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Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

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222 427968 Jun 21, 2014
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91% of reviewers $1,079.18
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.71
8.76
9.7
ef70-200lisusm

Specifications:
The EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM is a lightweight, compact L Series telephoto zoom lens with Image Stabilizer. The optical Image Stabilization in the new EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM lens provides up to an incredible four stops of shake correction-a first for Canon IS lenses. The use of fluorite UD lens elements provides excellent optical performance in terms of resolution and contrast. These features, together with its water-and dust-proof construction, provide both the performance and portability to meet user demands.

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Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 70 - 200mm f/4

Lens Construction: 20 elements in 15 groups

Diagonal Angle of View: 34°- 12°(with full-frame cameras)

Focus Adjustment: AF with full-time manual

Closest Focusing Distance: 3.94 ft. / 1.2m

Zoom System: 7-group helical zoom (rotational angle: 72º)

Filter Size: 67mm

Max. Diameter x Length, Weight: 3.0 x 6.8 in. / 76 x 172mm 26.8 oz./760g (lens only)


 


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J-man
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Registered: Dec 20, 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 37
Review Date: Jun 21, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: optically and mechanically about as good as it gets, better than many primes.
Cons:
The only draw backs are high price and its a little softness at is closest focusing distance.

This zoom produces the sharpest and most beautiful images of any of the 6 lenses that I own or have used (includes a several primes). Optically, the only weakness I have found is right at the minimum focus distance, where it is not as sharp as farther away. So this Canon does not make a great macro substitute. The lens is solidly constructed out of polycarbonate and metal with full weather sealing. It has the latest 4-stop IS, very fast USM focus and even a useful focus limiter. When combined with a 1.4x converter there is only a tiny drop in image quality and the focus slows a bit, but the 100-280mm lens is still better than most other options out there (like the Canon 70-300 IS). Despite all the positives I only use this lens once in a while as it falls into a less utilized set of focal lengths. The 70-200mm range is too short for most of the wildlife I do, but is often a bit long for typical landscape images. Other photographers I know who do not specialize in nature photography use this lens more than any other so YMMV. When I do use this lens though it never disappoints.

See my much longer analysis along with some accompanying images over at my website:

http://www.sheridanphoto.com/?page_id=1535

Jay


Jun 21, 2014
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sbay
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Registered: Aug 10, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 50
Review Date: Apr 19, 2014 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: lightweight, center sharpness, focus speed
Cons:
corner sharpness

This lens has a stellar reputation as a light weight tele zoom. I carried this is my bag for many years.

Overall I think the lens is very good. Center is sharp even wide open although there is some softness towards the corner. You can see 100% crops here: http://bayimages.net/blog/reviews/canon-70-200mm-f4-lens-review/

However, I do not use this lens anymore and sold my copy. The reason is because the 70-300L f/4-5.6 is actually sharper with better corner performance. On top of the wider range, the 70-300L is of greater benefit to me (travel photography)


Apr 19, 2014
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jimgarvie
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Registered: Jun 15, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 92
Review Date: Aug 21, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp; relatively small and relatively light-weight. Easy to carry even with the 1.4X telextender attached. Affordable.
Cons:
Not a 2.8 but it also doesn't cost as much or weigh as much.

I went to this lens from the 200 F2.8L prime and didn't lose any discernable IQ even when using it with my Canon 1.4X telextender which I do a lot because I use that combination for my wildlife shooting. That rig -- with my 7D -- is totally portable and very easy to use for a 66-year-old guy who does not shoot with a tripod.

I also shoot the lens by itself for action photography at dog shows both outside and indoors and it works just great. Dead sharp outside at F8.0; very sharp indoors at F4.0.

I've rented the F2.8L IS II and frankly, it was just too heavy for me to shoot all day long at dogs shows and much too big and heavy to lug around my wildlife venues. Not that it isn't a great lens but it's just too much for me physically and the F4L IS doesn't give up much (or anything) in IQ for what I shoot. And most of what I shoot gets published so the IQ is more than adequate for that.

Best value in a zoom lens that I've yet found. Buy it. You'll be very happy.


Aug 21, 2013
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narcisab
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Registered: Apr 18, 2013
Location: N/A
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 18, 2013 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Great image quality
Cons:
slipping focus - in auto or manual mode when I shoot upwards

I am very very disapointed with this lens. I only have it from 2011 and it was used as amateur but now it has a slipping focus problem - and apparently I am not the only one, i found this on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uI15shZyn9Q

Canon QC could be better these days!


