Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

Lens Reviews / Canon Lenses i Lab tested

Lab Test Results

  • Blur
  • Chromatic Aberration
  • Vignetting
  • Geometric Distortion
  • Blur
  • Chromatic Aberration
  • Vignetting
  • Geometric Distortion
70-200mm $599
average price
image of Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

(From Canon lens literature) High-performance, L-series telephoto zoom lens combining light weight and compactness with an f/4 maximum aperture. Inner focusing and the ring USM enable quick and quiet autofocusing. Also, a circular polarizing filter can be attached and used without difficulty because the front lens element does not rotate during focusing. The tripod collar (sold separately) is the same one used with the EF 300mm f/4L USM

Test Notes

Usually in life, the best you can hope for is to get what you paid for. Occasionally though, you get much more. A good case in point is the Canon 70-200mm f/4L lens. Prior to testing it, we'd been aware of this lens' good reputation: Test tech Jim actually owns one, and he'd been very favorably impressed with its capabilities before we brought it to the test lab. When we ran it through its paces though, we were quite surprised to find just how good it actually was. We try to be cautious in our use of superlatives, but by any measure, this is a great lens; in our opinion, one of the best Canon makes and a bargain even at its not-inconsiderable price.

On a sub-frame camera like our 20D testbed, the Canon 70-200mm f/4L delivers outstanding performance across its full focal length range, and at all apertures from wide open up to about f/16 or so. Wide open, it's sharp from corner to corner from 70-135mm, showing only a little softness in the corners at 200mm. Chromatic aberration is impressively low at all focal lengths, but is exceptionally so from 135mm on.

Geometric distortion is also unusually low for a zoom lens, ranging from about 0.2% barrel distortion at 70mm to about 0.2% pincushion at 200mm. Distortion passes through zero somewhere around 90mm, varying more or less smoothly across the focal length range. Shading or "vignetting" is also very low, reaching a maximum of 0.2 EV wide open at 200mm, but being 0.1 EV or less at shorter focal lengths, or when stopped down just one stop at 200mm.

Being an internal-zoom design (the lens barrel doesn't increase in length as you adjust the focal length), the Canon 70-200mm f/4 L shows no "zoom creep;" that is, it holds its zoom setting whether it's pointing up, down, or level. A ring-style USM focus motor makes for very fast (and almost totally silent) AF operation. Build quality is every bit of what you'd expect from Canon's "L" lenses, or in a word, superb.

Bottom line, this is simply an excellent lens, one that we can wholeheartedly recommend to any Canon owner interested in its focal length range. Widely available online for less than $600, it's also a genuine bargain.

Full-Frame Test Notes:

The performance of most lenses we test suffer considerably when moving from sub-frame to full-frame bodies: Out at the edges of the image circle (the corners of the full 35mm frame), they tend to lose focus, show increased chromatic aberration, etc. The Canon 70-200mm f/4L does give up a little on full-frame bodies, but less than we're accustomed to seeing. The corner softness we saw in the corners at 200mm on the 20D was more pronounced on the 5D, but performance at 135mm and below was really excellent.

Interestingly, when it came to chromatic aberration, the larger pixels of the 5D more than made up for the demands of the larger image circle, as CA was actually lower at all focal lengths except 200mm.

As you'd expect though, both geometric distortion and shading ("vignetting") increase noticeably on a full-frame camera. Geometric distortion hits a high of 0.49% barrel at 70mm, and a maximum of 0.58% pincushion at 200mm. Vignetting hits a maximum ranging between 0.45 and 0.6 EV for all focal lengths, and decreases relatively slowly as the lens is stopped down (ranging from 0.25-0.32 EV at f/5.6, and 0.17-0.22 EV at f/8.0).

