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Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

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380 821356 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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jimmythefish
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Registered: Sep 27, 2003
Location: Canada
Posts: 5
Review Date: Mar 17, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $580.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Internal focus and zoom, metal components, large rubber zoom and focus rings. Half the price of the 2.8 version, small and light enough to carry around for long periods of time, excellent value.
Cons:
Why is the tripod ring so #*!&#$!@ expensive? Doesn't really need it but it would be nice to have it more balanced on the tripod.

With the possible exception of my 10D, I've not come closer to feelings of love for an inanimate object in my short life. What's not to like? There have been many reviews here, so I'll just say that I wish everything I bought was as well thought out, constructed and performed as well as this. With the high ISO performance of the latest DSLRs, the F4 is more viable. Though it would be nice to have 2.8, this is an excellent compromise and I'd buy it again in a heartbeat.

It does attract a lot of attention in casual use, but when using it to shoot sports or any other situation where people are expecting photographers, they just assume you're a professional. It's rather amusing.

My one nitpick is that the tripod collar is exceedingly expensive - enough so that I'm just going to wait until I get the 300 F4L as the collar comes with that lens and fits this one. I would really like it to use for landscape photography on a tripod.


Mar 17, 2004
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adarmosaputro
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Registered: Jul 13, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 21
Review Date: Mar 6, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Lightweight, relative to f/2.8L yet produced stunningly similar excellent results - color, contrast, sharpness are outstanding. AF is fast and silent (as expected from USM), and controls are silky smooth. Built like a tank, solid and feels sturdy.
Cons:
67mm filter isn't the easiest thing to find



Mar 6, 2004
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Kubicide
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Registered: Jan 31, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 162
Review Date: Feb 4, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $510.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Extreme image sharpness; high contrast; light weight; easy to carry; fast AF
Cons:
None

Best bargain! It's true - can't find a better L lens for the money. Purchased new. Amazed at the resolving capability of this lens. Way out performs the 10D detector's capability.

Absolutely no CA or lateral color. Sharp edge to edge.

(Something magic about Canon's fluorite lens elements...)


Feb 4, 2004
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vince
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Registered: Mar 18, 2002
Location: China
Posts: 306
Review Date: Feb 2, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Superb sharpness and color and excellent optics, compact, light and handholdable.
Cons:
Canon could have come out with an all-black version.

This is probably one of the best Canon lenses I own. I sold my 100-400L to purchase the 70-200/4. The optics are absolutely excellent even wide open, and the background blur is soft and creamy. It is small and light enough to take on everyday outings or vacations whereas the 100-400 (at twice the weight and size), was so heavy and bulky that it stayed home most of the time. This lens gets me more than 70% of indoor shots at parties/gatherings. Even though the new 70-300DO lens is out, I wouldn't sell this one.

Feb 2, 2004
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elucidate
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Registered: Jan 13, 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 23
Review Date: Jan 29, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Lightweight, Razor Sharp Images, Excellent Bokeh, Fast AF.
Cons:
Nitpick: Lens Shade gets very greasy from fingers easily.

Having recently bought this lens for general and portrait use I find it fantastic for portrait use with excellent sharpness all round a fantastic AF although in poor light it really does struggle at the telephoto end (as you would expect).

Overall however, I can't see myself wanting or needing the extra stop of the F2.8

Dave


Jan 29, 2004
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RipD
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Registered: Jan 4, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 8
Review Date: Jan 17, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Size, weight, price, quality, optics. Handles great.
Cons:
None

This is just a great zoom. Live up to the quality expected from Canon L lenses. Sharpness and contrast are excellent.

I bought this rather than the f2.8 lens because of the size and weight difference. I sometimes do miss the extra stop the f2.8 would provide, but but for day hikes and travel this lens is nicer to carry. I'm patiently waiting for Canon to produce and IS version of this lens. Like many, I'm very tempted by the 70-200 f2.8 IS.

If you can live without the IS and the extra stop, this is the lens to get. The price for this lens seems ridiculously low given the quality. Even If I do eventually get the f2.8, I would keep this lens for when I needed the lighter weight.


Jan 17, 2004
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RabidCow
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Registered: Oct 26, 2003
Location: Canada
Posts: 6
Review Date: Dec 6, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $996.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great sharpness and lack of chromatic abberations
Cons:
None, other than lacking f2.8

This is my first L lens for my new Digital Rebel. I purchased the kit lens and then got a 50mm 2.5 macro lens. I was really impressed by the macro lens except for a small amount of chromatic abberation when shot wide open. I was shocked when the 70-200 did not produce ANY chromatic abberation, at any focal length, even wide open. This is the finest lens I have ever owned for digital.

Dec 6, 2003
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Augie
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Registered: Oct 22, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 130
Review Date: Nov 26, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $675.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: lightness-I'm in a wheelchair, plus I have a weak wrist so I use a monopod, but without it's not as cumbersome, especially when using feather light 300-D
Cons:
exp. tripod-ring, other than that I'd be nitpicking

Hey, I'm TBI [trumatic brain injured] and shakiness is a 'fact of life' for me. I thought not getting IS a gamble. However, with the mono-pod, from my wheelchair no problem, YET!

Nov 26, 2003
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hermosawave
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Registered: Jul 12, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 14
Review Date: Nov 18, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $589.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Relatively light, sharp, contrasty.
Cons:
Nothing really

Sold my 75-300 and 28-105 to buy this lens instead - definately worth the modest investment.
Although it's long, it's not much wider than a 50mm, so it fits easily in my tiny camera bag (haven't been able to figure out how to stow the hood though, maybe in a larger bag ;-).
I have had flare shooting into sunsets, but the flare is softer than other lenses and I still retain enough contrast to make for a good picture.
I'm more of a wide angle guy, but I'm finding lot's of uses for this lens. It's easy to hold on my Digital Rebel, not a problem at all.
Everyone else talks about how inexpensive this lens is, but I consider this lens expensive, at twice the price of the consumer zooms. Nevertheless, I will agree that this lens is the best value for the money. Unless you're a sports photographer and are willing to lug around some heavy glass for an extra stop, I think this is the only Canon telezoom to consider.


Nov 18, 2003
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chris78cpr
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Registered: Aug 27, 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 5686
Review Date: Nov 18, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Weight, size, price
Cons:
Um........... No IS???

This is my first piece of L glass and i am very impressed!!! Amazing contrast, quality and sharpness! Thsi was bought to replace my 75-300 IS and it does so very well.

This is always kept in my bag and i never leave without it, it's got the perfect balance of weigh and size!!!

This is one of canon's best bargains!!!


Nov 18, 2003
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mfoto
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Registered: Sep 18, 2002
Location: Canada
Posts: 2344
Review Date: Oct 21, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $821.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: All-round just a fantastic product. Feels great, works great. Superb color and sharpness all the time. Light weight.
Cons:
Yeah - I guess I could use a 2.8 aperture from time to time but not at the added expence and weight...

I used to have the older 80-200 2.8L but this lens with the USM and lighter weight gets way more use as I can keep in my bag at all times. I know this should be much of an issue but I never hesitate to bring it along.

I wish more products in the world was as well thought out as this one. IS would be cool but it might add weight - a slight loss in picture quality and no doubt added cost.

This one is a winner.

Lots of shots at my www.pbase.com/mfoto are taken with this lens and my D60.

mfoto Smile


Oct 21, 2003
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rebel300
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Registered: Dec 30, 2001
Location: United States
Posts: 13833
Review Date: Oct 6, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp at all apertures
Cons:
color is natural...probably good for most uses, but I would like a little more warmth in it.

Sharper than the 70-200 faster lenses...I agree with the ratings putting this lens a "few" percentage points above the 2.8 and the 2.8IS.

Smallish and light...an easy carry hand held where the 2.8 and the 2.8IS are somewhat heavy and require a larger bag.
I carry 2 cameras...the 24-70 on one and the 70-200/4 on the other in a very small casual bag.
Fabulous combination.

Easily one of the real bargains offered by Canon.

The Reb


Oct 6, 2003
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stan23
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Registered: Jul 25, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 990
Review Date: Sep 22, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Compact size, Great build quality, Very fast focusing, Great sharp optics, low price
Cons:
odd 67mm filter size

I've had this lens for a few months now, and I never missed the fact that it does not have IS. I can hand hold the lens wide open on the long end at 1/125 with no motion blur problems.

Coupled with the 10D, I have gotten nothing but good results. The lens gives great bokeh, and is very sharp and contrasty. It is very hard to believe that this is the most inexpensive 'L' lens in Canon's stable. The build quality is great, and the focus / zoom rings are very smooth. This is a great lens for anyone needing an excellent image quality telephoto zoom in their kit.

Very good buy!


