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Lens review

Canon EF 200 mm f/2.8L II USM

4 January 2012
Szymon Starczewski

11. Summary

Pros:
  • high build quality,
  • excellent image quality in the frame centre,
  • good image quality on the edge of the frame,
  • practically zero lateral chromatic aberration,
  • imperceptible distortion,
  • excellently corrected coma,
  • not very bothersome astigmatism,
  • low vignetting,
  • fast, accurate and silent autofocus.

Cons:

  • resolution on the edge of full frame at the maximum relative aperture a bit below the decency level,
  • work against bright light could have been better,
  • in the case of a lens of this quality and from such a price segment it would be good to get a tripod adapter as a part of the standard accessory kit

Let’s start with the negatives. The tested lens, although it is an expensive fixed-focal L series device, proved to be no optically better than the zoom 70-200 mm f/2.8L IS USM II. Quite the opposite in fact – in such an important category as the resolution it fared worse. What’s more, the 70-200 mm offers a very efficient image stabilization which at 200 mm focal length (and also after using converters) becomes very useful, especially for bodies with smaller sensors. Are these reasons serious enough to give our summary a negative overtone? Definitely not.

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The resolution, although a bit worse than that of the 70-200 mm, still remains sensational or very good. What’s more, the fixed focal lens proved to be slightly better in the case of the chromatic aberration and distortion and even noticeably better in the category of vignetting and work against bright light. If you add a very solid but distinctly lighter and handier casing and also the price, two times lower than that of the 70-200 mm, it would be difficult not to recommend this instrument.

Not everybody needs a stabilized journalistic zoom. Some people prefer to work with primes. Having 50 mm and 85 mm lenses (perhaps also a 135 mm one) they might not want to duplicate those focal lengths by buying the 70-200 mm; they might decide simply to supplement their range of devices by a much cheaper and handier EF 200 mm f/2.8L USM II. After all such an instrument is simply created for them.


Sample shots

Canon EF 200 mm f/2.8L II USM - Summary
Canon EF 200 mm f/2.8L II USM - Summary
Canon EF 200 mm f/2.8L II USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 200 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/200 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 6.94 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 200 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/1600 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.21 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 200 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/320 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 6.07 MB
Canon EF 200 mm f/2.8L II USM - Summary
Canon EF 200 mm f/2.8L II USM - Summary
Canon EF 200 mm f/2.8L II USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 200 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/1000 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 9.15 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 200 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/500 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.06 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 200 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/640 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 6.81 MB
Canon EF 200 mm f/2.8L II USM - Summary
Canon EF 200 mm f/2.8L II USM - Summary
Canon EF 200 mm f/2.8L II USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 200 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/800 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.71 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 200 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/2000 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.38 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 200 mm, f/3.2, exp. 1/320 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.15 MB
Canon EF 200 mm f/2.8L II USM - Summary
Canon EF 200 mm f/2.8L II USM - Summary
Canon EF 200 mm f/2.8L II USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 200 mm, f/3.5, exp. 1/250 s, ISO 400
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 6.81 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 200 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/320 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.91 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 200 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/320 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.3 MB
Canon EF 200 mm f/2.8L II USM - Summary
Canon EF 200 mm f/2.8L II USM - Summary
Canon EF 200 mm f/2.8L II USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 200 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/400 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.94 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 200 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/1250 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.77 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 200 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/1600 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.7 MB
Canon EF 200 mm f/2.8L II USM - Summary
Canon EF 200 mm f/2.8L II USM - Summary
Canon EF 200 mm f/2.8L II USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 200 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/640 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.99 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 200 mm, f/6.3, exp. 1/160 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.78 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 200 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/1250 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.44 MB
Canon EF 200 mm f/2.8L II USM - Summary
Canon EF 200 mm f/2.8L II USM - Summary
Canon EF 200 mm f/2.8L II USM - Summary
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 200 mm, f/6.3, exp. 1/320 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 9.13 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 200 mm, f/7.1, exp. 1/400 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.46 MB
Camera: Canon 1Ds MkIII
Parameters: 200 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/320 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 5616×3744 pix, 7.45 MB



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