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Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM

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The world’s fastest 200mm telephoto lens. Three UD-glass elements eliminate secondary spectrum for sharp images at all apertures. The optics have been designed to give excellent background blur. Try it with the maximum aperture’s shallow depth of field.

Lens Construction (group): 10
Lens Construction (element): 12
No. of Diaphragm Blades: 8
Minimum Aperture: 22
Closest Focusing Distance (m): 2.5
Maximum Magnifcation (x): 0.09
Filter Diameter (mm): 48
Maximum Diameter x Length (mm): 130 x 208
Weight (g): 3,000


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Registered: Jan 24, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 5
Review Date: Jun 28, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,950.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: The sharpest images from any lens I have ever owned, If you are thinking about it... BUY IT NOW!! Rent it to try it if you are hasty about shelling out the cash, a must have for any Canon gear addict.
None if you don't mind the weight on hand holding the baby.

I aquired this lens by accident but only after years of wanting it. None the less I have to give the rating a 10+ in all respects. Every review and comment section of postings through out the WWW. world bosted preformance of this lens second to no other in it's class, they are right.

Jun 28, 2005
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Registered: Jan 20, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 60
Review Date: May 27, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Optical, structure, colour, AF. Everything is EXCELLENT.
Heavy, but that is what you paid for. Canon should re-design their hoods

It bids 135mm f/2.0mm, 70-200mm f/2.8 IS in everyway.

Expect it is way too heavy.

May 27, 2005
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Registered: Jan 12, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 74
Review Date: May 15, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpest lens I have ever used wide open. Very quick AF. Pictures taken with this lens need literally no post-processing, allowing for faster workflows, which is a boon for sports photographers.
Heavy, but that's what monopods are for.

Being an indoor sports photographer, I have thought I would be forever satisfied with a 135mm f2L and a 70-200mm f2.8L IS. This lens proved I was setting myself up short.

Borrowed this lens from a fellow photographer and tried it for 1 stint. Not only did I impress myself, my editor was impressed too. I knew I had to get this lens.

How good is this lens? Compared to my 70-200mm f2.8L IS, it focuses faster and is way sharper right out of the camera. At f1.8, this lens is sharper than the 70-200mm f2.8L IS at f4! Furthermore, the AF is quicker, which means more keeper shots when using AI Servo while tracking the athlete. DOF is very shallow, but that's what sports photography sometimes demands. It blurs out the background so well and smoothly, the context and background is clear enough to identify the event, yet blurred so well that the athlete is emphasized.

Color and sharpness is superb. Pictures taken with this lens can be literally submitted to the editor without processing, or at least that's what I have done.

Although this lens is discontinued, you can still get this lens from a Korean seller named Chamcamera. That seller is very reliable and friendly, answering all your queries and even testing the lens to your requests. This is an excellent lens that didn't deserve to be discontinued.

May 15, 2005
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Chris Procter
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Registered: Jul 2, 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 873
Review Date: Apr 29, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness Bokeh
minor niggle slightly awkward to hand hold

Words cannot describe how good this Lens really is.. the BOKEH is so smooth that it almost looks unreal

The sharpness is just wonderful, I bought this Lens about 5 weeks ago and have now given it good work outs in all kinds of different enviroments, and without doubt it is giving me the best results I have ever had

at night under Lights when 2.8 just does not cut it, is where this Lens really kicks in, still managing to freeze the action

the minor niggle is that it is awkward to hand hold, considering the good points though, that is not an issue

Apr 29, 2005
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Review Date: Apr 27, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Super resolution, wonderful color, Bokeh is buttery smooth, very fast AF
Awkward size with the light bucket glass Attracts the question "how much is that?" from the rude.

This lens is a dream, sorry they don't make it anymore but I got mine :D

Without the hood it's not that long but wide.
It's so fast I can hand hold my shots all day even if my back hurts later.

Its ability to be used indoors is wonderful and while other lenses go home the 200 1.8 can keep shooting at the lower ISO's

With a 1.4X it's has no detectable lose in quality.

Not a cheep lens but you get what you pay for with this lens with wonderful pictures


Apr 27, 2005
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Registered: Sep 16, 2003
Location: China
Posts: 55
Review Date: Mar 29, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 


All the things you know or heard about this wonderful lens are all-true. Beautiful DOF, tack sharp pic @ f/1.8, fast AF, first class building quality. Since I read so many good things about this lens, I have a very high expectation of this lens. After 2 months of using this lens, I can say this lens live up to my high expectation and more. I am glad I got this lens.

