Approve the Cookies
This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Read More.
OK
Index  •   • New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Register to forums    Log in

 
FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses
Thread started 02 May 2008 (Friday) 19:39
Prev/next
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as registered member)

EF 200mm f/1.8L Review EF 200mm f1.8L

 
CyberDyneSystems
Admin (type T-2000)
CyberDyneSystems's Avatar
47,718 posts
Gallery: 78 photos
Joined Apr 2003
Rhode Island USA
May 02, 2008 19:39 |  #1

I don't know why I never got around top putting up a review.. I guess theres' not much else to add to this legend. Better late than never.

pros: The "HOLY GRAIL" Optically this lens stands alone. Don't question the myth, it's all true.

Cons: Niche lens, heavy, cumbersome, with limited application. There are far easier to deploy lenses whose compromises look very good in comparison. If you think you need this optic, first try the 135mm f/2L

The Quest:

I purchased the 200mm f/1.8 "Holy Grail" of Canon lenses under a mistaken assumption.
I shoot wildlife primarily, but also shoot a lot of indoor performance/events in the Theatre I work in.

Low light events, dance, ballet, fashion shows.
My experience with the 70-200mm f/2.8 told me that 200mm was the absolute longest focal length I'd ever need, and that f.2,8 was still too slow often enough.

It was with this in mind that I began the search for the Holy Grail.

Revelation:

The 200mm f/1.8L is obviously legendary.
It took me no time to realize the reputation is warranted.
Upon arrival, I was however shocked at the size. A the time I was shooting my wildlife primarily with a Sigma 500mm f/4.5 EX HSM. This 200mm is nearly the same weight and has the same diameter front element.

i.e.: it's the size of a sawed off 500mm!

Optical Bliss

But oh what images!
No lens I had used is this sharp wide open!
Later I'd be shooting the EF 500mm f/4L IS as my main gun, and found that this amazing detail and clarity is the hallmark of the Canon Big Guns.
But the 200mm is still special, it's light gathering ability is just huge!
Removed from the camera, just looking through the bare lens, one can see details in the tiny image that you will not see in other lenses.

And that razor thin depth of field!
Wide open we are talking small fractions of an inch!

It is this hyper thin DOF that is the lenses hallmark , and contributes to the "3D" look we see in the photos. The area in focus leaps off of the page, leaps from the areas out of focus...

Laying on of Hands:

Ergonomically, I like the lenses controls.
Canon did a redesign of there basic lay out for the big primes with the introduction of the 300mm f.2.8L IS, which they have applied to all of the later IS Super tele primes.
In using the 200mm, I feel they made some errors.
The twist ring for the focus preset return is superior to the 4 little buttons.
The lens collar/tripod foot is mounted towards the front of the lens, creating a much better balance on the collar, allowing easier smoother turning than we get on the current crop of super teles.
SIGMA and Noink also use this forward mount and it is superior.

AF is a little shy of the newer generation like the 500mm f/4L IS and the 300mm f/2.8L IS, but very fast, and accurate.

The images I have taken with this lens are nothing short of amazing. If I do my job, the optic will always show us what it’s made of.

The Fisher King

The downside? Back to my opening story, I thought I’d be using it for venue shooting.
Well, it’s not been the perfect lens I thought it would be. From a practicality standpoint, it’s bordering on ridiculous to use for the purpose I had envisioned. I later got a 135mm f/2L, and frankly this was the lens I needed.
Swinging a huge white 6+ pound lens around back stage and during rehearsals is limiting.
Hand held is nearly out of the question at this weight for any duration.
The 135mm was much more suited to the task, used alongside a 70-200mm f/2.8L IS, and either a 28mm f/1.8 prime or the 24-70mmm L zoom I have much more flexibility and more opportunity to get the shot.

The point? people often mention this is a niche lens, and that it’s applications are rather specific. This really is true.
I have ended up using it more often for wildlife. Lacking the reach of the 500mm I use primarily, it is very limited in that application as well. But there are times it’s length and light gathering are perfect.

If you have the need for the specific applications where this lens excels, there is no better option. If your seeking the Holy Grail, than search no further, this lens is it.
Just be advised that as a tool this is a tight fitting wrench, it’s not an adjustable “do all”.

