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Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

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380 821092 Sep 24, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $593.78
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.64
9.36
9.5
ef70_200_4_1_

Specifications:
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.


 


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maximage
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Registered: Jan 24, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 112
Review Date: Oct 4, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: At F4 it's sharper than 70-200IS at F2.8. Great color and contrast. Outstanding sharpness. Light weight and small size.
Cons:
Small aperture and non IS not suitable for indoor handheld. Expensive tripod collar have to pay separately. No rubber gasket. Vignetting won't go away until F8 on FF bodies. bright color shouts 'rob me'. Would pay $1k for an upgraded version with collar and IS :)

Great high performance yet light weight lens for hiking and landscape. If you don't need IS and don't absolutely need one stop faster aperture, this lens is a steal. The cheapest lens with Fluorite element you can buy:)

Oct 4, 2005
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Zigi
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Registered: Sep 15, 2005
Location: Germany
Posts: 4
Review Date: Sep 29, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, leight, good range - an excellent travelling/trekking lens.
Cons:
has a funny color ;-)



Sep 29, 2005
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ksimpson
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Registered: Sep 25, 2005
Location: Ireland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 25, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very sharp even with 1.4x Extender. Focus is very fast.
Cons:
Tripod ring not included.



Sep 25, 2005
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Max_Pain
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Registered: Apr 24, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 326
Review Date: Sep 24, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $589.95 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: great picture quality, good build quality, nice leather case, weight and size are perfect
Cons:
f/4 and no IS (you get what you pay for i guess)

when I decided to get a dSLR I knew the 70-200 f/4L would be the first lens i'd get. it's amazing! it feels and looks great. picture quality is very good and focusing is fast and sharp. manual focusing is a dream with this thing. going from a P&S this is awesome to be able to focus so fast and smoothly. One thing i noticed is that people tend to look at you and think you're either crazy or a reporter...at least where I live people were just staring everywhere I went with it...I don't mind...i love the attention! :-D
great lens, would recommend it very much :-)


Sep 24, 2005
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walter23
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Registered: Jan 30, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 2686
Review Date: Sep 15, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Autofocus amazingly snappy (better than other USM lenses I've used). Resolves to the power of my sensor (350D). Awesome contrast. Lighter and much (much!) cheaper than the f/2.8 versions. Comes with a nice leather bag.
Cons:
In canadian terms, this lens is almost $1000.

This lens deserves its stunning reputation as the best zoom canon makes. It's sharp! It's fast! It looks cool! It will cost you a lot of money, but is also the cheapest L lens available. The poor man's "L" (and even the rich man's, if he doesn't want to haul around several pounds of f/2.8 IS), yet it really does perform. No USM lens I've ever used autofocuses this fast (incl. the 28-105 USM and the 70-200 2.8 IS USM) on my rebel XT. From infinity to 1.2 meters in a tiny fraction of a second! SNAP!



Sep 15, 2005
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emonzon
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Registered: Sep 6, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 365
Review Date: Sep 15, 2005 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: good walk around lens, quiet and fast focusing, good price new, sharp images, great bokeh.
Cons:
No tripod collar(expenssive to buy), not ideal for indoor or low light.

Well after owning a Sigma 70-300mm APO Macro DG and getting this lens, it’s definitely a different league. I do think that the Sigma lens is a great all around consumer lens for the price, but it just wasn’t cutting it for me.

I quickly learned that you have to pay the price for quality glass, and the only serious “L” series lens I contemplated on getting was the 70-200mm F.4 L and the F2.8 and the 2.8 IS version.

Both F2.8 was way over my budget and though I would’ve loved this lens I found myself looking at the F4 and found a great deal for a used one. A few days later and $600CAD later I was a proud owner of the Canon 70-200mm F.4 L

Image Quality:

I was immediately impressed with the quality of images this lens produced. Color and contrast was richer, bokeh is very smooth and with a steady hand or mounted on a tripod this lens produces sharp images. I compared my shots with the Sigma and though the sigma got soft from 200-300mm it wasn’t that far in sharpness compared to the Canon lens. However, the bokeh is much nicer and because of this, in my opinion the canon seems sharper giving the image a 3d look. The images seem to pop out at you. If you are anything like me, I still had a hard time getting sharp images on the long range due to my own lack of ability to hold the camera still, stopping down helps combined with a higher shutter speed. This is where I wish I could afford the 2.8 IS. However with good technique images are sharp on all focal lengths. I still have much to learn in regards to technique. This lens also makes great portrait pictures, great for outdoor shots. I use this lens with my Canon Digital Rebel XT (350D) and together, it is a sweet combination.


