311 of 327 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 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. :-)
226 of 239 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 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.
291 of 310 people found the following review helpful
01-01-2009 Canon 5D Mark II Update
Well, the reach my be less but man on man the Bokeh of this lens using the 5D Mark II has to be seen to be believed. Much smoother creamier and richer on the 5D Mark II. Something like double the Bokeh since you can get twice as close, just make sure when shooting at F/2.8 you have enough dept of field.
Sharpness and clarity
The sharpness and clarity wide open at F/2.8 that was just Ok on the 40D is much improved for some strange reason on the 5D Mark II. I would not have figured it this way but it's just plain better. Putting this lens on the 5D Mark II has transformed it from a so so lens to a sharp, high clarity monster even wide open. You wouldn't know it was the same lens I has used on the 40D.
The reach of the lens on a full frame sensor camera is half but when indoors shooting weddings this can be a good thing. On the cropped sensor cameras you often find yourself running out of space to back up when you want a wider shot but on the 5D Mark II the 70mm end is actually useful. When shooting outdoors if you can't get pretty close you will want a longer lens. This is when I reach for my excellent Canon 100-400 F/4.5 - F/5.6 IS L Lens.
On my Canon 40D and Rebel XTi Vignetting or peripheral illumination problems are practically non-existent, but on my new Canon 5D Mark II I use the auto-peripheral illumination correction as with it off it is a problem. But with it ON its no problem at all.
You can either have the 5D Mark II auto-correct peripheral illumination on board for JPEGs or adjust Raw images using Canon's Digital Photo Professional (DPP) software that came with your Mark II. I have noticed on the full framed 5D Mark II with the peripheral illumination correction turned OFF the 5D Mark II images will severely vignette or be dark in the corners when shot wide open (F/2.8). It's almost like looking through a dark tunnel. It's especially noticeable shot wide open with the sky as a background.
Auto-correct to the rescue!! With the peripheral illumination correction turned ON it's almost magical the darkening in the corners for your JPEG images is gone! If you want you can even shoot in Raw mode and adjust the amount of Vignetting or darkness in the corners for effects such as when shooting portraits and you want to emphasis the person in the middle of the photo. Just open the Raw photo in DPP and click on the NR/Lens / ALO tab and select Lens Aberration Correction Tune and adjust the peripheral illumination to suite by dragging the slider or entering and amount. Or select all the photos in a directory and you can correct all your photos at once. This way you can either have no Vignetting or as much as you want.
Tack Sharp at 70-135mm at F5.6 at any distance
Sharp at F2.8 at a distance for some reason but soft up close (10 to 50 feet)
Sharp at F2.8 for indoor non-flash gym / church distance photos any zoom setting. Gets a little soft focused close and at infinity at F2.8
Auto focus tracks moving objects like a laser guided smart bomb! I have many in flight bird photos
Beautifully made with perfect quality
Beautiful deep colors, lots of contrast
Auto-focus is super fast, quiet and spot on even in dim light
White so it's cooler out in the hot summer sun
Comes with nice case and nice lens tripod mount
Pretty good Bokeh better then the F4 70-200 of course but not as good as primes
Really bright in the viewfinder the brightest long lens I've used
This lens has Auto Lens Vignetting correction using peripheral Illumination control see Auto Vignetting comments below:
VERY shallow depth of field at F2.8
Costs twice as much as the great F4 70-200
Seems to weigh twice as much as the F4 70-200
Very LARGE and white gets a LOT of attention
Softens a little above 135mm approaching and at 200mm at infinity
I bought this Lens to use on my Canon Digital Rebel XTi to shoot wild birds, animals at the zoo, sporting events and aircraft shows.
After having taken over 4,000 photos with it and trading out and using my friends F4 70-200 I have the following conclusions.
This lens focuses very FAST!! I have tracked birds in FLIGHT!! It focuses in light so low I don't see how it's focusing.
The F2.8 is MUCH larger then the F4 you have to use these two lenses back to back to really appreciate the difference. Also the lens hood sticks way out on the F2.8 which does protect the lens more but makes a long lens even longer. The F4 is more of a hold all day out shooting lens for the average person the F2.8 more of a tripod lens.
I do love this F2.8 lens, but in hindsight I might have bought the cheaper lighter and smaller non IS F4 lens. We tried several tests using a tripod while using mirror lockup and remote release so camera shake and depth of field were not a variable. We found my F2.8 lens is slightly sharper in the middle at 200mm but the F4 is slightly sharper near the edges. Both lenses were tack sharp edge to edge at 70-135mm at F8 with the F4 lens maintaining more sharpness over all from 135 to 200mm. However I found the F2.8 is brighter looking through the view finder then the F4.
