Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
Lab Test Results
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(From Canon lens literature) Incorporating Canon's second generation Image Stabilization technology, this telephoto zoom responds in as little as 0.5 seconds, while providing up to three stops of correction for camera shake. Its AF system has been refined for better response time and tracking speed. And even the new 8-blade circular aperture offers a more pleasing out-of-focus image. Constructed to pro standards, this fast zoom is also highly resistant to dust and moisture, too.
This lens covers a popular tele zoom range, and is one of many lenses on the market with the same general range of focal lengths. We earlier tested both the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM and Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM, basically normal and IS versions of the same (really excellent) lens. It was thus a natural progression to look at an f/2.8 variation of the design. This test covers the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS, a much heftier beast, weighing in at almost twice the mass of the f/4 IS model. It's a lot to carry around, but if you need the ultra-shallow depth of field or full stop faster shutter speed the f/2.8 maximum aperture allows, this is a fantastic lens. Read on for all the details, I think you'll be as impressed as we were.
As with its 70-200mm f/4 siblings, sharpness is one of the foremost characteristics of the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS. Wide open, it's just a little off prickly sharp, but on our EOS-20D test body, it was quite uniform across the frame, with no undue softness in the corners. The top right corner comes up a bit in the blur plots at 135mm and f/2.8, but even at its worst, it's better than a lot of competing optics. When you stop down to f/4 though, the blur plot flattens out beautifully, is completely flat at 70 and 100mm, rises only slightly on the right side of the frame at 135mm, and gets just slightly but uniformly soft at 200mm. (Note though, that when we say slight, we mean almost imperceptible: DxO says that sharpness differences of a single blur unit are just barely perceptible to human vision, and most of the blur surface at 200mm is well below two blur units. So the amount of softening is very small indeed.)
As you stop down, diffraction limiting seems to begin setting in somewhere between f/8 and f/11, depending on focal length and the size of the pixels on your DSLR body. On both our EOS-20D and EOS-5D test bodies, the images softened imperceptibly (that is, the softening only appeared in the DxO numbers, really wasn't visible to the naked eye) as we went from f/8 to f/11 at 200 mm. Even at f/16 though, softening on the 20D body was minimal, and still probably not perceptible on the 5D.
CA on this lens ranged from low to medium, increasing into the "medium" rage only as we zoomed toward 200mm. At shorter focal lengths, it was quite low, and relatively insensitive to the aperture selected.
Since this is designed as a full-frame lens (that is, its image circle covers the full 35mm frame), it's perhaps not surprising that shading was very low on our sub-frame EOS-20D body. The maximum there was only 0.25 EV at 200mm and f/2.8. Other focal lengths tested were below 0.2 EV even at f/2.8, and all focal lengths had virtually no shading (less than 0.1 EV) at all apertures f/4 and higher.
As with shading, so went distortion: On our EOS-20D test body, distortion ranged from a 0.2% barrel at 70 mm to 0.16% pincushion at 200mm, passing through zero distortion at 100 mm.
The EF 70-200 mm f/2.8L IS 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 70 or 200 mm. Focus lock was also very fast and sure-footed on our test bodies, and the large f/2.8 maximum aperture will let Canon bodies with special wide-aperture AF provision focus even more accurately. (For instance, the EOS-1D Mark III's AF system has special wide-baseline AF sensors for use with f/2.8 lenses. The wider phase-detect baseline should translate into more accurate focus determination when shooting with a f/2.8 or faster lens.)
Manual focus was also very smooth and precise. Unlike many modern AF-optimized lenses, the manual focus ring on the EF 70-200 mm f/2.8L IS has plenty of travel (almost a full half-turn from minimum focus to infinity), making it easy to make very minute focus adjustments manually.
With a minimum focusing distance of 4.3 feet to the film/sensor plane (1.3 meters), this is clearly not a "macro" lens. At closest focus on our EOS-20D body, it captured an area about 5 inches (128 mm) wide.