Build:

The body of the lens made out of metal I believe is very sturdy and well built. At 705g it’s still light enough to use as a walk around lens. A few people have complained about the off white color but I like it, especially in the hot sun, it doesn’t attract as much sun as a black lens would, but heads will turn to see what in the world you are holding.
This is the first time I’ve had a lens with USM (ultrasonic motor). Man is it ever quiet compared to the Sigma. I was so used to the noisy motor that when I first used this lens I was pleasantly surprised how quiet it was. Focusing is fast in good light but struggles a bit in shade or low light situations which are expected at f4. The inner focusing is great as well, compared to lenses like my Sigma that extends and can attract dust.

Price: For a relatively new photographer like myself, this lens is a great buy even new; however it is quite pricey here in Canada starting at $800CAD before taxes. If you can find a used one in great condition for around $500U.S I would highly recommend this lens. With the results I’ve been getting from this lens, I quickly forgot the money that was spent on it and I’m very pleased with it. In the long run, it would prove to be a good investment.
Conclusion: This lens will be loved by amateur or pro, it delivers sharp quality images with good technique, compact enough for a walk around zoom. Being the cheapest L zoom lens in the “L” series line up, this lens gets top marks from me. I’ll have this lens in my bag for a long time…unless I get a wealth of money somewhere one day and I can afford the f2.8 L IS, this lens is my baby!

Now I have “L” Fever!!



Sep 15, 2005
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HKram
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Registered: Apr 17, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 39
Review Date: Sep 14, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Price, Color/Contrast, solid build
Cons:
None really

Outstanding lens. Forget L or no L, this one's a keeper.

Clear difference in color/contrast compared to even my Tamron 28-75 (which I rate very highly). The difference will be obvious when you see through the viewfinder.

Its not a 2.8 and didnt cost me a 2.8 price - so, I take it off my camera at twilight and wait for the next day Smile

But in good light, this lens has a hard to beat performance to price ratio.

Other comments :
- Can be used handheld in most cases.
- tripod helps at the long end, but dont need a tripod collar.
- is not heavy to be on the camera all day...


Sep 14, 2005
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emonzon
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Registered: Sep 6, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 365
Review Date: Sep 14, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: good walk around lens, quiet and fast focusing, good price new, sharp images, great bokeh.
Cons:
No tripod collar(expenssive to buy), not ideal for indoor or low light.

Well after owning a Sigma 70-300mm APO Macro DG and getting this lens, it’s definitely a different league. I do think that the Sigma lens is a great all around consumer lens for the price, but it just wasn’t cutting it for me.

I quickly learned that you have to pay the price for quality glass, and the only serious “L” series lens I contemplated on getting was the 70-200mm F.4 L and the F2.8 and the 2.8 IS version.

Both F2.8 was way over my budget and though I would’ve loved this lens I found myself looking at the F4 and found a great deal for a used one. A few days later and $600CAD later I was a proud owner of the Canon 70-200mm F.4 L

Image Quality:

I was immediately impressed with the quality of images this lens produced. Color and contrast was richer, bokeh is very smooth and with a steady hand or mounted on a tripod this lens produces sharp images. I compared my shots with the Sigma and though the sigma got soft from 200-300mm it wasn’t that far in sharpness compared to the Canon lens. However, the bokeh is much nicer and because of this, in my opinion the canon seems sharper giving the image a 3d look. The images seem to pop out at you. If you are anything like me, I still had a hard time getting sharp images on the long range due to my own lack of ability to hold the camera still, stopping down helps combined with a higher shutter speed. This is where I wish I could afford the 2.8 IS. However with good technique images are sharp on all focal lengths. I still have much to learn in regards to technique. This lens also makes great portrait pictures, great for outdoor shots. I use this lens with my Canon Digital Rebel XT (350D) and together, it is a sweet combination.


Build:

The body of the lens made out of metal I believe is very sturdy and well built. At 705g it’s still light enough to use as a walk around lens. A few people have complained about the off white color but I like it, especially in the hot sun, it doesn’t attract as much sun as a black lens would, but heads will turn to see what in the world you are holding.
This is the first time I’ve had a lens with USM (ultrasonic motor). Man is it ever quiet compared to the Sigma. I was so used to the noisy motor that when I first used this lens I was pleasantly surprised how quiet it was. Focusing is fast in good light but struggles a bit in shade or low light situations which are expected at f4. The inner focusing is great as well, compared to lenses like my Sigma that extends and can attract dust.