The F2.8 does seem to produce slightly richer color but you can easily make up the difference between the F4 in a photo editor program.
This lens also softens some at F2.8 and gets sharper the closer to F8 you get. I tried several test shots on a tripod using mirror lockup and remote release of a photo test card so camera shake and depth of field were not a variable. Speaking of depth of field at F2.8 the depth of field is so shallow at close range F2.8 is almost unusable. You can take a photo of someone and their nose is tack sharp and their eyes are soft. This could be a plus if you are looking for this effect.
So why do I keep this lens?
I shoot a lot using a tripod and love the included lens tripod mount. The camera and lens are MUCH more stable when the lens is mounted to the tripod then trying to shoot with a long lens with the camera mounted to the tripod and the lens hanging out front. Note: You can buy the lens tripod mount for the F4 lens but it's $150 extra.
I need the extra stops F2.8 gives me for low light indoor photograhy I have gotten shots at F2.8 ISO 1600 I could not have gotten with the F4 lens.
I do like the attention I get and questions.
I love the way this lens is SO bright in the viewfinder, noticeably brighter when framing a shot then the F4.
I don't mind the extra workout carrying it around I need the exercise.
I'm thinking about also buying the F4 70-200 and having both.
Why only 4 stars:
If this lens were tack sharp edge to edge at 200mm at any distance I would have given it 5 stars but felt that this was enough to pull back to 4.
Also the min distance switch is too easy to move, it doesn't need this switch anyway the auto focus is great,
If you have the money and want a bright in the viewfinder, great color, large, imposing presence tripod mounted lens the F2.8 lens is for you.
If you want to save some money and shoot hand held with a lighter lens and don't need the F2.8 for low light shooting and Bokeh then get the F4 lens.
If you have lots and lots of money buy them both!
This lens continues to impress me. I have been shooting more around F2.8 at longer reach hand held on cloudy days and inside buildings where flash is not allowed and have found this lens really can work hand held at higher ISO say 400 to 800. I'm thinking about buying the 40D which has higher ISO performance then my Rebel XTi so I can shoot at 1600 ISO and 3200 ISO with less noise.
Filter Update 1-3-2008
After much searching I found the perfect filter. The Hoya Multi Coat HMC Pro1 Protection filter is not supposed to filter the shot just protect the front lens element. I was very worried that it would affect the shot after having tried some other premium filters like the B+W UV which caused the photos to be softer and duller. However, after some tests I found that in some weird way the Hoya Multi Coat HMC Pro1 actually makes the photos seem to have just a little more contrast and be a little sharper then without. I thought I had gotten the test shots backwards and had to retest with a little sign in the photo saying with and without filter in place just to make sure. Really amazing!!! I'm sold!
Update 3-1-2008 Arizona Renaissance Festival
Here's a brief summary of my thoughts when using both the Canon 70-200 F/2.8 USM L and Canon 135mm F/2 USM L at AZ Renaissance Festival.
The first thing I noticed was the zoom can be much more versatile especially at the bird show where it's ability to zoom in and out was nice, but it's minimum focus distance is quite a bit farther. I noticed several times taking face shot close ups that I ran into the stop and it could not focus, so I had to back up. Also knowing that full sharpness was not reached until F/5.6 I kept the lens at this stop to make the shots sharp. But there is no denying its ability to reach out and photograph someone at a distance and then turn around and get a shot close up. Also, the Canon 70-200 really stood out to people. I actually had several people ask what lens it was and could they look at it / hold it. Several workers made jokes about my large canon when I had it mounted.
On the Canon 135mm side there is no denying the quality of the photos and the ability to blur the background and still have a sharp subject at wide open apertures. The creamy smooth Bokeh and quality of the photos make them treasures I will show off and print for years to come. There is some 3d quality that these photos possess that the 70-200 just does not have. The Canon 135mm is much more stealthy with people not really thinking you are taking their photo from far away. No one asked to hold it or even what kind of lens it was. The workers didn't make jokes about having a large canon in fact there were a couple of workers that said they had seen bigger.
I love them both, but if I had to choose only one to take to the Renaissance Festival it would be the Canon 135mm F/2 USM L. It's half the weight, black and stealthy and takes photos I will treasure forever.
I still love this lens and it was my first L lens. It's funny how much more attention this lens will get everywhere I go. You will be asked what news agency you are working for, can I see it, can I hold it, how much does it cost? Things I have never been asked about my Canon 85mm F/1.2 L II lens which cost hundreds more. So if you want a great 70-200 zoom and crave attention and can carry the weight this lens is for you. I still love mine and plan on keeping it forever!
