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Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM

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50 142452 May 1, 2014
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96% of reviewers $5,180.92
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This ultra-fast telephoto, a new member of Canon legendary L-series lenses, has totally new optics to provide better image quality. It uses fluorite and UD lens elements for excellent chromatic aberration correction and consists of 17 elements in 12 groups. The built-in Optical Image Stabilizer gives it up to 4 stops of stabilization correction. The inner USM and optimized AF algorithms result in fast and quiet autofocusing, and the circular aperture can even produce beautiful out-of-focus images. This ultra-high-performance lens also improves its durability - better dust- and water-proofing. The EF 200mm f/2L IS USM is outstanding for many available-light applications, including indoor sports, theater work, fashion, and candids at events.

• Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 200mm f/2

• Lens Construction: 17 elements in 12 groups

• Diagonal Angle of View: 12° (on full-frame sensor camera)

• Focus Adjustment: Inner focusing system with USM, AF with manual focus option

• Closest Focusing Distance: 6.2 ft. / 1.9m

• Filter Size: 52mm (Drop-in Gelatin Filter Holder)

• Max. Diameter x Length, Weight: 5.0 in. x 8.2 in./ 128mm x 208mm (maximum lens length); 5.6 lbs./2,520g


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Registered: Jun 8, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 414
Review Date: Mar 15, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Low light shooting fantastic.Best IS I've ever used.Picture sharpness best i've seen.
Just the price as everyone else has said.

Like everyone else I've been wanting to get this lens for a long time and when I finally got it I was blown away. I have previously owned the 400 f/2.8 IS and was used to high end teles, but this is in a different league.

The sharpness of images is unparralelled across the Canon line-up (IMHO). I havent used the 300 f/2.8 IS, which i'm told is super sharp, so my assessment may not be 100% accurate....but.. My copy is noticeably sharper than my 135L and my 400 f/2.8 IS.

I showed my fiancee ( not a 'photo person') who was shocked by the sharpness and clarity of the images, so I consider that an independent point of view....and she has been subjected to my photos for years! Smile

The IS is amazing in it's own right. I am getting sharp clear images at 1/10th. HANDHELD! Is that amazing or what? It is a small lens and is best described as a nugetty 70-200.

Here is one at 1/20th...pretty much straight from camera with some minor WB adjustment.

My recommendation:If you can't aford this lens.Sell something so you can.ITS THAT GOOD!

Mar 15, 2009
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Richard N Wang
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Registered: Jul 15, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 21
Review Date: Mar 8, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Incredibly sharp throughout the entire range. Great bokeh. Super fast and accurate autofocus.

Took the lens for a week long test drive. Trying to decide between the 200 f/2.0 and the 300 f/2.8

I use to think that nothing was as good as my 400 f/2.8, but this lens may be better.

It has the best image quality I've ever seen in a lens.

Light enough that I can handhold it, but I can handhold the 300 f/2.8 also.

So it all comes down the focal length.

Probably buy the 300 not because it's a better lens, both are exceptional.

It's just that for what I do the 300 is more useful.

Also the 300 is $1200 less.

Mar 8, 2009
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Registered: Oct 13, 2005
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 287
Review Date: Mar 3, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Amazing sharpness even wide open. The bokeh is awesome, so is the image quality. it's build like a tank !

I've never used a lens sharper than this one !
here are a few picture taken @ f2.0

Mar 3, 2009
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Registered: Aug 12, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 850
Review Date: Feb 9, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Extremely shape even at f/2.0, Out of this world Bokeh, Fast auto-focus, Handling, Latest and greatest IS system (as of writing this review).
White color, Lens trunk, Leather lens cap, skipped to mortgage payments to acquire.

When I first tried this lens on a Canon 1D body, I was surprise by the ease of handling aspect. I would say it's a lot easier to be handheld than the 300mm f/2.8 IS. I am not really tripod kind of shooter. After trying it out for an hour, my arm and back doesn't complaint like the when I use the 300mm.

