New Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM and Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Zoom Lenses Announced

If there is one thing that Canon is known for – that’s making excellent lenses. And they’ve been doing this for donkey’s years; Canon lenses are the most popular lenses in the photo world and when it comes to the mighty 70-200mm range, their L-series variants are primo quality, and are often the go-to choice for top photographers in the sports/action/portrait arena.

It’s been a while since Canon have refreshed their 70-200mm lineup, however I am super-stoked to report that Canon just introduced two new telephoto zoom lenses, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM and 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM.

As someone who owned the 70-200mm f4L IS USM, (which now sells at B&H with a $100 instant savings discount) much thanks to its more compact footprint and lower price tag, I am definitely eyeballing the Mark II of the same lens. I am still cursing the day I decided to part with my beloved 70-200mm (due to the need to raise some quick funds for other kit for a job), and have since learned my lesson – keep good quality glass for life.

Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8 IS III USM Front

Anyhow, of course the 70-200mm range is very popular in the video world as well going well beyond the scope of stills wildlife, landscapes, portrait and sports photography. There are some optical advancements with the new lenses, however the updated lenses inherit the same overall build-quality and ruggedness photographers have come to expect from the Canon EF L-series line of lenses, which is a good thing – as the F4L IS especially – is quite compact, making it perfect for interviews when travelling.

“At the core of image capturing, Canon believes the lens is just as important as the camera. A seamless relationship between the two allows photographers to produce emotion-evoking and timeless images,” said Kazuto Ogawa, president and chief operating officer, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “Canon is excited to offer photographers two distinct options in the 70-200mm focal-length, continuing to further expand our optics heritage.”

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM

Just like the rest of the L-series zooms and prime lenses, the new Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM covers full-frame 36x24mm sensors, and features numerous updates over its predecessor. The “Mark II” gets an updated Optical Image Stabilization now with compensation for five shutter speed stops of correction over the original f/4 lens, which had three.

The new lens also features three IS modes, each uniquely designed and suitable for a variety of shooting situations, such as the capture of still subjects, panning or fast moving objects. Furthermore, the IS operational noise has been reduced, which proves ideal for photographers shooting in a concert hall or on-stage shooting at the theatre.

Canon 70-200mm f4L IS II front collar

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM Features

  • One fluorite lens and two UD lenses helps to provide high-image quality
  • Minimum focusing distance shortened from 1.2m to 1m (3.9ft to 3.3ft)
  • Super Spectra Coating technology:
    • optimized lens element placement helps minimize ghosting and flaring
  • Circular 9 blade aperture producing a beautiful bokeh quality, ideal for portrait shooting
  • Lens features 20 lens elements in 15 groups
  • Fluorine coating on front and rear elements helps to reduce smears and fingerprints
  • Inner focusing system with Ring Ultrasonic Motor
  • Price: $1,299 at B&H/Adorama

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM

The new Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM is an ideal lens for professional photographers who shoot with the Canon 1D X II and 5D Mark IV, or of course adapt their EF lenses to use on full-frame mirrorless cameras like the Sony a7 III or the Sony a9. New for the Mark III is the inclusion of Air Sphere Coating (ASC) technology designed to reduce flaring and ghosting, and suppresses the reflection of light.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Features

  • Optical Image Stabilizer up to 3.5 shutter speed stops1 of correction
  • Fluorine coating on front and rear elements helps to reduce smears and fingerprints
  • Inner focusing system with Ring Ultrasonic Motor
  • One fluorite lens and five UD lenses helps to provide high-image quality
  • Minimum focusing distance of 1.2m (3.9ft)
  • Lens features 23 elements in 19 groups
  • Circular 8 blade aperture
  • Price: $2,099 at B&H/Adorama

Most pro photographers will go for the f2.8L III, understandably, but for video I highly recommend the F4 version as it is smaller and produces lovely images, at least the previous version did, and I am sure the new one will perform on par or even better. If you want to save $1000, and are not bothered with the extra stop of light (never mind the extra bulk), go for the f4 Mark II, which is much cheaper.

However, I must point out that just like with the original 70-200mm f4L IS, the new Mark II version comes WITHOUT the tripod collar – and it now this vital accessory costs $165 at Adorama, (weirdly enough B&H have it listed at $210, which is the list price), which you have to spend extra in addition to buying the lens. This is frankly, my biggest annoyance (some may call it a gripe) with the 70-200mm f4 versions.

You’d definitely need it to support the lens, unless you already own a lens support for 15mm bars, where you may get away without one, but if you are only on a tripod with a DSLR or a mirrorless camera, the tripod collar is a must in my opinion due to the length and weight of the lens, as it can place a significant amount of stress on the lens mount unless properly supported.

The Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III on the other hand comes with its tripod collar included in the price. Go figure.

The Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II is scheduled to begin shipping in late June 2018 with an estimated retail price of $1,299, while the “big boy” Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III is scheduled to begin shipping in August 2018 at a cool $2,099.

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