Canon 1258B002EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM Lens
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- 70-200mm telephoto zoom lens with f/4 maximum aperture for Canon digital SLR cameras
- Fluorite UD lens elements produce excellent optical performance in resolution and contrast, Closest focusing distance : 3.94 feet, Focal length: 70-200mm
- Ring-type ultra-sonic monitor (USM) for quick and quiet autofocusing; lightweight construction
- Image Stabilizer provides up to 4 stops of shake correction; water- and dust-proof construction
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 17.2 x 7.6 x 7.6 cm; 771.11 Grams
- Date First Available : 24 August 2006
- Manufacturer : Canon
- ASIN : B000I1X3W8
- Item model number : 1258B002
- Department : Digital Camera Lenses
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12,089 in Electronics (See Top 100 in Electronics)
- 117 in Camcorder & Camera Lenses
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EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM is a lightweight, compact L Series telephoto zoom lens with Image Stabilizer. The optical Image Stabilization in the new EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM lens provides up to an incredible four stops of shake correction-a first for Canon IS lenses. The use of fluorite UD lens elements provides excellent optical performance in terms of resolution and contrast. These features, together with its water-and dust-proof construction, provide both the performance and portability to meet user demands.What’s in the box, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Lens, E-67U 67mm Snap-On Lens Cap, Lens Dust Cap E (Rear), ET-74 Lens Hood, LP1224 Lens Case.
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras
The EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM is a lightweight, compact L Series telephoto zoom lens with Image Stabilizer. The optical Image Stabilization in the EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM lens provides up to an incredible four stops of shake correction - for Canon IS lenses. The use of fluorite UD lens elements provides optical performance in terms of resolution and contrast. These features, together with its water-and dust-proof construction, provide both the performance and portability to meet user demands.
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For those not familiar with what f/4 or f/2.8 is, those numbers refer to the amount of light the lens lets in. There are many resources that demonstrate how the “f stop” impacts an image, but here is a very simplified explanation and I am sure some pro photographers can give more info on the matter. The higher the f number, say f/16, the more the entire photo is in focus while the lower the f number, say f/4, the more background blur you get.
To explain this I added two photos I shot with my Canon Rebel T6i using the Canon 70-200 f/4 IS USM lens, but for some reason they are horizontal instead of vertical for some strange reason but you still get the idea. Both Sample 1 and Sample 2 were shot at 111.0 mm distance with the camera set to “aperture priority”. Sample 1 is set to f/32 and you can see the entire background and the object are in focus. Sample 2 was shot at f/4 and you can see the object is in focus while the background is blurred out which makes for some nice photos especially when you do portraits. Again, there is a bit more to it but I wanted to give some background for this review. If you want more in depth info on f-stop, youtube is a great resource.
I researched both Canon and Tamron, but decided on the Canon. This does not mean that Tamron lenses are not good, reviews I have read and viewed certainly say that they are, and Tamron does have a f/2.8 version in the same price range as this f/4 version. I do know a photographer who uses Tamron lenses and his photos are excellent. The Canon, however, just seemed to fit my needs.
I've used this lens consistently (daily for 4-5 hours each day) for the past week and the picture quality is excellent. I have used this both indoors and outdoors. Outdoor during the day in both bright sunlight and very cloudy conditions, and indoor with limited lighting as well as “normal” lighting. The lens has performed quite well. My first indoor shots were a bit on the dark side. With this being an f/4 lens it does not let in as much light as the f/2.8 version, but that extra $ for the f/2.8 just didn't make sense for me. To explain a bit more, the first indoor situation I was using this lens in was a very dark auditorium (school theater) and the limited lighting was only on the stage and the lights were yellowish in color. I couldn’t use a flash, so most of my photos came out with a yellow tint or were very dark. Since I didn’t use a flash, I did not get to test how a flash might impact the images. I took some photos in a cafeteria setting with what I call normal overhead lights and found that this lens works fine indoors if you use it in a "normal" lighting situation. I have also shot on a cloudy day with absolutely no problems and with very clear photos.
