Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Autofocus Telephoto Zoom Lens USA

Priced: $1,199.00 Rated:   - 5 stars out of 5 by 107 reviews.
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Average Price History: Price History
Review RatingNumber of Reviews
Angle of view:Diagonal: 34°- 12° (with full-frame cameras)
Closest Focusing Distance:3.94 ft. / 1.2m
Construction:15 groups /20 elements One Fluorite element & two UD (ultra low dispersion) elements
Dimensions (Length x Diameter):3.0" x 6.8" / 76mm x 172mm
Filter Size:67mm
Notes:Focus Adjustment: AF with full-time manual
Weight:26.8 oz./760g (lens only)
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Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Autofocus Telephoto Zoom Lens USA Reviews:

Positive Reviews:

Does everything I expect it to.

I'm a photojournalist working in the field everyday for a newspaper, and I usually use my wide, but when I need the long glass, this almost always does the job. I hesitated for a long time about whether to spend the extra dough for the 2.8 IS, or just get the 2.8 non-IS instead of this lens, and needless to say I went with the f/4 IS. My thinking was, there are going to be a lot more situations where I need the 2-4 stop IS than the one stop aperture improvement.So far, I've had it for about 5 months, and I have no complaints. People who say it's heavy just aren't used to professional lenses. Carry a 2.8 IS around for a while, and you'll appreciate how light this lens is. It's about the size of a tall boy beverage can, fits easily in my bag and doesn't weigh it down too much.It's about the sharpest lens I've used in the realm of Canon 35mm-type, focus is sharp and fast. Works great for sports. Even indoors, for the most part. The extra stop would be nice when the arena you're shooting in is really dim, but even shooting basketball it's better to shoot at f/4 anyway. I'm sure at some point, when I have more money than I know what to do with (which I'm hoping will be soon...), I'll break down and buy the 2.8 IS, but in the meantime, this lens is beautiful, reliable, light, sharp, and the zoom is smooth, silky and well damped. I prefer primes anyway, so I think I'll probably just get the 135 f/2L, 85 f/1.2L or 200 f/2L for portraits or whatever.The only negative I can imagine is that the lens hood is ugly as sin. Works like a charm, but let's face it, an attractive camera and lens is just a littttle bit more fun to own.Hope that helps.
Sean at Adorama on 07/07/2009

Nothing beats it for the cost!

This baby rocks. Expensive, yes, but the quality is unsurpassed. I'm no pro, but this lens makes you want to be a better photographer...because frankly you really have to try hard to take a bad picture with this lens. You get the picture framed properly, and this lens will do the rest.

Even wide open at f/4, it takes near-perfect photos. I can hardly tell any difference when you step down a stop or two. AF is always tack perfect!

If you primarily want something for action photos, consider getting it without IS (as it will save you a little weight and about $400+). If you really need the low-light capabilities, then consider the f/2.8 IS version (with additional weight and $600 extra!!!).

But if you plan on using it for portraits, stills, or basically anything under 1/250 shutter speed, then you're going want the IS. It's definitely worth it for what I often use it for. I've tested the f/2.8 and it's just not worth it for 95% of what I shoot, especially given the fact that the f/4 is considerably lighter!

Forgo those fancy dinners for 8 months, and just get it. You can survive on rice, beans, and salad....but you can't survive without this one in your back. You won't be disappointed.
Matt the Outdoorsman at Adorama on 06/06/2009

Great Lens

I chose the f/4.0 over the f/2.8 because of cost (approx half) and weight. Since I'm not as steady as I used to be and I like to take outdoor/wildlife photos the IS feature is more important than the larger aperture opening. The f/4.0 IS and F2.8 non IS are comparable in price.

The AF action is quick, smooth, and precise. The optics are excellent and pictures are of good quality.

I coupled the lens with a Canon 1.4X extender on my Canon XSi camera and got some good quality pictures on my cross country road trip.

I have since added the Lens "tripod" mount to better balance the lens and camera when using a monopod/tripod, and a Canon 2X extender. I would recommend the tripod lens mount especially when using the extenders.

