317 of 333 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2005
Canon's legendary L-lense reputation is built on lense such as the 70-200mm F/2.8, this is the lense that gives the credit to the WOW factor associated with Canon L lense. Sharpness, constrast is second to none.
I know many people are probably deciding between the F/4L F/2.8L and the F/2.8L IS. If you want the most bang for the buck go for the F/2.8L. Why, because if you're serious enough to buy the F/4L you will eventually migrate to this F/2.8L (like many photographers), why because there is nothing going to speed up your shutter speed better than the f/2.8 at the long end when compared to F/4 especially for fast moving targets. Another big advantage is the canon 2x extender which boost this lense to 400mm at the long end with great results and at F/5.6, it is one of the best performing combo at 400mm focal length especially considering the price of a 400mm lense by itself.
If you have cash to burn go for the IS version, but cost increase is a bit steep ($500+), especially considering using a tripod will make the IS an non-issue, and for a shot deserving attention, a tripod or some sort of stablizer should be used anyway might as well save the $500 and put a bit more in for the 17-40mm L lense. :-)
230 of 243 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2004
This was my first L lens and I am very pleased; zero buyer's regret for me.
When I first started to seriously consider buying one of the 70-200mm lenses I wasn't sure which to buy. I first thought about buying the f/4 version because it was cheaper but then found out the f/2.8 comes with a case (~ $40), tripod ring (~ $120), and a hood (~ $35) in addition to the extra stop in aperture. For the $600 difference it reduces down by about $200 by including additional stuff that you, frankly, should have.
Most notably is the tripod ring which takes the lens weight off the camera body but also balances the camera at the tripod mount. With the f/2.8 attached to my 300D it balances just fine on the tripod foot (even with a EX550 flash). In shooting with a tripod it's very easy to rotate the lens within the ring to go from landscape to portrait without off-balancing the weight.
The extra weight is an issue depending on your muscular build. I can shoot for a couple hours without the weight being bothersome but my fiancee (very petite) has some difficulties. In actual shooting I find the tripod ring comes in handy to put the weight on my palm thus leaving my fingers free to adjust zoom and focus without a hassle while providing a firmer base for stability.
I cannot comment on the f/2.8 IS version since I've never used it but I have seen people selling their f/2.8 IS because it was too heavy.
All-in-all this is an extremely good lens and you get exactly what you pay for: quality. Some day I intend on complementing this lens with the 24-70 f/2.8L for wider angle shots. Of course, if you have the chance to test all three versions of the 70-200mm lens at a store then you certainly should test them for yourself. And, by all means, buy a UV/protector lens.
53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2007
This lens is worth every penny. While it costs five times the prosumer Sigmaf4-5.6 70-300mm lens it's a relative bargain. The Sigma lens was not suitable for low light conditions such as the high school soccer and volleyball games that I photograph of my daughter playing outside hitter or goalkeeper.
I just bought it last week and last night I had my first chance to use it to take pictures of the daughter's soccer team. I shot 274 shots and kept 190. The photos I kept are incredible. Those I discarded were simply bad photography on my part.
WHAT's in the box
Focus is lightning fast with my Rebel XT.
Crisp, clear and sharp describe the images. Color is vivid and very saturated. F 2.8 makes night time high school soccer shots easy to do and still have adequate shutter speed at full 200 mm of zoom. I really like this lens. While image stabilization would be nice, the extra $500 was beyond my hobbyist budget. I shoot with a monopod so on the field shots are crystal clear. If you want to hand hold it save up the extra money.
It is not an issue for me. I use it mainly for taking shots of my daughter playing soccer and volleyball. Both are low light conditions. The monopod really helps. Hiking with this thing could be an issue.
If you can afford it buy it. You won't be disappointed
I have had this lens for a couple of weeks and shot about 3000 pictures with it of both indoor volleyball and night soccer games. My opinion is getting even better. Bar none, this is tremendous lens and it a league of its own. If you can swing it money wise go for it. I shot all evening last night on high school soccer field that was (by high school standards) well lit. Using shutter priority I was able to keep the shutter speed faster than 1/200 of a second and was still operating in f.28-3.5 range on the lens. Weight is not an issue. This is a non-IS lens but the monopod makes that a non-issue.
Now I need to sell my Sigma 70-300 mm lens so I can buy a 1.4 teleconverter for this lens for pre-dusk warmups where there is ample light.
