Which Canon EF 70-200 L to buy – The Answer –

Two days ago and after the announcement of the new 70-200 L f/4 IS I was confused and was wondering which of the 4 Canon lenses should I buy.

My question raised a great and very informative thread of DPReview and I think it is a great read for anyone thinking of buying any of the Canon EF 70-200 L lenses.

I’ll try to do a quick summary of the results here and I am sorry if I am going to miss anything from this 65+ posts thread…

1) The Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8 L is too heavy to be used at 200mm without IS unless mounted on a monopod/tripod

2) The main advantages of the Canon EF 70-200 f/4 L IS and non-IS are size, weight and of course price

3) The Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8 L image quality tends to be slightly better than the f/4 at apertures up to f/5.6

4)The main advantage of the Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS the one stop (from f/4 to f/2.8) which will yield a possibility of one stop faster shutter speeds to freeze the motion

5)Another advantage Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS is that you can stuck a 1.4x converter and still get a 280mm f/4 lense or even a 2.0x converter and still get a f/5.6 400mm that is capable to auto focus on most camerasmost cameras will loose their ability to Auto focus at f/8, the Canon 1 series bodies will be able to autofocus at f/8 with only center sensor

6) Till today the msrp of the Canon EF 70-200 f/4 L IS is $1250 without a tripod mount, the price of the Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS is $1600 with tripod mount, so the difference between them is only around $260

7) The Canon EF 70-200 f/4 L IS is overpriced unless it hits the market with a price lower to its expected MSRP

8) The Canon EF 70-200 f/4 L IS has an IS of up to 4 stops, while the Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS has an IS of up to 3 stops. So both will technically be able to be handheld in practically the same lighting conditions


If you can afford to pay the extra $260 and weight is not really a problem for you, the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 L IS seems to still be the best one to get

  • chris

    hey one other thing which seems often to be overlooked: if you don’t have a 1-series camera, you need a minimum of f/2.8 in order to take advantage of the maximum autofocus precision sensor capabilities. so, if you have a 20d or a 5d and you get an f/4 lens, you are giving up the ability to achieve best focus. in many cases this won’t have a detrimental effect–the other focus sensors are pretty good too–but if precision autofocus is important to you, and especially if you use this lens for subjects closer than about 15′, you may well see an advantage to the faster (bigger, more expensive) lens.

  • Another good read about the subject can be found at

    http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1019&message=19791128 actually it is a thread debating this summary Hope this helps