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Thread: Canon 200mm F2.8 L USM Prime- Should I purchase it?

  1. #1

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    Canon 200mm F2.8 L USM Prime- Should I purchase it?

    I am looking for a good lens that has a big aperture and is also telephoto. A while ago I had a Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 and I liked it for the time being. I was in a rush and I put it into my camera bag and zipped it up... I thought I zipped it up all the way and as I walked out onto the driveway, it of course slips out of my camera bag and onto the concrete with a horrible thud. The front element and the rear element cracked. Tamron I know has a 6 year warranty on their lenses so I sent it in. They gave me a hassle and they basically told me it was going to cost just as much to fix it as to buy a new lens around the same price.

    I decided to just purchase a new lens. I have been looking around for some lenses and I came upon the Canon 200mm F2.8 L USM Prime. I looked at reviews and best prices. It is a great price for the lens. Costing around $750-800. I don't know when it was made but only limited amount of stores carry it. I do like prime lenses and have a couple of them. There are pros and cons about prime lenses as do every type of lens has pros and cons. It also costs around the same price as the Canon 70-200mm F4 L USM Although that lens has a smaller aperture but zoom capabilities.

    I am wondering if I should purchase this lens. I saw a lot of good reviews on it. It does have great quality.

    Thanks

    Tyler

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Canon 200mm F2.8 L USM Prime- Should I purchase it?

    Tyler

    It doesn't have IS, but neither does the zoom you refer to. Is that important? IS does add pretty significantly to the cost?

    Do you have lenses that cover the focal lengths below 200mm? If not, then I'd really wonder why go for the prime over the zoom. Okay you've got one stop more speed. But, with the zoom, just up the ISO and you get the same amount of light. And how really, really important is it to have something that's going to give you that bit shorter depth-of-field? At 200mm & f4 your DoF is not going to be that huge anyway.

    And in terms of image quality. How often are you going to be printing so large that whatever there is between the prime and the zoom is going to be obvious to the 0.001% of the population who would look that close?

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    herbert's Avatar
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    Re: Canon 200mm F2.8 L USM Prime- Should I purchase it?

    Good points from Donald.

    The one plus the 200m prime has is that it is black. This makes it a bit more subtle for shooting out and about. Although I suppose you could cover it with a pink jacket if you want some attention, see this thread:

    Does your white Canon lens attract too much attention?

    Other than that I'd rather have the zoom.

  4. #4
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    Re: Canon 200mm F2.8 L USM Prime- Should I purchase it?

    After reviewing your Flickr pages I see the majority of your photographs are in tight and close crops of your subjects. So I see why you would want the 200mm. As mentioned in an earlier post if you have coverage at the wider ranges than I think this could be the correct choice for you.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Canon 200mm F2.8 L USM Prime- Should I purchase it?

    Quote Originally Posted by ed engel View Post
    After reviewing your Flickr pages I see the majority of your photographs are in tight and close crops of your subjects. So I see why you would want the 200mm. As mentioned in an earlier post if you have coverage at the wider ranges than I think this could be the correct choice for you.
    Ed

    But I see that a lot of Tytler's stuff features animals. Would you not want the longer lens for that sort of work?

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    Re: Canon 200mm F2.8 L USM Prime- Should I purchase it?

    I'd be asking myself a few questions, like

    - Do I need F2.8, or could I "up the ISO" and shoot at F4 for the same shutterspeed?

    - How much more beneficial would a Zoom be?

    - Do I need IS?

    Generally (in terms of hand-holding ability), a lens with IS will eat a non-IS lens alive. At 200mm with a non-IS lens you're going to need a minimum shutterspeed in the order of 1/320th - with a EF70-200 F4.0 IS USM lens you could get away with as slow as 1/20th (BIG difference).

    Generally, a zoom is one "heck" of a lot more versatile that a prime (with a difference in image quality that indistinguishable from a prime when looking at real-world resolutions and sizes)

    Personally - finances willing - I'd look at the EF70-200mm F4.0L IS USM any day over a EF200mm F2.8L

  7. #7
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    Re: Canon 200mm F2.8 L USM Prime- Should I purchase it?

    Yes it would be nice to be able to attain the "Big" glass but you need to have deep pockets to own one. At least with the 200mm Tyler can still get the reach with a qualtiy 1.4X or 2.0x extender and with that lens having a maximun 2.8 apreture he keeps the auto focus working fairly decent in low light conditions (I still find it preferable to manual focus in those conditions). When it comes to photographing wildlife it seems there is never enough glass for that tight shot. I use a manual focus F2.8 300mm with a 1.4x extender and a lot of times that even falls short. There is always the option to rent the big glass for special trips but on a regular basis it would add up quickly to the price of the lens'. I feel the 200mm/2.8 with or without an extender would be a good addition to his lens kit.

    This is not to say that a decent zoom lens could not do the same thing.

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    Re: Canon 200mm F2.8 L USM Prime- Should I purchase it?

    Quote Originally Posted by ed engel View Post
    I use a manual focus F2.8 300mm with a 1.4x extender and a lot of times that even falls short.
    Fear not - Canon have a solution ...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRq18WpQZC0

  9. #9
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    Re: Canon 200mm F2.8 L USM Prime- Should I purchase it?

    Do you think they at least used 3/8" threads for the tripod mount?

  10. #10
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    Re: Canon 200mm F2.8 L USM Prime- Should I purchase it?

    Two small thoughts:

    135mm is the center of the 70-200 zoom range. And the EF 135mm f/2L USM is a stop faster. Add a 1.4x tc to it, and it becomes close to a 200/2.8.

    The current EF 200mm f/2.8L USM is the Mark II. The Mark I is optically identical and has a built-in hood.

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    Re: Canon 200mm F2.8 L USM Prime- Should I purchase it?

    Quote Originally Posted by ed engel View Post
    Do you think they at least used 3/8" threads for the tripod mount?
    More like 3/8" bolts (and lots of them!)

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Canon 200mm F2.8 L USM Prime- Should I purchase it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Fear not - Canon have a solution ...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRq18WpQZC0
    Yeh, I was thinking of getting one, ..... but the f14 put me off.

  13. #13

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    Re: Canon 200mm F2.8 L USM Prime- Should I purchase it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Yeh, I was thinking of getting one, ..... but the f14 put me off.
    Me too, but I've heard it's a bit soft with a 2x teleconverter

  14. #14
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: Canon 200mm F2.8 L USM Prime- Should I purchase it?

    WOW! wonder if Nikon make one...... will need 2 voa's for that tho

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