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Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

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354 745709 Nov 12, 2014
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91% of reviewers $3,231.35
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.82
8.19
9.4
ef70-200_28lisu_1_

Specifications:
Incorporating Canon’s second generation Image Stabilization technology, this telephoto zoom responds in as little at 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.


 


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meltech1
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Registered: Mar 15, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 13
Review Date: Mar 2, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: One Outstanding Lens
Cons:
None



Mar 2, 2010
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Jay Adeff
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Registered: Feb 27, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 344
Review Date: Feb 2, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Solid build. Smooth quiet AF. Effective IS. Constant f/2.8 aperture. Impress-your-friends styling.
Cons:
Soft at f/2.8, particularly at 200mm. AF not as fast as prime lenses. Not as sharp as prime lenses. Expensive for what you get.

I've owned, rented, and borrowed several copies of this lens with always the same result. Soft at f/2.8, particularly at 200mm. You have to stop it down to f/4 to get good results. I finally replaced mine with the 200mm f/2.8L II which is much sharper. If you really need an f/2.8 zoom, there's no other option. Yes, it's a staple of every news/sports photographer in the business, but many still hate it none-the-less. Hopefully the new version is an improvement.

Feb 2, 2010
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GC Montgomery
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Registered: Nov 28, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 60
Review Date: Jan 13, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,699.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, fast, weather-sealed, rock-solid feel and focuses quietly/quickly with no wiggles or rattles that don't belong.
Cons:
Not exactly cheap and tends to draw unwanted attention.

I've been thinking about this lens for two years. I debated going with the f4L version for less weight and money. Today, I'm glad I splurged to get this along with a new 7D. It's deadly sharp on the 40D but, it shines while tracking with the 7D's new AF system.

Yes, it's heavy but, you don't buy a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens because you are concerned about weight. I've heard of soft copies but mine is not one of them. I've heard people talk about vivid colors and great contrast from a lens but, I didn't get it until I shot this lens. Coming from a 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, this lens is a huge leap in image quality and build quality.

The only complaints I have are price and the attention this lens tends to attract. I paid 1699USD with Canon's rebates and I honestly felt that was a bit stiff. I'm not sure IS is worth a near 50% price increase over the non-IS version. But knowing a new 70-200mm f2.8 was coming at a higher price, I figured if I didn't go for it now, I never would.

I realize there are people who get a sense of enjoyment from other people seeing their stuff may even see owning lenses like this as a status symbol. I am not part of that crowd. While I don't mind the curious persons approaching me to ask about my gear, I've actually been targeted for victimization by vermin who thought they might be able to take my gear forcibly. Thankfully, I've been able to convince every single one of them that there were easier targets....I love Texas Smile.


Jan 13, 2010
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Scott Kennelly
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Registered: Dec 25, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 25, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Tough (I dropped mine, and it rolled down some stairs, and it sustained no damage - a friend dropped her's from face level about 5 ft., and after it landed on it's face, breaking her UV-haze filter, it worked fine and has continued to work fine for more than a year). Front element does not move (at all - not in and out and not in a circle). Internal focusing AND zooming does not suck dust into this lens. Fast focusing. Smooth action - for full-time manual focusing and for zooming. Beautiful bokeh. Excellent IS. Large, firm, positive-action switches for turning off/on IS and auto-focus. Excellent, easily-removable, high-quality tripod mounting ring, which allows the camera and lens to be rotated, while mounted on a tripod, like using a gimbal.
Cons:
Switches are too difficult to move/slide (should be larger or have deeper grooves). Minimum focus distance is very far away (about 5 ft.).

I like the weight of this lens. It's heavy and solid - sign of quality. I also like the bright view through it. Photos from this lens at the same aperture and zoom are brighter than those shot with my friend's 28-135. Weird, huh? (Yes, I checked the shutter speed and ISO.) This lens focuses in very dim light, but when it is too dark, or you need to manual focus for some other reason, it has full-time manual override AND a switch to turn off the auto-focus. The switches are larger than normal IS lenses, and they are grooved metal, not plastic. The mode and distance switch for the auto-focus and the mode switch for the IS are nice for times when you have people or other things in front of you (in your foreground), but you're trying to focus on something/someone further away from them. I don't use the mode switch for the IS - haven't really played with it that much or noticed the difference, when I did try it. (Yes, there are four switches on this lens!)

