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  • Writer's picturePhil Davenport

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Review

Updated: May 19, 2021

I’m forever harping on about the benefits of using prime lenses in particular the 50mm however there is a lens I simply adore and surprisingly it’s a zoom.

The Canon 70-200 f/4L IS, light portable sharp and fantastic either as a portrait/street or even landscape lens when the need to isolate a particular part of a scene is desirable.

When comparing the f/4 variety of this lens to the f/2.8L version, in many ways this Canon f/4 lens is better designed and in recent tests sharper.

Unlike on the f/2.8 lens, there is no tripod-mounting platform (can be purchased separately), but that is not a huge issue given the size and balance of the f/4 lens when used with an EOS 80D (or similar) camera body.

Though the f/4 lens has a first-generation IS system (it’s second-generation in the f/2.8 lens) the only obvious difference was very slightly noisier operation. Whilst this is of little consequence to the photographer if using in video mode then it may become an issue when using a camera mounted shotgun mic.


Overall, the f/4 lens clearly plays second fiddle on paper but it is a very easy lens to carry and to use. Though it is expensive it is only roughly half that of the f/2.8 version based on Canons SRPs. So there’s probably a case for saying Canon has made the f/4 lens too good compared with the f/2.8 version. Its compromises and limitations are slight but its price advantage is substantial.

A newer version of this lens is now available (Canon 70-200 f/4L IS II) however optically the lens appear to give identical results with only the IS having been improved. Personally from the photographers point of view I’d save money and opt for the original IS incarnation.

Links can be found here.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM Lens

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