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Lens review

Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM

6 November 2019
Maciej Latałło

4. Image resolution

The resolution test (resolution meaning MTF50 function) of the Canon EF 70–200 mm f/4L IS II USM was based on RAW files from the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. In the case of that reflex camera the decency level is situated near 30-32 lpmm and high quality, top-of-the-range fixed focal length lenses can reach a maximum level of 45-50 lpmm . Not so long ago the resolution record for that sensor belonged to the Zeiss Otus 1.4/28 (49.2 lpmm) but then it’s been slightly beaten by the Sigma A 85 mm f/1.4 DG HSM, and the Sigma A 135 mm f/1.8 DG HSM so currently it amounts to 51.6 lpmm .

Let's check how the results of the Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM compare in the frame centre – here we present the performance at 70, 135 and 200 mm and 280 mm, the value we got after attaching the brand-name TC 1.4 III teleconverter.

Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Image resolution


For a handy f/4.0 zoom lens the results are simply sensational. Like in the case of the predecessor, the 70 mm focal length is the weakest but still by f/4.0 and f/5.6 the resolution levels are close to 44 lpmm. The middle of the focal range is the best – by f/4.0 and f/5.6 you get MTFs reaching a brilliant level of 46-47 lpmm, extraordinary for a zoom lens. The 200 mm focal length stands out from 135 mm only at the maximum relative aperture. Because of that, and because we had a teleconverter of the newest generation at our disposal, the cooperation is seamless – by f/5.6 the results brush against 40 lpmm and by f/8.0 they reach over 42 lpmm. In the frame centre the Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM doesn't show even the slightest weakness.

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Now let's check the situation on the edge of the APS-C sensor.

Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Image resolution


Once again the 135 mm focal length fares the best and once again, the results are sensational. The 70 and 200 mm focal lengths are a bit weaker and their resolution values are similar. We still can describe them as brilliant. As you see, there have been no weak points so far and no reasons to complain, even a bit. Even the cooperation with the teleconverter is great. Perhaps the point by f/5.6 stands out a bit but its image quality remains good; anyway, after stopping down the aperture to f/8.0 the performance of the whole lens-plus-teleconverter set is on a similar level as the performance of the rest of focal lengths.

What about the performance on the edge of full frame? Let's have a look at the graph, presented below.

Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Image resolution


If you were waiting for a slip-up you'll be disappointed. Once again the 135 mm focal length is the best, once again the 70 and 200 mm focal lengths lag behind a bit but their performance remains good. Even after attaching the teleconverter the MTFs don't give you any reason to worry.

I like doing such tests very much: no problems whatsoever, everything goes as it should, you see perfect values and brilliant final results. A round of applause for this exquisite lens!

At the end of this part of the test, traditionally, we present crops taken from photos of our resolution testing chart saved as JPEG files.

Canon 5D MkIII, JPEG, 135 mm, f/4.0
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Image resolution
Canon 5D MkIII, JPEG, 200 mm, f/4.0
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Image resolution