Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM

Lens Review

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM on Canon EOS Rebel 400D/XTi.


2007-04-26 - Canon Photo Equipment - 011There are many reasons as to why you would find this lens in virtually everyone’s bag, it’s probably Canon’s best lens for its focal range, build quality, and sharpness. This lens easily becomes anyones favorite after one or two uses. It’s solidly built and very well constructed.

With a 1.6 frame of view (FOV) crop, the 70-200mm becomes a 112-320mm, quite a usable range. Whereas my Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM is my carry around lens, I find myself using the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM for outdoor and indoor events such as the Cherry Blossom Festival and the Grand National Rodeo.

Weight and Dimension

This is definitely not a small lens by any means, its dimensions are 3.3″ x 7.6″ at a smudge under 3 lbs making it heavier than the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM. With the 70-200mm attached on small SLRs such as the Rebel line, you find it is noticeably nose heavy. It doesn’t start getting balanced out until you attach it to a Canon EOS 1D line, but by that point, you’re holding onto more than 6 lbs!

As with almost all the other Canon L lenses, the filter size is the 77mm. I’m currently using a B+W 77mm MRC (010) UV Filter which exclusively uses. Originally I was going to go with a Hoya Super HMC Pro, but kept hearing so much about B+W filters that I figured why not. If I was going to buy a Ferrari, I wouldn’t fill it up 87 gas.


Built like a tank, just like the other Canon L lenses. Every piece is so meticulously constructed, you could use this lens thousands of times and it would still look new. Even if you dropped it from on top of an elephant, it still works great! Also worth mentioning, the non-IS version is not weather sealed. Of the four Canon EF 70-200mm (f/2.8L, f/4, f/2.8L IS, f/4L IS), only the image stabilizer (IS) versions are weather sealed.

There is really not much more to mention about its construction that hasn’t already been said by many people already.

Field Test

2007-04-26 - Canon Photo Equipment - 014For day-to-day shooting, I rely upon my Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L because of its semi-wide angle and allows me to get close up to subjects and objects and its limited macro capabilities. For events such as concerts, festivals, and what not, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L becomes the lens I use for many reasons, but usually because I need the extra reach.

The picture quality is superb on many levels. The colors are vibrant and jump out at you and the sharpness is next to none. This lens is definitely sharper than my Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L and has slightly better colors, contrast, and saturation using all the same camera settings. Very little post processing is needed when using this lens.

The bokeh achieved by this lens is nothing less than fantastic. The background is always nicely blurred out when using f/2.8 or a long focal range (100mm+) on a nearby subject. It is definitely not difficult to get great looking bokeh with this lens.

The AF on this lens is lightening fast and focuses accurately on subjects and objects. I rarely ever have cases where the 70-200mm is “hunting” for focus. Precision is very important, especially when shooting sports, which makes this lens a great lens for fast moving subjects or objects.

Overall Thoughts

There is only one reason I would part with this lens, to get the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM. While the difference in the price is quite a bit, it is very much worth it to get the IS version. This lens also attracts a lot of attention, being the trademarked “white” L lens and its size (especially with the pedal hood on).

The lens comes with a very nice canvas carry case, pedal hood, and most of all, a tripod mount which the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L versions do not come with.

Check out these shots (Cherry Blossom Festival and Grand National Rodeo), all made with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM and make your own decision if it’s worth it or not, in my opinion, it is worth every penny.