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Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
166 323812 Sep 3, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $609.56
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.77
9.71
9.8
1ef200mmf_28_1_1_

Specifications:
Telephoto lens boasting high image quality and carrying ease. With two UD-glass elements and rear focusing to correct aberrations, image delineation is extremely sharp. Background blur is also natural-looking, as was simulated by Canon. The lens comes with a dedicated, detachable hood.


 


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BiPolarBear
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Registered: May 20, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 47
Review Date: Jul 6, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $580.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, solid build, fast AF, not white, price.
Cons:
Would like to see this also offered as an IS version (i'd pay the extra).

I think this little gem probably gets overlooked by many. What a shame.
Having had it for a little over a year now, it's wide open IQ still makes me wonder how Canon put this lens together for the price it did. If i do my part right, it is brilliant.
Build is very nice, solid without being heavy. It's relatively compact, light enough to use all day without effort, and being black it makes a great lens for candids at events or on the street. AF is quick, silent and sure. It's a fun lens to use!

I will no doubt eventually get one of the 70-200's some day for the added flexibility, but with all the right things going on with this lens, and the way i shoot, i am in absolutely no hurry to go to the zoom.
I'd really like to see it offered in an IS version as well at about $1K... i'd buy it in a heartbeat (it would still be about $5K less than the f/2 version!).


Jul 6, 2008
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polizonte
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Registered: Jan 25, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 15
Review Date: Jun 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: excellent color and resolution, fast auto focus
Cons:
lens hood feels too tight

I love this lens for outdoor natural lighting photos with my 40D - very sharp, beautiful colors, and precise fast focus.

Jun 20, 2008
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Nordlys
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Registered: Jun 16, 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 203
Review Date: Jun 16, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, quick AF, black & relatively lightweight.
Cons:
Hood size

I love this lens! I've used it mostly for street photography candids on my 5D so far, and figure it'll provide some great reach for sunsets & landscapes should the weather ever clear up.
This lens is absolutely spot on with it's sharpness - I've been delighted with the results. Contrast, colour & bokeh have been very much to my liking as well. For me, the focal length is brilliant on full frame to walk about the city with ...provides some very nice subject seperation from the background.
My only slight cry with it, and not even the lens itself, is the hood. It fits well, but the thing is huge & adds some length to the lens when attached but so be it...
Highly recommended. Love my primes.


Jun 16, 2008
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cor55
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Registered: Apr 15, 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 21, 2008 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Sharpness, Bokeh
Cons:

A quick update to my reveiw below. After some test shots of my wife I have found this lens to exceed my expectations. It is so sharp my wife is scared of it. The backgrounds blur out to perfection, and colour contrast is very lifelike. Very light-weight and easy to compose hand held portraits. A high end lens. Recommended for portraits, landscapes, products (with extension tubes) A very, very sharp lens.

Apr 21, 2008
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cor55
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Registered: Apr 15, 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 15, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Size and weight, discreetness
Cons:
none

I wanted a fast lens with high image quality, and a long(ish) focal length for my 5D. I considered the 70-200 2.8 (IS or non IS), but reviews, and Canon's MTF charts, say that these lenses are not equal in IQ to the 200mm 2.8 prime. The primes are always going to be better because of the way the lens is constructed (less glass, no moving lens groups) I also knew that if I brought a tele-zoom, it would be on the tele end most of the time. So I started looking at this little guy.

Yes, its a prime. How can that be a con? You know its a prime, that's why you buy it. I think that the versitility of a zoom only makes up for the lack of versatility of a photographer. My 24-105f4L is extremely versatile for vacations, but on vacation I dont want to be stuffing around with equipment. A 24mmf2.8, a 50mm1.2, and an 85mmf1.2 would give better quality images over a similar range, I have no doubt, but more planning would be required, and they are three lenses, while the zoom is just one. Versatility won the wide-angle argument for artistic snaps, but for serious portraits, I knew what focal length I needed.

