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

It might cost almost £2000, but with a fast, sharp, near-silent performance, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM is definitely a lens for Canon owners to seriously consider…

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

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

The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM is a member of Canon’s flagship L-series of lenses. This lens is tough and built for the rigours of professional use, featuring dust and water-resistance. Four-stop image stabilisation is available with two modes for static and moving subjects. The autofocus is fast and near-silent, locking onto subjects with ease, and the minimum focus distance is 120cm. A rubber mount seal helps to keep dust and moisture out of the camera body. This lens is only available with a Canon mount.

This lens looks and feels like a quality piece of glass and handles equally as well. The large focus ring at the front of the lens is smooth to turn and provides an amount of resistance that’s comfortable to turn. The zoom ring produces more resistance but this works well for the function and keeps zoom exactly where you set it. Like the other more expensive options, this Canon lens features a focus range limit switch to change between the minimum focus distance of 1.2m to infinity – 2.5m to infinity. All lens controls can be found on the left-hand side of the lens and can be changed with ease.

When it comes to image quality the Canon is a reliable performer and very sharp. There’s a small amount of barrel distortion at 70mm, but at 200mm there’s no distortion visible.


The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM is a very impressive performer when it comes to handling, and there’s no beating it if you’re a Canon user. This lens is built for professional use, and features dust and water-resistance so you can rely on it in even the most adverse conditions. But if you’re on a budget and can’t afford this lens the Sigma 70-200mm is your best bet, with comparable sharpness and only a little more distortion.


  • Street price: £1599 (As of July 2016)
  • Mount availability: Canon EF
  • Image stabilisation: Yes – Mode 1 & 2
  • Max. aperture: f/2.8
  • Min. aperture: f/32
  • Minimum focus distance: 120cm
  • Construction: 23 elements in 19 groups
  • Diaphragm blades: 8
  • Filter thread: 77mm
  • Weight: 1490g
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This review was first published in the September 2012 issue of Practical Photography - download back issues here.