With this lens I have shot down to 1/4 and even 1/2 second with good results (at 70mm). I've heard of people who have shot 1 second hand-held with this lens. I use the IS feature to steady long shots while on a tripod on a windy day, where the lens/camera is being shaken by the wind. VERY USEFUL. The 2.8 aperture is almost never necessary, but when I need it, I NEED it - like when shooting from far away in dim light (stage events, fashion shows, weddings, etc.) - this lens is a life-saver!

Other uses for this lens: 1 - Weapon (I really almost used it as a weapon once - I was threatening a would-be mugger in an alley two years ago in Barcelona, but some chick convinced him to back off.), 2 - Prop for filming a movie about the Paparazzi (this thing looks/is HUGE when the lens hood is on), 3 - A boat anchor.

It's expensive, but compared to other lenses, it is worth the money.


Dec 25, 2009
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mangaaaa
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Registered: Nov 3, 2009
Location: Germany
Posts: 37
Review Date: Nov 29, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, sharp, sharp, fast, amazing IS
Cons:
not at all

Its an amazing lens. I bought a new 50D and this sensational lens. No cons at all. I don't see the previous mentioned point regarding weight.

Nov 29, 2009
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jdouglass
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Registered: Oct 30, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Oct 30, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,729.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Amazing IS, constant 2.8 aperture, versatility
Cons:
Easily noticed (this could be a pro depending on the situation)

I needed this lens to enable me to shoot in lower lighting including weddings and indoor sports. I was not sure how this was going to perform compared to the borrowed 2.8 non IS version that I had borrowed previously and left me unsatisfied.

This past weekend I put it through the paces in a wedding and was simply amazed at the difference between the IS version and its non IS cousin.
My findings are as follows:
-Very sharp image quality at 2.8 compared to my 100-400mm 4.5-5.6 (which I never use indoors) I expected softness at %100 zoom, but found a much clearer image than expected!
-bokeh is pleasing and better than expected, though not quite as good as my 50mm 1.4
-Weight was not an issue. It weighs about the same as my 100-400 IS and I would expect as much from a professional series workhorse.
-The only con with is that one really stands out in a crowd with a white lens. I was shooting a VERY camera shy bunch. Every time I would move, the guests would watch where I was pointing the camera. I was amazed how many people got that "deer in a headlights" look. I lost several priceless candids due to people's awareness of my presence. I might consider buying a black sleeve to camouflage it.

I will let the results speak for themselves after putting in this final plug: I now understand why this has earned the reputation as the workhorse it is!

Here is the portfolio for my recent wedding using this lens (with the exception of the ring macro). http://www.shutterfingerphotography.com/Portfolios/Wedding-Portfolio/10057403_mYGvA




Oct 30, 2009
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bluefox9er
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Registered: May 10, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 361
Review Date: Oct 29, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: all of it is good!
Cons:
cost..but the cost of all lenses is way too high

This is the ultimate zoom lens in canon's line up...and sorry to all those 70-200 f4 IS owners, but it is in fact the 2.8 IS L thats the sharpest zoom money can buy. can an F4 be an f2.8 nope..the prosecution rests, your honour.

people whine on about weight etc, but i never ever use mine on a tripod and if you are man enough to carry this lens be assured you are shooting with one of the very finest lenses money can buy...sharpness, colours,contrast,build quality, mode1&mode2 IS for panning and humongeous wide open f2.8 all the WAY to 200 mm with no image quality compromise on my copy.

I'm amazed folks expect this to weigh a few ounces...get over it..youre getting what you pay for.

sure if you dont shoot indoors or in low light you have very nice alternatives...but buy this one and open up an entirley new level of shooting options and styles...and if you stick this on a 1dmkIII or a 5d series, then yu wil never,ever, ever look back...


Oct 29, 2009
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haringo
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Registered: Oct 7, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 12
Review Date: Oct 29, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,800.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: IS, flexibility
Cons:
Heavy, image quality, bokeh as compared to primes, price

I use this lens for pro work.

First the bad: the Canon 135mm 2.0L beats this one in almost all areas except, of course, flexibility. It is slower, has slightly worse details, bokeh, etc…. Autofocus is as good as the 135mm prime. It does have some chromatic aberrations and bokeh fringing as well. It is heavy even compared to the non IS version. I mainly shoot weddings so it is important for me. It is not as sharp as the 135mm prime either. This is not the walk around or travelling lens you dream about. Believe me, you will leave it home after a while and you don’t want the extra weight in your bag. In addition, it is big and white. People immediately notice it and start posing so it is hard to get the natural candid shots...