We don't have a standard test for looking at bokeh (the way lenses image out-of-focus background or foreground objects), so we don't normally comment on it in these reviews. In the case of the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS though, we thought it worth noting that it seems to have fairly pleasing bokeh characteristics. This is doubtless due to its 8-blade iris, which Canon proudly touts. That said though, we did notice some tendency to carry structure into blurred background images, sometimes producing distracting patterns, rather than nice, soft blobs. So you aren't likely to see artifacts from the iris in your backgrounds, but the bokeh still falls a little short of perfection.
Build Quality and Handling
Like all the white-body L-series Canon lenses, build quality on the EF 70-200 mm f/2.8L IS is exceptional. It's built like a tank, and frankly weighs like one as well. This is a very heavy lens, not one that you're going to want to hand-hold all day. The included tripod collar balances very well with typical bodies: It was just slightly front-heavy with our EOS-20D mounted on it, it will be slightly back-heavy with a big 1D-series body attached. Combined with its image stabilization, 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. If you do have to handhold it though, the IS works very well. Canon claims three full f-stops of shake reduction, and we find no reason to quibble with that rating: The IS works very well here, we could easily hand-hold at shutter speeds as low as 1/30 and still get sharp photos.
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. It also means that there's essentially zero zoom creep. (The tendency for some zoom lenses to "creep" to longer focal lengths if you carry them slung around your neck, pointing downward.) Zooming from tele to wide is definitely easier than going the other direction when the lens barrel is held pointing downward, but we saw no sign of creep in our sample. Both focus and zoom rings worked smoothly, although the zoom ring has a bit more resistance than those on some lenses, and we could feel the internal gears engaging as we rotated it.
The EF 70-200 mm f/2.8L IS is also supplied with a (quite large) 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.
Bottom line, this is just a superb lens, but its bulk and weight (not to mention cost) may give some users pause before springing for it. If you don't need the fast f/2.8 maximum aperture though, the Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS USM is equally good optically, and considerably lighter and less expensive in the bargain.
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/2.8L USM (non-IS) (not tested) ~$1,100-1,200
The non-IS version of this lens is about $500 cheaper at typical street prices. It's also received very high ratings from users, but we haven't as yet tested it ourselves, so can't comment on its quality from experience. If you don't need the IS feature though, but still want the fast f/2.8 maximum aperture, the non-IS version is quite a bit more affordable.
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS USM (tested) ~$1,000
This lens is very comparable to the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS in terms of performance and optical quality, the major difference between the two is that the f/4 is one stop slower. But, another key difference is that the f/4's IS system uses more recent technology, with the result that it offers 4 stops of vibration reduction, rather than the 3 stops the 2.8 model provides. Optically, the f/4 lens is very similar to the F/2.8, actually edging it slightly in terms of sharpness at f/4 and above on a full-frame camera, but shows slightly higher pincushion distortion at 200mm. The optical performance is so close though, the two lenses are for all intents and purposes identical over the aperture range they share in common. - And the f/4's IS system is better by about a stop, so the "effective shake" under limited lighting conditions will be about the same between the two lenses. (A stop less aperture speed, balanced by a stop higher IS performance.)
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L USM (non-IS) (tested) ~$550
This is simply the non-IS version of the 70-200mm f/4L IS, and is a great bargain. Optically, it's very similar to the IS version: Our sample was just slightly softer at 200mm than the sample of the IS version that we tested, but its CA was somewhat lower, and shading on full-frame bodies is a bit lower as well. All in all, a really excellent lens, at a relatively bargain price.
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD IF Macro SP AF (non-IS) (price unknown)
This is a relatively new offering from Tamron, it was only announced in March of this year (2007), and we haven't seen a sample of it yet, nor have any readers submitted reviews on it. As of this writing (late June, 2007), it also doesn't appear in our PriceGrabber listings or at B&H photo, so it seems it isn't shipping yet.
Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM APO (non-IS) (tested) $880
We tested this lens, not realizing that it was actually one that was going out of Sigma's lineup, being replaced by the macro-capable version below. Sharpness was somewhat uneven across the focal length range when shooting wide open, but got a lot better at f/4. CA was quite low across the board, distortion was higher than the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS, about the same as the Canon 70-200mm f/4 lenses. Shading was low on our sub-frame 20D body, but quite high on the full-frame 5D.
Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro HSM APO (non-IS) (not tested) ~~$850
As noted, this is the macro-capable version of the Sigma lens mentioned immediately above. We haven't had the opportunity to test it as yet. Reader reviews praise its build quality, image quality, fast autofocus and macro capability, but note that it's soft at f/2.8 at all focal lengths, more so at the telephoto end of its range.
By any measure, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM is an excellent lens. It shares its focal length range with three other Canon lenses, covering all combinations of f/2.8 - f/4 and IS vs non-IS. All lenses of the family that we've tested (at this point, all but the non-IS version of the f/2.8) have shown excellent performance. The 70-200mm f/2.8L IS is a large, heavy beast, but it's the only way to go if you need a combination of 70-200mm zoom, IS, and a fast f/2.8 maximum aperture. If your budget can't quite afford the f/2.8L, either f/4L version is an excellent value. Highly recommended, all around.
It's occurred to us that readers might find images shot with the lenses we test helpful in their evaluation process. We're thus happy to begin providing (starting with this lens) sample photos of two laboratory test targets. 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'll shoot both images using the cameras respective default JPEG settings and manual white balance, so the images should be quite consistent from lens to lens.
As appropriate, we'll shoot these with both full-frame and sub-frame lenses, at a range of focal lengths, and at both maximum aperture and f/8. For the "VFA" target (the viewfinder accuracy target from Imaging Resource), we'll 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 will launch as separate windows.
To see the sample shots from this lens captured with this lens on both our 20D and 5D bodies, just click on either of the thumbnails below, and scroll as needed in the window that will appear.
Full-Frame Test Notes:
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
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Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM User Reviews
10 out of 10 points and recommended by hansdampf (5 reviews)Image Quality, Bokeh, Build Quality, ISWeight, Price, Bulky Size
I don't carry many lenses for a wedding, but this thing is always in my bag. I have, like so many I suppose, thought about replacing it with primes just because they are lighter and can open even further to let in more light, but there is just no alternative to it.reviewed May 9th, 2014 (purchased for $1,400)
The image quality is just amazing, even at f/2.8. It has IS which as for now the primes don't have. It is very versatile as it's a zoom lens (obvious, but still a point) - this replaces a 85mm, 100mm, 135mm ... you name it. So this relativates the heavy weight of this lens.
IS is a must for the zoom range and its weight. I would not be able to get sharp images under dark conditions without going to crazy ISOs.
There is a version II, yes, and it's supposed to be better but this lens has been the very best available for the last 15 years, and having a new one out there does not make this lens any worse!
Here are some real life examples and not stupid test shots of boring ducks and brick walls:
9 out of 10 points and recommended by cputeq (4 reviews)Fast, accurate AF. Sharp throughout range. Decent used pricing now.Not as sharp as the MK II at 200mm, MFD is only decent, weight after a while.
I picked up this lens used from the FM B&S forum a couple of weeks ago. Seller had lost the tripod foot, but lens was in good condition and the price was right.reviewed June 29th, 2012 (purchased for $1,300)
I used to own the 70-200 2.8 MK II, so I had something to compare this lens with. I have also owned the Tamron 70-200 on Sony A77, the Sigma 70-200 HSM II Macro on a D7000, and a Pentax 50-135mm on a K20D. I also owned, for a very short while, the Nikon 70-200 VR I on a D300. Needless to say, I'm not a complete newbie to this range of lens.
Build quality of the Canon is very good, AF is fast even with my 5D Mark 2. I haven't tried it on a better-performing AF body.
OS is very good, not as good as the MK II version, but still very good, and I easily hit 1/60s exposures at 200mm.
