70 200mm F 2.8 Lens Canon

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Canon 70-200mm f/two.viii IS
Full-frame (2001-2010)

© 2011 KenRockwell.com

   Specs   PerformanceCompared   Recommendations

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS

Catechism 70-200mm f/ii.8L IS
(covers all formats, 77mm filters, 51.nine oz./1,471g., iv.6’/1.4m close focus)  enlarge. This gratis website’southward biggest source of support is when you utilize these links, especially this link directly to them at eBay, where they sell for about $i,600 (meet How to Win at eBay), or peradventure at Amazon. Information technology helps me keep reviewing these oldies when you get yours through these links, thanks! Ken.

Canon 70-200mm f/2.viii 50 Ii IS.
Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear, especially this original 70-200mm Fifty f/2.8 IS. As of Feb 2010. I’ve heard that Adorama has been paying $1,000 for this original version, used. Of course this is withal a electric current product, and an excellent one at that.

November 2011, December 2006    Canon Reviews    Canon Lenses    All Reviews

Meet also:

Catechism 70-200 Comparison Table.

Canon lxx-200mm f/two.8L IS Two (2010-)

Canon 70-200mm f/ii.8L (1995-)

Canon eighty-200mm f/2.8L (1989-1995)

Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS (2006-)

Canon 70-200mm f/4L (1999-)

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   Specs   PerformanceCompared   Recommendations

This was Canon’s top professional tele zoom from 2001-2010. It has IS (Image Stabilization) and is the faster f/2.8.

In 2009, an fifty-fifty more expensive Catechism seventy-200mm f/two.8 L II IS. was announced, whose prime reward is closer focusing than this original version (4ft/i.2m versus 4.6ft /one.4m). To a full-fourth dimension pro, those 8 inches are more than than worth spending an actress $700 ($2,500 versus $1,800 for this lens). For everyone else, no large deal. The weights are the aforementioned.

This is the tele zoom toted by about Catechism professionals. It’s also the lens with which many the prove-off shots in Catechism’southward sleeky brochures are shot. For instance, see a iii-page fold-out spread of a Lotus on the within front encompass of “Catechism EOS Digital For Professionals,” 0054W868, printed August 2005.

This is a tough pro lens. It’s a big, heavy professional person beast, and it’s fast and sharp nether all weather. If you don’t mind hauling it effectually, y’all’ll dear the images!

I borrowed this sample from my friend humanitarian photojournalist Karl Grobl. He recently
dropped it off an elephant to the cobblestones 9 feet below

while shooting in India. Information technology landed hood-first and it, and his 1D Mk Two, flipped end-over-end a few times. The elephant started to sniff effectually it before Karl could go off and call back information technology.
This is the lens tested hither; Karl loaned it to me to run across if it still worked.

Not only does this dropped lens nevertheless work, it’due south one of the all-time lenses I’ve tested for real-world use. It’south heavy and expensive as y’all’d expect, and information technology e’er gives fantastic images nether all weather.

What my static lab figures below don’t tell you lot is that the Catechism 70-200mm f/2.8L IS makes getting sharp images easy. Information technology’s hard not to get a sharp paradigm; its speed and IS and dead-nuts autofocus boom it every fourth dimension, while other lenses often give me sloppier results in real-world use.

Practiced News:

i.) Sharp at every setting.

two.) Built like a tank.
This one plummeted nine feet onto cobblestones and lived to be tested hither.

three.) Accurate and consistent autofocus.

iv.) Close focusing: four.6′ (one.4m).

Bad News:

ane.) Big.

2.) Heavy.

iii.) Expensive.

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS.
Information technology has a lot of switches!

This lens has made tens or hundreds of thousands of images by a pro. Its images have been published around the world, and then information technology was dropped off an elephant. It has toothpicks, held past tape, in some switches to lock the stabilizer to ON and the AF range to Total. A pro has no time for switches getting knocked accidentally which could lose a shot.



   Specs   PerformanceCompared   Recommendations

Canon calls this the Catechism Zoom Lens EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM.

Electronic Focus. All mod Canon lenses do this.

Expensive as 50.

Epitome Stabilization. (Why IS Matters)

Ultra-Sonic Motor: The focus motor operates silently.

Focal Length


Used on a 1.3x photographic camera it gives angles of view similar to what an 88-251mm lens would give on a 35mm film camera.

On a 1.6x photographic camera it gives angles of view similar to what a 114-324mm lens would give on a 35mm film photographic camera. Run into also Crop Factor.

Maximum Aperture



23 elements, eighteen groups.