About the weight, it is not that bad. I use this lens on last weekend family gathering, I was carrying this lens (hand held, no monopod) to following my daughter on a tricycle and on a horseback ride for about 4 hrs. During that 4 hrs, I was able to get good result with this lens hand held, and my arms still able to move the next day. Here are some samples:


When I first got this lens, I was worry about no IS, but it turns out that is nothing to worry about. Who need IS when you can get 1/2500 sec at ISO 160 @ f/1.8 on a cloudy day!!


Mar 29, 2005
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Jay Ouellet
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Registered: Mar 13, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 13, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: The Champ. Tack-sharp.Fast.If resolution is your interest,this is the ultimate.
Yes,it's expensive and discontinued.And heavy...7 lbs.

Yes,very expensive.But hey,this is the ultimate in resolution.For those making large prints,the detail is here.Off the shelf.
No, it doesn't have the flexibility of a zoom.And yes it is very heavy...definitely not a photojournalist's lens.
I mainly use this for nightime shooting and wide field astro-photography.Possibly the best corrected photo lens for spherical aberation.Only a true apochromatic refractor will outperform this shooting at infinity.
Talk about speed: recently shot a football game...shooting 100 ISO at 1/3000th of second when a buddy shooting with his 300:2.8 had to settle for 1000th.You could see the expression of the eyes of the players...just amazing.For those who insist on a longer FL,add the 1.4X.No sweat.You get a 280 @f:2.5.The front element is huge...the same size as the front element of the 500:f4 !
Simply my favorite lens...when the sharpest image is needed.
I recently bought a 135:2L,which also holds it's own...and alot more portable.
If you get a chance,try the 200:1.8 once.The images are simply unbelievable when enlarged.

Mar 13, 2005
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P Alesse
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Registered: Dec 24, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 11942
Review Date: Dec 24, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great Bokeh, tack sharp even with a 1.4x
heavy, not a great balance point mount

One word... AWESOME. After having purchased the 70-200/2.8 IS, I expected results slightly better with this lens. But, IMHO, this lens blows away the 70-200/2.8. I just completed shooting a wrestling meet with limited light. I was able to achieve tack sharp results using my 1D Mark II at ISO 400. This lense is incredible. I was able to shoot comfortably at shutter speeds of 1/125 and 1/250 and every shot was a "keeper". The AF is very fast and there are three manual focus speeds, and a focus memory ring... all nice features.

As a straight portrait lens, I still can't believe the tack sharp clarity. Shoot wide open and you get beautiful DOF and bokeh. You can count the individual eyelashes of the subject and with the 550EX speedlight, I was able to bring out the best in the subject's eyes. I cannot say enough about this lens.

The cons are minimal. The lens mount is not in a great spot and I get better balance by mounting the monopod directly onto the camera. This lens is HEAVY and with the lens hood, it will turn heads... but I can live with that knowing that I have one of the finest pieces of glass that CANON has ever offered.

In conjunction with the 1.4x, the results are still stunning. Only after using a 2x, did the results begin to soften, but it still rivaled the 70-200/2.8 IS with no extender and at 400mm/3.5, you can't complain.

I have no idea why CANON discontinued this lens. I just got mine on ebay from Chamcamera. At first, I was hesitant in purchasing a lens from an overseas dealer that only accepted wire transfer. But the dealer had sold several of these lenses over the last year and had impecable feedback. I was not disappointed. The communication and service was excellent and I had the lens at my door in about three days.

Dec 24, 2004
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Review Date: Nov 18, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, Bright, beautifull color contrast, beautifull DOF and fast auto focus

one of my dream lens, very sharp wide open, i like the build constructions, very solid, after compare with my 70-200 f2.8 IS, decide to keep this lens and sell the 70-200 IS, i found image quality 200 f1.8 is better, but when i stop down to 2.8 its more brightness and sharp.

Nov 18, 2004
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Registered: Apr 5, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 890
Review Date: Jun 21, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,075.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Awesome speed and Shallow DOF wide open

This is the most prime telephoto Canon has ever made. The shallow depth of field makes it perfect for portraits. The speed of lens makes it ideal for indoor sporting events. I have shot this lens for surf, portraits, basketball, and wildlife. All with great results. Photodo rates this lens at 4.9! The highest rating a lens has ever achieved. It is impressive wide open when you would think a flash is necessary. With the 1.4x it becomes a 280mm f2.5, faster and sharper than the 300 2.8. You do not need IS with this lens. It is unfortunate Canon stopped making it, but I am glad I got mine.

