Canon 70 200 f4 review


Canon 70 200 f4 review

Canon 70 200 f4 L

Canon 70 200 f4 L

Canon 70 200 f4 review

Official name: Canon EF 70 200 f/4 L USM


Mount: Canon EF
Compatibility: Full frame
Focal length: 70 – 200mm
Max Aperture: f/4
Min Aperture: f/32
Minimal focus distance: 120 cm
Weight: 705 g (24.87 oz.)
Dimensions: 76 x 172 mm
Filter size: 67mm
Front element rotates: No
Ring rotates: No
Internal focusing: yes
Ultrasonic motor: yes
Stabilizer: No
Full time manual focus override (FTM): yes
Constant physical length: yes
Hood: Barrel shaped Canon ET – 74


About the focal length

On Full frame cameras for which this lens is designed for it is an extremely useful focal length. To simulate it on Aps-C the focal length is 43.75-125mm. This focal length is good for almost anything except super wide applications and bird / wildlife photography. On Aps-C the lens is significantly longer, it has the usual portrait range, making it less useful for general photography, better for mostly portraits. The 200mm long end is very handy to blur the background and to make portraits for longer distances.

Build quality, ergonomics:

This lens has excellent ergonomics. The lens has a very solid build quality. The lens barrel made of metal. Nothing moves outside of the lens, the front element is not rotating, the physical length of the lens is constant, the lens is internally focusing. The two rubberized rings (the zoom and manual focus ring) are very nice. It is a joy to use this lens. Compare to the f/2.8 versions the lens feels very small, light, and thin. The autofocus is quick, precise and nearly silent. Some noise can be heard during focusing. The hood is unwieldy, makes the lens really long. What is very important is a very durable lens, doesn’t lose it’s value so easily over time as the cheap plastic consumer lenses.

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Price/performance value:

This lens has an excellent value compare to the price. One of the best deal in Canon line-up. This lens is why someone choose Canon system over Nikon or other systems. The similar quality at this price point you simply cannot get at any camera system. If you need this focal length and have a budget for this lens, this lens is highly recommended.

Optical quality:

Compare to the bigger brother the Canon Ef 70-200 f2.8L (Not the II version) this lens has essentially equal picture quality, but even bit better in the contrast department. Of course it is not as good as the primes: The 135 f2 L or the 200 f2.8 L, but this lens is much more versatile. On Full frame body the focal length is extremely good, but can expect heavy vignetting at f4 aperture. The lens is sharpest at the long end at f5.6 aperture. The colours are very nice. The difference in optical quality compare to the above mentioned primes are small: the primes has a little better contrast, and sharpness and the primes are better in the corners. The f4 aperture is not as good to create background blur(bokeh) as the f2.8 lenses.

Sample pictures without sharpening or any other post processing except resize and perhaps curve adjustment  click to see in 1200 pix

Canon 70 200 f4 L

Canon 70 200 f4 L Canon 30D 70mm f5.6 ISO 1600 1/2000s

Canon 70 200 f4 - 200mm f5.6 1/400s

Canon 70 200 f4 – 200mm f5.6 1/400s

180mm f4 ISO 800

180mm f4 ISO 800

Usage with teleconverters:

The 1.4 works with this lens autofocus maintained, the 2X converters doesn’t autofocus except I series Pro bodies. Perhaps 1.4 converters works fine, I wouldn’t put a 2x converter on this lens if I want picture quality, the 2x converters softens the pictures at a good amount and at f8 also the viewfinder becomes dark. For fun perhaps good. This lens is better with the Canon I, II series converters rather than the III version. The Kenko newest (blue dot version) 1.4 dgx, and 1.4 Pro dgx converters are also really good but not so toughly built as the Canons, there is some wobbling, and autofocus speed is better with the Kenko, but the Kenko is a little more prone to flare.

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What is it good for ?:

On Full frame pretty much for everything, but expect heavy vignetting at f4, on Aps-C more for portrait, wedding, compressed landscapes, child, pet, horse, car, event, sports photography.

Similar lenses:

Canon has 5 70-200 zooms lenses to date: the Canon 70-200 f4, the Canon 70-200 f4 is, the Canon 70-200mm f2.8, Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L is, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 is II lenses. Basically all other options are much more expensive. Sigma and Tamron also has lenses in this zoom range but with f2.8 aperture. Nikon’s new 70 200 f4 are double in terms of price, but perhaps has a little higher quality.

Compare to the non stabilized Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens the real wold picture quality is not really different. The brighter lens is better in the corners, the f/4 version has a hair better contrast. For portraits the brighter version has a bigger ability to blur the background.

The Canon 200mm f/2.8 prime is much better, but it is more expensive and not zooming. This is a razor sharp lens, but the contrast level is the bigger difference compare to the zoom, and the much more pronounced background blur (bokeh).

The Canon 135mm f2 is quite similar to the 200mm prime.


– Excellent build quality
– Small
– Light
– Very good optical performance
– Affordable
– Fluorite element
– Constant f/4 aperture


– Vignetting / dark corners on Full frame at strongest at f/4
– Corners are not as sharp as the center

Usual accessories

– Front lens cap
– Rear lens cap
– ET – 74 Barrel shape Hood
– LP1224 Lens Case

Bottom line / recommendation

From the above two list you can have a good idea about this lens. This relatively small, light and affordable telephoto lens is an excellent bargain in the Canon lineup. At this price point it is very hard to get anything this good at any cameras system. The strength of this lens is the very durable build quality, and excellent optical quality including such things as fluorite element, which is simply not exist in any other lens in this price point. For more advanced shooters the f/4 aperture is not really fascinating and the lens is heavily vignettes (wide open dark corners) on Full frame cameras.

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