The Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM Lens sets new standards in performance and versatility with its larger aperture, lighter weight, better balance, and particularly its Image Stabilization technology.
This lens has totally new optics to provide better image quality. It uses fluorite and UD lens elements for excellent chromatic aberration correction and consists of 17 elements in 12 groups. As a result, this improved version offers an ultra-fast maximum aperture of f/2, lighter weight, and shorter length than its predecessor.
- Image Stabilizer gives equivalent effect of a shutter speed approximately four stops faster during hand-held shooting
- Two-stage image stabilization; dual-axis camera shake correction or vertical axis only (for panning)
- Fluorite & UD elements eliminate secondary spectrum chromatic aberration
- Full-time manual focus override
- Focus preset function allows for returning to a specifically set focus point by turning a ring in front of the focus ring
- Circular aperture producing attractive background defocus
- Dust & moisture resistance made exceptional by magnesium alloy lens barrel and improved rear gasket at lens mount
- The tripod collar can be removed for even more weight reduction and hand-holding comfort
The EF 200mm f/2L IS USM is outstanding for many available-light applications, including indoor sports, theater work, fashion, and candids at events.
The Canon EF 200mm f/2.0 L IS USM Lens is the highly-anticipated replacement for the long-discontinued but legendary Canon EF 200mm f/1.8 L USM Lens. This replacement lens was number 1 on my personal most-wanted Canon lens list – And I am in no way disappointed with it. It is an optically, mechanically and physically awesome lens. If you can manage the price and weight, this lens will impress you.
As I write this review, I have two Canon EF 200mm f/2.0 L IS USM Lenses – Both perform very similarly. Both are extremely sharp wide open from the center to the full frame corners. If you look real closely, you might be able to discern a slight sharpness improvement when stopping down, but the vignetting improvement is the more-easily-noticed change. The amount of vignetting is not unusual. There is some shading visible in full-frame body corners at f/2 with an evenly-colored subject (a blue sky for example). Vignetting is essentially gone by f/2.8. You can see the effect in the vignetting test results and also the aperture comparison below.
The Canon EF 200mm f/2.0 L IS USM Lens’ Ring USM (Ultrasonic Motor) driven AF is extremely fast and very accurate.
The Canon EF 200mm f/2.0 L IS USM Lens is at its release the shortest fixed-focal-length (prime) lens to have Image Stabilization. This IS implementation is rated by Canon for a state-of-the-art up-to-4-stops of improvement.
Outdoor action photographers will also find the 200 f/2 L extremely useful. The f/2 aperture allows very fast shutter speeds long after sunset, allows lower ISO settings on dark days and delivers a beautifully-blurred background free of distractions. Tennis, motorsports, cycling, track and field, skiing … the list is huge.
Though those outside the realms of sports/nature photography and portraiture may have little use for the unique capabilities that the EF 200mm f/2L IS USM offers, initial evaluations suggest that Canon has (not surprisingly) created nothing less than an optically superior lens here. The background control and shooting speed options afforded by an f/2.0 maximum aperture combined with the lens’s moderate working distance are the stuff that great images in sports journalism, especially, are made with. With stock of the 200mm f/2.0 just beginning to roll out in earnest and the Olympics just around the corner, we can probably plan on seeing more than a few of these babies on the sidelines in Beijing this summer.
As noted in the beginning of this evaluation, the stop of speed that the latest 200mm gains over the next tier of its competitors is a pivotal one, putting this lens in a different financial and functional strata. For many users and uses, there are plenty of great f/2.8 lenses in the same focal length that capture phenomenal images, can do nearly everything the 200mm f/2.0 is capable of with less back pain, and cost a third as much. That said, although an introductory price well over $5K puts the 200mm f/2L over the line into what has traditional been seen as “pros only” territory, if persistent rumors that Canon intends to bring the price down once production meets initial demand pan out, the new 200mm may yet reach a price that’s more easily justifiable for a wider range of shooters.
Either way, after some field time with the new 200mm f/2, there’s little reason to think that anyone, regardless of how much they pay for the new Canon L, is going to come away feeling like performance isn’t in line with expectations.