Image quality is very good, though not as sharp as a MK II wide open (that lens is simply unreal). Still, it's not like the MK II makes this lens BAD - this lens is still very good and can be found used for a good price.
The only minor complaints I have of this lens is that at 200mm and f/2.8, it's not tack-sharp. I might need to use FoCAL on my setup to see if it requires MA, but it's known to be a bit less sharp at this setting and SLRGear's tests confirm this. Still sharp enough for most people's usage (and sharpens up nicely in post), but I wouldn't attempt to use a TC with this lens.
Still, the results at 200mm are still SHARP, just not eye-bleedingly so.
Weight is something to consider if you don't like heavy lenses - after a while, this lens starts to make its presence felt.
Overall, a great buy on the used market, and I'd rather have this lens than the Sigma OS variant.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Ashley_Pomeroy (6 reviews)Solid; consistent image quality; extremely practicalHeavy; huge; awkward tripod foot
I've had one of these for a while. As of 2011 it still costs a fortune on the used market, but it's very good at what it does, and although there are compromises they are overwhelmed by the sheer practicality of the thing. It was sickeningly painful handing over the cash for it - the same money will buy a used 85mm f/1.2, or a brand-new non-stabilised 70-200mm f/2.8, for example, and that's a tough choice - but and but and and etc. Man up, hand over the cash, take the blow.reviewed October 21st, 2011
A few competing lenses have slightly better image quality (Tamron makes a very nice 70-200mm f/2.8, for half the price) but none of them have the same combination of dependably accurate autofocus, solid image stabilisation, and excellent build quality. Canon's quality control often comes in for some stick, but centring defects and focus faults seem to be far, far more common with the competition.
On my 5D MkII I have no problem with central sharpness at f/2.8 at all focal lengths. At 200mm it's a tiny little bit soft, by a trivial amount that does not bother me. The corners lag behind (the extremes never seem to become 100% sharp) but they're usually outside the plane of focus anyway. In all other respects - distortion, CA, bokeh, falloff, etc - I have no problem with the lens.
No, I have one problem. The minimum focus distance is a bit long. It's about one and a half metres, and limits my ability on a full-frame body to get tight on faces. Two problems, the tripod foot gets in the way and it's not large enough to use as a handhold (and if I remove it, there's an exposed screw). The reversed hood blocks the switches.
With the hood on it's very conspicuous. The f/4 lenses and the older 80-200mm f/2.8 have plain, bowl-shaped hoods that are emotionally neutral; the f/2.8 models used a spiky, shark-like hood that has an intimidating look. With the hood off the lens is less huge than it appears in photos. You may, or may not like the attention it gets you. Actual pro photographers will peg you as an amateur straightaway, because it's not the MkII. Ordinary people will peg you as an ambulance-chasing paparazzi or, worse, an American tourist.
Historically this was the top of Canon's tree, the quintessential general-purpose photojournalist telephoto lens throughout most of the 2000s; an actual bona fide professional lens used by real professionals. Like most professional products it's essentially a mass of compromises raised to a high level. For less money a 135mm f/2 will give you superior image quality, but only at 135mm.
Nowadays it has been overshadowed by the MkII, which is optically superior and has a more advanced stabilisation system. Based on the plots here the f/4 lenses are similar across the shared aperture range, although they apparently have slightly inferior bokeh. I wanted f/2.8.
Oh yes, unusually for Canon you get some accessories. The hood, which costs £50 separately or £7.50 for an eBay clone, and a bag which is actually not bad. And the caps.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by tanglefoot47 (2 reviews)Fast, accurate, IS, color, contrastMaybe heavy
Love this lens I have owned all and this one is my favorite. I have swapped with the 2.8 non IS several times but every time I do this I want the 2.8 IS again. Now I ahve it again and really need to keep itreviewed February 13th, 2009 (purchased for $1,560)
2 out of 10 points and not recommended by Badmono (15 reviews)It's a ZoomPoor IQ - expensive - Very Very overated
I was expecting so much from this lens, everyone I'd spoken to rated it highly, possibly I had a bad one, But I can only comment on my lens, it was very poor for IQ - Sharpness was non existant, and the weight was excessive, in comparison to my excellent but old canon 70-300EF which cost only 10% of the 70-200 IS L.reviewed August 22nd, 2008
I quickly sold the lens, and bought 2 primes with the proceeds - 135 F2 and 200 F2.8, both of which restored my faith in the Canon lenses.
