Canon 70-200mm f4L IS Review

Very rarely (if ever) do I write lens reviews but after spending a day at Disneyland were I got to borrow my brothers Canon 70-200mm f4L IS lens I had to blog about it out of sheer photography bliss!

Its been such a long time since I have had so much fun walking around taking pictures.  Normally I have a bag full of prime lenses and a tripod that I carry and that covers me for the majority of my night photography and works great when your staying put waiting on the light to get good. I started shooting with primes because, A- they are often sharper, B-they are better in low light getting down to apertures of f:1.4-2.8,and C- they have the most depth of field potential for portraits and other things.

The biggest problem with primes lenses is that you have to switch lenses to use them!  Lets face it folks, Its a real pain to switch lens when your walking around all day in a place like Disneyland! I ran into this problem a lot while walking around Europe. You can check out my blog post about what I learned from that here. Bottom line, its heavy and cumbersome to carry all that gear around with you in any situation where your just walking around.

So for the first time in a long time I resolved to take just my 5DmkII, my Black Rapid Sport camera strap, and this one Lens for the day and see what I thought of it!

Camera Setup: To get a good idea of what this lens could do Depth of Field wise I set my 5D to aperture priority and set my f stop to F4 and left it there the whole day! The only thing I changed throughout the day was my ISO depending on how low the light got on dark rides/rooms. Here is what I discovered!

I love ZOOMS: Its so wonderful after months of only prime lenses to be able to compose a shot from the position I'm standing from. Often times you don't always get the choice to move your legs or change positions (in the case of being in line for a Disney ride) to get the shot. Having a zoom to be able to compose just the way I like it on the fly was so much fun! It was refreshing and freeing and made for an awesome day.

5DmkII + 70-200mm F4L IS = Not that heavy! I walked around the whole day with that combination on my shoulder plus a sweatshirt tied to the strap, and didn't notice the weight AT ALL! This was not the case in Europe walking around with a shoulder bag full of primes, and a camera on the other shoulder. I was in agony almost everyday due to the weight on that trip. To put it another way, the day before I competed in the Malibu Triathlon and walked around Disneyland all day the next day and I barely noticed the weight at all! It made for one of the most enjoyable photography days I have had in a long time! (I'm curious how the 70-200mm f2.8L II IS compares weight wise)

IS(Image Stabilization) is AMAZING! There were times when I had my 5dmkII set at ISO 6400 and I was still able to take a picture at 1/6 of a second at 70mm and still get the shot! Now its not the most sharp picture I have ever taken but I got the shot nonetheless and without IS there would have been NO way. I have never experienced the power of IS until that day and I was impressed with how much it really did help. I'm a total believer now.

DOF Is excellent! If you notice from some of the pictures from this post you can see that I'm getting excellent DOF at f4. I'm sure at f2.8 I would get even more but honestly f4 is really perfect for most situations. There were times when having just a little more light in the lens would have really helped in dark rooms but for the most part I'm really happy with it! I'm not sure spending an extra $1000 to get the f2.8 IS would really be worth it after using this lens and if its much heavier I would really think twice. Sharpness is Awesome: As you can see from the photo's I had no trouble getting super sharp and crisp images. The glass is flawless and wonderful.

Overall the bottom line is that I had more fun walking around with a camera then I have had in a long time! I would highly recommend this lens to anyone who wants a good all around walk-about lens. The 70-200mm focal range is perfect for almost all situations, especially detail oriented shooting, and compresses the frame in such a pleasing way.  Hope you all enjoy the pictures!

Check out the gallery below to see this awesome lens in action!