I haven't been able to make an educated decision on which lens have the IQ edge; the 200mm or the 300mm. It is fair to say that both lenses' IQ blow me away everytime I view the pictures taken with them. So if you are deciding between these two lenses, skip out 4 mortgage payments and buy both. That way, you won't stay up at night wonder what if.

I have to agree with everyone's statement about the IS system. With the IS on, I have more sharp pictures with this lens than the 85mm f/1.2 II in the same lighting condition.

This lens does draw a lot of attention like the other Canon super telephoto lenses. I feel like I am going to get mug when I use it outdoor. I wish it was black.

The Canon OEM lens trunk is good for storage only. I bought a Pelican case and customized the foam so it holds the lens with or without a 1D body.

I know I'll get diss for this but I hope the price doesn't go down in the future because I would feel stupid for paying such a premium on the lens.

Feb 9, 2009
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Registered: Dec 2, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 387
Review Date: Nov 30, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Incredible sharpness wide open at f/2.0 Gorgeous bokeh Contrast and color are spot-on perfect Improved IS (4 stop) is awesome

There's really not much else to say about this lens that hasn't been said already.

I either own or have owned all the Canon "L" lenses (aside from the 1200/5.6 and new 800/5.6), and the 200/2.0 is second to none in all regards. In my opinion, sharpness (edge to edge), color and contrast of this lens is at the very top of the chain, possibly even topping my much loved 300/2.8L-IS.

Zero edge distortion even on FF. There is a slight hint of vignetting on a FF sensor at 2.0-2.8 or so, but certainly not an excessive amount.

AF is lightning fast and super accurate on my 1Ds3.

New IS is so effective I can't even describe it. With my other IS tele's, when IS is activated I can notice a slight bit of stabilizing even through the viewfinder. With the 200/2, when IS is activated it seriously "locks down" and there's no camera shake at all, down to about 1/10sec or so. While 1/10sec images might not be critically sharp, they are certainly more than usable.

Just a perfect lens all around. I can't think of a single negative word to say about it. The price is a bit steep, but honestly the lens backs up this price by setting a new standard in the Canon Super Tele line.

Big thumbs up to Canon for this one!!!

Nov 30, 2008
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Registered: Jul 1, 2008
Location: Romania
Posts: 174
Review Date: Nov 8, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Someone should delete both my post and that of the previous reviewer who, by mistake probably, added a review for the 400 4 DO lens, in the 200 2 is lens section.
See above.

See above.

Nov 8, 2008
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Registered: Jan 15, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 7, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Much lighter and shorter than 400mm 2.8--easy to transport and to shoot handheld, excellent IQ
Price and aperture (relative to 400mm 2.8)

I hesitated for weeks before buying this lens. It's expensive (only $1,000 or so cheaper than the wonderful 400mm 2.8 Canon lens), it's 4.0 instead of 2.8, it's not an L lens (since it uses the less common diffractive optics), and the user reviews of the early production lenses were mixed (the latter reviews are much better). However, I finally decided to buy because I needed a 400mm lens for a mix of sports and outdoors photos, and I knew that I would rarely use the much heavier and longer 400mm 2.8 lens. It is true that the 400mm 2.8 has photographic advantages over the 400mm 4.0 DO, but those don't mean anything if you don't have the lens with you when you need it!

In the month or so I've had the 400mm DO, I've taken it with me on trips--in planes, inside the cabin, with enough space for two camera bodies, and 24-70mm and 70-200mm zoom lenses--and I've shot sports handheld _exclusively_. The autofocus is very fast, the image quality is _astounding_, and I can only say good things about this lens. Perfect 10 for me!

Nov 7, 2008
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Registered: Apr 17, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 841
Review Date: Oct 3, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,299.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very fast to acquire focus, smaller than the 200 1.8, better lens hood than the 200 1.8, the IS is very handy but not necessary most of the time. Amazing image quality, focuses closer than the 200 1.8 and it comes with that unmistakable new lens smell.
EXPENSIVE, did I say over priced? But then this too shall pass. I would take bets on the price of this item falling in the near future, but then I could be wrong.