Jun 21, 2004
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Registered: Apr 24, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 698
Review Date: May 1, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Arguably Canon's sharpest lens ever

Plan A - $9720 16.2 lbs

200mm f/2.8 $620 1.7 lbs
300mm f/2.8 IS $3800 6.0 lbs
400mm f/4.0 IS $5300 8.5 lbs

Plan B - $3835 7.7 lbs

200mm f/1.8 $3300 6.6 lbs
280mm f/2.5 $270 +0.5 lbs (using 1.4x TC)
400mm f/3.5 $265 +0.6 lbs (using 2x TC)
560mm f/5.0 bonus with stacked TCs

I opted for Plan B and have been extraordinarily happy with my choice.

At 200mm I get a faster/sharper lens that is ideally suited to indoor sports or night sports. It has also become one of my favorite head and shoulder portrait lenses with fantastic bokeh and the opportunity for very narrow DOF. The penalty at this FL is weight and being so damn conspicuous.

At 300mm I get a faster but slightly shorter lens without IS. My applications for long lenses are primarily for sports where I need motion stopping shutter speeds and hence IS does not really help me. Also at 6 lbs I prefer to be on a tripod or monopod. Optically, I am blown away by the 1.4x on the 200 f/1.8. I have not done a head to head with the 300 f/2.8 but I believe a double blind test shot on a 10D would prove very surprising to many. I see very little resolution or contrast loss with this combination on a 10D.

At 400mm I get a faster but softer lens without IS. With the 2x you can notice a loss of resolution but this is still a very impressive optical combination. Prints to 8x12 are stunning. The bottom line is that the 200 f/1.8 is so good to begin with that it holds up amazingly well with the 2x.

At 560mm I still get very acceptable results and autof ocus still works. This is essentially a freebee. I use a bean bag to achieve the best results with this configuration.

In summary, I save $5885 and 8.5 lbs and have faster glass at each focal length. Optically, I am slightly ahead at 200, at parity at 300, and slightly behind at 400.

I concur with all other glowing reviews of this lens but thought I would share my motivation for this acquisition. If you can only afford to buy one long "L" lens I would strongly recommend you consider the 200 f/1.8. You will absolutely love the lens stand alone and with the Canon TCs you will have very fast solutions up to 400mm.

The weight of this lens is the only negative. I often use it handheld, but it really wants a mono/tripod for extended shooting.

May 1, 2004
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Registered: Feb 23, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 162
Review Date: Apr 5, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Unbelieveable light gathering ability. Incredible 2cm DOF at 2.5m Sharpness that puts other lenses to shame.

I have to echo the other reviews. I can't believe how good this lens is. It's like shooting with a full-color night vision system. I shot an indoor swim meet this past weekend and I was shooting at 1/1000th sec. and faster at f1.8, ISO 800. This is my new standard indoor sports lens. Grab one while you still can. I bought mine on ebay from a Korean seller.

Apr 5, 2004
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Registered: Jan 11, 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 98
Review Date: Mar 18, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great for low light indoor sport like gymnastics. Razor sharp and dazzling contrast. Very fast AF speed. Beautiful out-of-focus boken.
Very expensive. Mighty weight and size.

I can only sum up this lens by one word: awesome! It is razor sharp even wide open at f1.8. The light gathering power of this lens gives very bright images on the viewfinder. It produces very beautiful out-of focus boken that makes it suitable for portrait or sport isolating the subject from the background. The subject simply "pops" out of the background. The DOF of this lens at 2.5m is about 2cm. This lens uses a large ring type L-2 USM and it is extremely fast and responsive, in par with the AF speed of my 300 f2.8L. The wide open aperture performance of the 200 f1.8L is noticetably better than that of the 300 f2.8 (non-IS) version based on my experience with both lenses. Weighting 3kg, handholding is still fine but a monopod can help a great deal. I frequently use this lens for indoor gymnastics, fashion, wildlife, outdoor sport and portrait, sometimes with 1.4x mk II convertor. Full time manual focusing is available at 3 different speeds. Focus preset function allows you to store the AF setting at any time which is very useful in sport applications. The hood is hugh and made of metal. With the hood attached, this lens looks like an imposing beast. It comes with a heavy duty aluminium trunk and leather lens case.
Too bad Cannon discontinued this great classics last year with no immediate replacement model. OK it was introduced in the 1989. By today standard, it is still unsurpressed by any other lens in terms of specifications and performance at this focal length (well until the recent introduction of Nikon 200mm f2 AF-S VR, vibration reduction lens). People who think this lens is obsolete don't know what they miss!

