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Lens review

Canon EF 70-200 mm f/2.8L IS II USM

3 November 2010
Szymon Starczewski

6. Distortion

On small APS-C/DX sensors the distortion is not a problem for 70-200 mm f/2.8 class lenses because it practically doesn’t exceed 1%. For all instruments of this type its graph along with the change of the focal length looks the same. At 70 mm we have a slight “barrel”, in the middle of the range a negligible pincushion which increases a bit on passing to 200 mm. The result of the Canon 70-200 mm IS II, its rivals and its predecessor on the APS-C/DX class sensors are compared in the chart below.


Canon
70–200 IS II
Sigma
70–200 OS
Nikkor
70–200 VRII
Tamron
70–200
Canon
70–200 IS
70 mm
−0.41%
−0.66%
−0.26%
−0.46%
−0.39%
135 mm
0.25%
0.31%
0.49%
0.36%
0.31%
200 mm
0.45%
0.66%
0.70%
0.64%
0.54%
280 mm (TC)
−0.24%
–0.18%

0.67%
−0.19%


The overall performance of the Canon shows the same tendency as its predecessor or the Sigma. In absolute terms, we have the same distortion value at both ends of the focal range and a negligible pincushion in the middle of the range. The Sigma and the Canon’s predecessor showed a bit higher values, the Nikkor behaved in a less symmetrical way – with smaller deformations at 70 mm but higher ones at the longer end of the focal spectrum.

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Let’s check how the situation looks on full frame. For obvious reasons the values are higher but luckily not much higher. At 70, 135 and 200 mm focal lengths the results are as follows: : −0.62%, 0.74%, 1.36%. After attaching the 1.4x converter the result was –0.80%.

The appropriate comparison with the Sigma and the Nikkor is presented in the following chart.


Canon
70–200 IS II
Sigma
70–200 OS
Nikkor
70–200 VRII
70 mm
−0.62%
−1.36%
−0.78%
135 mm
0.74%
0.75%
0.85%
200 mm
1.36%
1.59%
1.39%
280 mm (TC)
−0.80%
–0.80%


Also in this category you can notice the advantage of the Canon over its competitors although this advantage is slight because all three compared devices present a very good, high and even level.


Canon 50D, 70 mm
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/2.8L IS II USM - Distortion
Canon 50D, 135 mm
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/2.8L IS II USM - Distortion
Canon 50D, 200 mm
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/2.8L IS II USM - Distortion
Canon 50D, 280 mm (TC 1.4x)
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/2.8L IS II USM - Distortion

Canon 1Ds MkIII, 70 mm
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/2.8L IS II USM - Distortion
Canon 1Ds MkIII, 135 mm
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/2.8L IS II USM - Distortion
Canon 1Ds MkIII, 200 mm
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/2.8L IS II USM - Distortion
Canon 1Ds MkIII, 280 mm (TC 1.4x)
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/2.8L IS II USM - Distortion