Apr 18, 2013
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rbussmann
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Registered: Apr 11, 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 14, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Image quality, color rendition, weight
Cons:
No tripod ring included

Excellent image quality! I use this mostly on crop sensor (like the 70-300L better on full frame). Very light to carry around. Would be nice if Canon could include a tripod ring!

Apr 14, 2013
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caMARYnon
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Registered: Jan 29, 2013
Location: Romania
Posts: 16
Review Date: Jan 29, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: excellent IQ, light weight
Cons:
the hood could be better (like 2.8 or even like 24-105), slipping focus but after service it's ok

Nothing new to add.

Jan 29, 2013
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acsf
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Registered: Feb 10, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Jan 24, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,099.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Everything
Cons:
Not a 2.8, if you need something that fast

Just buy this lens!

Seriously, it is that good. My first experience with a 70-200 was the F/2.8 I, which is truly a stellar performer. But...it is very heavy to carry around all day. I would end up resting it on my messenger style camera bag in front of me so I had easy access to it and could carry it comfortably. Not ideal. Also, it is giant and white too, so it is very conspicuous. I like to keep a low profile so did not appreciate all the attention from people staring at the lens.

So I bought the F/4 IS and it is really just perfect.

Image quality is legendary, I have no complaints whatsoever. Build quality is like a tank. Size and weight is so much smaller and lighter than the F/2.8, so I have no problem carrying it all day. Autofocus is fast, image stabilization works like a charm. And finally the price is great for what you get. I can't imaging this lens can be improved in any meaningful way. Just get it, you will not regret it. I plan on keeping this lens forever.

Here are is one image:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/a_clark/8295462069/

And and to give you an idea of the sharpness, here is a small crop from a larger image:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/a_clark/8331730818/


Jan 24, 2013
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pitbullo
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Registered: Jan 9, 2013
Location: Norway
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jan 9, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, light, fast AF, good IS, fantastic colour rendition and contrast. A True gem of a lens!
Cons:
A bit noisy IS

If 2.8 is not a demand, then this F4 with IS should be on the top of your list. It is absolutely fantastic! And compared to the 2.8 IS II, a real bargain!

Jan 9, 2013
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nelvayut
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Registered: Apr 26, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 104
Review Date: Aug 27, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, light weight compare with 70-200 f/2.8 IS, small, IS
Cons:
none



Aug 27, 2012
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Annapurna
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Registered: Dec 29, 2004
Location: Denmark
Posts: 67
Review Date: Jul 24, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Super. Doesn´t let you down unless you are faster than the IS at slow shuttersspeeds. Sharp and crisp
Cons:
None so far.

Very handy on my 7D. Good for travel. Sharp and crisp.
Takes a little practice to understand the IS.
I never had lenses with IS.
Recomend this lens


Jul 24, 2012
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LeoJan
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Registered: May 26, 2006
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 8, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $750.00

 
Pros: Light weight, very good IQ
Cons:
White.

In contrast with the 70-200 F2.8 IS witch I own also, this lens you can carry around with you. I bought this lens second-hand, like new, with a tripod colar (non Canon but good and I never use it anyway). My first 70-200 L was a non IS F4.0 and I loved that lens. Already very good. Used as a poor men's IS a small monopod with it, witch I rested on my belt. It worked fine and I still like the photo's taken with it. But IS is nice and this lens has a very good one. 1/15 of a second at 200 mm is no problem. IS is a tiny bit noisy, first I thought it was broken. I went to a photo-shop to make sure the sound was normal, it was. You quickly get used to it.
Like I said, this lens together with a standard zoom makes a nice walk around kit. But why has it to be white? It attracts attention, while it is such a nice relative small lens. I do not want attention for a walk-around lens. I am thinking off buying a black lens-coat. Well, nothing is perfect.
It is not a bargain any more, like the non IS F4.0. Every 70-200 L has a selling point and that makes it hard to chose. You can not go wrong, they are all very very good.


Jun 8, 2012
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byebyefilm
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Registered: Jul 14, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 26
Review Date: Apr 16, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros:
Cons:

Given the choice this is the lens I'll prefer to use. Just that good.

Apr 16, 2012
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Gochugogi
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Registered: Jun 25, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 9695
Review Date: Mar 10, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Killer image quality • kickarse build • Rippin' fast AF • IS Deluxe!
Cons:
Long, skinny and white

The 70 to 200mm range is ideal for portraits, landscape and outdoor sports, yet is still hand holdable. The EF 70-200 4L USM was my favorite telezoom for years: sharp, fast focusing and sturdy. The only thing missing was Image Stabilization (IS), a feature I came to appreciate on my normal zooms. By nature a telezoom is more difficult to hold steady than shorter lenses, thus IS in the EF 70-200 4L IS USM makes perfect sense. So my faithful EF 70-200 4L USM hit the auction block and a new EF 70-200 4L IS USM landed on my doorstep.