Clearly the 70-200 F2.8 'L' doesn't deserve the 'L' moniker IMO - buy a normal EF70-300 and save yourself a lot of greenstuff, or spend the money you save on either or both of the 135F2 & 200 F2.8 'L's' which have real IQ in them
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Rover (13 reviews)build, stabilization, image quality, pretty much everythingweight, color of the barrel
This is the ultimate tele lens in the Canon lineup... bla bla... to put it short, this lens absolutely friggin' rules.reviewed July 28th, 2008 (purchased for $1,800)
And although my primary lens is a wide angle I can't help but marvel the image quality of this optic whenever I put it on. High max aperture is a must for me as well since I'm an "available light" nutter, and I got what I wanted with this lens. Indoor concerts, portraits or outdoor events - it's all no problem for this baby.
The stabilizer does help out a lot in either dark rooms or at night. Guess I'm a bit spoiled by it because I moved from Minolta where it's body integrated but I just adore it. Even though I have no problem with non-stabilized optics (such as the puny 18-55mm/3.5-5.6 kit) it's a huge asset and to me, well worth the extra money I had to spend on it.
When I hold it, I get the impression of handling a tank gun. That's actually both a PRO (it's tough like nails) and CON (I never thought that I'd be the one to complain about weight... but using it all day does put a strain on me). Last (and least) it's an attention grabber with its white finish.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by sivrajbm (12 reviews)Fast, sharp, beautiful bokem, ISNot black, price
The only reason for the 9 rating is I've had several soft copies of this lens. My Sigma 70-200/2.8 was sharp out of the box, it was better than every other copy of this lensI had gotten until this one. Finally I'm a happy camper. The only reason I kept trying is for the IS, I do weddings and events sometimes if I wasn't very careful I would get soft blurring. I really like this lens, hate the price. I finally see what others have said about this lens. My only problem is now I need to sell my beloved Sigma. The King is dead, long live the King.reviewed November 7th, 2007 (purchased for $1,474)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by touristguy87 (33 reviews)sharp, fast, good IScost and weight but what can you say? :)
Just about as transparent of a lens as I have ever had on my 400D. Long and strong. I rented it from a local store, I intended to get the F4 but they only had the F2.8. What a deal, $100 for a week. I would never actually buy one, it's just too long and too heavy for GP use, but it is fun to shoot.reviewed September 6th, 2007
10 out of 10 points and recommended by paralou (1 reviews)ExcellentNO so far...
I'm an old Nikonist but since I use Canon EOS 5D with several lenses, I'm in the heaven !reviewed August 13th, 2007 (purchased for $1,499)
As a mana
10 out of 10 points and recommended by buller (1 reviews)Fast focusing, razor sharp images, f/2.8, great handling and built, IS is superb.expensive
I am VERY satisfied with this quality zoom. I have tried all the Canon 70-200 zooms, but at last I chose to buy the the 70-200 f/2.8L IS, because i liked it most. The zoom lens is well balanced on the camera and handling is just great. I don´t feel it´s heavy at all. The weight gives quality feel and makes it easier hold steady and get sharp pics. It is sharp thoughout range with great colour rendition. It is a very versatile zoom and the results are always superb.reviewed June 22nd, 2007
I can only recommend this lens very highly!
