Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 USM L IS - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published July 2005

Special thanks to Markus Stamm (1st sample) and Ron Marchant (2nd sample) for providing the lens for testing purposes!


The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 USM L IS is one of the key lenses in the Canon lens line-up. It is especially popular for press, sports and portrait photography. Used on an APS-C DSLR its field-of-view resembles a classic 112-320mm lens on full-frame cameras.

While not really bigger nor heavier than similar lenses it is not small by "normal" standards with a dimension of 86x197mm and a weight of 1470g. Adding the (included) flower-shaped hood increases the length even further - see the product images below. Besides the hood the lens comes also with a detachable tripod mount which makes sense regarding the weight of the lens.

The 70-200mm L IS has a 2nd generation image stabilizer. Canon claims a gain of three f-stops here which I can confirm based on a little field usage. When compared to a first generation IS the difference is quite easily noticeable in the viewfinder. Typical for Canon pro grade IS lenses the IS offers two operation modes:

  • standard: corrects movements of a static scene (horizontal plus vertical stabilization)
  • panning: corrects the vertical axis only (regardless of the lens' orientation).

The optical construction is made of 23(!) elements in 18(!) groups, including 4 UD elements. The min. focus distance is 1.30m resulting is a max. object magnification of ~1:5 at 200mm. The lens features 8 aperture blades. The filter size is 77mm.

The lens does not extend during zooming. Due to the inner focusing system the front element does not rotate so using a polarizer is no problem - unless you attach the hood of course. The lens features a ring-type USM drive so AF speed is extremely fast. When combined with the Canon EF 1.4x II converter the speed is marginally reduced (on the EOS 350D) which is probably a side effect of the smaller max. aperture (one stop slower). The build quality of this lens is exceptional. No wobbling whatsoever and smooth controls - just perfect. The lens is also designed to survive in harsh conditions with a sealing against dust and moisture.