So, while the Canon 70-200mm f/4L has a bit harder time with full-frame sensor cameras, it's clearly an excellent piece of glass, and a surprising bargain, widely available online for less than $600.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM User Reviews

9.2/10 average of 49 reviews Build Quality 9.3/10 Image Quality 9.4/10
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    sharp, build quality
    slow AF

    In action (sports) photography, AF seems a bit slow, sometimes out of focus when shooting in burst modus (Canon 7D)

    reviewed May 29th, 2014 (purchased for $600)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    great IQ and build, lightweight for its category
    lack of IS with those focal lengths, but you can get the IS version if this is a concern

    Another great lens from Canon. I have loved this lens very much when using in tripod, unfortunately cannot use those focal lengths without IS.

    reviewed August 28th, 2013 (purchased for $500)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    price, sharpness, build quality, size

    This is my first "L" lens and I really like it. The images are sharp, the auto focusing is fast. The build quality is superb.
    I love the look of the pictures the lens makes, the contrast and the nice bokeh.

    I chose this one over the f/2.8 mostly because of the size. It is not very heavy. Also the smaller size is an advantage, if you travel a lot like me.

    If you wish, have a look at some pictures taken with this lens in this set on my flickr. all were take with my Canon EOS 7D.

    reviewed July 31st, 2012 (purchased for $700)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (4 reviews)
    L-optics, lightweight

    This is indeed a very nice portraitlens on my 400D. Use this lens on f4 and further up to f14 and your results will be nice and with good contrast.
    I had to send my lens with my 400D to a service point for calibration.My copy had focusproblems (also on a new 7D at the shop)
    After this calibration (lens is paired with camera) my pictures are very sharp and nice.
    This calibration is a well known (at least at the servicecenter) issue and is carried out under warranty.

    I am very satisfied with this level of Canonservice.

    reviewed August 20th, 2011 (purchased for $600)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (10 reviews)
    center sharpness, colours, contrast, AF, price, size
    corner sharpness, focal length 200mm

    My review is based on using this lens on full-frame camera = 5d. Center sharpness is amazing at f4 - f5.6 from 70mm to 140mm, but corners are really soft. At 200mm overall sharpness is quite weak. Colours, contrast and bokeh are wonderfull, the AF great.

    I prefer using my 85/1.8 and 135/2L but sometimes the zoom is needed. For its price I find it really worthy lens.

    reviewed April 15th, 2011 (purchased for $670)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    Clarity, weight, color rendering, silet auto focus

    I have owned this les for a month or so and LOVE it! Color redition is fabulous; clarity is superb but; after all, it is an L lens.
    The silence of the auto focus is really nice. I like the way the lens looks and handles.
    I have nothing but praise for this lens.

    reviewed May 22nd, 2010 (purchased for $640)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (9 reviews)
    Sharpness at wide end, color reproduction, lightweight, build quality
    200mm softness, poor AF performance

    Judging by the reviews on this site, I'm assuming my copy to be an anomaly. I bought a gently-used 2004 70-200mm f/4L and have been fairly unimpressed. AF performance is terrible, with severe backfocus on all images. The lens is sharp from 70mm-135mm wide open, but is very soft at 200mm. The build quality is excellent, metal barrel and internals with smooth focus and zoom rings. Furthermore, the lens is lightweight for the focal range. Unfortunately, none of this can justify the issues my copy has at the most frequently used focal length.

    Edit: I recently exchanged my lens for a new copy which is sharper at 200mm and autofocuses much more accurately. The lens still remains just a bit soft at the long end compared to Canon's prime offerings, the 200mm f/2.8 II and the 200mm f/2. But it's certainly a versatile lens, and an excellent choice for travel and backpacking. I wouldn't hesitate to use it with the Canon Extender 1.4x.

    reviewed May 16th, 2010 (purchased for $600)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (12 reviews)
    Decent optics, superb construction, Light weight, Lightning fast focusing speed
    White color (I prefer black lens barrel)

    Use this lens for 9 months. I can't complain anything. This thing is too good. If you want a 70-XXX telephoto, it is a no brainer.

    reviewed March 11th, 2010 (purchased for $550)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (6 reviews)
    Solid build, light, sharp wide open, fast AF
    still trying to find something to gripe about

    This lens is awesome.