Price: For a relatively new photographer like myself, this lens is a great buy even new; however it is quite pricey here in Canada starting at $800CAD before taxes. If you can find a used one in great condition for around $500U.S I would highly recommend this lens. With the results I’ve been getting from this lens, I quickly forgot the money that was spent on it and I’m very pleased with it. In the long run, it would prove to be a good investment.
Conclusion: This lens will be loved by amateur or pro, it delivers sharp quality images with good technique, compact enough for a walk around zoom. Being the cheapest L zoom lens in the “L” series line up, this lens gets top marks from me. I’ll have this lens in my bag for a long time…unless I get a wealth of money somewhere one day and I can afford the f2.8 L IS, this lens is my baby!

Now I have “L” Fever!!




Sep 14, 2005
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Asmodeous
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Registered: Aug 9, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 139
Review Date: Sep 14, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Picture quality, Build quality, light wieght, fast focus speed, Length does not change when zooming, excellent grip from both zoom & manual focus rings.
Cons:
The lens hood is big. But it works well. You can access the lens cap with the lens hood on which is probably a "pro". Hmmm. It doesn't do the dishes?

Absolutely a dream lens. Easily walked thru every test I could throw at it. Chromatic aberations on plants/overexposed sky backgrounds only visible when pixel peeped to 200%. Perfect contrast and resolution I didn't think was possible with my digital rebel. I noticed what looked like some very slight barrel distortion at 70mm, but it was so slight that I could easily be mistaken.
The AF speed is quick. Quicker than any other lens I have owned or tried. I think that could be due to the focus length selector. A feature that I have never had on any lens before. Some people may think that it is a gimic but it really helps. I easily took my first "bird in flight" shot the other day. It was easy. Point, lock, plenty of time left to shoot before the bird was out of range. Something I have never been able to do with any of my prior zooms. (75-300 IS usm last)

Overall I heartedly recommend this lens. Makes myself want to throw all of my other len's away and only use this one.


Sep 14, 2005
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Addambom
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Registered: Aug 22, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 116
Review Date: Sep 12, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $570.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: L glass is sharp. Inexpensive.
Cons:
Hooked on L glass. no tripod colar, you have to buy it.

I picked up my first L lens last week. I cant stop shooting with it. At night fall I notice the f4. But for $570 how do I complain. Images are super sharp and colors are great. I was first set on getting the 70-200 f2.8 but this lens will hold me out till I set a side an extra 2 grand. The lens is built well and the focus speed is decent. This lens I highly recommend. I heard they are discontinuing it so you might want to get ahold of one fast if that is true. Great Lens got my bang for my buck, for sure !! Tested on my 20d..

Sep 12, 2005
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dhyams
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Registered: Apr 6, 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 91
Review Date: Sep 12, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $575.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, color, cost
Cons:
mine backfocused, OK after calibration

This is an excellent lens at an affordable price. I have used mine primarily for larger wildlife and kids sports, and I have been very pleased with the color rendition and especially the sharpness from this lens. The bokeh is also very pleasing, and gives sufficient subject isolation at f/4.

My only nit is that it did backfocus slightly as shipped from Canon (well, B&H). I sent it in for calibration (warranty service), and it came back very nicely done. For this I knock it a point on the overall ratings, but it is quickly becoming a go-to lens for me.


Sep 12, 2005
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sino408
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Registered: Dec 30, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 903
Review Date: Sep 5, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $565.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Conspicuous; light; quality optics; fast focus; robust design; sharp
Cons:
Conspicuous; doesn't come with the tripod collar ring

This is definitely my favorite lens out of the bag. I find myself mounting this lens whenever there's a photo op, even before knowing whether I will be needing this lens. I just want to use it!

All the pluses of canon's -L- quality can be found on this little gem that comes in a affordable package. It is a shame that Nikon hasn't provided its loyal users with something like this.

Try snapping flowers or animals with this lens, you'll be blown away by the colors if your technique is good.


Sep 5, 2005
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DxHatchback
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Registered: Jun 6, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1026
Review Date: Sep 1, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $520.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Price for performance, colors, sharpness, weight, comes with pouch and hood, quiet/fluid USM, fast focusing
Cons:
Size (length)

This lens is truly amazing. It has got to be my favorite lens out of the 5 or 6 I have owned so far.

