Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II Hands-On

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

Canon had the new EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens on hand at CES 2010. I had the chance to get my hands on it for a few minutes.

There’s not much to say about it without comparing it in a more controlled environment to the old lens; however, I did take the opportunity to fire a couple of shots using the improved Image Stabilization system.

The two photos shown below are close up crops of images that were shot at 200mm with a 1/40s shutter speed. The first photo was taken with IS turned OFF, while the second photo was taken with IS turned ON.

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II Sample - IS turned OFF
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II Sample – IS turned OFF (for full-res file, right-click link and choose Save as…)

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II Sample - IS turned ON
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II Sample – IS turned ON (for full-res file, right-click link and choose Save as…)

Other than that, there’s not much I can say about the new lens, except that it has the same quality feel and handling as found with the previous version of this lens.

If you recall, the new 70-200mm lens has an upgraded autofocus system and better glass inside. While the focus was snappy, there was no way for me to judge whether it was, in fact, better than the former model (which was already plenty fast). Likewise, commenting on the improved optics would require testing under more controlled circumstances.

Finally, no further word from Canon on pricing just yet.



  1. MikeD says

    I’m curious if the IS still vibrates and makes noise? Maybe hard to hear at CES but you might feel it.

  2. Wade says

    Everyone seems pretty happy that this lens was updated since it is so popular and versatile. However, I’ve not seen a single photography expert ask the one most important question. Where the hell is hybrid IS? If that system is to be taken seriously, THIS was the lens to put it in, not a 100mm macro. This lens is handheld by professional photographers everywhere all the time. In my opinion, this should be Canon’s IS flagship. The way I see this is that Canon has found a way to raise the price of a lens that is a perenial best-seller. I could be wrong, we’ll see when the price is announced.


  3. TheJBJ says

    Wade: I think the Hybrid IS was primarily for the Macro Lenses. Since the minimum focus of this lens is not close to Macro, I’m not sure that Hybrid IS would make any impact. I could be wrong though, I haven’t used the Hybrid IS yet.
    I do agree, that there isn’t that much on paper that makes this lens seem to be worth a higher price. I’m sure it will go up about 20-30% though, since that’s the trend Canon is going with. I don’t currently have an issue with the IS in my current 70-200 2.8L IS, so I’d love to see how they made it better. Most of all, it was due for an update just because of what Nikon is doing. Better glass and better coatings (that just keep up with the times) is not worth an extra $500 of my money at the end of the day. I would love to see them make the lens a little bit sharper and keep the price where it is.

  4. Wade says

    TheJBJ: I re-read the description of Canon’s “Hybrid IS” system. It appears you are correct, in that it is targeted at shorter focal lengths and of particular use in macro work. Although interestingly, most of the review copy I’ve read about the new 100mm macro seems to suggest that the IS system doesn’t seem to do much.


  5. Tob says

    Is it just me, or is the second picture soft as well? Is it the IS that fails to deliver a sharp picture, or is the lens that soft at the long end wide open?

  6. Wade says

    Tob: Right-click the red link below the picture and download the whole image. It looks a lot sharper when not zoomed in so far. Also, yes, it is a little soft, but I would assume this is due to camera shake. Remember, he is hand-holding a 200mm lens in artificial light! What’s important is it’s a lot sharper than the old one. However, I will reserve my judgement until after I see Bryan Carnathan’s review here:


  7. says

    I just bought absolutely miraculous brand new Canon 70-200 F2.8 IS II USM. I have purchased 2 lenses to choose the best one. I am very critical about my equipment. I have the version 1 of this lens. I made several comparison shots with my new lenses against my old version #1. At 200 mm the new lenses were in a totally Different League. The difference to that degree was unexpected. My Canon 70-200 2.8 IS looks now as a piece of junk.
    The new lenses are extremely sharp even wide open. The contrast and colours are way better as well.
    I am very excited about the results. The new 70-200 F2.8 IS II is as sharp at 135 mm as a Canon 135 mm lens which tells you a lot. Time to retire all my primes.
    Take a look at this link:

    Read more: