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Lens review

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

6 November 2019
Maciej Lata³³o

8. Vignetting

First let's check how the Canon EF 70–200 mm f/4L IS II USM manages to perform on the APS-C sensor of the Canon 50D – appropriate thumbnails can be found below.

Canon 50D, 70 mm, f4.0 Canon 50D, 70 mm, f/5.6
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Vignetting Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Vignetting
Canon 50D, 135 mm, f/4.0 Canon 50D, 135 mm, f/5.6
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Vignetting Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Vignetting
Canon 50D, 200 mm, f/4.0 Canon 50D, 200 mm, f/5.6
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Vignetting Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Vignetting
Canon 50D, 280 mm, (TC), f/5.6 Canon 50D, 280 mm (TC), f/8.0
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Vignetting Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Vignetting


At the 70 mm focal length it would be difficult to notice any vignetting even at the maximum relative aperture as it amounts to 11% (−0.35 EV) and, additionally, it drops to 5% (−0.14 EV) on stopping down the aperture to f/5.6.

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In the middle of the focal range the situation is just a tad worse: by f/4.0 vignetting amounts to 14% (−0.42 EV), and by f/5.6 it returns again to 5% (−0.15 EV).

There are some chances to notice vignetting at 200 mm where it reaches 22% (−0.70 EV), but it drops to 9% (−0.29 EV) on stopping down the aperture to f/5.6.

The situation improves after attaching the teleconverter – by f/5.6 vignetting is just 15% (-0.49 EV) and by f/8.0 it becomes imperceptible, reaching just 4% (−0.12 EV).

Now let's check how the situation changes after passing to full frame – appropriate thumbnails you can find below.

Canon 5D III, 70 mm, f/4.0 Canon 5D III, 70 mm, f/5.6
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Vignetting Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Vignetting
Canon 5D III, 135 mm, f/4.0 Canon 5D III, 135 mm, f/5.6
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Vignetting Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Vignetting
Canon 5D III, 200 mm, f/4.0 Canon 5D III, 200 mm, f/5.6
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Vignetting Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Vignetting
Canon 5D III, 280 mm, (TC), f/5.6 Canon 5D III, 280 mm (TC), f/8.0
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Vignetting Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Vignetting


The 70 mm focal length still doesn't provide any reasons to complain because by f/4.0 brightness loss in frame corners is 27% (−0.90 EV) and it decreases to 13% (−0.42 EV) on stopping down to f/5.6. Vignetting disappears practically completely by f/8.0 where we got a result of just 7% (−0.21 EV).

In the middle of the focal range you can encounter more problems because at the maximum relative aperture vignetting amounts to 39% (−1.41 EV); on stopping down to f/5.6 and f/8.0 apertures it decreases to, respectively, 25% (−0.83 EV) and19% (−0.62 EV). After employing f/11 vignetting reaches 13% (−0.42 EV).

Very similar results you can observe at 200 mm. By f/4.0 aperture the aberration, described here, reached 38% (−1.36 EV), and by f/5.6 it decreased to 23% (−0.76EV). The f/8.0 relative aperture can reduce vignetting to 16% (−0.52 EV) and only by f/11 it becomes imperceptible, amounting to just 9% (−0.28 EV).

The situation improves significantly after attaching the teleconverter because by f/5.6 you have to take into account a loss of 23% (−0.75 EV) of light in frame corners. That value drops to just 9% (−0.27 EV) on stopping down the aperture to f/8.0.

Results, described above, are hardly bad but it should be noticed that all rivals of the Canon, mentioned in our test, namely the Nikkor AF-S 70–200 mm f/4.0G ED VR, the Tamron 70–210 mm f/4 Di VC USD and the Tokina AT-X PRO FX SD 70–200 f/4 VCM-S, performed in this category a bit better.

Canon 5D Mk III, 70 mm, f/4.0
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Vignetting
Canon 5D Mk III, 135 mm, f/4.0
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Vignetting
Canon 5D Mk III, 200 mm, f/4.0
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Vignetting
Canon 5D Mk III, 280 mm (TC), f/5.6
Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS II USM - Vignetting