The good: The IS blows you away. You can handheld it at 200mm at 1/50 without any problem. This is what makes the big difference! I can handheld it in a dark church. I almost exclusively use primes such as the 35 1.4L, 85mm 1.2L… and I can use them without missing anything in their range. On my website, all the nice detailed pictures are taken with the Canon 135mm prime. These are mainly the posing pictures when I had time to run around with the 135. All the rest is taken with this one and you CAN tell the difference:
www.haringphotography.com.
The truth is that in the 70 – 200 range this lens has saved me a few images!!! The ability to focus does matter! At least at weddings…

The point is: forget this lens if you don’t need the focusing flexibility and the IS and buy the Canon primes!!!


Oct 29, 2009
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TezM
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Registered: Jun 12, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 333
Review Date: Sep 2, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,250.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharpness, contrast, focus speed, bokeh, big big zoom ring, focal length, tripod ring, colour reproduction, IS actually works! I can get sharp shots at 1/15 at 200mm handheld- crazy stuff.
Cons:
CAs up to f/5.6, flares very badly, weight, balance issues.

I got a great deal on this lens. I have a version from 2001 that is cosmetically a little lacklustre but optically flawless.

make no mistake about it, this is HEAVY. On my ungripped 40d it's a fair weight to lug around. What I meant by 'balance issues' in my description is that if you are zooming, you have to take the majority of the weight in your right hand to steady the camera and with a lens of this side this can get tiresome after a 2 hr shoot or so.

Also, I was surprised to see just how bad this lens suffers from lens flare and chromatic aberrations and bokeh fringing. It's a shame because the bokeh on this thing is absolutely awesome, and with it being a zoom lens I'm even more impressed.

Having said all that though- the negatives are things you quickly disregard once you see the pictures properly. once you get home and/or print the pics you won't give a crap that it was a little heavier because the rewards you reap are worth the extra burnt calories to make the pictures happen.

Overall, I really like this lens. It was heavier than I expected but that isn't really a lens fault in itself but more of a preference of mine and with this being heavier than anything else in my camera collection (bar my tripod) it took some getting used to, but like I said, once you've done a shoot with it you won't care if it weighed twice as much Smile


Sep 2, 2009
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wrwhite76
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Registered: May 29, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 51
Review Date: Aug 26, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,600.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent sharpness, Excellent lens by far!
Cons:
little pricey

Awesome lens, very sharp!

Aug 26, 2009
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LotsToLearn
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Registered: Jan 12, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 434
Review Date: Jul 8, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IS, constant maximum aperture, internal zoom, internal focus
Cons:
too easy to accidentally move one of the switches

I really only have praise for this lens. It is my go-to lens for the vast majority of my shooting events. Everything positive that needs to be said about the lens really already has been said. I love the focus speed, IS, sharpness, large aperture, and even the weight.

I had to think hard for any sort of con and the only thing I can come up with is the relative ease in accidentally flipping one of the switches by mistake when moving the lens in or out of my bag. Even that is not a biggie to me because I had already grown accustomed to checking settings on things like that.

I do think it's a little bit pricey but that's subjective and it doesn't help that I bought mine when the CDN dollar was extremely low. But relatively speaking, I do believe that you do get what you pay for.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this lens to any potential buyers.


Jul 8, 2009
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spasmoid
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Registered: Jun 20, 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 20, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: fast, stable, beautiful boquets
Cons:
heavy. Not cheap, but you get what you pay for.

I really couldn't afford to buy this lens, but I bought it anyway after speaking to some professional photographers about it. I could have got the non-IS, I could have got the F/4 to save money. However, I reckon just get the one you are gonna be eternally happy with - and that is THIS lens. It is a beautiful piece of equipment that endlessly churns out one beautiful image after another.

I shoot everthing from portraits to weddings to landscapes with this thing. I love it. The only other lenses I own are the 16-35L MkII and the 50mm F/1.8.

I honestly can't understand how people can whine and complain about issues such as weight. What is the aim of the game? For me it's about getting the right optics to take beautiful photos. I don't care if I have to go to the gym to work out in order to get the muscles necessary to do the job. If that's what I really had to do, then it would be well worth it.

This lens is essential to anyone who own an EOS camera with more than one lens Smile


Jun 20, 2009
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cscheat
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Registered: Jun 15, 2009
Location: Malaysia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 15, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very Sharp Fast FOCUS Quiet Able to shoot INDOOR !
Cons:
Heavy

Hey guys,

Honestly before getting myself the 1st L lense of my life, i am in a dilemma in choosing which one of the 4 units 70-200mm is the best... i keep searching every forums, website reviews and found that people are complaining about being soft when shooting wide open (F2.8).