Avalon

For samples I’ll show you first two I got from it in the theatre, (I need to up some larger copies and crops, these really are too small)

IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
http://images.fotopic.​net ...p;outx=600&nore​size=1
No crop on this one!
http://images.fotopic.​net ...b99lv&outx=600&nore​size=1 (external link)

Next, here is a series of a hunting Great Blue Heron I took a few years back.
This shows the overall image quality quite well, detail sharpness and color quality;
http://images.fotopic.​net ...a9551&outx=600&nore​size=1 (external link)
http://images.fotopic.​net ...a955e&outx=600&nore​size=1 (external link)
http://images.fotopic.​net ...a955a&outx=600&nore​size=1 (external link)
100% crop
IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
http://images.fotopic.​net ...p;outx=600&nore​size=1


Here you can see the razor thin depth of field, look at the sand, what parts of the fish are in sharp focus, what is out..
IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
http://images.fotopic.​net ...p;outx=600&nore​size=1
IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
http://images.fotopic.​net ...p;outx=600&nore​size=1
http://images.fotopic.​net ...a9553&outx=600&nore​size=1 (external link)

Some more with 100% crops from the series.;
IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
http://images.fotopic.​net ...p;outx=600&nore​size=1
100%
IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
http://images.fotopic.​net ...p;outx=600&nore​size=1

IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
http://images.fotopic.​net ...p;outx=600&nore​size=1
100%;
IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
http://images.fotopic.​net ...p;outx=600&nore​size=1

The whole series can be seen here;
http://cyberdynesystem​simaging.fotopic.net/c​610904.html (external link)

GEAR LIST
CDS' HOT LINKS
Jake Hegnauer Photography (external link)

LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as registered member)
crazyskillz07
"invisible to everyone"
crazyskillz07's Avatar
2,874 posts
Joined Aug 2007
Long Island, New York
May 02, 2008 19:43 |  #2

Yea so... Why do you have to do this. Now I have dream at night about this lens. :lol:


-Turk- Blogexternal link
Canon EOS 40D w/ BG-E2N... Canon EOS 30D...

LOG IN TO REPLY
mrkgoo
Goldmember
2,289 posts
Joined Aug 2006
May 02, 2008 20:04 |  #3

Your 100% crops are really suffering from compression.




LOG IN TO REPLY
richardsc0
Senior Member
693 posts
Joined Aug 2007
May 02, 2008 20:07 |  #4

congrats on getting the lens :D

those crops definitely need to be not-so-compressed though :(




LOG IN TO REPLY
MDJAK
Cream of the Crop
MDJAK's Avatar
24,619 posts
Gallery: 7 photos
Joined Nov 2004
New York
May 02, 2008 20:19 |  #5

I don't know nuttin about compression. Alls I know is those are some of the most amazingly sharp shots I've eva seen. Excellent review and very well written.

No doubt that lens is one of the best, as I'm quite sure the new version will be every bit its equal if not superior. Problem is Canon has priced it out of the stratosphere, especially in comparison to it's Nikon cousin. Surprising indeed.

Great job, Jakey.
me




LOG IN TO REPLY
bacchanal
Cream of the Crop
bacchanal's Avatar
5,284 posts
Joined Jan 2007
Fort Wayne, IN
May 02, 2008 20:21 as a reply to mrkgoo's post |  #6

I've always had the pipe dream of using the 200 1.8 for performing arts, but I think I would probably come to the same conclusion as you as far as size/weight is concerned. The 135L is sublime for that application and very manageable. I'd still love to try lugging a 200 1.8 around for a night though...just to know what it's like. ;)

I never would have thought of the 200 1.8 as a wildlife lens, but your images are pretty incredible. Like a long range 85L in a way...a little different perspective than the longer teles, but with just as much ability to isolate the subject.

I think the really obvious applications for the 200 1.8 and the new f/2 IS are indoor sports and tennis. I could imagine this lens being just killer for gymnastics or martial arts type stuff.


Drew A. | gear | photosexternal link

LOG IN TO REPLY
SuzyView
Cream of the Crop
SuzyView's Avatar
32,072 posts
Gallery: 5 photos
Joined Oct 2005
Northern VA
May 02, 2008 20:21 |  #7

Wow. Those shots are really sharp! Congrats on getting the lens. I wonder how much they go for now since there are a limited number of them.


Suzie - Still Speaking Canonese!
5DIV, 7D2, SL1, G12, iPad Pro, iPhone 6P, 5 L's & 2 Primes, 25 bags.
My children are the reason, but it's the passion that drives me to get the perfect image of everything.

LOG IN TO REPLY
CyberDyneSystems
THREAD ­ STARTER
Admin (type T-2000)
CyberDyneSystems's Avatar
47,718 posts
Gallery: 78 photos
Joined Apr 2003
Rhode Island USA
May 02, 2008 20:55 |  #8

bacchanal wrote in post #5450298external link
I think the really obvious applications for the 200 1.8 and the new f/2 IS are indoor sports and tennis. I could imagine this lens being just killer for gymnastics or martial arts type stuff.

It was literally made for that application, and for that there is no substitute (well with the exception of the Noink and new Canon f/2 versions)


GEAR LIST
CDS' HOT LINKS
Jake Hegnauer Photography (external link)

LOG IN TO REPLY
CyberDyneSystems
THREAD ­ STARTER
Admin (type T-2000)
CyberDyneSystems's Avatar
47,718 posts
Gallery: 78 photos
Joined Apr 2003
Rhode Island USA
May 02, 2008 20:57 |  #9

SuzyView wrote in post #5450301external link
Wow. Those shots are really sharp! Congrats on getting the lens. I wonder how much they go for now since there are a limited number of them.