Samples of photos taken with this lens can be found here:

or in fashion and diving galleries:

Mar 18, 2004
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Kris K
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Registered: May 6, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 172
Review Date: Mar 15, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,700.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent clarity and color to the corners. Sharpest lens I own, with the possible exception of my 135/2.0L.
Heavy, heavy, heavy, cost, vignetting wide open on a full-frame

I purchased this lens for candid shots, especially of kids in action. The short depth of field wide open yields interesting results with candid shots.

Focus is nearly instantaneous. Colors are rendered extremely accurately. Corners are essentially as sharp as the center.

The weight of this lens doesn't lend itself to prolonged hand holding (unless you're going to skip the gym that day). I thought originally that I'd like to see this lens with IS, but I really haven't had any problems w/o it due to the flexibility of the large aperature.

Size does make this lens a little unwieldy for travel. With the hood attached, it monsterous in size...not exactly an inconspicous lens

Mar 15, 2004
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Registered: Feb 24, 2004
Location: Finland
Posts: 2
Review Date: Feb 24, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Aperture F1.8 is marvelous. Build. Handling. Optics are stunning
Well the price I guess, but reasonable for the extreme quality and aperture! Weight (3kg) . Attrects a lot of attension... Filterholder tricky to use with polarizers.

Buying the 50mm F1.0 2months ago I talked to the very nice man who sold it about the 200mm F1.8, it was then that it cleared for me that I've got to get this 200mm F1.8 lens as well.

After 2weeks desperate search a guy answered on one of my "I buy" ads. He said that he sells it for 2500€ and not a cent less, so I gathered the money and became the happy owner of this monster lens.

I have not used it a lot yet, due to the poor weather conditions in the south of Finland during winter. Mostly cloudy... But about 100 pictures.

Firstly, the otics are far far better than I expected at f1.8. It's like f2.8 on my 28-70mm L. Color reddition is excellent. Bright controlled and true colors. really good contrast over the whole of the image. No viewable diffrence around the edges. Razor sharp troughout.

The effect you get from the high aperture, you never have to worry about not getting the background blurred enough. I promise, it is!

Weather sealing is another plus. 2 days after I bought it I had it with me in the poring rain at +2 degrees C. and it performed perfectly.

The hard case that comes along in the original set, is superb for transportation. (Make sure it comes along, it will help to preserve the lense second-hand price.)

The hood is just super! Really good protection towards all elements, rain, snow, dust, vind, and the usual bang in the wall. And make sure you get this one aswell if you buy one, the lens hood has a price of 600 euros if ordered separately from Canon.

Well I could go on all day telling you how superb the optics are, because they really are, but let's put it like this:

You can't be misspleased with this lens. And the optics never ever let you down. Highly recommended!

Beware of theives. I find myself a high target of eyes whe walking about with it.

Feb 24, 2004
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Registered: Dec 9, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 116
Review Date: Dec 9, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness/Color. Background Blur. AF Speed. Handling (Heavy but compact)

I recently rented one of these for a shoot. I was shooting a youth Ice Hockey tournament. This was the first time I had used this lens and was amazed at the results. I teamed this with my 135 2L and didn't use another lens all weekend. Having a 1.4x would have helped when the players were in the far corners (I shoot from the penalty box or bench) but between the blue lines, 200 mm teamed with my 10D was perfect. I was shooting at 1/500 at f2 indoors. Using the tripod mount as a grip, handling the lens became second nature after about 10 frames. I got some of the best photos I have ever done in 4 years of shooting hockey. I have used my 80-200 2.8L and a 300 2.8L in the past. I found the image quality of the 200 amazing. I had often wondered how it would look wide open, and now I know it is fantastic. Now I need to find a decent one and buy it. It will replace my 80-200 as my work horse. I also used it to shoot some of mine and my friends horses and the shallow DoF really make the images POP off the film. Why did Canon stop making this beauty??????

Dec 9, 2003
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Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
51 295848 Aug 18, 2016
Recommended By Average Price
100% of reviewers $3,230.56
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating

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