So i decided to try it out myself and found that this LENSE rocks ! at F2.8 it still shines but after i try to shoot at F4, IT EVEN SHOCKS ME MORE !!! at F4, the sharpness of the IQ is very very significant...

I know the F4 version cost $500 less and ligher in weight, but now im happy !

COST & WEIGHT was the main concern but now after shooting more images i love my lense even more !


Jun 15, 2009
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musclepics
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Registered: Sep 4, 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 854
Review Date: May 30, 2009 Recommend? | Price paid: $1,300.00

 
Pros: Sharp! Fast, quiet autofocus, best Image Stabilization in it's class, sexy white!
Cons:
None

After owning the 135L for 2 years, and then the 70-200/2.8L non-IS for 2 years, I decided it was time to jump to the IS version since the price was right.

Initially, I thought the IS version was much softer than the non-IS version, but it turns out it just needed calibration. This lens, probably more than any other, seems to require calibration to get it perfect. So for people disappointed with theirs, send to Canon while under warranty and get it calibrated for free.

Once calibrated, this lens is fantastic at all apertures. I find it neck and neck with the non-IS lens, and on my 1.3x crop camera, it's sharper than the Nikon 70-200VR, and the IS on the Canon is about 1 stop better than the Nikon VR.

The lens is well balanced on a 1 Series camera, and when using proper technique (ie, left hand UNDER the lens), it's not heavy to use at all. I removed the tripod collar since I never use a tripod and it only adds extra weight.

AF is QUIET and FAST!

Great lens!


May 30, 2009
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znapper
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Registered: May 22, 2008
Location: Norway
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 19, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,200.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fast aperture, superb AF, excellent IS, nice bokeh, no vignetting wide open, extremely useful range. Built like a tank, detachable tripod ring/foot complementary and useful lens-pouch.
Cons:
Very expensive! Not sharp enough for such an expensive lens. I never use it at f2.8, unless I have no other choice.

Ok, in general, this lens is unique, but since they charge you an arm and a leg, it should be SHARP at 200mm and f2.8 and mine isn't.

The price for this lens in my country is double that of the F4 without IS. I am convinced that Canon has a higher earning on this one for sure, production wise.

I saw a lot of problems with mine when I upgraded from a 20D to a 1ds mk II, the lens hadn't seen much use while I owned a 1.6 crop camera, due to its then very narrow fov.

After I bought my 1ds mk II, the range the lens really came into its own and it quickly saw a lot of use in portraiture, large animals, landscape, weddings and events. Though, I also quickly found that the lens didn't focus well and also lacked sharpness wide open on subjects beyond 30 ft.

After a calibration at Canon, the lens now focus properly at infinity, but the sharpness is still not what I would consider excellent (its within "canon specs" though).
Therefore I usually use it at f3.2-f3.5 to gain some sharpness (then it's ok and I can use it with confidence).

About weight:
I don't get why people whine about it's weight, it's a 70-200 f2.8 zoom in a _metal barrel_ -with IS and a tripod foot. Stop whining or buy the F4. I have used it extensively on trips with my 1ds mk II and I simply accept that this combo has a certain physical weight and get on with it, I have no problem walking a whole day with it and I am no muscle man.

I pull 2 points from the overall rating due to it's rather soft performance wide open and the fact that canon set the price point so high. If I could choose again, I would consider the f2.8 non IS if I could get hold of one, it's sharper.


May 19, 2009
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RichM-NH
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Registered: Jan 25, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: May 13, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,699.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Image quality, build quality, fast focus
Cons:
weight

I spent almost a year trying to decide between this lens and the f4 IS, and finally decided to pull the trigger on the f2.8 IS. I had rented and borrowed both lenses, and remained torn. In the end, I felt that the fact that the f2.8 can shoot at f4, but an f4 cannot shot at f2.8, was reason enough to go for the f2.8. If I tire of the weight, I can always sell and have plenty left for the f4.

I have had the lens for about a month now and can say that I'm not at all disappointed. So far I have had the opportunity to shoot indoor and outdoor sports, an awards ceremony in an auditorium, and some random landscapes. The keeper rate exceeds my expectations, and the only shots I have not been happy with were a result of what was behind the camera, not what was in front! As with any new lens, it does take some getting used to. This is a fast, accurate lens which exposes mistakes all too clearly.

The only negative, which has been discussed many times, is that this is a heavy lens which does not lend itself to walking around. I certainly see a monopod in my future. I don't consider the price a negative as I believe you get what you pay for with this lens.


May 13, 2009
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Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
354 745709 Nov 12, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
91% of reviewers $3,231.35
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.82
8.19
9.4
ef70-200_28lisu_1_


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