Lens Review: Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS

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I rented a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for my trip to Maine. Let me tell you, WHAT a beast this lens is! Attached to my Canon Digital Rebel XTi, with the lens hood, AND my battery grip, the whole setup certainly looked impressive. The lens by itself is 52.6 ounces – that’s nearly three and a half pounds. Added to my camera body and grip, the whole thing weighs over five pounds. I got stopped quite a few times by folks on the sidewalk, who just wanted to exclaim over my camera. I felt very paparazzi.

Aside from how heavy the lens is, it is also very fast. Combining an f/2.8 with image stabilization pretty much guarantees a focussed shot, especially in bright light. This is a hand-held shot of a boat repair dock on the far side of Portland Harbor, in Maine. Exposure 1/800, aperture f/5.6, focal length 200mm, ISO 400 (I’d forgotten to change it from some evening shots taken the night before). It was taken from the top floor of the Eastland Park Hotel, where my husband and I were staying during our vacation in July. From where I was standing at the north end of Portland, down across the entirety of the city to the waterfront, then across the harbor to the far side, was at least a mile.

This family of osprey was taken with the same lens, with the addition of a 2x converter. Exposure 1/640, aperture f/5.6, focal length 200mm, ISO 100. We were about 200 feet away. Again, the shot was hand-held. I’d brought my monopod with me for the trip, but found it to be completely unnecessary the entire time.

The lens performs very well. Auto focus is fast and silent, and image stabilization works in an almost magical way. It was kind of jarring, really, to be zoomed in close to a subject, press the shutter down half-way to auto focus, and see the image stabilization kick in and reduce the distance shake. I’ll be writing an upcoming article on how image stabilization works.

For much more information on this lens, I highly recommend that you read The Digital Picture’s in-depth analyses and reviews of the Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS.

The most excellent folks at Pro Photo Rental provided the lenses for the purpose of this review. Their service has always been outstanding and I continue to highly recommend them to anyone with lens rental needs.(*)

Photo credits (in order of appearance):
- “70-200 2.8 L IS Porn 2″ by Alarzy on Flickr Creative Commons.
- “Portland Harbor” and “Osprey” by Tiffany Joyce.

*The Author received complimentary rentals in exchange for mentioning the Provider’s products and/or services on this website. Such compensation received did not and will never influence the content, topics or posts made on this website. We will only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement.

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  • Plj

    Thank you Tiffany for that….. hardly challenging for any glass let alone this very expensive replacement/update/upgrade… perhaps had you bolted this onto a 1D MK IV & shot some high speed action with plenty of movement your review would have more credibility….
    Paul Lindsey-Jones

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