Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM Telephoto Lens
Overal Image Quality9.5/10
Low Light Performance9.5/10
- 2.8 Aperture
- 200mm great for long reach
- Relatively Inexspensive
- Fantastic Image Quality
- Lighter than a 70-200mm zoom
- Prime Lens - Have to do the zooming with your feet
- No image stabilization
Telephoto Zoom Alternative
From time to time I’ve rented Canon’s 70-200mm f/2.8 lens when I knew I’d need a solid telephoto lens for portraits, events, or wildlife photography. This is an exceptional piece of glass that features fast image stabilization and a wide aperture allowing you to shoot with it handheld indoors in many cases. At around $2,500 it also comes with an exceptional price tag that is hard to justify unless you are constantly shooting in situations where you need those features.
My current workload just doesn’t warrant spending that kind of money on a lens I wouldn’t use all that often, but I have been looking for a cheaper telephoto lens to add to my bag for a while now. My research led me to the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM Telephoto Lens which sells for a fraction of the cost of the 70-200mm at around $820.00. There are some trade-offs with this less expensive lens which I will outline below. Overall I’m really pleased with this lens so far and would recommend it for someone who wants a great telephoto lens but can’t justify the cost of Canon’s premium zoom glass.
This is lens is considered a “Prime” lens meaning that it has a fixed focal length of 200mm with no ability to zoom in or out to adjust the field of view. The obvious downside to this is that if you need to adjust your composition you will have to physically move closer to or farther away from your subject. In other words, your feet will do the zooming. I have to give this lens a lower versatility rating because there may be situations where you just can’t physically get far enough away from your subject to be able to use this lens. The upside is that because there are no moving parts except for the focus mechanism, the lens is much lighter and smaller than it’s 70-200mm counterpart. I’ve lugged that heavy zoom lens around for a few hours and can attest at how quickly it can wear you out. This lens is considerably lighter. A lighter lens means more shooting and less sweating.
I find the overall image quality of the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II every bit as good as the 70-200mm. It produces a sharp clean image and the 2.8 aperture produces wonderfully creamy bokeh. Color reproduction is accurate and I see no vignetting in the images it produces at all. Another feature that the 70-200mm has over this lens is an advanced image stabilization system that really helps keep your exposures crisp and free of blur caused by camera shake. You can compensate for this by increasing your ISO and bumping up the shutter speed. Using a tripod will also help eliminate this problem.
From the Manufacturer
- Focal length: 200mm
- Maximum aperture: f/2.8
- Lens construction: 9 elements in 7 groups
- Diagonal angle of view: 12 degrees
- Focus adjustment: Rear focusing system with USM
- Closest focusing distance: 4.9 feet
- Filter size: 72mm
- Dimensions: 3.3 inches in diameter, 5.4 inches long
- Weight: 1.7 pounds
Lighter by more than 1.2 pounds (545g) than the 70-200 f/2.8L zoom lens, this fast telephoto lens is a perfect alternative for low-light shooting or just reducing weight in the gadget bag. Two UD-glass elements and internal rear-group focusing are among its optical highlights, and itís fully compatible with Canonís EF 1.4x II and 2x II tele extenders. A detachable hood is included, and Tripod Ring A (B) is available as an accessory.