Four UD glass elements. UD glass is the same every bit Nikon’southward ED drinking glass, which helps reduce colour fringing.


8 blade octagonal.

Stops down to f/32.

Filter Size


Shut Focus

four.6′ (1.4m) from the epitome plane (the back of the camera).

Maximum Reproduction Ratio



three.4″ diameter x 7.8″ extension from flange (86.2 x 197mm).


51.890 oz. (3lb, 3.89 oz. or ane,471.1g), measured.




LZ1324, the same case as the 70-200/2.8 non-IS.


September 2001.



   Specs   PerformanceCompared   Recommendations

Autofocus   Bokeh  Colour  Color Fringes    Structure    Baloney    Falloff

Filters   Flare   Flash       Macro    Serial #    Sharpness     IS    Zooming


It’s a giant, loftier-performance lens. This is the general purpose tele zoom used by virtually pros who use Canon. Of class Canon is going to ensure that this lens is as good as it tin exist, since it’s the lens by which most pros judge an entire camera company.

   dorsum to Performance or back to Introduction.

Zip moves externally when focusing; everything is washed internally.

Autofocusing is merely about perfect. Accurateness is better than most Catechism lenses. It’due south authentic all the time even at f/ii.8, and information technology’south fast.

There is a dedicated manual focus ring.


AF speed is fast. That’due south how Canon works. I’ve never heard anyone mutter that Canon is also tiresome; that’s what people say about Nikon.

Sound and Noise

It’due south pretty repose.

Transmission Focus:
Information technology makes some sliding sounds, along with some crunchy sounds acquired by any crud has collected inside from Karl’southward travels to every dusty disaster area around the world. This thing has been covered in crud at one time or another.

The same, without the crunching grime from moving the manual focus ring.

Ease of Transmission Focusing

Very skillful. Just motion the ring for instant manual focus override. All it takes is one moderately firm fingertip.

Autofocus Accurateness

I get perfect focus at f/2.8 every time, which is much improve than other Canon lenses which may miss occasionally in substitution for speed. It’south dead-on 99% of the fourth dimension on my 5D, and near 95% of the time on my Rebel XTi.

Focus Breathing

Breathing is a movie term which refers to what happens as you pull (change) focus from near to far.

This 70-200mm f/2.8L IS changes its magnification as 1 pulls focus.


dorsum to Performance or back to Introduction.

Bokeh is very good wide open.

Here are two full images of an in-focus subject at x’ (3m) and a series of point light sources 50′ (15m) behind it:

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L Bokeh

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L Bokeh

Full prototype, 5D, 70mm at f/2.8

Total image, 5D, 200mm at f/two.8

Hither is a crop from the 70mm epitome at 100%.

I had to reduce the 200mm images by 3 times to include complete blur circles below. The subject area and I stayed in the aforementioned place. This is unintentionally educational. When I inverse the image magnification by 3x I merely happened to keep the subject field size constant every bit I changed the focal length. Encounter how the blur circles become much larger at 200mm? This is why depth of field is so much narrower as focal length increases.

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L Bokeh

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L Bokeh

Crop from 100%, 5D, 70mm at f/2.8

Crop from 33%, 5D, 200mm at f/2.8

Here is are the same shots at f/iv. Detect the octagonal shapes of the diaphragm, especially at 200mm.

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L Bokeh

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L Bokeh

Crop from 100%, 5D, 70mm at f/2.eight

Crop from 33%, 5D, 200mm at f/ii.8


(Lateral Chromatic Abnormality or LCA)

back to Performance or back to Introduction.

This lens is approved by the PPLFPA, Professional Patio and Lawn Furniture Photographers’ Clan, with a grade of “A.”

On my full-frame 5D it has no colour fringes, except a tiny scrap at 200mm which you lot’d never come across unless yous were trying to meet information technology with a devious test like this one. It does the same thing on my Rebel XTi, which I tested, but am not bothering to prove here.

Here are the full images from which the crops are taken:

lca 70mm lca 200mm

Full Prototype, Full Frame, at 70mm

Total Image, Total Frame, at 200mm



100% ingather from 5D at 70mm

100% ingather from 5D at 100mm



100% crop from 5D at 135mm

100% ingather from 5D at 200mm


I meet no differences from my other Canon lenses.

Construction QUALITY

back to Performance or back to Introduction.

It has a safe gasket on the lens mount to keep crud out of your camera. God only knows, Karl needs this with the places he takes this lens.


Filter Threads and Hood Mounting Bayonet:
Anodized Aluminum.

