New Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II Lens

2010 CES Canon Featured Lenses News Uncategorized

New Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II Professional Zoom Lens Canon has updated their venerable 70-200mm f/2.8 professional zoom lens making one of Canon’s best even better. The new Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM zoom lens has improved optics, increased durability, enhanced image stabilization, a shorter minimum focus distance and faster auto focus.

For many professional photographers, the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is one of the most important pieces of equipment they own. It’s one of the main lens recommendations I make to serious photographers looking to upgrade. I’ve had my Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L (non-IS) for over 10 years and it’s still going strong. I’ve been through nine SLRs but I’m still using that same lens. I use it for landscapes, portraits, travel photography and it’s hands-down my main sports and action lens. If you’re a Canon DSLR owner looking for an upgrade, the new 70-200L is definitely a lens to put on your wish list.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II Professional Zoom Lens

In my opinion, the most important changes to the new 70-200L lens are the optical and auto focus improvements. This is no cosmetic upgrade – Canon has added a new flourite glass element and another UD (ultra low dispersion) element to the lens and they say chromatic aberration will be reduced while contrast and resolution have been improved through the whole zoom range. The official press release suggests that the new 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II may be Canon’s best L lens yet, or at least it’s, ” worthy of becoming the leader of Canon’s L-series lenses.”

The new 70-200 also has improved auto focus algorithms and the IS system has been improved so that photographers can shoot up to four stops slower without camera shake blurring their photos. That’s one stop more than the IS system in the previous 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens. In theory, that means you could shoot handheld as slow as 1/15th of a second at 200mm. That’s impressive and offers a very tangible benefit to anyone who shoots in low light. The minimum focusing distance has also been shortened to 3.9 feet (1.2 meters), that’s almost 8 inches less than the previous lens and means tighter shots and less cropping for photographers who need to get close.

Recently I’ve written about some new versions of lenses where I’ve had to look really hard to find the improvements. Sometimes it seems like the only change is adding “II” after the lens name. That’s not the case with the new Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM zoom lens. Canon pretty much covered all the bases with this round of improvements. I think the only thing they could have done to make it even better is reduce the weight – but that would have been a bit much to ask since they also made the lens more durable.

The new Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM zoom lens should be in stores in April of 2010. It will sell with a lens hood, tripod collar and lens pouch. A price hasn’t been announced yet but since the suggested retail (US) on the previous 70-200 f/2.8L IS lens was about $2000, I think it’s reasonable to expect this one will cost a bit more. My guess is the new 70-200 f/2.8L IS II will be priced somewhere between $2200 and $2500. That’s a lot of dough, but remember, unlike a DSLR, a lens like this is a real long-term investment. You can expect to own it for 10 years or longer.

Official Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Zoom Lens Press Release

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About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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  • Great review…thanks for sharing.

  • PAul says:

    At £2800 here in the UK it’s definitely a professional lens.
    At £420 over the price of the old model, it’d better be spectacular!
    I see my local Canon professional dealer has cut the price of the old 2.8 L IS by over £800 to just under £1600.
    So there are likely to be bargains to be had on the old lenses.

  • Glen Goffin says:

    Thanks for this great early review. I was having a hard time deciding whether to purchase this lens or not but this and others helped to decide to take the plunge … and I’m GLAD I did! It’s a beautifully crafted work of art. I still don’t like zoom lenses but this is as close as I’m going to get to becoming a convert. I’ve only had it a few days but here are some shots if anyone is interested: Peace

  • wedding fine art photographer free state south africa basil parsons says:

    If anyone needs to make a living with a lens like I do, and you`re doubting if you should give an arm and a leg to get it – Then go out and buy the new 70-200L is usm 2nd version.
    WOW ! I`ve been using the first 70-200L is usm and its paid for itself over and over, see my website the best shots come from the zoom.

    When I shoot weddings and the sun is busy setting I know I can trust my 70-200 L is usm to deliver shots with slow shutter speeds and get the shot sharp. It blows me away I dont like using the super sharp 24-70mm L lens because as the light drops I have to start packing it away since I prefer shooting ambient until the moon comes out the is version is pure magic – you cannot beat this if your shoot world class wedding shots – Yervant and David Beckstead, Cantrell the list goes on the very best swear by it. National geographic & most olympic and sport leading photographers use it – its worth much more than the price tag. If you haven`t used this at a wedding then you will never understand my my enthusiasm.

    Invest in the best glass, cameras come and go – This lens made me decide between Nikon and Canon when I left film
    photography and could start over with a digital system. I could decide on either Canon or Nikon for wedding and sport photography the white lens is really really awesome – THANKS CANON !!!

    Basil Parsons wedding photographer free state south africa

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