Canon EF 200mm F/2.8L II

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by romanaz, May 25, 2010.

  1. romanaz macrumors regular

    romanaz

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    Aug 24, 2008
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    NJ
    #1
    Been getting the itch to add a new lens to my collection, and I have been thinking about where I want to take my photography, and portraits and sports seem to be where I'm leaning these days. Now my question is, has anyone here had any experience with this particular lens, especially say on a 40D or similar body?

    Also been wondering too, since this is a bit longer of a lens, about a monopod for it, eventually if I find that I can't hold steady enough in lower light, does anyone know what tripod collar it uses? I've googled the crap out of it and can't seem to find any info on it. I've read that the one from the 70-200 f/4 fits it, but I can't seem to verify it. I'm assuming when I hit up B&H in the coming weeks they will know, hopefully.

    Also, reason I've been looking @ this lens is that I was looking @ a 70-200, but I realized that when I rented the 2.8 IS version, I spent most of the time @ 200, I figure why not save money and get the prime 200 for cheaper and with better IQ (supposedly).

    tl;dr - anyone with experience using this lens on a 40D, what tripod collar does this lens use, and any other advice?
     
  2. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    Sendai, Japan
    #2
    I can't speak for this particular lens, but 200 mm for portraits on crop sensors is very long. You have to be quite far away from the subject to take your shot. For most types of sports, this shouldn't be an issue, quite the opposite.
     
  3. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #3
    It's a lot lighter than a 70-200mm zoom. It doesn't have as many heavy glass elements because it is fixed at 200mm. Nice lens too!
     
  4. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

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    Kenya
    #4
    I love it on my 5D Mk II, and it's great (though usually a bit long for what we want) on my wife's 350D.

    I have the Mk I version - picked it up second hand with minor cosmetic marks on the barrel and perfect glass, for £360. The Mk I optics are identical to the Mk II optics, and as a bonus it has a built-in slide-out (but short) lens hood instead of having a huge screw-on one.

    I was thinking of the 70-200 f/4L +/- IS, also mostly to be used towards 200mm, and then saw this prime was much cheaper, lighter, smaller, and faster - and probably with a bit better image quality, and certainly not worse - and there wasn't really much more to think about.

    200mm on a full-frame body is long for portraits, and will be even "worse" on a 40D - but I've seen spectacular portraits taken at 300mm, so I'm sure you can make it work.
     
  5. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

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  6. John.B macrumors 601

    John.B

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    #6
    The 200mm f/2.8L II would be a great action lens if it only had IS.

    As it stands, as long as you have enough light to keep the shutter speeds high it's a very good lens IQ-wise for not a lot of money (relative to some of the other options). It's not as physically large as the four 70-200mm lenses and because it's not white it doesn't stand out like they do.

    That said, if it were me, I'd opt for the more versatile 70-200mm f/4L IS, which IMO only can't compete with the 200mm f/2.8L II on a tripod at low light. The f/4L IS is just a better walkaround lens. I'm sure someone will be along shortly to point out that the f/4L can't shoot at f/2.8, but IRL handheld or monopod mounted I think you'd find the IS (including panning IS) is going to be more important for most shots of the type you are looking at; for a tripod or in full daylight maybe the 200mm might be a better call. And don't underestimate the ability to zoom out as necessary.

    FWIW, shorter lenses like this don't have tripod collars. You'd mount the monopod at the bottom of the camera, usually on some sort of a swivel head.
     
  7. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #8
    ^ the 200 might not be long, but it isn't short, either. there is an optional tripod collar.

    I think you'd be able to hand-hold it at slower speeds than a 70-200 simply because it balances well...but that doesn't make up for IS.
     
  8. funkboy macrumors regular

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    Apr 25, 2008
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    elsewhere
    #9
    IIRC the tripod collar from the 180mm macro is the least expensive option. Do double-check that before ordering.

    A monopod I really like & use is the Adorama Podmatic. There's also a nice review of monopod technique & gear here.

    Back in 2003 when I got started in all this, I looked long & hard at the 200 f/2.8L but finally decided on the 70-200 f/4L. I liked the idea of the faster prime but finally the flexibility of the zoom won over the extra stop of speed (ever try putting on a teleconverter in a bouncing Land Rover full of dust?). The zoom was also over a hundred bucks less expensive, which was a factor.

    BTW at the time I had just bought a 10D, & I upgraded to a 40D shortly after it came out in 2007.

    The zoom is a brilliant lens, but it's not always easy to have enough light to hand-hold it properly at the long end. If you do the math, it should be about 1/2 stop easier to hand-hold the zoom @ 70mm than the 200mm prime at f/2.8, but of course the prime will win by a stop when they're both at 200mm. I know it's an apples to oranges comparison, but it still means that the zoom can be used sometimes when the prime can't (if you're willing to zoom to the wide end).

    Now, a couple years after I got the 70-200 f/4L & monopod, I picked up the 135mm f/2L along with a 1.4x teleconverter.

    The 135L is about as good as it gets. If they added IS to it, I would consider it the ultimate telephoto prime for the types of shooting I do (travel, landscape, & concerts). Adding the TC meant that I effectively had a 189mm f/2.8 in the bag as well, so the 70-200 f/4L started gathering dust after that (I did use it for a while with the TC while traveling, but 280mm f/5.6 with no I.S. starts to suck pretty fast without a tripod).

    The end result of all this is that I sold the 70-200 f/4L and just travel with the 135L, the TC, and my GF's 55-250 IS on her 350D if I really need a long shot in a pinch (which is rare). I'm the market for a 70-200 f/4L IS, but that's a luxury...