9 out of 10 points and recommended by JGLarson (6 reviews)Great Sharpness, fast aperture, the IS works AMAZINGLY wellNot a light, little lens. Causes attention because of it's size, even when unwanted
This lens was one of the first lenses that I got when I switched from Nikon/Fuji to Canon 1.5 years ago. I had always wanted a IS version when I had the Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8, so I was determined to get it when I switched ( getting the tripod collar was an added bonus compared to my older Nikkor). While it wasn't cheap, I am very glad I got IS. I have hand held this lens in places I wouldn't have dreamed of without it.reviewed January 13th, 2007 (purchased for $1,650)
This lens is one of my 3 main workhorse lenses.
Resolution is supurb at all focal lengths, and very good wide open. Flair control is excellent also. I try to stop down any lens, and the IS helps to balance aperture with hand holdability. Add the Canon 2x teleconverter and you have a very portable and reasonably sharp 400mm Tele lens combo.
The only 2 down-sides of the lens are it's size/weight, and the sometimes unwanted attention that it commands from people because it's big and professional looking.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by amk (6 reviews)SHARP! Great contrast, nice bokeh, and the colors are stunning...A bit heavy, but what did you expect?
This lens is a serious workhorse. It spits out great looking images without too much effort. The IS works well and the AF is dead on almost every time. I wouldn't say this is a real "walk-around" lens, but I personally don't mind it.reviewed January 10th, 2007 (purchased for $1,599)
Comes with all the essentials, which is more than I can say about some other Canon lenses. Come on Canon! Include the hood and tripod collar with all your lenses like you do with this one!
9 out of 10 points and recommended by eosphoros (2 reviews)Fast focus. Great contrast, color, and sharpness.None. But it is heavy.
The reputation of this lens is well-deserved. The focus is fast and accurate. I use it to shoot motosports inside in low light and get great results of bikes flying out of the corner; I swear you can see the color of the rider's eyes under their helmet's shield. I had some initial problems with the chip and it took Canon two shots to get it right but to their favor they made it right.reviewed January 9th, 2007 (purchased for $1,725)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by kzr63g (6 reviews)Very sharp even with 1.4TC, build qualityheavy, cost
This is the sharpest lens I have.reviewed January 9th, 2007 (purchased for $2,700)
Very good also with 1.4TC
I have used it alot on guinea pig shows and there F2.8 is essential.
IS is very useful.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Lee Jay (16 reviews)Great optics, great IS, great range, great flexibilityCost, size
My most flexible lens. I use it with stacked 1.4x TCs on a 1.6 crop camera at airshows, and on full-frame at events and for portraits. I can't say anything bad about it, it's just a fantasic lens in every way.reviewed January 7th, 2007 (purchased for $1,700)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by garys (12 reviews)excellent image quality, image stabilization, fast speed, versatility, weather sealinglarge size and weight, high cost
(on a full frame camera)Resolution is outstanding at 70mm even into the corners and deteriorates only slightly at 200. Fast focusing with a high percentage of "keepers". I like its color and saturation. It has been my intoduction to is, and I have been very happy with the results usually using the lens without the tripod mount. Produces good portraits, candid views, as well as shots for sports events and other moderate telephoto uses. Highly recommended and something you wouldn't want to be without.reviewed January 1st, 2007 (purchased for $1,700)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Matthew Saville (21 reviews)Build quality, fast apeture, stabilization, sharpnessprice, but well worht it!
If you're going to get a 70-200mm L lens from Canon, you really will be doing yourself a favor if you "go all the way" and get this lens. Unless you truly don't need the stabilization, in which case you can get the non-IS version for a few hundred dollars less.reviewed December 29th, 2006
But shooting with it on a 20D, I am stunned, seriously. It's almost as if the AF is faster than my own eyes could be. And the sharpness is pretty much the best you could wish for, all across the board. Feel free to shoot wide open! I wish I could permanently add this lens to my collection.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by logogogue (10 reviews)quality, construction, speed, IS, fastWEIGHT, cost.
