I rented Canon’s premier mid-range zoom lens, the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM, and had the chance to play with it for a day. I put it through its paces: daylight, dusk, low light and early morning light. The result: I love it and plan to buy it. This lens works better for my needs than the EF 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6L IS USM, which I rented and reviewed recently.
Oh, I rented the EF 1.4x II Extender along with this lens as well, and it worked great. It’ll decrease the aperture from f/2.8 to f/4, but I didn’t find that to be too much of a problem, even in lower light, while shooting handheld. I simply boosted my ISO and switched to Shutter Priority, to make sure my shutter speed stayed above 1/60th of a second.
On a full-frame sensor like my 5D, I got exactly 70-200mm, and 98-280mm with the aid of the 1.4x extender. On a cropped sensor like that in the 30D or the Rebel, you’ll normally get 112-320mm, or 157-448mm with the extender. Those are pretty nice ranges indeed.
Even though I shot mostly handheld, and for most of the time, in fairly low light (thick forest, ground-level), the image stabilization built into the lens worked great, even with the extender attached. I was able to get clear shots while keeping the shutter speed even below the focal range of the lens. We probably all know about that simple rule of thumb of keeping the shutter speed equal to the focal length, right? Well, I was able to get crisp shots at 1/80 while the focal length was over 100 mm and more. For example, the shutter speed of the photo enclosed below is 1/100 while the focal length was 150mm (with the extender attached). Still, the photo is plenty sharp at 1:1, and that’s pretty good to me.
I have only praise for this lens. It works great! I love the short travel of the focal length selector. It’s amazingly short given the large focal range. I love how crisp and sharp my photos come out. The bokeh is great. The lens handles just like it should, and autofocus times are pretty small. But, it is heavier than the 100-400mm zoom. A LOT heavier. You won’t realize just how heavy it is until you go out there and use it for a couple of hours. Your biceps will get a workout!
I plan to buy it at some point in the future. At $1,500-1,600, it’s not cheap, but it sure is great!