Construction & Feel
The optical design and antireflection coatings of today's best zooms rival prime lenses. Unfortunately, most zooms are flimsy plastic with silk-screened symbols and coarse zoom and focus action. Canon's EF 70-200 4L IS USM bucks this trend and combines modern optical design and ultra fast AF with durable construction and silky zoom and focus action. At $1300, it ain't cheap but is more affordable than its F2.8 siblings, while offering similar build and optical quality.

The hybrid metal (barrel) and polycarbonate (trim) construction and seals on switches and mount make it tough as nails, but it's reasonably light. Build quality is better than the EF 24-105 4L IS USM and very similar to the EF 300 4L USM. Both zoom and focus mechanisms are internal. Internal mechanisms are less prone to sucking in dust than front extension designs.

The EF 70-200 4L IS USM is a classic two-touch design: focus ring near the end of the barrel and zoom ring near the mount. The large twist action zoom ring is smooth and fast. Unlike most AF lenses, the manual focus ring is large, ribbed, rubberized and nearly as smooth turning as the manual lenses of yesteryear. The focusing ring feels too far out on the barrel. At least I never confuse it with the zoom ring! Once you get used to the design, handling is nimble and decisive.

The off-white finish is elegant and the overall appearance similar to the EF 70-200 4L USM and EF 70-200 2.8L IS USM. The off-white finish screams "L glass" and draws attention. However, this lens stays cool even in the blazing Hawaiian sun. Unfortunately, my black EOS bodies aren't nearly as cool.

Auto Focus
This lens sports a ring-type USM (Ultrasonic Motor) that drives a lens group between the front element and diaphragm. The combination of internal focus and ring-type USM yield very fast AF. The front element does not rotate nor does the barrel expand or contract during focus or zoom operations.

The motor of the EF70-200 4L IS USM is silent during AF, but in a quiet room I hear a pianissimo "rolling" sound as the elements move along the gear train. It has FTM, allowing you to manually focus without switching out of AF mode. If you prefocus manually, the distance window in meters and feet is extremely useful. It also sports an AF limiter. However, AF is so accurate I found little use for the limiter.

The zoom's AF worked flawlessly on my EOS 7D and 5D2 bodies. That is, AF is fast, accurate and decisive. Moreover, the maximum aperture of F4 is sufficient to fully enable the center AF cross sensor on EOS 3, 1V and 1D series bodies.

The filter size is 67 mm, making filters expensive and difficult to share with most Canon lenses. However, two normal range zooms, EF 24-85 3.5-4.5 USM and EF-s 15-85 3.5-5.6 IS USM, also use 67 mm filters and pair well with this lens.

Image Stabilization

This would be a really good lens without Image Stabilization (IS). However, IS propels this zoom straight into freakin' hog heaven. Small gyro sensors coupled to a CPU detect the degree and direction of camera shake and counteract this vibration by moving a compensating optical group. Subsequently, I nearly always get a sharp picture, even three to four stops below my normal hand held shutter speed (e.g. 1/15 sec instead of 1/200). If I brace myself or shoot a volley of shots I can get away with another stop or two! Like most modern Canon zooms, this model includes both standard and panning IS modes.

One minor gotcha with this IS design is it is audible. Sound levels are pianissimo so I can only hear it in a quiet room--never in street or field--but it grinds and clicks more than both my EF 24-105 4L IS USM and EF-s 17-55 2.8 IS USM. The only louder IS unit I've heard was in the EF 75-300 4.0-5.6 IS USM.

Optical Performance
Paired with my EOS 5D2, the EF70-200 4L IS USM proved to be an extremely sharp, contrasty and flare-free zoom, a level above my EF70-200 4L USM in terms of sharpness and flare control. Images were sharp edge to edge, even at F4.

The contrast and snap of this optic is apparent even through the viewfinder. After all, there's some fairly exotic glass in there: 1 Fluorite and 2 UD elements. Image magnification is a little less than my EF 200 2.8L USM, leading me to suspect this zoom is just shy of 200mm. There is little distortion and flare control is the best of any zoom I have owned. I assume Canon has improved its Super Spectra coatings and interior flocking as suppression of flare and ghosting in blazing Hawaiian sunsets is extremely effective. Realize this zoom has 4 more elements than the older EF 70-200 4L USM, so reduced flare and ghosting is an impressive feat.

