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

ef70-200lisusm
Review Date: Jun 9, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent Image Quality, IS serves very well, focus is insanely fast at the 3-infinity setting, contrast is awesome.
Cons:
The pouch that comes with it is okay to store it, but you will definitely want something more useful. Also, the hood gets fingerprints on it easily. No tripod mount, but I'm not going to cry because of that.

Disclaimer: I'm not a pro.

First, let me start by saying that the previous reviewer is the worst reviewer I've ever seen. You can't rate a lense "1" because canon provided you with a lemon. When that happens, just bring it back to the store you bought it from and get another one. Seriously.

Also, the previous reviewer who rated it about 6-7 because it is made of plastic is another fail of a reviewer. It is fine to mention in the negative aspects that you thought it was negative that it's made of plastic, but it's not that big of a deal. You're reviewing a lense. It's not even cheap plastic!

Now. The lense.
It is a great lense. Really worth the price you pay for it (every dime). Previous to having this lense, I only had a tamron 28-200mm (really old) and a canon 50mm F1.8 (the legendary 150$ prime).

The canon outperforms both, at every F setting/focal length.
The 50mm is sharp at about 4.5, but the canon beats it at F4 from 28 to 200mm.
The tamron isn't sharp at all and suffers from heavy CA (chromatic aberration) that even if you can take a good blur-free picture (f5.6 at 200mm) it's going to have the dreaded purple fringes all over. Not a case there. The canon wins.

The canon is my first "serious amateur" lense (it's definitely not pro glass - get the f/2.8 if you want pro). I saved my money for about 6 months (I'm a HS student) to get it, and I will never regret it. It has enabled me to take pictures I never could before, IS-wise and IQ-wise.

First example, birds. I love taking shots of birds. Yes, this lense is "only" a 70-200mm, but i could crop the pictures about 50% and get a perfectly usable one. (I do want the 2x extender, though). And the IS lets me take on poses so i can get a great viewpoint without any blur in the image. The AF is a great gift, it's so fast on the 3m setting that I can quickly frame and take a picture with any of the birds.

The only downsides I can think of, and it applies if you're looking to buy this lense, are:
- Somewhat heavy. Not wrist-breaking heavy, but you're going to be scared of it breaking off the camera lense mount (canon XT here). It's not a big issue, I just hold the lense instead of the camera.

- Image quality is not as good close range. It's really really good at around 2 meters or more, but closer than that and you get a slight blur. Yes, the 1.2m focus is tempting, and you can get really good shots with those, but don't buy this lense thinking you can shoot great macro.

-It doesn't fit in my lowepro slingshot 100AW bag, but then again, it's a top-loading bag. If you're buying a bag along with this lense, try it with the camera on and see if it fits, as you're going to want to leave this lense on your camera.

- No tripod mount. Not a big issue with me, as i don't shoot tripod/monopod (not yet anyway), but if you want one they're really expensive.

- It definitely looks like a pro lense, albeit it's not really one. You're going to get attention. As always, not a big problem, as I already get attention for using a dSLR instead of a point-and-shoot, but you're not going to be discreet with this baby.

- The IS isn't as loud as the other reviewers would make you believe (it's my first IS lense, i don't know how quiet are the other ones). I would compare the sound as: a mouse click when it switches on, a battery rolling slowly on a desk when it's on, and another mouse click when it switches off. If you have your doubts, see if your camera dealer can make you try it.

In short, this lense is everything i was expecting. Before having it, on 150 pictures, maybe 2-4 would be good, and now i have about 30-40 due to the IS and picture quality.

For example of shots I took with this lense, see http://flickr.com/photos/rnx/tags/70200mmf4lis/

If you have questions about the lense, just write me an email @ kerrisquee@gmail.com with the subject "canon 70-200" and i'll gladly answer it.