One of Canon's flagship units. The lens isn't a walk around unit and requires some commitment to lug around. But if you are willing, as others have expounded, it is so worth it. The quality of the image is second to none and have had some extremely pleasing color and sharpness in my images compared to other zoom lenses I have owned. If you are willing to travel with a backpack, it should never stay at home. While you are at it, take a tripod with you.reviewed December 27th, 2006 (purchased for $1,500)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by jcctx (4 reviews)speed, opticsweight
Love this lens, stabilization works great! Just wish it was a little lighter.reviewed December 22nd, 2006 (purchased for $1,649)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by photo Art (3 reviews)Build, IS,2.8focus at times and 2.8 at 70-100
I have owned the lens for 6 months. The build quality is next to none. Slightly heavy I find, but the befits of IS outweighs the 70-200 F4 (nonIS) that I previously owned. Focus is fast in good light. I find it sometimes misses in less than good light. Mine has been back for calibration, but still front focuses a bit mainly at 2.8 between 70-100. 2.8 is softer at the long end than what I expected from the reviews I had read. It is usable, but is a bit soft. Others say theirs is sharp wide open. The IS works very good and is the main benefit of this lens. Stopped down a bit, it is very sharp at all apertures and is really an excellent pro lens in every respect. Flare and CA is non-existent in most applicatins. Many like this lens for portraits, and I agree. The colour and bokeh is so nice. If you don't need 2.8, the new 70-200 F4L IS is a lens to consider, it's cheaper, lighter and reportedly a touch sharper and has a 4 stop advantage with IS vs 3 stop with the 2.8 IS. The 2.8 non IS is slightly sharper, but not on digital, only on film when scanned. Many have reported it is sharper noticeably, but I haven't seen any direct evidence of this. All in all, a great lens if you can get a good copy, and need the 2.8.reviewed December 18th, 2006 (purchased for $1,950)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by zooomlenz (6 reviews)Sharpness, IS, IF, ConstructionSize, Cost
Not much to say that the other haven't said. This is an expensive, heavy instrument gray monster that will draw attention wherever you go. You aren't going to blend into the crowd with this baby unless you are part of the white house press corps. A travel lens NO, carry it around all day? Only if you get a membership to a gym. Seriously the 70-200 L IS can be consider one of the best lens' ever made from the Canon side of the fence. So in conclusion, got $1600 and some strong arms plus a strong neck? Then this is your lens.reviewed December 11th, 2006 (purchased for $1,600)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by photogjack (9 reviews)useful zoom range, sharp, image stabilizationsize, weight, price
I have a love hate relationship with this lens and ultimately the hate side prevailed. Well hate is a bit strong. This lens is very sharp, focuses very fast and I think Image Stabilization is the best thing since sliced bread. For spot news, sports and that sort of work it is indispensable. But it is HUGE, very heavy and expensive. I stopped using mine and switched to the 200 2.8 L because the prime is smaller and lighter. I give this a 10 for IQ and build quality but an 8 overall because it is just too big and heavy to carry around all day. jackreviewed December 8th, 2006 (purchased for $1,600)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by bbrat (3 reviews)IS, 2.8 throughout, build, weathersealed, image qualitymaybe the weight and color of the lens for some? draws attention??
this lens is my favorite to shoot with. everything about it i love! the weight doesnt seem to be an issue for me, actually i feel the heavier a lens the easier it is for me to keep steady and balance better. 2.8 through out is great and if i add a TC 1.4x its still a F/4. focus is fast and silient. of course IS helps too, but low light and fast action this lens is the one.reviewed November 29th, 2006 (purchased for $1,600)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by AHAB (8 reviews)Crisp, sharp imagesNone
Best zoom I have.reviewed November 27th, 2006 (purchased for $1,600)
I use this for portraits, excellent for when I have kids zooming around and a prime (me) can't keep up with the little buggers!
Produses excellent images, and is fun to use.
Also use this at weddings when there is enough light.
I would buy this zoom again with no hesitation!