    The 135 f/2L is far more hand-holdable than either 200mm prime or zoom, in addition to being about the finest optic Canon makes. It's not too long for portraits or concerts on a crop body. A monopod gives you about another stop of stability, and it's balanced enough that you don't miss the lack of a tripod collar (which saves you from having to buy one).
     
  9. akdj macrumors 65816

    akdj

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    Mar 10, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #10
    I love my 200II/2.8L...It's perfect for sporting events, parades, and other street/candid shooting...that may or may not be sceptical of the "Big White" beasts;)

    I bring mine with a 1.4TC to Qwest field and Safeco in Seattle twice a year. I picked mine up used for $600...perfect condition. When I know I'm going to shoot long, I grab it instead of my 70-200...that may change a bit, now that I've picked up the V2...but I still anticipate alot of 200L shooting.

    Also, in Alaska, I do a lot of backpacking and hiking in the summer months. This is a great lens for packing as well... I usually bring it and my 24-105, with a TC and I'm good to go!

    It does lack the weather sealing as well of the big zooms...FWIW.

    Jer
     
  10. romanaz thread starter macrumors regular

    romanaz

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    NJ
    #11
    you bring up good points, but in dealing with some sports that I will be shooting, mainly indoors, such as olympic weightlifting and volleyball, where flash is prohibited, an f4 is nowhere near fast enough. The 135 was one I was looking at, but its a bit more expensive and even with a TC solution to get near 200mm, its still more then I think I'll have to spare for it.

    I know from experience with the 70-200 f2.8L that I can hand hold that lens down to roughly 1/125 with decent results, so I would assume I should be able to get by on that with the 200mm itself, since its lighter. Even too, with a monopod I think it would be enough for indoor sports.

    After shooting with that, and using the 70-200 f/4 from a friend at a company event, I know that without a flash, I can't use an f/4 lens for the type of indoor work I want to do. At least, not with my 40D.
     
  11. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

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    Apr 26, 2008
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    Alaska
    #12
    The EF 200mm f/2.8L USM II, which costs around $700.00, is one of those Canon lenses that offer "the best bang for the money." It focuses very fast, gathers a lot of light, it's lightweight, very sharp, and one I don't mind shooting off hand for a long time. And yes, it's long for portraits on the 40D (specially indoors), but all you have to do is to move away from the subject (outside). I have taken some amazing portraits with this lens, but I can't post them here because of subject's privacy issues.

    I have used this lens for close-up photography paired to a Kenko 12mm tube:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Moose (cropped):
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  12. John.B macrumors 601

    John.B

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    #13
    Thanks for the correction. Back when I seriously looked at buying this lens I was told by my local Canon dealer that tripod collars for the 200mm f/2.8 didn't exist.
     
  13. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

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    Apr 26, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #14
    Maybe we are talking about different lenses? You don't need a tripod collar for this one:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/129190-GREY/Canon_2529A004AA_Telephoto_EF_200mm_f_2_8L.html

    A tripod collar does not come with this lens, but one can buy an optional one. However the lens is 5.4" long, and weights 1.68 lb. In fact, it's just about an inch longer than the EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM :) (I have both).
     
  14. oblomow macrumors 68020

    oblomow

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    Apr 14, 2005
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    Netherlands
    #15
    I use its older brother (200mm Mk1) on a 30D and love it. It's light enough to take along hiking, isn't very obvious/visible in when shooting in crowds. And it does birds too

    [​IMG]
     
  15. John.B macrumors 601

    John.B

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    #16
    That is exactly the lens I was looking at. On further review, it looks like Canon doesn't make a tripod collar for this, but the one from the 180mm Macro may work. I think this is more a convenience factor for people who have other lenses with tripod collars, as it is easier to move between lenses than swapping out a lens tripod collar mount for a camera's tripod mount. You are right that the 200mm f/2.8 II isn't a problem for any quality ballhead to support from a camera-based mount.

    (Apropos of nuthin': this is part of why I'm converting everything to the Arca-Swiss mounts from the Manfrotto RC2 quick release plates I've been using.)
     
  16. romanaz thread starter macrumors regular

    romanaz

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    Aug 24, 2008
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    NJ
    #17
    my reasoning for a tripod collar would be the ability to switch from horizontal to vertical quickly if say I end up using a a monopod for the indoor sports. I would assume it would be tough to switch if the monopod was mounted straight on the camera.
     
  17. John.B macrumors 601

    John.B

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    Jan 15, 2008
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    Holocene Epoch
    #18
    Look at the Manfrotto 234RC Swivel Head (which can be converted to use Arca-Swiss plates instead of the RC2 quick release). I use this even with the big EF 200mm f/2L IS on a sturdy monopod (the 680B), although I have the lens neckstrap on at all times -- largely because it's an expensive lens and it's a rental, not because I don't trust the swivel.

    OBTW, that swivel works equally well with a camera mount.
     
  18. gnd macrumors 6502a

    gnd

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    #19
    How about a head with a quick release and an L-Bracket for the camera, That way it's very easy to change the orientation no matter what the lens is.
     
  19. FX120 macrumors 65816

    FX120

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    #20
    Action = fast shutter speeds by definition.

    It might be a better general purpose long lens if it had IS, but for sports and action it really doesn't matter. It's still short enough that even with indoor sports, the shutter speeds you'll be at to get stopped motion will be fast enough to prevent blur from body shake.
     
  20. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

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    Apr 26, 2008
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    Alaska
    #21
    I see...

    I forgot to mention that it does come with a lens hood, unlike the 100mm Macro. Last year I let a friend of mine look through my 200mm f/2.8 while mounted on my 40D, and he was quite impressed of how bright it is. He told me that he was going to buy the same lens :) The guy is an outstanding photographer, and still using his Canon 30D. Take a look at some of his photos at "pbase":
    http://www.pbase.com/tull777
     

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