    I hear lot's of grumbling about theslow aperture being f/4. It's never limited me in anyway, in fact with the new hi-iso bodies, it's a moot point in many cases. I shoot portraits, products, landscape and wildlife with this lens and wow.

    Sharp wide open and right across the frame from edge to edge. Color and contrast are stunning...I smile whenever I pixel peep.

    reviewed October 7th, 2009 (purchased for $600)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (6 reviews)
    Excellent lens - nothing else compares!

    Rented this lens as I want to buy this one. I use a tripod so IS is not required. In SA we have too much light, so f/4 is perfect. What I don't get is that the cons listed for this lens i.e. aperture, IS are available on other iterations of this lens, so don't list these as cons! Canon has addressed these supposed cons with other versions, so if you have a problem, buy the more expensive lens. Thanks, Canon, for making this amazing lens available to all owners with differing budgets.
    What I did find is that this lens offers brilliant, sharp shots across the zoom range, easily equivalent to the prime at the similar range. Having this is the same as having 3 or 4 primes.
    Brilliant lens, Canon - no other lens compares!
    Just received mine (used). ZAR5000. And it is incredible!
    (I still use my 85mm f/1.8 for portraits for the creamy bokeh.)

    reviewed September 27th, 2009 (purchased for $640)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    USM, light weight, L
    f/4: not too good in low light but can be compensated using flash. :D

    You usually get for what you pay. This time, you get more. :D

    Pros: Fast focusing, awesome IQ, awesome bokeh even at f/4, super sharp.

    Cons: The widest aperture is f/4 but it's not a hindrance to take good amazing photos. :D It's still an L and you know what that means. :D

    reviewed April 20th, 2009 (purchased for $521)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    Very rapid focus, smooth zoom and focus rings, very sharp at all apertures and focal lengths, good weight and balance, effective lens hood
    haven't found any yet

    Bought this lens last year prior to a week's vacation on which it performed superbly. It's become one of my favorite lenses. Used it today indoors for candids of the grand kids.
    It just never fails to satisfy. I can use it in situations where I wouldn't have thought to use a 200mm lens before, thanks to the constant f/4.0 aperture and the way it balances so nicely on a 40D.
    The contrast, sharpness, clarity and background blur of this lens is definitely first rate. The only problem is that it's sort of spoiled me for anything other than an L lens.

    reviewed April 12th, 2009 (purchased for $610)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    sharp, solidly built, usm
    big, obvious

    It's a great lens, excellent focus, use a tripod for longer lengths / longer exposure combinations. I don't have any complaints good price for the lens and great reach on a crop body sensor (XSI), I wish it were shorter or black. I will upgrade to the IS version at some point.

    reviewed March 30th, 2009 (purchased for $550)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    Very sharp, quick focus even in very low indoor lighting, white colored, pro quality, zoom does not extend.
    Large lens hood, minor difference between 135mm and 200mm range.

    After reading much reviews about Canon's quality control is lacking and buyers eventually returning their new purchase for calibration, I bought this one used.

    I tested this lens in really low indoor lighting and the focus is amazing. Never thought this lens was able to focus at a specific spot where I was aiming at. This was attached to my 30D. The image quality is superb. Even though this lens has a max of f/4, I was able to get really sharp images hand held under indoor lighting.

    I don't think the white color is a con, like other users think, because it does appear to give the impression that it is a pro quality build. I do think that the lens hood is ridiculously large and takes up too much space in my bag.

    If I get the money, I'll spring for the 70-200L F2.8 IS. But in the meantime, this lens will definitely meet my expectations. At $500-$600 retail, I think it's a steal.