61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
I don't personally subscribe to the notion that the big brand manufacturers always make the best lenses out there, but this is one instance where they really, honestly do. This thing is lightning fast, sharp as a tack, the bokeh is much better than Sigma's equivalent, and you'll have a hard time finding a use for your raw processor's chromatic aberration correcting sliders when coupled with a digital body (you CAN still get some purple fringing around backlit subjects, but genuine CA bad enough to show up in a print has so far proven non-existent for me at any focal length or aperture). The weight is a serious downside, but it's one I can live with.
If you're a nature photographer who really has a problem holding still or if you plan on using extension tubes, the IS version might be worth the extra $700 to you, but if you're doing event photography where the subjects are the ones jumping around like rabbits, save your money and your battery power; ain't a thing wrong with this lesser model.
43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
OK, first off, I won't repeat how professionally sharp this lens is. It's expensive, and there's a reason. Image quality is stupid amazing. This is the best zoom in its focal-length class.
But--the IS version is not quite as sharp as this non-IS version. I know, I know, people may balk at the statement, but the Canon tests and the real pro photo reviews don't lie. One reason is less elements bogging the image. Only in a hand-held lower light situation will the IS version get you a sharper image, no doubt, at slower shutter speeds such as 1/30 etc. BUT, you'd better be taking shots of a museum or something, because if the subject is moving (people at a wedding for instance), you've got subject blur and IS becomes useless. But in a brighter setting where IS doesn't help because you have a fast-enough shutter speed (that's right, IS doesn't kick in there), this non-IS lens wins quality-wise, ESPECIALLY tripod mounted.
So you'd really need to have a dedicated reason to spend 500 bucks more and be willing to carry almost a pound more of lens weight for IS*. The non-IS lens is heavy enough as it is. I use a monopod and boost up my ISO on my near-noiseless Canon 5D, and viola, I've gained the same 2 to 3 stops that IS can give you, and at a faster shutter speed to boot. Oh, credit where credit is due, I'm fairly sure the IS version has weather sealing where the non-IS does not. I wouldn't take my lens out in the rain anyway, but that's a point to note.
For those of you wondering about the f/4 version, I can see that being very useful if you do nature photography on a tripod and don't need f/2.8. The f/4 is WAY lighter in your backpack. Pick up a tripod ring on the popular auction site (f/4 version doesn't come with one), it's way cheaper there. Again, IS not needed here at all. For the price of the IS f/4 you can get the non-IS 2.8.
This 70-200mm 2.8 non-IS is the best lens I've owned image-wise, and the 500 bucks saved can be used for a 100mm Macro or a 580EX flash or a couple TCs or a 50mm 1.4 (plus a good LowePro backpack) or almost the cost of the 17-40mm L. I think it's a no-brainer there!
*UPDATE 11/14/2010: The specs on weight are wrong on Amazon, the non-IS is actually heavier than they say, weight difference is only 5.6 ounces. Also, the new IS version of this lens has been redesigned and now boasts the same image quality of the non-IS. However, the non- IS is 1300 bucks, and the new IS version II is 2249, so that's almost 1000 bucks more (although you can save 200 bucks during the current rebate). If money is no object, go for it, the image quality is there now! Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2006
This is probably Canon's best value in a mid/long zoom.
I got this the same day I purchased my 30D...along with the EF-S 10-22 and the EF 24-70 2.8L. Talk about pleased! No regrets whatsoever.
This lens just screams quality. Images just pop out at you. If you're considering the f/4 model...take a hard look at this one. Add a hood (cha-ching) and (yikes) the $100+ tripod ring and the value of this lens really shows. It's a bit larger & heavier but look what you gain! If you're one of those that considers the sweet spot of a lens to be stopped down a step or two just look at where that puts you on the f/4 compared to this one. And the focus speed is nothing short of "holy mackerel that's fast!"
Sure, you could spend a few more bucks and get the IS version...but frankly, to me at least, if it's that important I'll be using a tripod anyway. Hmmm, just took the shakes out of the equation.
All in all, a great lens at a decent price.
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2013
I'm not a professional photographer in that I don't make money doing photography. However, I believe I know a thing or two about the subject that has been a passion of mine since I was first introduced in middle school (yes, we used darkrooms) and many classes/books later. I'm a dad who wants to take pics of my little boys, some family events, and vacations - and I want those pics to be phenomenal. If you're reading this, I assume you've already learned the basics of this lens and where it fits in the overall Canon L-series lineup. So, as you already know, this lens is absolutely brilliant for portraits and sports, especially indoor sports and even weddings. I also assume that you are struggling between this and the 40% more pricey version with IS. But prior to getting my new bodies, I'd never been tempted to write a review being that so much has already been said. So what can I add? Short answer is I can "shed some light" (sorry) on why IS is less necessary on the newer bodies.
