Last weekend I rented a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM lens for, what turned out to be, a busy weekend. My original purpose was to use the lens at the World Wide Photo Walk (), but there was also time spent at Taste of Edmonton, a road trip to Millet, a family picnic in Beaumont and an Ice Dragons hockey game to close the weekend out. The lens never made it to the hockey game but I got a bit of use over the few days I had it.
This will be the farthest thing from a technical review of the lens, I can’t even say I used the focus switches on the side of the lens, so data and charts do not apply here. Obviously a piece of hardware that retails close to $3,000 is going to be good, but it was almost too much lens for me. I don’t know if 70-200mm was the right focal range for the photo walk on University campus, I think having a wider lens would have been better. I may have found more to take photos of if I used a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM or see if my lust over the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM was worth it, but I’m glad I tried the 70-200mm.
The lens was incredibly sharp and fast! There were several times a rabbit ran towards me and as fast as I could pull the camera up I got the rabbit in mid air and in focus. The rabbit may have been behind a fence, partially obstructed or accompanied by an over exposed photo, but I got it. Something I wouldn’t have been able to do with any lens I currently own (, , ). I can’t imagine what this lens is capable of if I had a camera with an upgraded auto-focus sensor or dialed settings in for high speed action.
While I found University to be a little tight with the 70-200mm range it was a wonderful close up and portrait lens. I spent some time this weekend using my workhorse Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens and when comparing what the f/2.8 II could do, comparatively the difference was outstanding. The crispness was the biggest benefit and it pulled the subject in beautifully.
I knew that the lens was heavy, but I had no idea how heavy it was () until I carried it around for a few hours. To be expected, the build quality was top notch and the focus rings were smooth and solid. One thing I didn’t expect is that the lens didn’t increase/decrease in size based on the focal length. I am used to EF-S lenses where the glass would extend out of the housing and I guess when you spend this kind of money on a lens all of that business is handled inside.
There is definitely a place for a fast and sharp 70-200mm in my camera bag, but I think I will have to settle for the original Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0L USM lens. Until then, I will look back on my weekend with the fastest and most expensive glass I have used fondly.
Photos from my World Wide Photo Walk and Taste of Edmonton trip on Saturday can be found in my gallery here.