Sep 22, 2003
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Gochugogi
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Registered: Jun 25, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 9875
Review Date: Jul 22, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Superb optical and mechanical quality. Internal zoom and focus maintain balance and resist sucking in dust.
Cons:
Rather long--takes up almost as much space in the bag as the F 2.8 version. The white color attracts attention. I prefer black instead.

If you like sharp, contrasty images, save your money for the best lenses you can muster. Ultimately, the caliber of your images is determined by the quality of the lens and your technique, not the camera. Of course, a good eye for composition and design is helpful. Quality lenses are an investment for the future as they will work on all EOS SLRs, film or digital.

The optical design and antireflection coatings of today's zooms have evolved to the point that the best examples rival prime lenses. Unfortunately, most consumer zooms are cheap plastic affairs with silk-screened symbols and coarse zoom and focus action. Canon's EF70-200 4L USM bucks this trend and combines modern optical design and AF with the durable construction and silky zoom and focus action of yesteryear. At $600, it is more affordable than the EF70-200 2.8L USM ($1200) or EF70-200 2.8L IS USM ($2000), but offers similar build and optical quality.

I bought an EF70-200 4L USM during Fall 2001 to replace my EF75-300 4-5.6 IS USM. The hybrid metal and plastic construction and quality components make it tough as nails, but it's a reasonable 705 g (24 oz). Both the zoom and focus mechanisms are internal so there is absolutely no zoom creep. Moreover, internal mechanisms are less prone to sucking in dust than front extension designs. The large twist action zoom ring is smooth and fast. Unlike most AF lenses, the manual focus ring is large, ribbed and nearly as smooth turning as the manual lenses of yesteryear. The focusing ring is too far out on the barrel, but I got used to it. At least I never confuse it with the zoom ring!

This puppy sports a ring-type USM (Ultrasonic Motor) that drives an internal lens group (behind the front element but in front of the diaphragm) and, thus, AF is very fast. The front element does not rotate nor does the barrel expand or contract during focus and zoom operations. Surprisingly, the AF of my EF70-210 3.5-4.5 USM is even faster, perhaps due to the small elements in the rear focus group. The motor of the EF70-200 4L USM is silent during AF, but I hear a pianissimo "rolling" sound as the elements move along the gear train. It has FT-M, 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 fast and accurate I found little use for the limiter.

The zoom's AF worked flawlessly on my EOS 3, Elan 7E, 10D, Elan, IX and A2 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 all six EOS bodies. Unfortunately, this lens isn't well suited for older pro EOS cameras, e.g., EOS 1 or 1N, as the maximum aperture of F4 is too slow to fully enable their cross AF sensors.

The filter size is 67 mm, making filters expensive and difficult to share with most Canon lenses. The only other Canon lens with this size is the EF24-85 3.5-4.5 USM. However, the complementary zoom ranges and shared filer size makes these two zooms an excellent travel kit.

As expected, the EF70-200 4L USM is very sharp and contrasty, a level above my EF70-210 3.5-4.5 USM (a decent lens). A big advantage of this lens over consumer zooms is that it exhibits little degradation of image quality at large apertures or at the long end. In other words, it's sharp wide open and across the zoom range. Stopped down to F8 or F11, chromes from this lens and the EF70-210 3.5-4.5 USM are nearly indistinguishable. Nevertheless, top image quality wide open is essential if you frequently hand hold your camera.

The contrast and snap of this lens is apparent even through the viewfinder. After all, there is some very exotic glass in there, 1 Fluorite and 2 UD elements. The long end is not as sharp as my EF200 2.8L USM prime, but it's close. Image magnification is a little less than my EF 200 2.8L USM, leading me to suspect the zoom is slightly shy of 200mm. There is little distortion and flare is extremely well controlled. With full frame coverage (35mm), some flare and ghosting may occur with bright sunsets. Smaller formats, e.g., APS and digital, exhibit virtually no flare or ghosting. Nevertheless, this lens is more flare resistant than any telezoom I have owned--almost as good as a Canon prime. You should use the huge lens shade (ET-74) to help keep flare in check.

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 rear element focus group). With 16 elements in the barrel of the EF70-200 4L USM, I'm not excited about adding 5 to 7 more elements with an Extender. Light will really have to struggle to make it through all that glass (21 or more elements). Extenders are best used with prime lenses as there is less degradation of image quality. Nevertheless, the Canon Extender 1.4x allows a reasonably well performing 98-280 F5.6 zoom. Unfortunately, bright light sources--e.g., sunsets, street lights, car headlights--will generate more flare with an Extender.