The 2X Extender will cost you two full f stops and therefore disables the AF function of the lens (it works just fine with the 1.4X extender). If this is important to you go to the f/2.8 and choose between th IS and non IS versions.

Al in all a great lens.
TrumpetSprint at Adorama on 02/02/2011

This lens is superb but co$tly.

Wow. After having read constant praise of this lens, I have to agree--it is sharp, beautiful bokeh, a masterpiece.But in using it my daily life, I found it a bit too heavy, I need a 300mm zoom for my zoo animals, the IS (though fabulous) depleted the battery on my Canon 50D, and I have just reached the point that I don't want to spend [$] or more on a lens, especially if it is for the "Canon" tax. I found such a lens in the Tamron SP 70-300mm Di VC USD lens (see my review). For one-third the cost (after a good rebate, and Tamron is very quick to honor theirs), this 70-300mm is actually in the same league as the 70-200mm f/4L. The Tamron is an amazing lens, and my comparisons in Aperture were initially hard to believe.Still, having actually used the Canon 70-200mm f/4L lens, is see why it is a legend. But other lens makers are improving their zooms rapidly, while Canon never seems to lower its prices...
Patrick at Adorama on 09/09/2011

The Best Zoom Out There

I was one of the first adopters of this lens - paid full retail for it. I had the non-IS version of it at the same time and I was able to do some comparison photos. Where the 2.8 version is supposed to have slightly less IQ on the IS lens, there's certainly not the problem here. My copy of the IS beat the non-IS on every shot.
This is - as tested by a number of sites - the sharpest, highest resolution zoom out there. In many cases, it beats primes of the same focal length. Added to that is Canon's simply incredible 4-stop IS system. And it's pretty light, too!
I've used it alone and with a 1.4xTC. Using the TC slows down focusing a little and you have to have good lighting, but you can get some wonderful shots. All in all, this is THE lens to beat in the focal length. There's really nothing else like it.
NorCalAl at Adorama on 06/06/2007

I love this lens

I love this lens. I often hike with this being the only lens I take along. With a full frame body, I rarely need wider than 70mm and when I do, I take two or three 70mm shots (portrait) and stitch them together later. I do sometimes wish I had the brighter view finder that the f/2.8 version of this lens provides, but that lens weighs more than twice what this one does and is of course larger. Also, a full frame viewfinder is naturally brighter than an APS-C viewfinder so that helps. With today's cameras that have modest noise at ISO 800 or 1600, I use higher ISO to make f/4 sufficient when there isn't much light. And it's surprising how low the depth of field can be with an f/4 tele lens. I didn't have a problem deciding where to spend the $750 I saved by going f/4 instead of f2.8.
Hclarkx at Adorama on 01/01/2012

Buy this Lens

For years I was the White lens wanna be. I have spent 200, 300, even 400 dollars on various zoom lenses for years never laying down the extra money for the big boy lense. Oh the money I could have saved in the long run. On my 30D this lense is very manageable. Anyone who tells you it is too heavy needs to spend a little more time with something other than a Bic-Mac and a beer in their hands. If you are the least bit fit, and used to backpacking, purses, or weapons being slung for hours and days on end then you will have no issue with the weight. The payoff from just leaving it on is outstanding. My 20D with a 17-85 IS USM and my 30 with this lens is almost a perfect kit for a vacation, day out or event if you want it simple. BUY THIS LENS
tacman at Adorama on 06/06/2009

A great lens

I got this lens about 2 weeks ago and couldn't be happier. First off, I ordered a used lens with a D grade. The lens was in such great shape I honestly thought they sent me a brand new one by mistake. Upon its first use I noticed a large improvement in my photos. Focus is tack sharp and very fast. I was mainly shooting Canada Geese down at the river, yes you do need to crop the image to get the close up you want but with this lens that does not matter. The image is still very sharp even when cropping.
What else is there to say, it's a fantastic lens.