So, back to the 200mmf2.8. Dont think about it, just buy it. Wedding photographers should appreciate how light-weight and compact this lens is, which makes composing faster, and the superior quality it has over their zooms will give a superior enlargement. Just position yourself in the right spot and dont f@#k around wasting time with the zoom. And being black, it doesn't impose on the wedding ceremony or a candid shot(he's pointing it a me, I better smile, or hide) Too many ceremonies are ruined these days by the presence of an inexperienced photographer trying to work out an angle and zoom in or out with his ridiculous white telescope. Not all of course, but most people are 'professional' wedding photographer these days, aren't they . . .

When you see the clarity of the image, and in particular what this lens does to the backgrounds, you'll remember once again why you are doing photography. Heavenly. I brought this lens for portraits, both street and staged, and although I havent gotten to know this lens fully yet, what I have seen so far makes me know I made the right choice. Yes there is a 200mm prime which is faster, but the 2.8 bokeh is amazing, while the lens is lighter and inconspicous (not huge and white - my wife thinks it is no good because it is not white, and I'm sure this attitude is not limited to her alone). Yes zooms are versatile, and some are truly great, but it all comes down to what you need a lens for - if you want the highest quality, and know how to work a prime, you have already made your decision.


Apr 15, 2008
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AWBridges
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Registered: Mar 4, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 9
Review Date: Apr 15, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $525.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Outstanding IQ, light weight, fast AF, inconspicuous
Cons:
... not a f/1.8?

I've owned this lens for roughly 2 months and I thoroughly enjoy it. I bought it here for $525 and don't regret a cent. I put my 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS up for sale several heartbeats after first holding this beautiful lens.

The lens is light and short enough that shooting without a tripod is perfectly easy, and it doesn't feel ungainly on a crop body (like my XTi). The hood adds significant length and draws more stares, but nothing like the 70-200mm zooms.

Autofocus is fast and image quality is outstanding. The lens is surprisingly sharp corner to corner and I experience no CA with my copy. Sharpening is unnecessary most of the time, and thoroughly useless if you mount the lens on a tripod. No tripod ring is included, but I find that a Manfrotto 488RC2 head can easily handle the load when gripping the camera body.

$525 goes down very easily for quality like this. Highly recommended.


Apr 15, 2008
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khalil
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Registered: Feb 25, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 160
Review Date: Feb 25, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $520.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: fast, sharp, contrasty, pleasing bokeh, quick focusing, relatively short and light, great price for a f/2.8 telephoto.
Cons:
not weather-sealed? (not really a concern for me)- and doesn't share filter size with any of my other lenses (not really a fault of the lens)

bought this lens used from B&H almost a year ago and have been repeatedly tried to rationalize getting rid of it in favor of my 70-300mm. It's a little long for portraits and a little short for wildlife (and I don't shoot any sports), but every time I use it I'm just so pleased with the results that I end up keeping it. I've found it's a great hiking//backpacking lens for shooting compressed landscapes. I don't really mind the lack of zoom since I shoot most telephotos on their long end. Might work as a wildlife lens for more environmental-type shots- makes an excellent zoo lens. If you're not expecting to print large, the lens is sharp enough to take heavy cropping (for small print sizes or web-viewing, you can even get good results from 100% crops in good light).
Aesthetically, the lens is sturdy but light, the focus ring is well-damped, and it's shorter than any other lens at it's focal length so it can fit into a holster-type camera bag. Highly recommend for anyone who uses their zooms almost exclusively at the long end and feels weight/size is a consideration for them. Possible alternative to the 7-200mm f/4 zoom if you can find one used.


Feb 25, 2008
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Perry Ge
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Registered: Jul 29, 2007
Location: N/A
Posts: 9
Review Date: Feb 11, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $560.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Price, size, IQ, focusing speed.
Cons:
None for the price.

Phenomenal lens at a really good price.