    For those who don't need the 2.8 or IS or don't have the money, get this one instead. This is one satisfying lens for sure.

    reviewed September 13th, 2008 (purchased for $500)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)

    After my bad experience with Sigma 24-70mm F/2.8 EX DG I gave up on chasing a good copy -- I just bought this lens instead and it is fantastic. No cons, just pros! Sharp on both ends, ultra fast and accurate focusing, silent, well balanced with my 40D. For below the 70mm I will get some prime or a cheaper 17-70mm lens and be done with it.

    reviewed September 11th, 2008 (purchased for $920)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (3 reviews)
    Excellent IQ, cheap, great build quality, got my best shot ever with this lens
    A bit short for what I do (wildlife), no tripod ring, Æ’/4

    I purchased this lens months ago and since then have been rewarded with many great images with it. The image quality is unmatched, superbly sharp even at 200mm. I got one spectacular shot with this lens that has received thousands upon thousands of positive remarks. That shot wouldn't have had the same great praise with anything less than the great IQ of this lens.

    I do wish that this lens came with a tripod ring however. I find that this lens causes the camera to not be rock steady on a tripod when using the camera's tripod mount. I also wish that this lens was ƒ/2.8, but at this price I can't complain at all. I very highly recommend this lens, but beware it will get you addicted the L lenses.

    reviewed February 16th, 2008 (purchased for $550)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (16 reviews)
    Price, quality

    This is another real bargain! I have used both the 70-200 2.8 and this lens, a copy of which I now own. The image quality is indistinguishable
    If you dont need the 2.8, buy this. Its lighter, easier to handhold, and sooo much easier to carry around all day.

    The test of this lens is spot on, you get so much more than the lowly ( well by canon L lens prices anyway) purchase price may suggest.

    I have not found it too slow in general use, nor have i ever thought that the addition of IS on its more recent sister lens is worth the significant price difference.

    The quality of the results is so good that increasing the ISO setting in poor light doesnt make you pay too much in terms of picture quality.

    If you are a pro, buy the 2.8, or the F4 IS, otherwise save your money and enjoy this superb lens.

    reviewed February 15th, 2008
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (3 reviews)
    Sharpness, contrast, color, fast accurate AF, great build
    The IS version costs twice as much

    For Canon's cheapest L lens, it is astonishing in just about every category. It's not really heavy, it has good range, descent MFD, and awesome image quality. That really about sums it up.

    To be nit picky, I would like a closer MFD, maybe 0.7 meters instead of 1.2m would be great for near macro shots, or more versatility at the lens' wider end. Also, I wish the IS version were not twice the price of this lens. For sports, I wish I had the F2.8 version, but F4 is fine for almost every other application.

    reviewed October 23rd, 2007 (purchased for $500)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    Sharp, Fast AF, Sexy white lens, Great price for an L
    Too prominent white lens barrel, F4 is not the fastest, would prefer longer reach

    Initially I wasn't sure what's with the hype of this lens. Lots of photogs love it. I used it a few times and didn't see the hoopla. Then one day BH had a sale simultaneously with Canon's rebates, so I picked one up thinking if I didn't like it I can always sell it. L lens keep their value.
    After shooting it here and there I was blown away at how sharp the images turned out in RAW. My 30d was set to 0 on all settings. Colours and contrast were spot on. I do enjoy using this lens more and more. I do wish sometimes it had a longer reach. Great lens and sure to become a legend in the Canon lens history.

    reviewed September 2nd, 2007 (purchased for $549)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    excellent quality, build, IQ and price.

    Just absolutely the best bargain lens Canon has ever produced. For the price, you are getting an "L" lens with all the "L" quality and build. Lens produces awesome IQ, color and contrast. With good lighting, you cannon beat the pics this lens produces. On my 30D body this lens is so sharp than the pics jump out at you. The detail is fantastic. I had to do very little post processing on them. Highly recommended lens to all Canon users. Enjoy !!!

    reviewed January 22nd, 2007 (purchased for $500)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (4 reviews)
    Absolute stunner, very portable, looks superb and shots to match
    Only what it says on the tin, will give you a taste for more

    Just a quickie, as there's not much left to say! It really is as great as everyone says and I still feel a tinge of excitement everytime I mount this on my camera.

