Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS USM – My First “L” Lens

As a semi serious hobby I think there will come a time when you’ll want the lens that has the red ring. For those uninitiated, the red ring represents Canon’s top of the line SLR lenses. Most often than not, they do come with a high price but also an exceptional build quality as well as weather sealing for some. I have my first and hopefully not the last.

The trend for most hobbyist is to get the ever so popular Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L which is built like a tank and quite heavy too. Unfortunately for this lens, it carries a mixed reputation of having a soft image quality at wide open (f/2.8) but improves in sharpness when stopped down. This didn’t make sense to me and made me wonder why I would buy a fast lens and then stop it down to f4 to get a tack sharp image. That wasn’t the only thing that made me choose the 70-200mm f/4L as a starting point, as I mentioned earlier the 24-70 is a huge chunk of glass and with that girth comes the weight. The lens alone weighs in at almost a kilo, pair that with a gripped 7D body and a 580ex II, it can get pretty heavy.

The 70-200mm f/4L IS USM appealed to me due to a number of reasons, one was the price, the IS feature, the weight & more importantly the image quality. Ultimately, I would have loved a 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM II but that price point is way out of my reach. The 70-200mm f/4L IS USM is the second newest in the 70-200 focal range and has a minimum focus distance of 1.2 metres which is the same as the MKII. This lens is still waiting to have its legs stretched out in terms of the type of photography I’ll be doing. The true test will be in low lighting situations and most that have tried it said it’s lacking but if I can compensate by bumping the ISO to a usable level and end up with a keepers then why not. I still have my Sigma 50mm f/1.4 and EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 to fall back on if required.

First impressions, the image quality @ f4 is very sharp which I’m very happy with. Below are some samples taken at different focal length with this lens.

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