I gave up my fisheye for this, and I think it was a very smart move. This lens seems like a lot of fun, especially with how fast it is outdoors.

It's also really cool how you can be in AF and still manual focus, as well as change the minimum focusing distance from 4' to 10' with the click of a button

On comparing with the 75-300, there really is no comparison. The 70-200 kills it in everyway. The 70-200 colors are always right on, unlike the 75-300 and the 70-200 is so much faster focusing, as well as a lot quieter.

Overall, this lens is well worth the money. 4.5/5


Sep 1, 2005
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klam
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Registered: May 19, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 1676
Review Date: Aug 31, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very sharp, high contrast, a relatively small and light lens for its class, Canon "L" build quality, very quick and decisive USM focusing, works with a wide variety of 1.4x teleconverters with good results, excellent value (you'll easily find a used one as people unload it for an upgrade to the 70-200/2.8 lenses).
Cons:
White color is a bit gaudy, aperture is limiting in low light, tripod collar is not included, tripod is expensive if bought.

Using this lens is a total pleasure. The output produced by this lens is absolutely fantastic. Photos shot with this lens are sharp and have excellent contrast.

Handling is superb as well. The lens feels very manageable, not too long and not too heavy for a lens of its type. USM focusing speed is very quick and very decisive. Full-time manual is easily used if needed with a very smooth, large, and textured focusing ring. The same can be said of the zoom ring. The 67mm filter size is used. This allows you to use lower cost filters, however they will not be interchangeable with most Canon "L" lenses which use 77mm.

Build is up to Canon "L" standards and materials. There is no play in any of the lens pieces and the whole lens feels like one piece. With the exception of all-weather sealing, this lens is up to par with the higher end "L" lenses.

Full compatability with most 1.4x teleconverters helps extend the reach of this lens. Apparently, 2.0x teleconverters produce less desirable results.

To some the white color can be a bit gaudy. When used in public places, I find that it draws attention. According to Canon, the white is used to maintain lower temperatures for the calcium fluorite elements used. Personally, I wish this lens could have been finished in black.

The f/4.0 aperture is fine for outdoor shooting, though it limits its usefulness indoors or in lower light. This is generally this lens' biggest weakness. At this price point I can't complain though. We all know it is an f/4.0 lens from the outright. On the flip side, this lens is perfectly usable wide open and does not need to be stopped down for very good quality.

Another common complaint with this lens is the absence of a tripod collar, which is included with other "L" telephoto lenses. To add insult to injury, Canon charges over $100 for the optional tripod collar. Luckily, this lens is not so heavy that it necessarily needs one, and can be used effectively on a tripod without a tripod collar and from the body's tripod mount.

The closest comparisons for this lens will be made with the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 and Canon's own 70-200 f/2.8 and f/2.8 IS. The Sigma is slightly more expensive but affords you a one stop advantage. It is larger, but finished in black, and includes the tripod collar. Most reports say that quality is about as good as the Canon 70-200 lenses. Canon's own 70-200 f/2.8 and f/2.8 IS are similar optically, larger, faster, and the latter includes Canon's very useful Image Stabilizer system -- extending the usefulness of this lens. However, they are significantly more expensive.




Aug 31, 2005
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barjanto
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Registered: Aug 27, 2005
Location: Singapore
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 27, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp,light, fast AF, solid build, price/performance ratio.
Cons:
None.

My 1st L lens. Was considering 70-200mm f/2.8L (non-IS) and Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8. Decided to choose this mainly because the weight and 2nd price. Very impressed with the result. Now, I know why people keep mentioning the "L".
Few 1st sample pictures: http://www.pbase.com/boedi/70_200f4


Aug 27, 2005
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dougp
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Registered: Apr 16, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 41
Review Date: Aug 26, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $580.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast, ultra quiet focus, sharp
Cons:
None

Based on the recommendations on this site I sold my EF 75-300mm IS and purchased this lens. I cannot be happier with that decision.

The lens is ultra sharp and has great color and contrast. The AF is fast and silent, and the build quality is outstanding.

So far I do not miss the IS. I easily took shots at 200mm and 1/100 without camera shake.

If you are considering the 75-300IS...don't. For only $100 more step up to "L" quality.





Aug 26, 2005
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Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
380 821092 Sep 24, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $593.78
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.64
9.36
9.5
ef70_200_4_1_


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