The EF70-200 4L USM has the option of using a tripod collar, i.e., Tripod Mount Ring A (white, #2889A002). Although this lens is so light a tripod collar is unnecessary, a collar makes tripod use easier, especially verticals. If you you want a tripod collar, you may save $40 by purchasing the Tripod Mount Ring A (black, #2888A002). It's exactly the same as Tripod Collar "A" (white) except for the black finish. The tripod collars are interchangeable between the EF70-200 4L USM, EF80-200 2.8L, EF200 2.8L USM, EF300 4L USM and EF400 5.6L USM. The Tripod Mount Ring B will not fit.

There aren't many cons about this lens, so I'll have to nitpick. Compared to the EF70-210 3.5-4.5 USM or EF100-300 4.5-5.6 USM, this lens is big and tends to draw attention to itself. Of course, that's the price you pay for constant aperture and internal zoom and focus. Plus, the EF70-200 4L USM is nearly as long as the EF70-200 2.8L USM and, thus, requires the same amount of space in my camera bag. It's heavier than most consumer zooms so it balances better on heavier bodies, e.g., EOS 3, 10D or A2. You may find it a bit front heavy on a Rebel Ti. That's all the cons I can think of!

If you find yourself mainly using the long end of a telezoom, buy the EF200 2.8L USM or EF300 4L IS USM instead. However, if you need a telezoom, this is one of the best. The EF70-200 4L USM has similar build and optical quality as the famous EF70-200 2.8L USM, but at half the price, weight and shy a F stop. Most pros buy the EF70-200 2.8L USM as the extra stop may mean the difference between getting an important shot (paycheck) or not. For discriminating hikers, travelers and amateurs this zoom deliverers quality without breaking their shoulder (and bank) and can take the knocks they dish out. This is a great telezoom.


Jul 22, 2003
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frank2001
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Registered: Apr 19, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 1115
Review Date: Jul 16, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp Sharp Sharp relitvely compact
Cons:
Odd ball filter size 67MM

I am an amatuer photogrraher and I have owned many many lenses over the years. Cheap ones and expensive ones too.
I haven't been this excited about many of them. Actually only one, the Nikon 300mm f4.0 AF ED.
Up until this lens, my favorites were a Nikon 35-70 f2.8 and my very favorite, the Nikon AF 300mm f4.0 ED lens which I wasn't actually shopping for, but bought used from a friend who needed money quickly.
I really loved that lens. It had terrific sharpness, great contrast and very nice bokeh. The main problem was it was BIG!
I am using this canon zoom on my digital body and at 200mm or 320mm, considering the 1.6 multipier, it has all of the qualities I loved in the Nikon, plus it's a Zoom and plus plus, it's much smaller and lighter!
I had tried every Canon Zoom in this range, including 2- 70-210's, a 75-300 IS, 100-300 USM and the older non USM L version. I didn't like any of them.
I did like the 100-400 IS, but it was so HUGE, I sold it because I never carried it.
The only one I didn't try was the 70-200 f2.8, which I believed to be too large as well.
This 70-200mm f4.0 L is, IMHO, the BEST! It's got good size, weight and superb preformance.
I highly reccomend this lens!
Frank in Atlanta


Jul 16, 2003
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Arka
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Registered: Jun 13, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 10709
Review Date: Jul 10, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $529.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great build quality, portable, don't even need the tripod mount, sharp sharp sharp!
Cons:
Extra light gathering power or IS would be nice

I recently acquired this lens and used it extensively at a cultural program in LA. I was very pleased with what I got, especially outdoors. On a 10d, the zoom range is expansive, and sharp through the entire range. Color rendition is superb, and the bokeh is smooth. It's also light enough to have on the camera with a neck strap, and small enough to fit in reasonably sized travel bags. If you are doing a lot of indoor or stage work, you might want to consider brighter primes or the 2.8 IS version (the 2.8 alone is not sufficient for stage lighting IMO), but this lens perfomed pretty well at moderate ISO's even in a darkened auditorium. It's very sharp wide open, and simply amazing between f5.6 and f8.

A perfect telephoto zoom for a travel/outdoor kit. Couple it with a 17-40mm f/4L and a 50mm 1.4, and you have a light, reasonably priced, yet versatile kit that you can take anywhere with relative ease. I love this lens and heartily recommend it!



Jul 10, 2003
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Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
380 821356 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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