Which canon 70-200 lens to Buy ?

August 10, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

As you begin your career in Photography or when you are just learning the fine nuances of Photography, 70-200 mm focal length is one of the sought after focal lengths, be it Canon or Nikon. Compare 70-200mm lens variants of Canon and then buy the one which justifies your requirements and shooting styles rather than simply buying what others are using. If you shoot mostly in the studio in a controlled environment, do you really need an f2.8 or an IS lens? Spend more only if you need to. An expensive lens does not always have to be better. It may be expensive because it might be more difficult to manufacture that lens. To get the good quality along with an opened aperture the manufacturer may need to add additional glass elements. So the additional stuff may only be to retain its good quality in comparison to a cheaper lens. If you compare various lenses together, you may not be able to spot the differences in quality or sharpness. Yes, if you compare the canon L series of lenses with the cheaper ones you definitely will find the expensive L series far better than the normal ones.

Following are the comparisons between some of the well-known lenses. Guess, which one is a better photograph in terms of sharpness, contrast and other parameters. As you scroll down the details of the lenses are mentioned. You will notice, that it's not always the more expensive or a more hyped lens which gives a better image. And if it is difficult to make out the difference, then probably, it won't show anyways. However, the lenses compared here are all premium lenses, which would most of the times better than the cheaper ones. Depending upon the kind of photography you do, you may decide if you really need to spend the money beyond a point. Lets, say for example if you do not need f 2.8, then f 4 will also give you the same quality and may be even better sometimes. Just compare!

Following are the images of the two popular versions of canon 70-200 mm lens

Following are the images from an expensive and a cheaper lens. which one is better ?

The L series lenses are any day better than the lower range lenses as you can see in the photographs above. Check out the detailed specifications of these 7-200 variants from canon.

  EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM EF 20-200mm f4 IS EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM EF 70-200mm f 4 USM
Image stabilisation Up to 4 Stops Up to 4 Stops no IS no IS
One of the best things to have happened in photography. In earlier times, one was restricted to shoot handheld only in good lighting to avoid camera shake but with Image stabilisation especially the new ones, one can get very good shots even at slower shutter speeds. Highly recommended to have. But if You shoot only in the studio or controlled environment you can always go for the non-IS versions and save the money for any other equipment. IS is very important in unexpected unfavourable conditions when it is not possible to use a monopod etc.
Maximum aperture f2.8 constant f4 constant f2.8 constant f4 constant
When we look through the viewfinder we actually look through the maximum open aperture even though we may have set the aperture closed down. (It closes only when the shutter is released) So, we will see a brighter image through the viewfinder in the case of  f2.8 lens compared to f4. Also, f2.8 would have faster focusing in low light situations compared to f4. However, as the image quality at higher ISO is drastically improving compared to earlier cameras, one can even increase the ISO
Glass  Good glass is important to help control secondary spectrum aberrations
Fluorite element 1 1    
Ultra low dispersion 5 2 4 2
Groups/Elements  A Higher number does not essentially mean a better lens.
  23 elements in 19 groups 20 elements in 15 groups 18 elements in 15 groups 16 elements in 13 groups
Diaphragm blades 8 8 8 8
Tripod collar yes optional yes  
Filter thread This does not affect the image quality
  77 mm 67mm 77 67mm
Weight If there is no noticeable difference in the image quality as travel photographer you may opt for f4 IS version and in the studio, even the f4 non IS version should suffice.
  3.28 lb 1.49 Kg 1.67 lb 760 g 1.30 kg 1.55 lb (705 g)
Minimum focusing distance 3.9' (1.2m) 3.94' (1.2 m)    
Focusing and zooming internal internal internal internal
    with the Extender EF 1.4x II and 2x II teleconverters (requires f/8 AF sensitivity with EF 2x II)    
  f2.8 IS f4IS f 2.8 f4

Munish Khanna is an Advertising and Fashion Photographer who has specially created one of the best affordable online photography course with a vast experience of teaching photography at his photography academy in Delhi. He has been running his Photography course in Delhi since 1993. He has also set a wedding photography company - Together We Rock with a team of professional wedding photographers and cinematographers. All his actuals photography shoots and assignments are a part of his online photography course as well so you actually get to see the actual shoots besides detailed information on various Photography topics. Munish has been shooting with Nikon, Canon, Hasselblad, Mamiya, Phaseone amongst several other photography equipment and gadgets


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