I can say (having owned/owning earlier generation Canon bodies) that between this and the more expensive II IS version, that now more than ever before, the additional cost of the IS version is more superflous than ever on the newer Canon bodies. For reference I own a 70D and 6D, and also my older 5DMark II and 40D. In upgrading, I elected against the 5D Mark III because of the lack of Wifi/GPS (remember why I shoot), and some other nits, but that's another review altogether. I also elected against the IS version of this lens a while back previously because I felt I didn't need it - I often turn it off on other lenses to eek out that slightly last bit of, admittedly subjective, focus "oopmh" and "sharpness". To be honest, I can't think of when I ever actually turn it on. Cost was not a consideration whatsoever, for me at least. It just seemed like a pointless "feature" that would add unnecessary heft and slightly soften images. However, with the revised Mark II version of this lense, I began to read that maybe the image quality of the II IS version was a smidge better - and that's what I'll open up the wallet for. So, before selling my non-IS version on eBay, I decided to try it out on the newer bodies and I must say that - THIS IS NOW THE BEST VALUE/MOST USEFUL CANON ZOOM LENS PERIOD. FULL STOP!!! Shhhhh don't tell to many people before the price skyrockets or Canon stops making these puppies!!
Remember, IS doesn't stop "shake." If your hands are shaky, all the IS in the world won't help you. IS is to assist in reducing motion blur which usually results from a shutter that is open too long. I don't mean to insult most of you who already know this or to portray myself as an "expert." How does one avoid using a slower shutter? Increase light. Enter the newer bodies.
The 6D, for example, is able to autofocus in super low light conditions (down to -3 EV for those interested. 5DMarkIII is a full stop higher FYI). This is a gamechanger because the low-light stability that the IS offers is even less of an issue now. These newer bodies also have a phenomenal ISO range, with much-improved lower-noise/higher ISOs. I never had a problem with this lens before, particularly with sports and well lit indoor events. But now, I'm increasingly confident using this lens in lower-light situations with outstanding results and without a tripod/monopod (of course especially with a monopod, this lens is actually slightly sharper than the IS version, but again, others have noted that).
But with the 70D, I think this lens really goes to a level to where I feel that, at current prices, buying this lens is robbery. Like, I feel that someone at Canon is asleep at the pricing wheel. This lens is a gift!! First, there's the 1.6 crop factor which extend the focal length of this camera to 112-320mm. Folks, that's a pretty darn useful range to capture at f2.8!! And you get the same high quality/low-noise ISO technology. An ISO of 1600 is actually quite reasonable "low noise" ISO on the 70D - above that, for me at least, is meh. But at two stops of light above 400, you can imagine what options this gives you for lower light settings without a speedlite! More light equals faster speeds equals less room for "shake." Now add the 7fps continuous shooting and the fast autofocus (a smaller factor to reduce shake) and you have a monster here.
So, to be fully candid, the only situations now that one would need the IS are situations where you are likely to need a tripod/monopod anyway, thus rendering the IS totally moot.
This is such a great lens. And it bears repeating, but you already know, the bokeh is out of this world wide open. But drop down a stop and you get exquisitely sharp images. What more can you ask for???!!
So if you've come this far, do not think twice about buying this lens, especially if you have a newer body (although, I still think this was my best lens on the prior bodies). It's a NO-BRAINER over the IS version where the IS feature is the driver. I cannot speak extensively on the purported image quality improvement in the Mark II version - I haven't had the motivation to try because my images are killer with this lens. So if that's your motivation, perhaps you should test that out.
FYI Other lenses:
24-105mm 4.0-5.6 IS
17-55mm EFS IS lens (another star, FYI)
100-400mm 4.0-5.6 IS
48 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2003
I bought this lens in January of 2003 after much recommendation. For what I had been shooting (college basketball) the 70-200mm f/2.8L was the most commonly seen lens aside from the 300mm f/2.8L. The fstop of 2.8 along with the zoom were the initial factors that drew me to buying it.
I first shot with it on January 11, 2003 at the Louisville vs. Saint Louis game and I was very impressed with the results I got, much of the unsharpness I thought originally to be attributed to grain was almost completely absent with this lens using the same film I had been using. This lens has spoiled me, it will be very hard on my next lens purchase to buy anything but L glass.