Focus and Zoom Rings:
Ribbed condom over metal.

Paint (series number engraved).




Noises when shaken:
Dull klunking. This is normal.

Made in:


back to Performance or back to Introduction.

Wall of Shame
at 70mm, full-frame 5D. Mouse over to see after correction.

Here are static images of the Bad Photographers’ Wall of Shame:



At 70mm, full-frame 5D

At 100mm, total-frame 5D



At 135mm, full-frame 5D

At 200mm, full-frame 5D

Plug these figures into Photoshop CS2’s lens distortion filter to right the distortion. These figures are for you to savour in your photography. These took me hours to calculate and are all © and registered, and then you’ll need permission to use these figures for anything else. Cheers! Ken.

1.6x XTi at 50′ (15m)

Total-Frame 5D at 50′ (15m)


+1.0 barrel.

+2.5 barrel.





-0.2 pincushion.

-0.5 pincushion.


-0.v pincushion.

-one.5 pincushion.

Smaller format cameras only utilise the center of the paradigm, so baloney is improve controlled. (meet Crop Gene.)

FALLOFF (Darkened Corners)

back to Performance or back to Introduction.

Falloff is invisible on a 1.6x camera like a 30D or Insubordinate.

Falloff is gone by f/4 on ane.3x cameras, and very mild at f/2.8.

Falloff is visible at f/2.viii on full-frame cameras, and insignificant by f/4

Here are shots of an Expodisc on a total-frame 5D. This is a tough exam which shows fifty-fifty the slightest falloff. Yous’ll almost never see this in normal photography. Ignore the minor exposure variations between frames.

   back to Functioning or back to Introduction.

Similar near all telephotos, in that location’s no problem with vignetting with any filter, even on full-frame cameras.


back to Performance or back to Introduction.

The lxx-200mm f/2.8L IS has 23 elements. That’s a lot of drinking glass. Flare and ghosts aren’t a problem in normal photography, only this isn’t the best lens for pointing into the sun.

This isn’t a dusk; information technology’s a very bright sun above a ridge. I could have gone blind doing this. Flare isn’t a trouble if shooting into a dusk dim enough to see without squinting.



At 70mm, full-frame 5D

At 150mm, total-frame 5D

Use with Wink
dorsum to Functioning or back to Introduction.

There’s no problem with shadows from the built-in flash of my Rebel XTi even at four.six’ (1.4m) at the widest 70mm setting.

   dorsum to Performance or back to Introduction.

70-200mmm f/2.8 IS macro

at 4.6′ (1.4m) at 200mm, full prototype, full-frame 5D.

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS

Crop at 100% magnification from above, no extra sharpening.

The lxx-200mm f/2.8L IS gets close for a tele zoom, but not that close. Focus seems to exist a tiny bit backside the subject, but within the depth of field. It did this consistently: the back of the watch is in focus, but non the right side which I chose non to include in this ingather.

This is on a total-frame 5D. On a smaller format camera similar a 30D or Rebel it will give larger images; run across Crop Gene.


  back to Operation or back to Introduction.

The serial number is engraved on the bottom outside of the butt well-nigh the lens mount. The numbers are filled with black paint.


  back to Performance or back to Introduction.

Sharpness is superb. Even after falling nine feet to its presumed destruction, information technology notwithstanding makes spectacular images.

Your technique volition be your biggest barrier to sharp photos. I have a folio on How to Get Sharp Photos.

Letters correspond to center – side – corner. Possible ratings are E – VG – Yard – F – P. These are subjective. Don’t fret over differences between adjacent grades.

Diffraction is ordinarily the sharpness-limiting factor for all lenses, especially digital SLRs, at about f/eleven and in a higher place. See too How Sharpness Varies with Aperture.

On a total-frame 5D:






VG – P – P*

VG – P – P

E – P – P

E – F – P


E – F – P

E – G – F

E – VG – VG

E – Due east – VG


VG – Grand – F

E – M – M

E – VG – VG

Eastward – VG – VG


VG – F – P

VG – F – P

Eastward – F – P

E – K – F

* These are the worst-case numbers for a lens that fell 9 feet! This lens was softer on the left side with my apartment-field tests, due to some misalignment. The right side was spectacularly good and scored nigh all E! With real, 3D subjects this dropped lens is spectacular.