If you need this lens, chances are you are not awaiting a price drop and already have bought the new 200L IS.

I have been using this lens for about 4 months now and I love it, there simply is no other lens in the Canon line of lenses to match it. The images that are created using this lens simply cannot be matched by any other lens well except maybe the original EF200L 1.8. And that is the trouble, I replaced my 200L 1.8 with this lens! Can I say that this lens is superior? Not yet, but then I have only had it a few months and the previous lens was with me for about a year and a half.

I consider the old version of this lens the 200L 1.8 to be magical, this lens is brilliant don't get me wrong. I have yet to find the magic, so I'll just have to keep looking.

What's my point, well if like me you own the original and want the new model. You might consider waiting till the price drops? Then again what do I know?

Samples at

Oct 3, 2008
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Registered: Sep 6, 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 29782
Review Date: Sep 25, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,300.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Ergonomics/handling features improved relative to 200 f/1.8. The IS may well be about 4 stops worth. AF drive is also faster. IQ is in the EF 300 f/2.8 league.
I can see no technical/performance reasons why the lens should cost much more than the 300 f/2.8 IS. Hopefully the price will come down closer to that level eventually.

A good way to look at the lens is relative to the 200 f/1.8 and 300 f/2.8 IS.

When it comes to lens IQ, construction, AF drive and IS effectiveness, the lens compares to or surpasses the 300 f/2.8.

The difference may not be big, but my 200 f/1.8 resolves detail a bit fact that's the only performance parameter (other than f/1.8) where the older lens is peerless.
That's why I plan on keeping both lenses.

The reason I gave the 200 f/2 IS an overall rating of 9 is that at this time I consider it overpriced for what it generally offers. Obviously, the lens is not a collectors item (yet) and its availability is not limited to a few offerings here and there by private sellers....those were the very factors which escalated the 200 f/1.8 price since its production demise.

Sep 25, 2008
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Registered: Jan 16, 2003
Location: Australia
Posts: 1060
Review Date: Sep 23, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,199.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: image quality, weight, bokeh, contrast & sharpness at wide apertures

A ripper of a lens. I bought this to upgrade from the old 200/1.8 lens.

I bought this lens as the 200 1.8 is heavier, is a bit front heavy and no IS. I was having a real drama with in focus percentages with the old 200mm lens. In test shots and photos of my dogs and so on it was fine but when using it "in anger" at weddings sometimes my focus percentage was so low that eventually I was practically too scared to use it.

So I thought the 200/2 might be the ticket as I really do love using long fast aperture lenses for a lot of my wedding work.

Now I have the new 200 the following has happened ;

- The lens is noticeably lighter and better balanced. it is MUCH easier to handhold
- The IS works incredibly well. I'm using this guy in dark churches handheld at 1600 iso and the results are incredibly sharp.
- My in focus percentage is back up in the 90% range, even at f/2

worth every cent, though it is a bit annoying that the nikon version is so much cheaper.

There was nothing wrong with the picture quality of the old 1.8 lens. I think the 200 may have better contrast at f/2 but I never bothered to compare. I was happy with the optics of both lenses, but the f/2 version is just a lot easier to use.

Sep 23, 2008
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Registered: Jan 14, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 6227
Review Date: Sep 15, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,210.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Wonderful contrast and colors. F 2.0!! IS works as low as 1/5 of a second.
$1300 more than the Nikkor and Canon's own 300mm F2.8. Where's that Tupperware cover for the objective?

The best IQ of my 16 Nikkor and Canon lenses! And that's at a, fearless, wide open F 2.0-no need to stop down except for bright light and more DOF. It appears to edge out my Canon 300mm F2.8 IS and that's saying a lot.

