I had read great things about the image quality of the Canon L series lenses so when I switched to Canon from Sony back in November 2014 I treated myself to the Canon EF 70-200mm f4 L USM lens. I bought this for wildlife photography and it performed well enough initially, however it wasn't until I was photographing a kingfisher on the River Nene one evening that I realised this lens just didn't allow me to get in close enough to the subject. It was at this time that I decided to purchase a second hand Canon EF 400mm f5.6 L USM Lens for £680. The extra 200mm of the Canon EF 400mm lens has made a huge difference to my wildlife work and again being an L series lens, the image quality is fantastic.
After buying the Canon EF 400mm lens I thought I'd have little use for the 70-200mm lens and was contemplating selling it; a decision that in hindsight I would have really regretted. Many of my landscape photography shots were taken using my Canon EF-S 15-85mm lens so I was worried that the 70-200mm would just sit in my camera bag gathering dust but around this time my photography style started to change, and rather than capturing the big landscape shots I'd previously favoured, I started to home in on smaller sections of a landscape scene and found that my 70-200mm lens was by far the strongest lens in my collection for the job. It has now become my go to lens for my country lane shots but it is when I'm out taking woodland shots that this lens really comes into its own.
At 705 grams, the 70-200mm f4 L USM lens is fairly light and compact and the ring-type USM (ultrasonic motor) allows for faster, quieter focusing. The lens doesn't have image stabilisation which could be an issue for some photographers however this does not effect me personally as 90% of the time my camera is placed on a tripod. Because of the lens' long tele focal length you can zoom in on a section of landscape from quite a distance away; this really compresses the perspective from the front to the back of the scene producing some really intimate and atmospheric shots. I tend not to go below f8 for my photography shots but this lens will go down to f4 which enables you to blur out the background and place strong focus on your chosen subject.
Here are some more of the key specifications for the lens:
Filter thread size - 67mm
Lens mount - Canon EF
Maximum aperture - f4
Minimum aperture - f32
Size mm - 76x172
Manual focus switch
Teleconverter compatibility - 1.4x/2x
Minimum focus distance - 1.2 metres
You can buy this lens for around £500-£600 brand new and I personally think it's worth every penny. I get such joy from using this lens and it rarely disappoints as proven by the shots in this blog, all of which were taken using the lens. It's a superb low to mid focal length lens and the Super Spectra coatings give accurate colour balance and enhanced contrast. Some of my most powerful atmospheric shots were captured when using this very efficient lens.
Overall lens rating 4.5/5
Northamptonshire based nature photographer