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Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM

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.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

Review Date: Jan 13, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,700.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, IS works well, AF tracks well on stationary targets, f2.8
Too heavy, AF hunts in low light and moving objects(even on mode 2)

Took the plunge and bought this beast. Somehow, when I was testing this lens, I didn't seem to mind the weight. But after carrying it for a while, it dawned on me that I might need a lot of weights training before going on an outdoor shoot again. This lens is not only heavy, it's also large, although no in the same league as those 500mm lenses yet.

Another negative is that when I tested this at home, it was in the evening, and lighting was poor. I tried to autofocus on my little kid running about and, wide open, the AF could not focus accurately on him. It just kept hunting, which led me to turn off AF. This was despite the fact that I tried the mode 2 IS, not sure if it's IS conflicting or not.

Negatives aside, this lens is unbelievably sharp. I have this strange unjustified impression that telephoto lenses are never sharp, but this lens changed my mind. The IS works well too, as I could get very sharp photos at 1/60s on 200mm handheld. AF is also very fast when the subject is stationary, which I found to be good. I can quickly setup and get that quick fleeting shot that I might need sometimes.

Good lens, no regrets splurging on this. Just a little weights training and I'm sure this lens will produce many great photos in future.