The IS is fantastic! I look for excuses to use this lens. Really captures images that you can't get otherwise. A fine lens for portraits on FF. Hand holding very possible but after a while-strenuous.

Sep 15, 2008
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Registered: Aug 24, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1142
Review Date: Aug 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great IS, sharp, fast focus, great bokeh, and obviously shallow DOF.
It's not welded to my camera.

This lens is incredibly sharp... That along with beautiful bokeh, amazing IS, and quick focus. I am in love. I have gotten sharp shots of people and objects at 1/15th of a second handheld. I am very impressed by this IS system.

Aug 20, 2008
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Registered: May 24, 2003
Location: Canada
Posts: 513
Review Date: Aug 13, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $6,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image quality and sharpness are astonishing. Image stabilization works better than on any previous IS lens I have used. Handles beautifully; a joy to use.
Canon should consider building a double-dovetail into the foot, to eliminate the need to buy an RRS or equivalent replacement foot.

The 200 f2 is my bucket-list lens purchase, my if-not-now, when? splurge, and after using it for two months, I am greatly impressed with its performance.

I considered getting a used 200 f1.8 for around $4000, but decided that having IS, a Canon warranty, repairs by Canon if needed, and a newer, lighter design were worth the extra $2000 in the long run.

In shooting dance and theatre productions in highly variable, often dim lighting, I have found the sharpness and IQ of the 200 to be significantly better than that of my trusty 70-200 f2.8 zoom, to a degree I would not have thought possible.

The IS works amazingly well, and enabled me to get presentable shots of the chorus in a recent musical who were positioned on the stairs to the stage, illuminated only by a bit of random light spilling their way.

One small gripe: Canon could safely assume that any shooters buying their 200mm to 800mm primes is using Arca Swiss-style plates (RRS, Kirk, Wimberley, etc.). Why not build a double dovetail into the lens foot to eliminate the need to buy plates or replace the entire foot?

That said, I love shooting with this lens, and am looking forward to the upcoming volleyball and basketball seasons even more than usual.

Aug 13, 2008
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Andrew Welsh
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Registered: Jan 19, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 4999
Review Date: Jul 26, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Portrait/sports IQ, handholdability, Image stabilizer (truly is 5 stops), and oh the bokeh. It's everything everyone raves about the 135L, but on steroids with IS.
Cost, astrophotos show coma at f/2, f/2.2 and f/2.5 (lens is not optimized for infinity focus)

I posted a thorough detailed analysis and review here on my site including astrophoto tests.

There was great hope among astrophotographers because the fabled 200/1.8 is not-so-good for astrophotos at f/1.8 (it shows purple fringing due to the high contrast stretching normal to astrophotos). Of course stopping the lens down eliminates the problem, but one pays for the aperature-- you can buy a 200/2.8 for $400 USD used and shoot at f/2.8.. why pay ~$4000 for a 200/1.8 to have to stop it down to f/2.8 and get the same performance (for astrophotos)? Anyway, the hope was this lens would offer an improvement over the classic. My tests show it does not Sad and it may actually perform worse. Of course, stopping down to f/2.8 renders crisp flat stars across the field, but af f/2 to f/2.5, there's CA *and* coma.

What does this matter to anyone but an astrophotographer? Absolutely nothing. The 85L and 135L both "suck" as astrophoto lenses, in that you have to stop them down past f/2.8 to get a flat field, but no one complains about their portrait use! The 200/2 is no different. If you never take an astrophoto, you'll never see these problems. In every aspect other than astro, this lens is pure awesomeness.

The 200/2 is like the 135L but with IS, more reach, faster focus, better low-light focusing, and better bokeh due to the extra focal length. If you can handhold a 300/2.8 L IS all day, then this lens will seem light in comparison. I found it unnecessary to use a monopod/tripod.

