getting the lowepro slingshot 200 AW I can use it for handholding. I use monopod also but in some events it is not easily setup given the situation.reviewed November 24th, 2006 (purchased for $1,100)
Some people say the weight is a problem but it's really not that heavy. Of course it will be a different story if you hold it all day... Get a nice shoulder strap for your camera for an easier time lugging it around...
Is the IS worth the extra $500? Maybe but I chose to go without and got an extra lens with the savings instead... Or you can go get a flash with the savings to freeze motion in available light. You will do fine in daylight with it.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by theoak (7 reviews)Long range, 2.8, tripod mount, big manual ringsNo IS.
I love this lens, and use it a lot. All of Canon's 70-200s are great lenses.reviewed November 20th, 2006
I do wish that I had put the cost of this lens towards the IS version instead of buying this one. This shouldn't reflect poorly on this lens, but I shoot in low light a lot and it would be nice to do so at smaller aperture with IS.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by ddesimoni (12 reviews)2.8, fast AF, sharpnone
this is my normal walk around lens, works great with the canon 1.4 extender.reviewed November 18th, 2006 (purchased for $1,100)
Do I miss IS, NO, having seen resolution test of this lens versus the IS, I decided to pick this lens. Have I missed a few shoots with the IS, sure, is it worth the difference in cost and lower resolution, NO.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by r0nald (2 reviews)Very well constructed, excellent optics.Long and heavy.
This lens is my money maker (I'm a wannabe Pro photographer). I shoot cycling races and this lens gets the job done. Since all of the bikes races I shoot occur during the day "IS" wasn't such a big factor when I choose the non-IS version. I figure I would not carry the extra "IS" weight around and save $. This lens is still quite capable in low light situations with an aperture of f2.8. The 70-200 f2.8 is very sharp and has a very fast USM AF - makes my job a whole lot easier and very enjoyable.reviewed November 16th, 2006 (purchased for $1,049)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Ross T (4 reviews)Incredibly SHARP...FAST...Beautiful Bokeh!!None
This is an Awesome Lens...I've had mine for 10 yrs....Fantastic Portrait Lens...BEAUTIFUL Bokeh....Incredibly SHARP...FAST...Spends more time on my camera than any other lens!!reviewed October 13th, 2006
10 out of 10 points and recommended by hellofacanon (3 reviews)Very Fast AF.Very sharp and contrasty images.Almost none
This lens is very much comparable to a prime.reviewed February 16th, 2006
USM AF is VERY fast and is perfect for indoor sports.
Very good portrait lens too.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by magicbutton (2 reviews)ultra-sharp, fast AF, rugged.weight/size
What can you say that hasn't already been said about this lens? It's as close to a perfect mid-range telephoto as you'll ever find.reviewed December 3rd, 2005 (purchased for $1,100)
I'll never sell it.
Construction is very solid and has resisted any wearing or chips on the body that come from long hours of use.
This is not a 'weatherized' model though and no gasket is on the mount if that matters to you.
The 2.8 has been critical for me to have and I would have missed shots if I had gone with the cheaper f/4 version. I have been happy with all my 2.8 shots in all lighting conditions for sharpness. In fact, I am continually amazed at the shots that I get with this lens.
Have seen some posters( on other boards) mention that the color of this lens attracts muggers, etc. This is silly to me. A mugger is just gonna see that you have a SLR-like camera. It doesn't matter if you have a black lens or a pink one. Don't let the white color discourage you. In my experience, I have traveled internationally with this lens and walked in all manner of places with no issues ( I know... might have been luck, I doubt it though) . You just need to use your head irregardless if you have a $200 lens attached or this one!
Length and weight of this lens make it a challenge to use on long days or in crowded areas. But, choosing gear is a compromise. I'll gladly sweat a little more or move a little slower to get my images captured with this lens. Most of my 'wow' photos come from this lens.
It's an amazing bit of hardware.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by mdbassman (5 reviews)Sharp -Great Dynamic Range- Fast!A Tad heavy
Great zoom lense. Sharp images at all ranges and great contrast. On 5d very little corner vignetting on some images and none on others.reviewed November 2nd, 2005 (purchased for $1,000)