    Focus is sensational, you can pluck birds from the sky with ease and the snappy zoom ring takes plenty of abuse and allows you to go end-to-end with a quick snick of the wrist. The lens also hangs very nicely on all the bodies I've tried it on, feeling like a dangling weapon, always ready to fire.

    That said, beware! Once you see what it can do it will give you an itch for more of what it offers and will frustrate you that you can't use your favourite lens all the time. 200mm on a cropped sensor and no IS means this lens goes to bed before your kids do. If I had to do this all over again I'd get the new IS version. As it is the vanilla f/4 holds its value remarkably well and with high build quality is a safe second hand buy. You can practically rent it until you can afford the IS version and have a load of photographic fun in the meantime.


    reviewed January 15th, 2007
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (15 reviews)
    Low Price. Superb Image quality. Excellent Sharpness
    Not for low light (f/4)

    Wow, wow, and wow! Quick, buy one of these before Canon realizes they're undercharging for them! This is a really really great lens, and an incredible bargain. In fact, the very fact that you're getting a bargain makes the images seem so much nicer!

    This lens makes some of the nicest images I've ever seen. It's obvious just by looking through the viewfinder that you're getting a better picture coming through. The sharpness and brilliant colors are amazing. The lens itself is a pleasure to use, with its super quiet and fast autofocus, FTM focusing, and solid, substantial build-quality. I like the fact that the lens stays the same length when zooming, and despite all the glass, it's relatively light . . . lighter than the 24-70 f/2.8 anyway.

    This is a remarkable lens. IS would be nice, but this is more of good-light, outdoor lens anyway, so I haven't found myself wanting. Certainly, if you're going to be shooting indoors a lot, the f/2.8 lens is a better choice, but it also costs twice as much. For most uses, this f/4 lens does amazing work.

    reviewed January 15th, 2007 (purchased for $570)
  • 0 out of 10 points and recommended by (5 reviews)
    Excellent image quality, versatile range, L punch

    This is the cheapest L lens, and there is actually one big Con: It will get you hooked on the L line. I had the very fine 70-210, but that extra notch that the 70-200L has is difficult to describe, but very noticable.

    Image and build quality are excellent, and so is AF speed and accuracy. The zoom is ring type, and as such there is no danger of creeping (the 70-210 does creep). The range is versatile, especially on 1.6 crop where it amounts to 100-320. Also, this lens goes very well with the 1.4 extender, at least in good light conditions.

    Note: price is converted from EUR, after special rebate

    reviewed January 14th, 2007 (purchased for $660)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (8 reviews)
    Great Built quality! Fast autofocus
    No tripod ring

    I have bought this lens in September, i the beginning i didn't like it much but after a few days on the field i looked to be much better than i had hopped.

    I have used it on 1.6 crop body. The image is very sharp wide open from F.4.0 to f9.0 at 70mm or 200mm. So it's harmonic. Even with a 1.4 Kenko TC it gaved me great results. One of my best lenses.

    The AF is very fast and precise, and you can manual overide it's AF. Zoom rings are also smooth.

    One thing i have noticed is its colors, are very vibrant and contrasty.

    reviewed January 12th, 2007 (purchased for $841)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    Light, sharp, superb image quality, reasonable cost.
    f/4 aperture and lack of IS

    This was my first L lens with my Rebel XT. It is simply a phenomenal lens. The images are razor sharp and the colors simply amazing. Occasionally I wish for f/2.8 or IS, but with high ISO I usually still get the shots I want. Even if I got the f/2.8 I would keep this lens because it is so much lighter. Definitely a fantastic lifetime investment. Never buy a lens that you wouldn't keep forever!

    reviewed January 9th, 2007 (purchased for $500)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (10 reviews)
    Stunning Image Quality, Beautiful lightweight design, fast USM, L-Build, WOW factor, low COST.
    Really NONE; but one could mention aperture, expensive tripod ring and no IS.