I use this for taking photos of a local marching band, so the fast focus has been incredible. The band is constantly moving at very rapid speeds and this lens has no problem autofocusing very quickly. The autofocus motor seemed loud the first time I used it, but I don’t even notice it now. I would recommend turning off autofocus and using a tripod if you are shooting video so you won’t hear the autofocus motor and so you won’t have any shake.
Taking photos from the bleachers fully zoomed out has been rather clear as well with good image focus and zoom. However, I wanted to get closer photos so I added a Canon 1.4x II extender for taking photos from the bleachers and have had remarkable results. With the image stabilization, there is no shake and I haven't had to use a monopod or a tripod. With the 1.4x II extender, the auto focus works perfect and there is no lag time. The image quality is excellent as well, but adding the extender does change it to a f/5.6, but again I didn't have any issues with the quality of the photos and I got very clear photos of the band.
The Canon L series lenses are very well made, somewhat heavy, but once you have it mounted to your camera you know you have a good quality lens attached. It makes the camera feel, well, more natural to hold. I know that sounds odd, but using this lens instead of the “kit lens” makes my camera more comfortable to use. The zoom ring is very smooth as is the manual focus ring (if you decide to ever use manual mode). It has two stabilization modes and two settings for focus distance.
As for the actual color of the lens body, this really surprised me. All of the images of this lens show it to be white, but it is actually gray in color so don't be shocked when you unbox it. I opted for a tripod mount as well just in case I wanted to shoot video, but I purchased a Fotodiox Pro instead of the Canon version. The Fotodiox fits perfectly and is also very well made. The Canon version was just way out of my price range.
Overall I see a huge difference between this lens and the “kit lens”. A “kit lens” is a lens that typically comes with a camera. Just to compare the L series lens to the kit lens, the L series is full metal construction while the kit lens is plastic. The L series has more advanced optics and is also said to be weatherproof. I will say that although I have no intention to find that out, there is a seal around the base of the lens which makes it a very snug fit against the camera body. The kit lens does feel snug but just not as secure as the L series lens. When you attach the L series for the first time, you will know it is on the camera and you will not want to remove it for a lens swap. Instead you may find yourself wanting another camera body for those “other non L series lenses” just so you don’t have to remove it.
I am not a professional photographer; however I consider myself experienced amateur.
I have been into photography since film, starting with 35 mm mirrorless cameras, then moving onto SLR and then, when first digital cameras showed up, I bought my first, under 1MP point and shoot.
Currently I own Canon 20D, 40D, 70D and 5DMkII. I also had a brief encounter with Nikon SLR as well as own several point and shoot digital cameras, including underwater and 3D.
I also print quite a few of enlargements at home using Canon large format printers (13x19).
My photography subjects include landscapes, cityscapes (both daytime and nighttime), nature, air shows, people, macro, astrophotography and various others.
I do not shoot weddings and usually do not do typical portraits and my animal photography experience is somewhat limited.
I am not a pixel peeper. I do not tend to overanalyze photos and do not usually do extensive technical tests. For me it is mostly about look and feel and the perception rather than technical data.
Now, to the actual review.
I have owned this lens since 2009 so I have had some time with this and took a lot of photos with since.
Initially I used it with 40D and then mostly with 5DMkII and 70D.
I own also EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS and EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM and these are the ones I will be making most of my comparisons to.
This was my second long zoom lens purchase and third L lens I purchased after 24-70 f/2.8L and EF 17-40mm f/4L.
My initial impressions were outstanding. It felt very solid yet lightweight, the focus felt very fast, being my second IS lens, I was very happy with it being quite quiet and really doing the job well.
The quality of pictures I was getting was just outstanding. It is not just the sharpness but the colors and overall feel of the photos is just something you really need to see for yourself to appreciate.