Price was going up for years. When I first started looking at them, they were going for around $2,500.00 - $3k in very good to mint condition,. they seemed to peak around $4k-$4.2K

The announcement of the new Canon had impact, but since they are going to sell for $6K new, the used 1.8 price has rebounded back.


GEAR LIST
CDS' HOT LINKS
Jake Hegnauer Photography (external link)

LOG IN TO REPLY
SuzyView
Cream of the Crop
SuzyView's Avatar
32,072 posts
Gallery: 5 photos
Joined Oct 2005
Northern VA
May 02, 2008 20:59 |  #10

I was going to bypass the MKIII and 5DII for the 200f2, but for $6K, I couldn't see myself getting it. I would have to shoot about 25 concerts to even think about it. The 70-200 f2.8 IS does the job well, but I would have loved to have seen what the f2 would be like, and your f1.8. :)


Suzie - Still Speaking Canonese!
5DIV, 7D2, SL1, G12, iPad Pro, iPhone 6P, 5 L's & 2 Primes, 25 bags.
My children are the reason, but it's the passion that drives me to get the perfect image of everything.

LOG IN TO REPLY
CyberDyneSystems
THREAD ­ STARTER
Admin (type T-2000)
CyberDyneSystems's Avatar
47,718 posts
Gallery: 78 photos
Joined Apr 2003
Rhode Island USA
May 02, 2008 20:59 as a reply to CyberDyneSystems's post |  #11

mrkgoo wrote in post #5450221external link
Your 100% crops are really suffering from compression.

those crops definitely need to be not-so-compressed though

I would apologize, but since these aren't shots of batteries or test charts, but actual images I sell, I don't like to circulate perfect examples.
I suppose I should upload some very good examples of some newspapers, but lots of people have done that already so...


GEAR LIST
CDS' HOT LINKS
Jake Hegnauer Photography (external link)

LOG IN TO REPLY
Anke
"that rump shot is just adorable"
UK SE Photographer of the Year 2009
Anke's Avatar
30,454 posts
Joined Oct 2006
Royal Tunbridge Wells, UK
May 02, 2008 21:14 |  #12

I love this shot!!!

Fine review too. Another one to add to my most-wanted list.


Anke
1D Mark IV | 16-35L f/2.8 II | 24-70L f/2.8 II | 70-200L f/2.8 II | 50 f/1.4 | 600EX-RT and ST-E3-RT
Join the Official POTN UK South-East Thread | Follow me on Twitterexternal link | Tunbridge Wellsexternal link | Flickrexternal link

LOG IN TO REPLY
joayne
Cream of the Crop
joayne's Avatar
12,087 posts
Gallery: 4 photos
Joined Feb 2005
Stuck@Coachella
May 02, 2008 21:47 |  #13

Well Done Jake.. and beautiful examples. Ahhhhh, to dream, at least for me. :)


joayne Contribute to POTN | Where's Nifty?! #2 | List | Worldwide Photo Week

LOG IN TO REPLY
downhillnews
Goldmember
1,609 posts
Joined Apr 2007
May 02, 2008 23:08 as a reply to joayne's post |  #14

Good lord
http://images.fotopic.​net ...a955e&outx=600&nore​size=1external link

Ohgh yeah that looks a little better than the 70-200 F2.8. Does it weigh more than 300 F2.8? I may rent it from sammys over summer for a wedding.... Nice write up BTW


WWW.DOWNHILLNEWS.COMexternal link
WWW.IJWPHOTOGRAPHY.COMexternal link
Phase One Certified Digital Tech

LOG IN TO REPLY
canoncad
Senior Member
372 posts
Joined May 2007
May 03, 2008 04:38 as a reply to downhillnews's post |  #15

Excellent shots. Thanks:eek:


Fairfax Virginia

LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as registered member)

8,960 views & 0 likes for this thread
EF 200mm f/1.8L Review EF 200mm f1.8L
FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses


Not a member yet? Click here to register to the forums.
Registered members get all the features: search, following threads, own gear list and ratings, likes, more forums, private messaging, thread follow, notifications, own gallery, settings, view hosted photos, own reviews and more...


AAA

Send feedback to staff    •   Jump to forum...    •   Rules    •   Index    •   New posts    •   RTAT    •   'Best of'    •   Gallery    •   Gear    •   Reviews    •   Polls

COOKIES DISCLAIMER: This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Privacy policy and cookie usage info.

POWERED BY AMASS 1.4version 1.4
made in Finland
by Pekka Saarinen
for photography-on-the.net
Spent 0.00103 for 4 database queries.
PAGE COMPLETED IN 0.1s
Latest registered member is AsifSalam
990 guests, 460 members online
Simultaneous users record so far is 6106, that happened on Jun 09, 2016