I find myself falling in love with this lens all over again. A friend has borrowed it for a few months to use and I went on a shoot this weekend with it and wow!! When you use Digital Photo Professional (DPP) to make your JPEG from RAW this lens is a razor blade even at F/2.8! There is that much difference in processing using DPP then usin Adobe Camera Raw!!! It makes my Canon 70-200 F/2.8 look almost as sharp as my Canon 135 F2.
The only strange thing when I first got the lens back it focuses more slowly then normal for a few shots about like the focusing on my Canon 85mm F/1.2 which can be a little slow. But within a few hundred shots seems to be back to the milisecond focus speed. I wonder if he left it out in the car in the hot Arizona sun?
Still get's a huge amount of attention. You would think it was a Canon 300mm F/2.8 the way people stare. Guess the white L lenses are still pretty rare out and about. My friends Canon 70-200 F4 L is just as sharp but the F/2.8 lets in twice as much light! But the F/2.8 feels almost twice as fat in the hand and after a day of shooting is heavier!! Still when I was already at ISO 3200 and F/2.8 yeasterday at a very dark church function I was stopping action that you could not do with the Canon 70-200 F/4.
This is still one of my most used and versatile lenses. And I've noticed in some of my photos this really cool almost 3D effect around the main subject usually at wider apertures. My only regret is that it does not have IS. After buying two lenses that have it I can see that in really dark situations IS can really make a huge difference. Also there is the one single spec of dust in the middle of the outer most element. But it does not seem to affect the photos.
It's taken many beautiful photos for me and I will probably keep it as long as I live.
Auto Vignetting peripheral illumination control:
Canon has this super sweet Auto Lens Vignetting correction that works with this lens both in camera with JPEG's and in RAW using peripheral Illumination control in Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP) when using newer Canon digital EOS cameras (Canon Rebel XSi, 40D, 5D Mark II etc.) . No more vignetting when shooting wide open!!! When shooting Raw open the file(s) in DPP and click on NR/Lens Lens Aberration Correction / Tune and click on Peripheral illumination. The cameras listed above have already picked up the amount of vignetting based on focusing distance, zoom setting and F stop from the lens and the camera has saved the information with the Raw file. You can then adjust the amount under Peripheral Illumination if you don't like the amount automatically suggested. If you shot JPEG then you get the auto amount. SWEET!!!
You can't go wrong if you need 70-200mm and fast speed.
01-03-2009 Canon 5D Mark II Update:
This lens is actually just behind my Canon 100-400 IS L Lens in the zoom sharpness and clarity department but it's no where near as versatile on my 5D Mark II as the 100-400. Still it's a must have lens when shooting weddings when you need the super Bokeh background melting power of an F/2.8 aperture and lower light power of an F/2.8 aperture. The Bokeh that was Ok on the 40D is smoother creamier and richer on the 5D Mark II. Still I almost wish I had bought the Image Stabilized version instead. I'm finding that on the 5D Mark II you can really sharpen up images when shooting in raw and processing in Canon's Digital Photo Professional. As that and the price were my only complaint about the IS version of this lens I now wish I had purchased it instead.
Lenses I currently own:
Canon EF-S 17-55 F/2.8 IS Zoom Lens Ultra sharp, great colors, great low light, poor zoom action
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Rebel XTi Kit Zoom lens Muddy, slow, pile of junk
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L Zoom Lens Fantastic colors, sharp zoomed 17 to 24mm and stopped down, ultra smooth zoom action, light weight
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L Zoom Lens Fantastic colors and contrast, sharp zoomed 40 to 70mm, zoom a little stiff at first, heavy, repair prone!
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Good budget portrait lens, light weight, disposable, sharp from F/2.5
Canon EF 85mm F/1.2 L II The best portrait lens for female and children clients, buttery smooth Bokeh, heavy and expensive it shares sharpness with 135mm
Canon EF 135mm F/2.0 L The best portrait lens for males and tied with Canon 85mm F 1/.2 for sharpest lens I own, buttery smooth Bokeh
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L Zoom Lens Fantastic colors, sharp for a zoom, very versatile ego boosting and attention getting and heavy! My favorite zoom lens that I own!!!
Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS Zoom Lens super colors, sharp for a zoom, extremely versatile, variable Bokeh can be great or bad, even more ego boosting and attention getting when extended and 400mm reach!!
My next lens purchase I'm saving for right now: 'Canon EF 300mm F/2.8 IS L the finest lens ever
52 of 53 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.
42 of 46 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.
48 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 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.
27 of 29 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
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
...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.