I got rid of my telephoto zooms for this lens because I wanted the speed in a lighter package. This lens is fantastic! IQ is excellent - tack sharp, great colours and contrast. The autofocus is to die for, it has no trouble tracking fast moving objects. It's lighter than the 70-200 f/2.8 series, and much cheaper. It also takes teleconverters well.

One of the best lens purchases I've ever made. Highly recommended.


Feb 11, 2008
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tinke
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Registered: May 18, 2007
Location: N/A
Posts: 371
Review Date: Feb 9, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $425.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: For a long range telephoto this is very light. For those interested in street shooting I would think this a must if you appreciate the quality of primes.
Cons:
None that I am aware of - will see out of doors if the built-in hood does the job.

Just picked up a near mint Mk I for a nice price; hard to pass up for what you get - a real find. Looks like all metal body too. Took the old UV off and took some snaps, then poppped a new Hoya Pro 1 on it after cleaning out of the threads, front and rear glass. Nice.

Sharpness and clarity are everything you could expect wide open - this to me is the test of fast glass. I am already amazed at the sharpness and 3D of this lens. Yep, like looking with your eyes. Colors and contrast appear on first blush to be everything one would expect from a L prime lens. And the bokeh, ah yes the bokeh; well lets just say it is outstanding for a 2.8 lens. Slapped a Kenko Pro TC on it, and image degredation though present would not prevent its use. Would not be my first choice (thats why I have a 300/4L non-IS), but this looks to be a world class traveling and hiking lens - so a TC would come with the turf. More nature shots will tell the tale, and when it stops raining will get plenty of chances.

Now that I have this I am in the process of selling my 70-200/4 IS, which I never believed I would do. Still keeping the 'ol stallwart magic drainpipe - I have a gap between 105 and 200 in my travel kit now, but looking at my files I don't seem to miss it. The MD stays around home, as it is just too heavy to schlep around. it's compact, relatively lightweight, very balanced, and fast - hard to ask for much more. I was a bit of a skeptic at first as to my need for this lens, but no more. Highly recommended. Happy shooting!


Feb 9, 2008
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bogatyr
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Registered: Aug 10, 2003
Location: Norway
Posts: 638
Review Date: Jan 28, 2008 Recommend? | Price paid: $650.00

 
Pros: Extraordinary, almost outerworldly definition of detail. Well balanced. Fast aufofocus even with the 1.4x Extender.
Cons:
Lack of water sealing, but that is the only "negative" side of this supremely competent tool.

I have now used my beloved EF 200mm 2.8 II for some more months, and I can only reiterate that I have difficulty understanding why this lens is constantly underrated. It is said that it is less sharp than the EF 135/2.0. It is not - I own them both and the 200 picks up a tiny little hair more detail and tolerate the Extender with less loss of quality than the 135. Apart from that I fully agree that both the 135/2.0 and 200/2.8 II are stellar performers that leave little if anything to be desired with respect to optical performance. Their one fault is absence of sealing against water and dust.

By the way, IS is not missed, at least not by this photographer. Lens speed is vastly more important than image stabilization, and this lens has better transmission of light than the 70-200 2.8-zooms due to its having less glass elements - even if the 70-200 2.8's boast the same max aperture.

The EF 200/2.8 II is suitable for outdoor portraits, any kind of action, domestic animals, as well as landscapes when you want to isolate detail and compress the scene. Actually your own imagination is the limit for this truly outstanding lens.

Highly recommended.


Jan 28, 2008
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Jeff Waibel
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Registered: Jan 11, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 11, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $625.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Size Speed Color Weight Image Quality
Cons:
Lacks IS

I purchased this lens as a faster alternative to the 100-300 Canon 4.5/5.6 I was using. It was my first L glass. I've now been using this lens regularly for about 1 year.

The focus speed, image sharpness and overall performance exceeded all expectations.

2 Surprise benefits:
1. I discovered I didn't miss the zoom. I have mostly used the lens for shooting motorsport and air shows. Everyone else shows up with a zoom. Most of the time you shoot far at these events. This non-zoom lens is much faster and lighter than it's zoom equivelents.