On a 1.3x 1D Mk II
(also dropped 9 feet!):






VG – P – P*

VG – P – P

East – G – F

Due east – VG – F


E – F – P

E – VG – VG

E – VG – VG

Due east – E – VG


VG – G – F

E – Grand – G

E – VG – VG

E – VG – VG


VG – F – P

VG – G – F

E – VG – F

E – VG – 1000

* These are the worst-case numbers for a lens that fell ix feet! With real, 3D subjects this dropped lens is spectacular.

Don’t let my tests mislead you. For real subjects, this lens, even after being dropped and presumed destroyed past its possessor, is fantastic. If you’re shooting examination charts, get the 100mm Macro.


Canon rates it as fairly good. Run across Canon’s MTF curves every bit printed in Catechism EF Lens Work III.

IS (Paradigm Stabilization)

dorsum to Performance or back to Introduction.

It sounds and feels like a motor is running inside the lens when IS is active. There is a klunk when it starts, and some other when it stops.

This lists the per centum of sharp shots I get with IS ON.













































Now let’s nautical chart the slowest speed to become 50% sharp shots at each focal length.

Lowest Speed sharp l%

Stops Improvement













Since my friend Karl has his IS switch welded to ON, I couldn’t turn information technology off and couldn’t measure the existent improvement from IS OFF to IS ON.

“Marketing Stops Improvement” isn’t comparison the speed I can use from IS OFF to IS ON, only instead comparing the speed I can utilise with IS ON to the former-wives-tale speed of 1/focal length. That’s called Lying with Statistics, and that’s par for the course for marketing departments. I usually can manus-hold successfully far beneath the former wives’ tale figures.

In dim light, burn several shots in the continuous shutter style and pick the sharpest later. Blur is a random event, and so if you fire enough shots, you’ll somewhen go a sharp one even at boring speeds!

Read Why IS is Important to understand more than nigh these ratings mean.

   dorsum to Performance or back to Introduction.

At that place is a dedicated zoom band. Nothing moves externally while zooming. It’s all done internally.

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS zoom ring

Canon 70-200mm f/2.viii IS Zoom Ring

The zoom band is very manly. It’s 3.3″ (84mm) in diameter. It isn’t a dainty thing that i tin flick with a finger. It tin can be zoomed with one fingertip, but requires strength, not a picture show.

It is heavily damped and feels as if it works through a direct-cut geartrain. This thing starts to remind me of Canon’s behemoth $100,000, 100:i zoom ratio circulate Idiot box zoom lenses.

The focal lengths are spaced evenly along the zoom ring. Nil is cramped together.

Zoom Creep

None. Nothing’s going anywhere on this lens unless you lot move it.

while Zooming

Focus shifts very little, if at all, with changes in focal length. If y’all feel lucky, go ahead and don’t bother to refocus later on zooming in or out.

Focal Length Encoding Accurateness

The EXIF data always agrees with the settings marked on the lens at lxx, 135 and 200mm. It may vary a few mm at 100mm, but so what; I don’t know where the centre of the “100” marking is anyway.

I take not correlated the accuracy of the markings with actual focal lengths.



   Specs   OperationCompared   Recommendations

See my Canon 70-200 Comparison Tabular array.



   Specs   OperationCompared   Recommendations

If you shoot with the 70-200mm range, want the best possible images and are willing to pay in cash and weight, get this lens
My lab results hide the fact that in real shooting I get a higher percentage of precipitous shots with this 70-200mm f/two.8 IS lens than with many other lenses.

If you but want great shots, the 70-200mm f/4 L (non-IS) works as well 90% of the time for one-tertiary the toll and half the weight. Personally I’thousand addicted to IS for hand-held employ, so I bought the Canon 70-200mm f/4 L IS for myself. I prefer the much lighter weight.

My Is It Worth It? page explains that if you utilise this lens full time for a living, of course get this Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS because you’ll appreciate its benefits every day, long after yous forgot what you paid for it. If yous worry nigh the toll and don’t use it all twenty-four hours, every twenty-four hours, yous’ll probably appreciate the cash left in your pocket with the less expensive lenses and the lighter weight.

An additional benefit is the unseen durability built inside this lens. If Karl wasted his coin on a Sigma lens, I’m sure it would be sitting in a trash can in Bharat after that elephant driblet, instead of continuing to help Karl earn his living.

This item sample is higher up being reviewed. Karl has carried this fauna all over the earth and had images fabricated with information technology published everywhere. If you’ve seen Karl’s images (see his website) you tin can come across exactly how well this lens works.

Karl seems to accept no complaints carrying this fauna all over Kingdom come and living with information technology day and night as he travels in dangerous areas. If y’all want one, get it and you’ll dear it. Its performance is exemplary.

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Thanks for reading!

Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

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