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  Reviews by: Scott Kennelly  

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Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

Review Date: Dec 25, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Tough (I dropped mine, and it rolled down some stairs, and it sustained no damage - a friend dropped her's from face level about 5 ft., and after it landed on it's face, breaking her UV-haze filter, it worked fine and has continued to work fine for more than a year). Front element does not move (at all - not in and out and not in a circle). Internal focusing AND zooming does not suck dust into this lens. Fast focusing. Smooth action - for full-time manual focusing and for zooming. Beautiful bokeh. Excellent IS. Large, firm, positive-action switches for turning off/on IS and auto-focus. Excellent, easily-removable, high-quality tripod mounting ring, which allows the camera and lens to be rotated, while mounted on a tripod, like using a gimbal.
Switches are too difficult to move/slide (should be larger or have deeper grooves). Minimum focus distance is very far away (about 5 ft.).

I like the weight of this lens. It's heavy and solid - sign of quality. I also like the bright view through it. Photos from this lens at the same aperture and zoom are brighter than those shot with my friend's 28-135. Weird, huh? (Yes, I checked the shutter speed and ISO.) This lens focuses in very dim light, but when it is too dark, or you need to manual focus for some other reason, it has full-time manual override AND a switch to turn off the auto-focus. The switches are larger than normal IS lenses, and they are grooved metal, not plastic. The mode and distance switch for the auto-focus and the mode switch for the IS are nice for times when you have people or other things in front of you (in your foreground), but you're trying to focus on something/someone further away from them. I don't use the mode switch for the IS - haven't really played with it that much or noticed the difference, when I did try it. (Yes, there are four switches on this lens!)

With this lens I have shot down to 1/4 and even 1/2 second with good results (at 70mm). I've heard of people who have shot 1 second hand-held with this lens. I use the IS feature to steady long shots while on a tripod on a windy day, where the lens/camera is being shaken by the wind. VERY USEFUL. The 2.8 aperture is almost never necessary, but when I need it, I NEED it - like when shooting from far away in dim light (stage events, fashion shows, weddings, etc.) - this lens is a life-saver!

Other uses for this lens: 1 - Weapon (I really almost used it as a weapon once - I was threatening a would-be mugger in an alley two years ago in Barcelona, but some chick convinced him to back off.), 2 - Prop for filming a movie about the Paparazzi (this thing looks/is HUGE when the lens hood is on), 3 - A boat anchor.

It's expensive, but compared to other lenses, it is worth the money.