how-to block ads
The first nice thing about this lens is that it comes with a very effective hood. The hood helps when shooting into the sun. The lens is already good enough as it is at blocking out unwanted flare, but the hood helps that much more.
Did I mention that this is an "L" lens? This means that it is part of Canon's professional line of lenses. It is built to the highest standards. All of the L lenses are on just about the same level. It all comes down to this: you get what you pay for.
Throughout the zoom range, the 70-200mm's widest aperture is f/4. This means that the amount of light let in doesn't diminish as you zoom in. In addition, the lens doesn't extend when zooming or focusing. All of the mechanics are internal, which also means that the front doesn't spin when focusing. This is mainly thanks to the Ultrasonic Motor that the 70-200mm f/4L uses for focusing. Extremely quiet and fast focusing is what you get as a result.
There is a handy focus limiter on the lens for when you are doing sports or need quick focusing for objects that are greater than 3 meters away. As already implied, the focus limiter makes for faster AF operation because the camera won't need to hunt within the (fairly large) zoom range of 1.5-3m.
The close focus range of the 70-200mm f/4L is 1.3m, roughly 4 feet. When shooting smaller objects with the aperture wide open, the bokeh (out of focus rendering) is spectacular, as can be seen in the image below.
As you can see, the images are also incredibly sharp when shooting wide open, which cannot be said about almost any of the non-"L" lenses.
The bokeh is also very nice when doing sporting events wide open. In general, the lens is tack sharp wide or tele, stopped down or wide open. The focus is nailed every time given that your camera has a swift and accurate AF. I certainly know that my 300D is not driving this lens' focus as fast as it can go. On a 20D or 1D, it would be much faster than it is now (and I'm not calling it slow either!).
It takes a 67mm filter, which isn't all that common on canon lenses, but the commonality only matters when selling the filter. If you're like me, I don't plan on selling this lens or the filter anytime soon.
Like any other "L" lens, the 70-200mm f/4L keeps its value very well. Used, you can't find one for more than $10-$25 less than retail price. That said, don't buy one used! Buying one new allows you the piece of mind of having a new product and a new warranty.
Bottom line: The 70-200mm f/4L is an incredible lens for the price. Although it may cost more than the various flavors of 75-300's, in my opinion, it is simply superior in every regard. The lens isn't very heavy either - which is an advantage over the $1200 f/2.8 version and the $1700 f/2.8 version with image stabilizer. Both of them are very heavy in comparison.
If you have any more questions, PM them to me and I'll gladly answer them to you and add the answer to this FAQ!