2. There are lots of show-offs at events like this sporting their bulky 70-200 2.8 white lenses. I had the same reach and same performance without having the "Hey, come steal my lens" advertisment.

After my first event I bought the Canon 1.4x extender. Although I lost a stop - the lens continues to excel!


Jan 11, 2008
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mertmag
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Registered: Feb 15, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Dec 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp at f/2.8, Light weight for a 200mm lens, Solid build, Fast silent autofocus, excellent color and contrast, reasonable price, Black not cream colored
Cons:
None

Got it used from eBay for $550.00 and I'm so happy with it. I use it on a 40D. It is so sharp at 2.8 it shocked me! I have owned a number of lenses in this range Sigma EX 70-200 2.8, Canon 70-200 f4L, Canon 300 IS f4L. This is the sharpest lens of all the lenses I have owned. The only reason you need to stop it down is for DOF. The auto focus is fast, silent and works well in low light, the color and contrast is excellent, flare is not a problem, CA is well controlled to the point of being non-existent, manual focus is smooth. If you want to take this lens you'll have to pry it from my cold dead hands! Over all this is the best lens I have ever owned. And I have tried a number of lenses. Did I mention I liked the lens?

Dec 29, 2007
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GraemePitman
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Registered: Sep 3, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 878
Review Date: Dec 3, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $540.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: SO sharp, saturation, solid build, f/2.8, L glass, price.
Cons:
none that I've found after 8 months. I guess I wish it was an f/1.0.

Such a sharp, saturated lens.

Built like a tank and costs 1/3 as much as some of the zoom equivalents.

Highly recommend you consider this in looking for a fast telephoto, and you know what they say about shooting primes - they will make you a better photographer!


Dec 3, 2007
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Garylv
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Registered: Jul 5, 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 904
Review Date: Nov 30, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $650.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Relatively light weight, sharp, very fast focus, nice bokeh, flare resistent
Cons:
Hood is pretty big

Image quality and sharpness are especially nice. Any reports of softness must be due to a defective unit. Possibly a misaligned element.

Two of my sharpest lenses are the 300 f2.8 IS and the 400 f5.6 prime. The 200 f2.8 II is somewhere in between those two lenses. The 300 f2.8 is stunning, but this lens is not all that far behind. No reservations at all about using it open at f2.8. Simply outstanding for the price.

If you want 200mm at f2.8 but prefer something smaller than the f2.8 zooms, this is your lens. Easy to carry, great performer.

When you use the hood, it makes it look quite a bit bigger and adds length. Could easily be used without the hood in most circumstances. Just be aware if that's important to you.


Nov 30, 2007
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light and dark
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Registered: Nov 18, 2007
Location: Germany
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 18, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: $700.00 | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: Easy to handle, black, light
Cons:
Optical quality

Maybe I got a bad sample. Sharpness, colour and contrast was quite disappointing. I could see softness of the images even on the camera's LCD screen. My sample became sharp around f/8, which is not the reason why I bought a f/2.8-prime. Finally, I ended up with a 70-200 2.8 IS which is a completely different thing in terms of optical quality. Sharpness, colours and contrast are much better. If you need a small and fast prime go for the 135mm f/2, which I also use and which is even better than my 70-200 zoom. My 135mm with a 2x TC would easily outperform my 200mm prime.

Nov 18, 2007
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PratyushPandya
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Registered: Sep 28, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 15
Review Date: Oct 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $639.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent sharpness, Beautiful bokeh, Great colors, Fast AutoFocus, Very affordable for an L lens.
Cons:
I haven't found any.

The portraits I get with this lens are amazing. I admit, it's a bit long for indoor use. However, I have been able to take head and shoulder shots of my two boys staying indoors. And the results have been simply stunning.

Highly recommend it.


Oct 29, 2007
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Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
166 323812 Sep 3, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $609.56
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.77
9.71
9.8
1ef200mmf_28_1_1_


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