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FORUMS Gear Reviews Lens Reviews
Thread started 27 Feb 2015 (Friday) 16:36
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Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM, reviewed by BallerStatus

TOGGLE RATINGS BETWEEN ALL AND BallerStatus (showing now: BallerStatus)
Overall Rating9
Overall Image Quality9.5
Value for Money9.5
Must Have8
Suitability to Intended Use9
Got What I Expected9.5
Ownership Status: "own"

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List all reviews of Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM
Joined Apr 2014
Knoxville, TN
Feb 27, 2015 16:36 |  #1

This is really going to be 2 reviews - crop and full frame. But first a little bit of background: I started out my telephotos with the 55-250 IS. Did ok, but I wanted the 70-200 for it's sharpness and clarity. Moved up to the 70-200 f4L non IS. I was cheap and thought I could make it without the IS. Did this for a little while and then upgraded to the IS model.

Build quality is great, feels very solid and the zoom/focus rings have a nice smooth action. Like my 24-105L it feels solid without feeling heavy.

Sharpness is otherworldly for a zoom and colors/contrast are great.

On a crop, the range on this lens is excellent. When I had a 5D and a 7D, I paired the 24-105L with the 5D and 70-200 IS with the 7D. This made a very versatile combo for travel, motorsports, even weddings. Using the 7D AF system plus the fast focus USM, this was a crazy fast combo with excellent tracking abilities. Panning at 1/30s at 200mm (IS mode 2) was very possible and helped me crank out some good results. Some even down to 1/5 sec, but few keepers.

On my 5D, it has been more of a mixed bag. AF is a little slower, but still not slow by any means. AF accuracy is just as good. The range is just what trips me up. It seems to be not wide enough at the 70 end to be useful and keeps me wanting for range at the long end. Seems kind of in between to me. I have not enjoyed it as much as using my primes for portraits. Obviously this range is popular with portrait photographers (the 70-200 2.8 is the staple), but it just doesn't work for me.

It makes a good travel companion to the 24-105L and is light enough to bring with you without much of a thought. The fixed length can make it tricky to pack tho. I carry mine attached to camera in a Lowepro 100AW with the 24-105 in the top pocket. Lens hoods reversed on both.

Since I sold my 7D, I have rarely used this lens. It comes out when it is time to go on a trip or the occasional motorsports event, but it has not been earning it's keep for me lately. My thoughts are to sell for a 135L to give me another option for portraits and that trademark look.

All photos below are taken with my 5D and the 70-200 f4L IS:

[IMAGE'S LINK:​oA] (external link)IMG_1333 (external link) by Bridgesphoto (external link), on Flickr

[IMAGE'S LINK:​e2] (external link)Hillclimb favs (41) (external link) by Bridgesphoto (external link), on Flickr



2 6D - 17-40 f4L, 35 f2 IS, 135 f2L
EOS M - 22 f2
Flickr (external link)

Senior Member
363 posts
Joined Oct 2012
Central CA
Post has been edited over 2 years ago by Jedi5150.
May 16, 2015 22:51 |  #2

Thanks for the review. I imagine having different uses changes one's perception of a lens. My only three Canon lenses when I had my 5DII were the 17-40 f4L, 24-105f4L, and this 70-200f/4L IS. I absolutely loved the 70-200, and it was on my camera 95% of the time. I almost never used my 17-40 or 24-105, and on a full frame I found the 70-200 range to be absolutely ideal for a walk-around lens that fit my shooting style. The sharpness of the 70-200 seemed to blow my other two lenses out of the water.

I recently sold my Sony gear and am switching back to Canon (6D this time). I'll for sure be buying back either the 70-200 F4 IS or the 70-300 f4L IS. I've just started reading reviews on the 70-300 and it seems that the sharpness is incredible, just like the 70-200.

By the way, excellent photos! :)

Joined Apr 2014
Knoxville, TN
May 18, 2015 09:48 as a reply to Jedi5150's post |  #3

Thanks a lot for the reply. I ended up selling this lens to buy the 135L. I was really nervous about swapping out the lenses, but honestly so glad I did. Yes, I miss the extra bit of range, yes the IS comes in handy sometimes, but I am head over heels with the 135L. From your gear list, you look like a zoom person for sure. I think either the 70-200 f4L or the 70-300L will serve you well. If I was going to stick with zooms, I would go with the 70-300L next. 100-400 II is still too expensive for me, but several years down the road, I may be looking at that to compliment my 24-105 if I felt like I needed it. At the moment I don't, but I'm sure you know your gear evolves as your subjects do. I started out doing 100% cars and motorsports, now I'm doing 50% portraits, 40% personal/travel, and about 10% cars and motorsports.

I went on a weekend trip with the wife and took one body and the 35/135 combo, super happy with what I got, even with the limited "range". A few weeks ago, I went to a Cars and Coffee, did a family portrait session, then went to a drift event with the 35 and 135 attached to two different bodies. Shot all the same day. I could have used the 200 end of the 70-200 for the drift event, but I made it work. I'm looking at possibly adding a Tamron 70-300 VC if there are more motorsports events that pop up, but I could always rent something if I really needed it.

2 6D - 17-40 f4L, 35 f2 IS, 135 f2L
EOS M - 22 f2
Flickr (external link)


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Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM, reviewed by BallerStatus
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