Another thing I should note, this lens is built like a tank, like all L-Series lenses and 1-series bodies, it can take a beating, this is not to say you should actively knock it into things or throw it around on purpose but mine has been sandwiched between me and a basketball player falling out of bounds before. It's also not a light lens, but focusing is fast and smooth. If you plan on shooting a LOT or have professional aspirations, the lens may not make the photographer, but it can help.
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2006
...there are two things that you should know. The first is that the f/2.8 version of this lens is big and heavy. The second is that the f/2.8 version of this lens is the more versatile and, therefore, the more useful of the two choices.
Why is the f/2.8 more useful? It allows you to use Canon's outstanding extenders and still have a sharp and practical lens. With the 1.4x, you will have a very, very good 98-280mm f/4 lens. With the 2x, you will have a good 140-400mm f/5.6 lens. In both cases the lens will autofocus--very well with the 1.4x and adequately with the 2x. The use of the Canon extenders also allows the 70-200 to make a pretty nice close-up lens. The original close focus of the lens is maintained with the extenders, giving you both 280mm and 400mm focal lengths that focus closer than most prime lenses of the same focal lengths. While you can use the extenders on the f/4 version, it makes for some pretty slow lenses with limited applications.
There's not much you can say about this lens that hasn't already been said. It's one of the sharpest zooms around with a look that, while certainly subjective, is highly appealing. I have a preference for prime lenses over zooms but I still rank this as one of my sharpest lenses.
Is there any reason to choose the 70-200 f/4 lens over this one? Cost aside, I can see a valid argument being made for the f/4. Carrying around the f/2.8 in a full camera bag is no fun unless you're putting it to use. Since I mostly use shorter focal length prime lenses, sometimes the f/2.8 is a pain in the neck for me--literally. Unless I know I will need it, I have taken to leaving it behind in favor of a lighter, smaller and less sharp Canon 100-300. So I can see the utility of the smaller 70-200. Maybe I can talk myself into owning both. Nah, that's a little too excessive.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2011
I bought this lens used on Amazon and have been thoroughly impressed with the versatility it has added to my photography. As others have noted, the 70-200mm focal length isn't quite your "all purpose" range, but it's very helpful when taking pictures of others and you don't necessarily want them to know they're your subject. My primary lens before purchasing this was Canon's great-value 17-40 f/4. I've been very pleased with that lens as well, and this lens, to me, is a perfect compliment.
One thing I hadn't thought of before purchasing this medium telephoto zoom is how many pictures I could take without having to move my feet. With the 17-40, I'm constantly moving from place to place to properly compose my (somewhat) wide-angle shots (shooting with a Rebel t2i). With the 70-200 I can be more or less stationary and take pictures of the people and places around me. This means getting more of those one-chance shots of people with exotic facial expressions or a bird just about to go in flight. Rather than run to their vicinity, I can simply zoom in and out to get them in the shot.
The focal range of this lens isn't crazy telephoto -- on a 1.6 cropped sensor you can shoot a head and shoulders portrait from maybe twenty-five feet away. But it's definitely enough to create some space between you and your subject (particularly useful if your subject is a camera-phobic relative or a wild animal). For shooting from a fixed position such as a car or boat, the reach of this lens is very adequate.
The build quality is obviously superb. While I would never actually try to back up this statement, I'm pretty certain I could drop this lens onto a sidewalk, have it roll into the street, and be run over by a taxi cab before it can be saved and still be alright. The picture quality is great for a zoom. The disparity in quality from this to my 85mm 1.8 was not enough to keep me from selling off my prime lens. I lost a bit of clarity, but gained much more in versatility.
A note on getting this lens image-stabilized or not: It's a bit quixotic of Canon to charge nearly $1,000 more just for image stabilization. I was actually saving for the IS II version of this lens but started to realize all the extra equipment I could be adding by deciding to do without. Pictures are a hobby for me, so in the end I think it made most sense to spend my extra dollars on other items that diversified my picture taking rather than putting all my dollars into one lens. So now I have this great lens, a nice tripod, and the 580 flash unit -- all for the price of the IS II. Handholding is yet to be problematic for me. The hardest thing about operating this lens at 200mm is making sure I've got the focus right when shooting at 2.8 aperture (the depth of field seems very shallow); no amount of image stabilization will fix that problem.