    I only own 1 L-lens, the 70-200 f4. The first time I handheld it I could not believe how lightweight it was. And when I looked into the viewfinder, really, I could not believe the beautiful image created. In short, if you only have funds for one L lens, then this is a serious candidate. Overall you get much more than you pay for and perhaps you just have to learn to seek those opportunities when this lens shines, that is, bright days and outdoors.

    If you are worried about the expensive canon tripod ring, there is another, less expensive option by ROXSEN, mentioned at:

    reviewed January 7th, 2007 (purchased for $630)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (6 reviews)
    Very sharp from wide open, relatively light

    Nothing much to say - it's almost perfect in any way of testing. Cant find some cons... maybe IS-version will be even better.

    So my opinion, if you dont want to pay much more for 70-200/2.8L IS - the lens is your choice. It has no visible flaws.

    Highly recommended for APS-C or FF!

    reviewed January 7th, 2007 (purchased for $700)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (6 reviews)
    Price, Build quality, constant aperture, internal focusing

    Very sharp, low distortion, color repected. This is one of my favorite lens !
    It quality is near a prime lens !

    If you are looking for a 70-200 lens, this one is for you !

    reviewed January 6th, 2007 (purchased for $650)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (10 reviews)
    Very sharp wide open, light weight, great value

    This is the perfect lens for anyone looking for a relatively light weight telephoto lens with superb image quality. This lens is super sharp wide open and does very well with a 1.4 teleconverter. It is one of Canon's best values in an L lens.

    reviewed December 30th, 2006 (purchased for $550)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (3 reviews)
    Cost, weight/quality, image quality

    This lens is primarily for anybody looking for a zoom lens with good image quality that is also affordable, with the abundance of consumer-quality 70/75-300mm range lenses, most of them really don't provide sufficient image quality for a serious photographer.

    This is relatively inexpensive pro-quality lens that offers some major benefits: 1. is obviously the price while supplying great image quality. 2. Is the weight for a pro quality lens.

    I recently took a backpacking trip in Colorado (1 week long, so every pound on your back adds up FAST), and this was one of the 2 lenses I took with. On a 20D (also a great camera to bring on these kind of things if you don't want the weight of a pro body), the lens provides sufficient reach for most any purposes except for extreme-range wildlife.

    The only thing worth mentioning against it is that because of the slowish aperture (medium-fast for a consumer, but slow for a pro) or IS, the lens has limited use on very cloudy days, or during twilight without a tripod.

    The build quality also seemed quite sufficient for me. I'm somewhat clumsy, and never baby my gear, so I've got nicks and scratches all over the barrel, and this lens has never failed me in an operational or image quality standpoint.

    All around a great lens for anybody who wants good quality in a relatively light package.

    reviewed December 28th, 2006 (purchased for $550)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (4 reviews)
    Sharpness, color

    This is one of the most sucessful Canon lenses. For the price it sells for it provides great sharpness and beautiful color. Great on my D20.

    reviewed December 25th, 2006 (purchased for $520)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (9 reviews)
    Clean colour, sharp, fast focus, non-extending barrel

    I love this lens! It gives beautiful vibrant colour and sharpness across the full frame when paired with a 20D. Very fast and accurate focusing, even in low light. A joy to use!

    reviewed December 16th, 2006 (purchased for $1,000)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (21 reviews)

    This lens was my first non-kit lens. It is an exceptional value and gives incredible sharpness for a zoom. The focusing is fast and accurate. The lens itself is light and is not hard to carry all day. I use it for baseball games on a crop body which is just about perfect. It takes the 1.4TC well without much image degradation.

    reviewed December 14th, 2006 (purchased for $575)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    Excellent image quality

    While I use this lens for a variety of outdoor photography situations with excellent results, my main need was for a high quality zoom lens to use for low-light theater photography. When I was shooting film with my Canon T-90 and a Tokina 70-200 f/2.8 lens (using an 80A filter to make the on camera color correction for daylight film) usually using Porta 800 or Extapress or similar with good results.
    When I made the move to digital (Canon 5D) I ideally wanted a fast lens (f/2.8). However, this Canon f/4 lens works very well for low-light digitial theater photography. I shoot from a tripod during dress rehearsals. The ability to dial up the ISO "on the fly" as needed or using exposure compensation produces outstanding results under this situation.

