Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 USM L IS - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published July 2005

Special thanks to Markus Stamm (1st sample) and Ron Marchant (2nd sample) for providing the lens for testing purposes!

Introduction

The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 USM L IS is one of the key lenses in the Canon lens line-up. It is especially popular for press, sports and portrait photography. Used on an APS-C DSLR its field-of-view resembles a classic 112-320mm lens on full-frame cameras.

While not really bigger nor heavier than similar lenses it is not small by "normal" standards with a dimension of 86x197mm and a weight of 1470g. Adding the (included) flower-shaped hood increases the length even further - see the product images below. Besides the hood the lens comes also with a detachable tripod mount which makes sense regarding the weight of the lens.

The 70-200mm L IS has a 2nd generation image stabilizer. Canon claims a gain of three f-stops here which I can confirm based on a little field usage. When compared to a first generation IS the difference is quite easily noticeable in the viewfinder. Typical for Canon pro grade IS lenses the IS offers two operation modes:

  • standard: corrects movements of a static scene (horizontal plus vertical stabilization)
  • panning: corrects the vertical axis only (regardless of the lens' orientation).

The optical construction is made of 23(!) elements in 18(!) groups, including 4 UD elements. The min. focus distance is 1.30m resulting is a max. object magnification of ~1:5 at 200mm. The lens features 8 aperture blades. The filter size is 77mm.

The lens does not extend during zooming. Due to the inner focusing system the front element does not rotate so using a polarizer is no problem - unless you attach the hood of course. The lens features a ring-type USM drive so AF speed is extremely fast. When combined with the Canon EF 1.4x II converter the speed is marginally reduced (on the EOS 350D) which is probably a side effect of the smaller max. aperture (one stop slower). The build quality of this lens is exceptional. No wobbling whatsoever and smooth controls - just perfect. The lens is also designed to survive in harsh conditions with a sealing against dust and moisture.