Well, it’s replacing one of the most popular professional level zooms ever made, so it better be good. The EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM features one fluorite and five UD elements for increased optical quality and reduced chromatic aberration. It has a minimum focusing distance of 3.9 ft. at all zoom settings, which is quite nice for those who use this for closeup work.
It does have a clearly improved Image Stabilization system, with a 4-stop IS compared to 2 stops in the original version.
Before I ever used this lens I was predisposed not to like it. The original version was excellent and one of the best zooms made. I wanted Canon to upgrade 12.5 other lenses (the 50 f/1.4 only counts as half a lens) before they turned their attention to redoing the already excellent 70-200 f/2.8 IS. Now that I’ve used it, I’ve changed my opinion somewhat. Sorta. To a greater or lesser extent.
I haven’t changed my opinion that the original lens is excellent. However, the II version is clearly better: sharper in the edges and corners for sure. Probably sharper by a hair in the center, and the IS is clearly, definitely improved. Handholding at 1/30 a second at 200mm is possible, which definitely wasn’t something you could do with version I. So kudos Canon, you made nearly perfect even better. No question it’s a better lens.
Is this the 70-200mm lens I use? Generally not, but it might be very different for someone else. For me the 70-200 f/2.8 is a sports/action range, so corner sharpness isn’t a big thing, and better IS doesn’t matter (in fact, the non-IS is fine). But for other people using it for other purposes, those things can be critical and make this clearly a better lens. If I were using it for low-light work where the subjects aren’t moving much (say concerts or plays), then it would clearly be worthwhile.
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