I guess if I had to point out one bad thing it would be this, once you use an L lens you're going to want another, then another and so on.
aglaaluk at Adorama on 02/02/2012

My first Canon L-series lens is a winner

I have always enjoyed shooting w/telephoto zoom lenses on Canon film slr's. I now shoot almost exclusively in digital. I particularly like the not-so-intrusive reach a telephoto zoom offers. Great for candids. The Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0L IS USM lens is my first L-series lens. I have to admit this has been a wonderful purchase! I have it paired w/a Canon EOS 50D. Sharp images throughout the zoom range, reasonably fast for a telephoto zoom @ f/4.0, IS – all features which help enhance my photographic skill set. I am glad I purchased this lens. It has exceeded my expectations. Also, great to use w/a B+W MRC circular polarizer.

Btw, I opted for the 4.0 instead of the 2.8 since my primary use for this lens is targeted primarily to outdoor/acceptable light conditions. For other conditions, I use a 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens.
Desert Rat at Adorama on 10/10/2011

Unbelievable quality!

I just could not believe how good is the image quality with this lens. Amazing! Very sharp images so full of information/details. Build quality is suberb. Very solid and reliable. I just wish they could focus closer to the subject, but I know this type of lens is not designed for that. Yes it looks quite expensive, but I have absolutly no regrets. It is actualy a great value, given its quality in all aspects. Could not find any real downside (except I think it should be delivered with the tripod collar). I would recommend it to anyone interested in that 70-200mm range. Great for portraits, great for kids! Again, astonishing quality. I could not see any anoying chromatic aberration, but I still have not taken pictures against the sunlight (usually tree leafs present some chromatic aberration in such cases).
Eduardo Nakamura at Adorama on 08/08/2012

Negative Reviews:

Poor Sharpness and Focus Failures

Maybe I should not have ordered the "refurbished by Canon" unit from Adorama, but I was convinced by other reviewers that this would be a great travel and landscape lens. I could not have been more wrong! On my 5DII I have never seen anything close to the sharpness from this lens that I have come to expect from other high-quality lenses. Autofocus only hits the target about 25% of the time, and (relative) sharpness only appears in the center of the image. I have never seen a really tack-sharp image from this lens. If the image is any good at all in the center it degenerates to sludge toward the edges. I cannot believe that Canon would call this an "L" series lens. Comparing its images to those from the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM is like night and day! Prospective buyers should only consider this lens for use on smaller-sensor cameras, not full-frames, and only after they have compared its actual images with zooms from other manufacturers.
Dis Appointed at Adorama on 05/05/2012

Two for Two were Defective

I received first lens and it had an extremely noisy Image Stabilizer. The lens was replaced with a second lens with the same problem. I spoke to Canon Tech Service and let them listen to the noise. They agreed that it was not right and suggested a possible bad batch of IS mechanisms. I have sent both lenses back without purchasing. I will only purchase if I can put it on my camera and listen to the IS before purchasing.
lang at Adorama on 02/02/2012

Neutral Reviews:

Great images-but let's you down suddenly

The lens is photographically great however the built quality / inner design is likely weak and seems to have flaws. I have purchased this lens 4 years ago from Adorama as downgrade for my f/2.8 IS mark one lens as it's way more portable and I don't shoot indoor sports nor weddings any more. I love the image quality, portability, IS and speed of focusing (non-IS version did not perform as good). Unfortunately even despite the "L" designation it failed after merely four years of light use and stopped focusing properly as the inner elements got loose and the dependable focusing was turned into "shake to focus". I never dropped the lens and I handled it very carefully, it still looks as "new".

The Canon Service quoted $300 for repair. I never learned about what exactly was wrong with the lens.

My conclusion
1) When considering Canon "L" lens don't forget to add $300 for every 4 years of light use into your total cost of ownership.
2) Even despite "L" designation, Canon US offers only 1 year warranty, consider purchasing other brand with longer warranty or purchase from other Canon subsidiaries that offer longer warranty.

Sorry Canon - this is really a BAAAAD experience.
Jan at Adorama on 08/08/2012