All of this of course applies to outdoor shots. Indoor shots are little bit more tricky, especially, if you want to shoot indoor sports like basketball. This is challenging even with full frame 5DMkII and higher ISO.
Lucky for me I do not do as much of this type of photography and I learned how to adapt and anticipate to get good shots even in those conditions.
Recently, I got into shooting air shows and I can tell you that a combo of full frame and this lens is pretty awesome combination. I know it lacks some reach but with the quality of pictures I can get from this in the outdoor environment and full frame sensor I can do 100% crops and they look and print incredible. When shooting moving planes I only use IS setting 1 despite Canon recommendation that this mode is mostly for still subjects and I get great results when I follow the planes moving horizontally. Since planes do not always move in this manner I figured setting 1 should work and it does.
Amazingly, last show I went to, I shot close to 1,000 photos, most of planes moving pretty fast and I got 99% keep rate with most of them tack sharp images after 100% crop. Just amazing what a combo of this lens and 5dMkII is capable of.
I am talking about photos where the plane takes sometimes less than 10% of the area and when cropped you can see the pilot in the cockpit. Amazing!!! Only if this lens extended to 300mm, with the same built and quality.
The only out of focus photos I got at this show were the ones made with 70D and EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM, which I used mostly for filming but took few shots as well.
I also shoot nature and sometimes my family close ups and I can tell that this would be also an awesome portrait lens. Considering that in portrait environment you can control subject and lighting, f/4 would be more than enough. From the pictures I took I can tell you that BOKEH is great and this is a zoom lens to boot. I have a different opinion on portraits and do not necessarily buy into the concept that you need low f for isolation. That is unless you want nose in focus and everything else slightly out of focus ;-). With f/4 if you move a bit more away from the subject you will get person isolated and beautiful BOKEH.
Quality of pictures!!!
Sharp, beautiful, in focus, what can I say. 70mm is noticeably sharper than my 24-70L f/2.8 mm at the same focal length. No loss of sharpness at the long end. Also sharp almost edge to edge.
Significantly sharper in comparable focal lengths than EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM. More sharp in the center than EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS and much more sharp away from the center.
Losing some visible sharpness difference as compared to EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS on 70D but this I think is expected due to the nature of less light entering the sensor.
Autofocus works great with my 5dMkII in both single shot center point and servo (air shows).
IS does the job well and does not drain 5dMkII battery that much. It was quite a different story with 40D but I had spares and now I do not use 40D anymore so not a problem for me. Newer batteries handle IS pretty well.
Size and weight.
As far as I am concerned this lens has no cons for what I use it for.
Some may consider it too slow for indoor sports or outdoor night sports but you get what you pay for.
I am not so concerned with vignetting which is not so big here but is shows in air shows more when the background is only the blue sky. However, newer cameras can correct for this pretty well or you can do it in DPP if preferred. It has minimal and gets corrected very well and if you shoot crop sensor or crop full frame photos it should not be an issue.
I am on the fence on this one. I generally do not care and actually when I go to air shows and it is sunny and gets pretty warm it keeps the lens cooler to touch, so that's a plus.
However, when I travel it gets attention, which I usually do not mind but when travelling to countries with some more than average petty crime, it makes me think twice and look around and watch my bag much more.
I will never, ever sell this lens, unless I have no money to feed my family.
It shines on full frame but it is also very good on crop sensor.
I cannot recommend this lens highly enough.
Not sure if I got lucky and I got outstanding copy of this lens, learned how to use it properly or just it is on average this good.
My only wish would be to extend the focal range to 50-250mm with keeping everything else unchanged and this lens would almost never leave my camera.
Only one reservation would be if you shoot a lot of sports indoors or in poor lighting, then you might think of the f/2.8 version of this little miracle but I do not own it so can't comment on the quality compared to this one.
Photos attached to the review are JPG straight from camera, no adjustments other than auto vignetting correction and cropped.