Review Canon 70-200 2.8 L IS II (C FF)

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In 2001, Canon released its first 70-200 2.8 with image stabilization and with that, Canon was far ahead of the competition. The lens quickly became popular with sports photographers and wedding photographers and in the studio, this lens was a welcome guest. But this lens had its limitations. These became visible when the lens was mounted on a camera with many image pixels. In 2010, Canon released a worthy successor, the 70-200 2.8 L IS II. According to Canon, the optical quality is improved and the image stabilization has become more effective. The recommended retail price also went up considerably. Needless to say, this is once again a lens designed for the professional. Just after the launch of the Canon 70-200 mm 2.8 II, Sigma released the much cheaper and therefore very interesting Sigma 70-200 mm OS 2.8.Canon 70-200 mm IS 2.8

Canon 70-200 mm 2.8 IS

Construction and autofocus Canon 70-200 mm f/2.8 IS

Characteristic for a professional lens is the constant initial opening, in this case f/2.8. The lens has a metal body and is sealed against dust and water using special seals. The focus ring and zoom ring run smoothly and without play. The filter does not rotate during focusing and the lens does not increase when focusing.

The autofocus is of the USM type. Focusing is fast and nearly silent with a Canon 5D MK2. Even in low light, the camera does not hunt. The lens is supplied including lens hood.


Image stabilization Canon 70-200 mm f/2.8 IS

The image stabilization has two modes; there is a separate mode in case you want to pull the camera along a moving object. In this IS test, a focal length of 200 mm is taken. The graph shows that almost 90% of the shots with IS at both 1/50 as a 1/25 seconds are sharp. Half of the recordings with IS, made with a shutter speed of 1/12 seconds, is sharp. The profit will therefore amount to about 3 stops.Canon 70-200 mm II review, Canon 70-200 review, Canon 70-200, telezoom

Vignetting Canon 70-200 mm f/2.8 IS

Vignetting of the Canon 70-200 mm f/2.8 IS, expressed in stops, is substantial but virtually disappeared at f/5.6 at all focal lengths. It depends heavily on the recording whether the vignetting is disturbing. Additionally, you can easily tackle vignetting with software. If you use this lens on a camera with an image sensor of the APS-C format, the vignetting will be substantially less.vignetting-canon-70-200

Distortion Canon 70-200 mm f/2.8 IS

The distortion of the Canon 70-200 mm, expressed as a percentage, is very small at a focal length of both 70 mm and 135 mm. But also at a focal length of 200 mm, the distortion will rarely be distracting in practice. Like vignetting, distortion can be tackled using software.

Resolution Canon 70-200 mm f/2.8 IS

When you click on the graph, you will also get charts of other focal lengths. The resolution, measured in lines / sensor level, is already pretty high both at 70 mm and 135 mm at initial aperture of f/2.8. Already after one stop diaphragming, the top is reached. At 200 mm, the resolution is a little lower at f/2.8 and then it is necessary to diaphragm one stop to create a brilliant picture. The difference between center and corners is relatively small in all cases. In practice, you can already work with full aperture at a focal length of 70 mm and 135 mm. At 200 mm, you can work from f/4.0. All in all, it is quite an accomplishment.


Chromatic aberration

When you click on the graph, you will also get charts of other focal lengths. If the chromatic aberration remains under a value of about 0.1, you will have no problems in practice. Using a RAW converter, the remnant of the CA can be eliminated.



The detail shots are of the left glass and the right bottle.

The round blurred parts have an almost even coverage at f/2.8. The bokeh is therefore very nice at full aperture. The picture hardly gets more unsettled by circles in the round blurred parts at f/8.0.

Bo 70-200 2 003
100 mm, f/2.8
Bo 70-200 2
100 mm, f/2.8
Bo 70-200 2 002
100 mm, f/2.8
100 mm, f/8.0
100 mm, f/8.0

Conclusion Canon EF 70-200/2.8 L IS II review


  • High optical performances
  • Fast AF
  • Effective image stabilization
  • Sealed against dust and water


  • High purchase price
  • Large and heavy

The Canon 70-200 mm 2.8 L IS II is completely tailored to the image sensors with many pixels. This lens has everything to be Canon’s flagship. The autofocus is fast and the image stabilization is very effective. The weight is substantial and the finishing is of a high level. Optically, there is little to be desired of the lens. The image transfer of the Canon 70-200 mm 2.8 L IS II is beautiful and the difference in resolution between center and corners is low.