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Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Jan 11, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast AF, brilliant sharpness at all lengths, relatively light and freakishly cheap for such a good lens.
Some weirdness in extreme lighting at 200mm which, honestly, may not even be the lens

I bought this lens before buying the 24-70L as a telephoto zoom I'd want to keep.

I wasn't disappointed. I reviewed the 24-70L some months ago since it's the lens I keep on the camera and use regularly. This one, however, isn't as readily useful and it's only recently that I've used it enough to speak coherently about it.

In short, there's just about nothing wrong with this lens. I haven't taken a single picture with it that I'm unsatisfied with because of anything to do with the lens (it's all my lack of talent).

While I haven't done any "tests" with this lens, I can say that images I get from this lens simply appear sharper than those from the 24-70. The detail is exquisite.

As long as the reduced perspective of a telephoto isn't a problem to your style it's a good lens for street photography--at least the kind I do. Yes, it's that head-turning white and somewhat large, but the distance I can put between myself and subjects has compensated for that.

I haven't tried the 70-200 2.8L IS. Right now, I don't know that the 2.8 would make much of a difference, but the IS might. At this price, though this lens is a great value. Certainly a better value than my 24-70...

The only thing I've noticed is that in a few shots, directly into a setting sun (sun hidden behind a tree trunk, of course) at 200mm I was getting what seemed to be an extreme lack of focus through some tree branches with the bright sky at the top of the frame in portrait orientation. It didn't look like the standard CA or the things one expects in that kind of a shooting situation. It looked radically out of focus, and was so severe that I could see it in *thumbnails.* However, in plenty of other shots in more normal conditions, there is no focus problem in that area, so I'm figuring it's just too extreme a shot.

But really: ignore that last part and buy the lens. You won't be disappointed.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Nov 21, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,260.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Built like a tank, fast focus, and 2.8, great color, minimal CA.
Large, heavy, 24mm very disappointing sharpness.

I had the kit lens (EF-S 18-55) for my 20D. I decided that for a telephoto zoom, it was worth it to get something I'd want to hang onto, and so bought the 70-200 f/4L.

Brilliant lens.

But suddenly, everything I saw through the kit lens was crap by comparison. My L-addiction had begun and so, after reading the group love-fest going on between everybody else and the 24-70, bought it to complement the 70-200.

The first one I got was a piece of crap. Those QC issues are real, folks, sad to say. The second one I got is beautiful. I did some tests at 24, 35, and 50mm on both lenses with the same apertures. In almost every instance, the 24-70 wipes the floor with the 18-55. The clarity just can't be compared. And yet, at 24mm, there isn't nearly as much separating the two as there should be considering the L lens is 12x the price.

At 24mm the L still wins, but the main thing separating the two at that focal length is a result of the 18-55's worst problem: blue just creeping in everywhere, all the time. In terms of out and out clarity and sharpness, they're not leagues different. Which, again, they should be considering their price points.

Who knows, though. Maybe I just got the best 18-55 to ever roll off Canon's assembly line.

So many people love this lens so much. And unfortunately, I don't have enough to compare this lens to. In a nutshell, I'm very happy I made this purchase. But my feeling is that anyone who already owns Canon's venerable 28-70 f/2.8L and is thinking they would like that extra 4mm might be disappointed since at that range, the performance isn't what it should be.