Saturday, November 22, 2008

EF200mm F/2.8L II USM

There's an advantage of being black: being stealthy. As you know most Canon's L series (super)telephoto lenses are in white colour, mainly to dissipate heat easily under hot sun. The downside is it gets way too much of attention in the public. EF200mm F/2.8L II USM is the longest telephoto prime lens in L series which comes in black colour. This lens was launched in April 1996, together with its younger brother: EF135mm F/2L USM. Optically and physically they share almost the same design. Here is the photo of both lens.

What I like about EF200mm F/2.8L II USM is its size and weight. Compared to EF135mm F/2L USM, it's about 2.4cm longer, and merely 15g heavier. Compared to EF70-200mm F/4L IS USM, it's 3.58cm shorter and merely 5g heavier. It consists of 9 elements in 7 groups, 8-blade diaphragm, minimum focusing distance of 1.5m yielding 0.16x magnification ratio (on fullframe body) and utilizing 72mm diameter filter. If you often mount the camera on tripod, I would recommend you to get the black Tripod Ring A II which is supported by this lens for better stability and balance. EF70-200mm F/4L IS USM also uses the same tripod ring but in white colour. The photo below shows the EF200mm F/2.8L II USM mounted on a EOS5D with a white retrofit tripod ring. The ET-83B II lens hood is supplied along with the lens.

At the price of around RM2900, this lens doesn't come with IS (Image Stabilizer) nor weather-sealed. As a rule of thumb, it's highly recommended to shoot at least 1/200s of shutter speed for a 200mm lens to avoid handshake blur. Conversely, I can easily get sharp image at 1/10s with the EF70-200mm F/4L IS USM, due to the presence of IS. From all of my test shots, I get excellent handheld shooting result at 1/200s.

The AF is fast yet accurate. On this sample copy, the AF result is dead on. The focusing ring is very smooth and built is solid. Being light and short means highly portable. I use Think Tank Urban Disguise 30 to carry it while it's attached to a EOS5D body.

If you think that this lens is slow, and wish that it has IS mechanism and don't mind to pay alot for a lens which is heavier and larger, then I would recommend you to go with the approximately RM19,000 EF200mm F/2L IS USM. Fulltime sports photographers might prefer this unit.

In terms of image quality, it gives me the same feeling as its sibling (EF135mm F/2L USM). It's sharp wide open from edge to edge on a fullframe body. I wouldn't hesitate to shoot wide open all the time if that's the result I desire. For pixel peepers, this is the lens for you! Colour and contrast are as usual on L series lens.

200mm, F/2.8, 1/250s, ISO800

200mm, F/2.8, 1/320s, ISO200

200mm, F/2.8, 1/320s, ISO200

200mm, F/2.8, 1/200s, ISO800

Below is the 100% crop of the above image. Click for fullsize.

200mm, F/11, 1/30s, ISO400

Depends on individual's need, if you often shoot at 200mm and F/2.8 and yet not willing to spend extra money, not willing to carry bulkier and heavier lens, then this is the lens for you.

*Thanks to Canon Malaysia for loaning this lens.



Anonymous mariografik said...

Nice review Zey..!!

I was observed about 200 f/2.8 L; to know how it behaves on 5D. My main interest for this lens is to use it at its widest aperture on 200mm focal length, for portrait shot. I don't really need the 70-200 zooms series.

If we compare to use it with FF and with 1.6 crop body, do you have any idea which one gives better bokeh? Since FF sensor creates better bokeh, on the other hand, equivalent 320mm on crop body gives much diffused background. I need a bit advise here.

Oh., one more question, when the ET-83BII hood attached, does it lock/snap firmly, or it keeps rotating?

Thanks in advance for your reply.



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