I own the 300/2.8L IS and this lens is much better for weddings and portraits.. the IS is better on the 200 and the focal length is better. The 300/2.8 is superior for wildlife photos (more reach... the bare 300 is better than the 200 + 1.4x tc, 300+1.4 is better than the 200+2x tc, and 300+2x tc is better than 200+1.4x+2x tc), and the 300/2.8 is superior for astrophotos- more reach, sharp corner to corner wide open at f/2.8.

I rated it a 9 for price because Canon's initial pricing was way too steep ($6000 USD). At the time of my purchase (early July 2008) it had been on the market for 2 months and already dropped to $5500 USD. By the time I sold it at the end of July, B&H was selling it for $5400 USD. A more reasonable price for this lens would be at or near the 300/2.8L IS, ~$4000 USD. I also gave the overall rating a 9 due to the astrophoto torture test. The 300/2.8L rates a 10 in that category.

Indoor sports, event and wedding photographers can use this lens to great effect. You can't beat the extra stop of f/2 over the 300/2.8, and adding the 1.4x tc is 99% as good as the 300/2.8.

Jul 26, 2008
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Registered: Dec 4, 2005
Location: Norway
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jul 19, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Extremely sharp, also when shooting F2. Sharpness and IQ at the level of or even beyond my bellowed Canon 300 mm F2.8 IS L. Probably Canon’ sharpest lens. Physically, a very robust lens.
Price, I guess (but you get what you pay for).

This lens is extremely sharp! And I am not easily impressed as I already got Canon’s 300 mm f2.8 IS L as well as Canon’s 500 mm F4 IS L and 9 other L-lenses. Expensive, yes, but the overall image quality (both on my 1ds MarkII & III) is simply stunning. Portraits, animals, sport, flowers, etc. – all superb results.

The image stabilizer really works perfectly. And combined with the shutter speed you get at F2, a lot of former impossible 200 mm telephotos now become possible. I got lots of really nice photos with shutter speed as low as 1/20 second. My Canon 70-200 mm f2.8 IS L has image stabilize too (and low F-number), but it doesn’t work nearly as well as Canon 200 mm f2. My Canon 70-200 mm f4 IS L has a great image stabilizer, but only f4 which is not enough in many low-light situations (apart from that, it is a superb zoom).

Is it a heavy and huge 200 mm lens? Yes, it is, but it is still easily handheld - and the IQ you get makes you forget all about potentially sore muscle the next day!

If you got the money, go for it – you’ll not regret it!

Jul 19, 2008
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Registered: Sep 11, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 347
Review Date: May 23, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,999.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Incredible Bokeh, Super Sharp, the perfect match for the 1Ds III, impeccable build, 5 Stop IS, relatively short and easy to handheld, not as heavy as I imagined, Very fast AF for the size.

I got this lens after having felt in Love with the EF 400mm f/2.8L IS, and since it got stolen I had been wanting to re[laced, but decided not to, and almost got a second hand 200 f/1.8L, which is a fantastic lens, but the EF 200mm f/2L IS, is just magnificent, and even so not inexpensive you get what you pay for.

I tucked on assignment with out any try outs first, I know dangerous, but I just had a good filling and wanted to use it so bad, results ... JUS STUNNING!!!

I can't post any of those pics, as they are under NDA regulated contract, but I did tucked a couple out side my window, couldn't go out as it was raining today.[email protected]/2517624618/sizes/o/[email protected]/2517616994/sizes/l/

If you have a 30" screen and have it in Portrait mode, you'll see it in its full glory, this was shot handheld true the polarized house window, not to be a test about sharpness, just a quick pic to post.

I racomend this lens with no hesitation, and I know it will make the bag of few of my fellow photographers.

One suggestion, turn the IS off when not in use, during time of setting up your shot, while the lens is on, it consumes the very long life new battery rater fast, but nothing to wary about, just that if you are away in a shoot and only have a spare battery, it is wise to turn it off.

May 23, 2008
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Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
50 142452 May 1, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
96% of reviewers $5,180.92
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating

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