    Strongly recommmed this lens!

    reviewed December 11th, 2006 (purchased for $550)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (4 reviews)
    superb lens : sharp, contrasty, fast focus, lightweight
    white color

    The best bang for the bucks!

    I have this lens for one year now and I'm always impressed by the pics I get from it.

    - Sharp at all focal lenght
    - contrasty and beautiful colors
    - smooth bokeh
    - very fast focus
    - compact, nice for travel
    - superb build quality

    I use it mainly for nature shots and potraits.
    For taking pics in dim light condition, f/4 is a bit slow.

    My only complaint : it's color. It screams "look at me!" Can be a problem when you want to take discrete pictures.

    reviewed December 8th, 2006 (purchased for $745)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (9 reviews)
    sharp, relatively fast, USM
    large and white

    Beautifully sharp, even wide open. Fast focusing due to USM. Comes with hood (as do all Ls), meaning you don't have to fork out an extra ~$40.

    Only con: tends to draw 'pro' attention, which can be bad if you're try to be inconspiciuos.

    reviewed December 5th, 2006 (purchased for $500)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (13 reviews)
    Sharp!; good build; fine colors; light

    You can read it everywhere on the intenet and I'll tell you again: this is Canon's best deal. This lens is so sharp it hurts your eyes. It's also the first lens that made me realize that a lens can influence the end colors of apicture. This one provides exceptionally bright colors (for lack of a better word). It is now available with IS too. Haven't tested that one though. Mostly an outdoor lens with high shutter speeds for me, I dont really have a need for the IS on this lens. If you want it for inside and portrait use, you'd probably first look at the f/2.8 (and then at the available IS on that one).

    reviewed December 1st, 2006 (purchased for $570)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    Affordable, Beautiful boken, Quality build.
    low light preformance

    Love this lens, no comparsion to the 18-55kit lens from the Canon 30D. Sharpness right out to 100%, which we all want and deserve. Beautiful boken, love the 3D affect from this lens.

    I would recommend a tripod or atleast a monopod to fully take advantage of it's capabilty. Most all poor shots come from camera shake, put this baby on a tripod with mirror lock up or timer and you will immediately see the difference.

    I put the 1.4Canon extender on and could not notice any degradation of picture quality, sending a squirrel shot from this set up to a contest. This speaks for itself as to my recommendation of this fine lens.


    reviewed November 29th, 2006 (purchased for $800)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (13 reviews)
    Outstandingly sharp, flare well controlled, relatively light
    slow aperture (f/4.0) is not ideal for some sports

    This lens is an excellent choice for all but night shots at baseball or football games where an F/2.8 would be better. Otherwise images are outstanding with remarkable resolution and excellent color. With it's weight, I don't really know if IS would be a big add to the value of this optic... it's light and easily balances on a 20D.

    reviewed November 25th, 2006 (purchased for $575)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (8 reviews)
    lightweight, great color
    f/4 aperture is slow

    I owned this lens and then sold it on ebay. It was good, but I just couldn't like it enough. I eventually got a 2.8 IS version and love it much more.

    I would recommend this lens as a lightweight or traveling telephoto lens.

    reviewed November 25th, 2006 (purchased for $600)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (62 reviews)
    lightweight, excellent optics, build quality

    One of the best bargains in "L" lenses and also the perfect long zoom for travelling due to its light weight.

    This is a bargain L lens. You get great color and contrast, superb construction quality, and a constant aperture (plus internal zooming and focus).

    Although it's not as fast as its f/2.8 variant, it's also almost a third of the price - a pretty good compromise!

