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Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM

Review Date: Aug 17, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $619.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Size, weight, price, f2.8, sharp at f2.8!! fast auto focus!!! wow!
tripod collar isn't included.

Don't have $1700 to drop on the 70-200 f2.8 IS? That's a good thing!! Your wallet is going to save you from making a big mistake by not letting you buy the 70-200.

This lens has 9 peices of glass.
The 70-200 has 32 peices of glass. GEE i wonder which is sharper?? You don't have to be a wizz kid to know this lens with only 39.1% as much glass as the 70-200 IS is a WORLD sharper, and focuses WAAAY faster!!

I sold my 70-200 IS because it wasn't sharp at F2.8 at all. I owned the NON-IS and IS version, and hated both!

I shoot sports, so i can't set up my shot, and they are running around as fast as they can, so i need my gear to focus very very fast, and work well at F2.8 for night NCAA football games.

This lens does just that. Do no be fooled into think the 70-200 is better, because by all means it is not!!

There is a famous saying "if your photos aren't turning out well, get closer". meaning don't zoom out, zoom in! In this case you can't zoom out, and for me that's rarely a problem!

I shoot with a 300mm + 1.4x teleconverter = 420mm, and now this lens, and it works out perfect for me!

I could not be happier with this lens over the 70-200. This is what i really wanted in the 1st place, only half the price!! Sharp, and useable at F2.8! yay!!

And it weights less than half as much as the 70-200!

Dig deep and you'll see that the 70-200 blows, and the fixed 200mm ROCKS!

Buy this lens, save money, get better photos, be happy!

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

Review Date: Aug 17, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,629.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: Zoom, tripod collar
sharpness, useless at f2.8 to F3.5, way too heavy, price

I bought this lens because Canon says they've updated the AF (auto focus) CPU. To my disapointment, it's still very slow. People who review this lens can NOT be sports photographers, and I assume haven't used fixed prime lenses.

Once you are spoiled by the likes of a fixed 300mm or 400mm you will HATE the AF performance of the 70-200 IS or NON IS.

If you REALLY dig for reviews you'll find many many people saying this lens is over-rated. (read reviews for the fixed 200mm F2.8 II).

The NON-IS lens is noticably sharper, altho the AF blows on both models. Sure it will seem quick if it's the only L telephoto you have, but it will be smoked by the 24-70 USM, and the 200mm fixed (prime), and 300mm and 400mm etc etc etc etc.

This lens has 23 pieces of glass. I sold it and got the fixed 200mm which has 9 peices of glass. That's 39.1% as much glass, and it is WAAAY sharper at F2.8 and barely gets sharper when stopped down, meaning it's great the whole way!

The AF on the fixed 200mm is a world faster.

It's not that this lens, (the 70-200 IS) is particularly slow-to-focus, which is why it gets rave reviews, it's just that any other lens for sports are particularly FAST. But there is no way around the fact that this lens is soft at F2.8.

I shoot sports, and i bought the 70-200 for my backup camera, and have a 300mm on the big EOS1D2. The AF was so bad that i just couldn't use it. I need something bright, so i bought the 200mm fixed and there is no comparison!

I hate this lens, and will never buy it again. You are reading a review from someone who shoots NCAA sports, and sports is the hardest test on gear because your subjects are running around as fast as the possibly can!

Dig deep and you will find the truth. Do no buy this lens!

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: May 8, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Build, f/2.8, zoom, sharpness, contrast
AF speed... no really, read on.

I shoot NCAA field sports, (football soccer fieldhockey etc) professionaly and all my friend use this lens for short range work. I've owned two of the non IS versions in the past but didn't like the AF (auto focus) speed in tracking mode, (on a 10d, then on a 20d when i bought my 2nd one).

My 1st non IS version was old, and when it got cold out, the AF slowed way down. I was told it was because the grease was drying up, and gets slower when colder. That kinda made sense so i sold it, and held off a bit before buying a new one. My 2nd didn't slow down in terms for AF when it got cold out, but i was missing a lot of the sharpness from what i got out of my very cheap 75-300mm F4-5.6 III USM ($170). With the cheap lens I could see all the holes in the players jearseys, with either of the non-is versions, i had far less "keepers", and the holes in the jearseys were almost NEVER as sharp.

Sure the quality of a still shot from the 70-200 non IS was miles ahead of the cheap lens. I loved everything about it, except tracking AF speed. Even "one shot" AF seemed really fast, but not tracking.

Ahhh... but then the IS version came out. It claimed to have an updated AF CPU in the lens, which improved tracking speed, (canon knew about this problem?). I waited a few years before picking one up before last football season. Result? DISAPPOINTMENT! I saw no AF tracking performance increase!! Sad

Before you start telling me im crazy and that the 70-200 is the fastest AF lens of all time, let me ask you if you've used a 300mm f/2.8 or even the f/4.0 version. If you haven't, then you aren't experienced enough to pass judgement.

A fixed 300mm either the F/4 L IS USM or F/2.8 L IS USM version will blow it's doors off in terms of AF speed. The AF on the 70-200 is a joke! Nearly impossable to use for sports unless on a 1d body.

At first i have my 300mm f/2.8 on my 1d mark II body, and the 70-200 f2.8 L IS USM on the 30d. After my 1st game, i had to switch it, and put use the 1d as my short range camera mated with the 70-200. Why? Cause you can turn on the very center 5 AF points out of 45, which give you 5times the focus power with the 1d series cameras. Also, those 5 points are being used as a cross type AF sensor instead of just single line detection on a 30d.

My 30d is plenty able to focus my 300mm lighting fast. I thought maybe since i'm closer with my 300mm that the camera can focus better, but even on my 1d body i wasn't that happy with it's performance. I tried not zooming while shooting, and that didn't help either.

This is my 3rd 70-200, (1st IS version), and it's still not on par auto-focus wise with any prime telephoto.

Also it should be stated that this is NOT meant for a primary sports lens. I've read some review on this site for either the IS version or non IS version, where people say, "it can handle almost any sports event". HAHAHAHA umm not if you're a pro.

I must say however... I've shot 2 weddings so far with this lens, and it is awesome. New photojournalism type work, it is awesome. I truely believe there is nothing better. But 75% of my work is sports, so i do regret this lens just a tad. If the AF was as fast as my telephoto prime, it would get a 10 score.

If you are going to use this once in a while for sports, make sure you get a canon or sigma 1.4x converter. Make sure you don't get 5 player in your shot, get 1 or 2 max. (which is almost never possable at 200mm).

I'm sure most people think the AF is ultra fast, and it is fast, but it's not world-class like sports telephoto lenses out there. There really is faster, and if you are looking for a sports lens, this shouldn't be on your list as a primary.

The bad news is, you need to buy at least a 300mm F/4 which is a lens you'll only use for sports, whereas the 70-200 you'll use all the time. It's the lenses that are only made for 1 thing that get you the killer shots, and it's clear to see the 70-200 can be used for several different things, and it's farily well suited for a slew of tasks, but has the hardest time with sports, (altho that is the hardest thing for a lens to shoot anyway).

I really like this lens... i love this lens for everything except sports, and for sports is 'ok', not 'bad', so i might not sell it. altho i would like to try the 200mm f2.8 II USM prime.