Extenders
Most L series telephotos and telezooms are designed to use L series Extenders. The rear of these lenses have a space for the protruding element of the Extender (that's why Canon didn't use the faster focusing rear element focus group). The EF 70-200 4L IS USM sports 20 elements, so I'm not excited about adding 5 to 7 more elements with an Extender. Extenders are best used with prime lenses as there is less degradation of image quality. Nevertheless, the Canon Extender 1.4x yields a reasonably well performing 98-280 F5.6 zoom and bests the EF 75-300 4.0-5.6 IS USM I previously owned.

Tripod Collar
The EF 70-200 4L IS USM has the option of using a tripod collar, i.e., Tripod Mount Ring A II W (white). Although this lens is so light a tripod collar is unnecessary, a collar makes tripod use easier, especially verticals. The tripod collar is interchangeable between the EF70-200 4L USM, EF80-200 2.8L, EF200 2.8L USM, EF300 4L USM and EF400 5.6L USM. I probably would not have bought the Tripod Mount collar for this lens, but already owned a Tripod Mount Ring A (W) left over from an older lens. Tripod Ring B will not fit.

Final Words
I love the EF 70-200 4L IS USM as a "walkaround" and landscape optic on my EOS 5D2. The 70mm end is close enough to a normal perspective for snapshots while the longer end yields reach and isolation of detail.

A major advantage of this lens over consumer zooms is it exhibits little degradation of image quality at large apertures or the long end. In other words, it's sharp wide open and across the zoom range. Top image quality wide open is essential if you frequently hand hold your camera or work in poor light.

If you're normally tied to a tripod, you can save $600 by buying the EF 70-200 4L USM (non-IS version). However, if you need a telezoom with IS and weather seals, this one is among the best, and even edges out my old EF 70-200 4L USM in terms of flare control and sharpness. For discriminating hikers, travelers and amateurs this zoom deliverers quality without breaking their shoulder albeit at a fairly beefy price point.


Mar 10, 2012
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L.J.G.
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Registered: May 12, 2011
Location: Australia
Posts: 36
Review Date: Jan 10, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,170.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp as a tack, great build quality, useful IS, focus speed that just knocks your socks off.
Cons:
None so far

I agonised over buying this lens – more so than any lens I have ever brought. I really wanted the new F2.8 IS II, but did not want the larger size and weight as we travel quite a bit. The extra cost of the F2.8 wasn’t the biggest issue as I wanted (read needed) something smaller and lighter, so begrudgingly went with the F4 IS.

The first time I used it on my 5DII I just sat back and said WOW. I realised I had made the right decision. I have no doubt the new F2.8 II is good, but gee, this thing just cannot be that far behind. I now reach for it all the time. Even indoors I find myself putting the 50f1.4 away, getting this out and moving across the room away from the subjects to shoot. I use it on landscapes, birds, you name it. It has quickly become my favourite lens and between it and my 24-105 I hardly use anything else. Images are tack sharp, clear and the fine detail it gives just makes me shake my head and grin. I would recommend this lens to anybody.


Jan 10, 2012
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hammerfall
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Registered: Jun 21, 2009
Location: Philippines
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 25, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, overall fantastic IQ. Unique color rendering of fluorite glass. Build quality IS really works and weather-sealed.
Cons:
PRICE

One of the best lenses ever! Best contrast against backlit and so good that I keep thinking about trading up to the f2.8... and never actually doing it. Highly recommended!!!

Nov 25, 2011
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erikburd
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Registered: Feb 3, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 574
Review Date: Sep 7, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,250.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast focusing, sharp, very lightweight, cheap alternative to the f/2.8 version if you can live with f/4.
Cons:
NONE!

I decided on the f/4. I was against the f/2.8 because it's twice the price, twice the weight and a fatter lens. (Then again, you need more glass for f/2.8...)

I've been very impressed with the image quality. Every image I've taken has been razor sharp, with no noticeable CA. It's light enough to carry around on hikes without noticing the weight, which is very nice when you're going for 6+ miles. The size is small enough that it can fit in a small bag without taking up a lot of room.

It's definitely not a lens for low light situations, but I only use this lens outdoors anyway, so I don't care. For indoors, I use my fast primes.

It also works great with the 1.4x TC.


Sep 7, 2011
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Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
222 427968 Jun 21, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
91% of reviewers $1,079.18
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.71
8.76
9.7
ef70-200lisusm


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