9 out of 10 points and recommended by henris (8 reviews)IS, fast 2.8, good for sports and my marching bandI am sometimes wishing for more range, price
I've always wanted this lens, and bought it last month. Terrific quality! Great wide open, and even better after stopping down. I wish I had bought this earlier!reviewed November 25th, 2006 (purchased for $1,599)
I've taken great shots of my marching band under stadium lighting, and they turned out fantastic.
I owned a 70-200 f/4 in the past, and hardly used it. Now, I use the 2.8IS all the time. IS lenses spoil me!
10 out of 10 points and recommended by cjbowlsby (17 reviews)Optical quality, speed and acuracy of focus, IS, build quality, and brightnessWife won't give it back :)
Shooting weddings sporadically for the last 3 years, I've been renting this lens, but I finally decided to purchase it this summer.reviewed November 21st, 2006 (purchased for $1,700)
It's the perfect focal length for indoor candids & portraits. The combination of open aperture & telephoto provide beatiful selective focus. Even in a relatively dim light, the IS & bright 2.8 aperture allow for shots without strobes.
It is large and white, which kind of makes you stand out conspicuously for candids, but the telephoto capabilities compensate for that.
Of course, now my second shooter/assistant/life-partner thinks it's hers, so I might just have to get another one :)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Ksuji (2 reviews)Great zoom with 1.6 crop bodies, fast focusing, not that heavy
This is one of the lens my university's newspaper owns. I attend St. John's Univ. in NYC and we're a Division I school. I get to use this as a photographer for the Torch, our school paper. It's fast and not too heavy, fast enough and the 2.8 is a must for sports such as soccer.reviewed November 14th, 2006
10 out of 10 points and recommended by tukaway (6 reviews)Exceptionally sharp and responsive lens, rapid focus, image stabilizerweight and long minimum focus distance
To get a long zoom with a wide constant aperture, weight is to be expected. And you'll grumble about that weight only until you see the results. Shots take post-processing well but require almost none. For someone like me who does a lot of candids and thus feels constrained by tripods, the benefit of Image Stabilization is hard to overstate.reviewed March 21st, 2006 (purchased for $1,590)
Sharpness is consistently excellent even at f2.8. Colors and bokeh couldn't be better. This is my favorite lens for portraits, hands down.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by myedor (2 reviews)One of the hands down best lenses ever built! Did I mention this is a great lens?see the "Pros" section
Indispensible for sports, PJ, and studio work. Yes it weighs over #3 but the optics make up for that. The image stabilizer is insane 1/15 at 200mm no problem. It fully eliminates the need for primes in the focal range. I LOVE THIS LENS!!!reviewed January 24th, 2006 (purchased for $1,700)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by jyli19 (7 reviews)Superb image quality, built quality, super fast focus, IS functionlarge, heavy
Best zoom lens ever made.reviewed November 3rd, 2005 (purchased for $1,520)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by andrewc (3 reviews)SHARP! fast autofocus, excellent IS, superior performance all around.heavy and expensive, but worth every penny and ounce.
This is a stellar lens! The sharpness is truly impressive as is the overall performance of the lens. Color and contrast are excellent, excellent bokeh. I find that it's useful in so many different situations from sports to portraits, as well as a lot of landscape applications. Mated to my 20D it's perfect!reviewed October 22nd, 2005 (purchased for $1,695)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by photopilot377 (5 reviews)Super Sharp, fast, Image StabilizationBig & not light weight
It is an excellent lens! I really appreciate the IS, have handheld as slow as 1/30th with very good quality. If I could change anything, it would be to make it smaller & less weight, but keep everything else about it!reviewed October 20th, 2005 (purchased for $1,450)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Anakin (5 reviews)very fast, very sharp , construction quality,heavy (but it depends on your arms)
for me, it's the best Canon zoomreviewed October 20th, 2005 (purchased for $1,400)
the construction is perfect,
AF very very fast, it's like a formula 1 !!
and the image quality is the same as equivalent prime lenses.
I use this lens for sport photos, and reportage. It's a "must have".