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Canon EF 200 2.8L USM
Perfection on a Budget
Peter Kun Frary
The EF 200 2.8 L is one of my all time favorite lenses. I love the perspective, speed, sharpness and feel of this lens. It balances perfectly on an EOS 3 or 5D but is a little front heavy on lighter cameras like Elans or Rebels. I often walk around Honolulu with this combo, shooting candids, portraits and landscapes. The longer reach allows me to isolate subjects from the urban clutter. The large aperture helps keep my images sharp and imparts a beautiful background blur. This is the longest lens I can handhold with consistent results, at least without without IS.
4th of July 2009 Canon EOS 50D, EF 200 2.8L USM, Bogan Tripod
This handsome black lens is small and light for a fast telephoto, especially when compared to the EF 70-200 2.8L IS USM. Although not a macro lens, it focuses close enough for head shots (1.5m). Because it employs rear element focus, the front element does not rotate nor does the lens change in length. The 72mm filter size makes filters expensive, but at least I can share filters with my EF-S 15-85 3.5-5.6 IS USM.
Chairs at Waikiki EOS 3, EF 200 2.8L USM, Sensia
The ring-type USM focuses extremely fast. Like all ring-type USM lenses, it has FTM and a distance window. Plus, the manual focusing ring is wide and turns almost as smooth and precise as a manual lens. Build quality is solid but sports more plastics than larger L telephotos (barrel is mostly plastic). The black finish is more stealthy than the attention grabbing white of larger L series telephotos. Finally, the slide out hood is handy but small. However, it's always there so it gets used. The updated EF 200 2.8 L USM II has the same optical design and exterior appearance, but has a larger detachable hood. All we all know what happens to detachable hoods...
EF 200 2.8L USM on EOS 3 EOS 10D & EF 50 2.5 Compact Macro
I've found this lens to be extremely sharp, contrasty, distortion free and flare resistant. I'll use pixel level views from the church image below to illustrate my points. The church is a city block away and thus the lens was focused at infinity. I locked the center AF point on he roof and recomposed. These images were converted from RAW files in EVU and cropped in Photoshop. No sharpening or other adjustments were performed.
Test Image EOS 10D & EF 200 2.8L USM
EF 200 2.8L USM Lower Center of frame (100% magnification) F5.6
EF 200 2.8L USM Left side of frame (100% magnification) F5.6
I often use this lens with the Extender EF 1.4x, resulting in a sharp, close focusing and compact 280 mm F4 lens. With this extender, it's smaller and nearly as good optically as the EF 300 4 L USM, except for a little flare under extreme conditions such as Hawaiian sunsets (it still has less flare than most zooms). You may add an optional tripod mount, but it is only necessary if you use both an extender and extension ring. However, a tripod mount is more convenient to switch from horizontal to vertical framing than a tripod head. The tripod mount for the EF 300 4 L USM and the EF 80-200 2.8L fit it.
Lotus at Ala Moana Canon EOS A2, EF 200 2.8L USM, Fujichrome Sensia
The EF 200 2.8L USM is small, light, tough, discreet, fast and delivers optical quality in spades. For discriminating hikers, travelers and amateurs this lens deliverers quality without breaking their shoulder (and bank) and can take the knocks they dish out. Plus, it works well with both film and digital bodies.
This wonderful lens sell new for $650 new making it an "L" of a bargain. If you find yourself mainly using the long end of a 70-200 telezoom, the EF 200 2.8L USM or EF 200 2.8L USM II may be the ideal lens. Highly recommended.
Focal Length: 200 mm
Lens Construction: 9 elements in 7 groups with 2 UD elements
Min. Focusing Distance: 1.5 m/4.9 ft
Filter Size: 72 mm
Diameter & Length: 83 x 136 mm
Weight: 790 g/27.7 oz
Included Accessories: Hard Case
Optional Accessories: Tripod Ring A (black)
Cost: $65o (new)
More Images taken with the EF 200 2.8L USM (click to enlarge)
6/21/2001 Revised 11/7/2011
©Copyright 2001-2012 by Peter Kun Frary All Rights Reserved
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