    If your lens collection consists of this, the 17-40L and a 50mm/1.4, you'd pretty much have all the pro quality you need at about $1600 - less than the price of one L/f2.8 zoom.

    reviewed November 19th, 2006
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (3 reviews)
    sharpenss, contrast, color, buid quality

    Excellent lens!

    reviewed November 18th, 2006 (purchased for $550)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (8 reviews)
    light, sharp, low priced, L quality
    no IS ;-) not as good for full frame

    It was my first L lens. I loved it. Really. I used it with 10D, 20D, 5D. For 10D and 20D it was almost perfect. But for full frame it is - of course - less good. Using 5D at 70 mm its picture was always blurry or less sharp than I used with my old bodies. Once upon a time it was my best lens, but when I bought a 20-70 f/2.8 L I became think that I need a better telezoom, so I sold it for its new IS version. At the same time the IS also seemed to be a must for me.

    reviewed November 17th, 2006
  • 9 out of 10 points and not recommended by (5 reviews)
    Sharp, fast focusing, good image quality
    Got a yellow limon and returned it

    Well I got yellow lemon.
    I was expecting to use this lens in moutains but it started giving me error 99 every second shot, so I had to switch to my old 18-55. This was very disappointing.

    I returned it later to retailer. They checked it on a different body (30D) as they could not believe that such a lens can do such as thing. But it did same stuff on 30D. I was disappointed ( I lost quite a few shots) and decided not to exchange but just to return it.

    When it worked it was giving excellent images. I liked everthing about it except QUALITY ASSURANCE!!!

    I will not buy it again but possible will go with the IS version of it. It does make sense to spend some more money (if budget allows) on IS version as I find it very usefull on the telephoto range.

    reviewed November 16th, 2006 (purchased for $800)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (17 reviews)
    Sharp, LightWeight, Excellent Build, Inner Focusing/Zooming, Suberb Value For Money
    None so Far

    This Lens show exactly how Lens in this price range, and far, should be.

    Excellent build, very smooth control, and excellent image quality.

    Highly recommended. Can't go wrong with this piece of equipment.

    reviewed November 14th, 2006 (purchased for $760)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    good price, great sharpness, fast auto focus, internal focus and zoom.
    f/4, too short zoom scale.

    I bought this lens second handed.
    The first thing I noticed was the fast auto focus.
    The focus ring is buttery smooth, the zoom ring is a bit lighter (maybe a bit too light.... but it's not that bad)
    It's only problam is the short zoom scale but u get used to it really fast..
    Overall it's a great lens. U wouldn't regreat buying it!

    reviewed July 25th, 2006
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (5 reviews)
    Sharp, light, reasonably contrasty, well priced.
    I guess the F4 max aperture.

    Nice light lens with excellent build quality.

    Very sharp, reasonably contrasty.

    Obviously an F2.8 max aperture would be better than the F4, but then it would be much more pricey if that were the case.

    I think it's a very good lens for outdoor or general photography.

    reviewed October 28th, 2005 (purchased for $600)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (5 reviews)
    very sharp, light, construction, AF very fast
    no IS , no collar ring

    AF very good, image quality excellent, very sharp @ every focal lenght and aperture.

    good for sports photos and reportage,

    if you are in a sunny country , F4 is enough.

    reviewed October 21st, 2005 (purchased for $700)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (3 reviews)
    very high quality, super sharp, nice contrast and colours (did I say contrast), cheap for an L, hood included, internal focussing (no zoom creep), eyecatching design and body-colour
    no IS version for the F4 model, odd 67mm thread, long & heavy

    It has a useful zoom range on a n APS-C body, but I am still struggling to convince myself to take it with me all the time - it's big and heavy. However, its photos have been very crisp, so sharp they look postprocessed! The colours are vivid and photos have a threedimensional feel to them. This "lifelike" imagequality makes it good for nature and people shots.
    At the tele end I miss some IS, which is more needed on this one than on the f2.8, which is a stop faster to start with (The f2.8 IS version is out of most people's price range).

    reviewed October 20th, 2005