Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM Lens
Another member of Canon’s f4 zoom lens suite, the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM combines a relatively compact size with light weight when you consider the amount if glass it contains. Consisting of 16 elements in 13 groups, this lens has two ultra-low-dispersion (UD) elements plus a low-dispersion fluorite element to minimise chromatic aberration.[ia] . . [more]
Another member of Canon’s f4 zoom lens suite, the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM combines a relatively compact size with light weight when you consider the amount if glass it contains. Consisting of 16 elements in 13 groups, this lens has two ultra-low-dispersion (UD) elements plus a low-dispersion fluorite element to minimise chromatic aberration.
Designed to combine a moderate telephoto range with a natural perspective, the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM lens maintains its f4 maximum aperture through the zoom range and focuses down to 1.2 metres. It covers an angle of view from 10 degrees to 29 degrees and provides a magnification of 0.21x for close-up shots. This lens makes an excellent partner to the EF 17-40mm lens reviewed on the facing page, although there’s a 40-70mm gap that is not covered.
Like other L-series lenses, the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM is designed for use in testing conditions and features rubber gaskets to block the entry of dust and moisture into all moving parts as well as the camera body. The non-moving parts are clad with a buff coating that improves the grip and reflects infra-red rays, keeping the optics cool in hot and sunny environments.
[ia] Internal focusing is used to ensure the front element does not rotate during focusing, making the lens suitable for use with angle-sensitive attachments, such as polarising filters, graduates and clip-on filter holders. A ring-type ultrasonic motor ensures focusing is fast, accurate and quiet.
The lens barrel is engraved with focal length settings for 70, 100, 135 and 200mm focal lengths, and a depth-of-field gauge and AF/MF switch are provided. The lens is supplied with a deep, cylindrical ET-74 lens hood, 67mm lens cap and rear dust cap, plus an LP1224 soft case.
As with the EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens, we tested the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM on two cameras: the EOS 5D, which has a 34x36mm sensor, and the EOS 300D where the sensor area is 22.7×15.1mm. As well as using the lens on both cameras for a series of shots under typical usage conditions, we subjected it to Imatest analysis with both cameras.
There was a significant difference in handling between the two cameras. On the EOS 5D, the EF 70-200mm felt comfortable and well-balanced and proved generally very satisfying to use. On the much lighter EOS 300D, it felt distinctly out-of-balance and it was difficult to aim and shoot with the camera with any degree of comfort. For this reason – as well as the test results below – we would not recommend using this lens on a lightweight SLR.
Overall, we found focusing to be quick and accurate and generally quiet, while the zoom was smooth and easy to operate. Rectilinear distortion was negligible on both cameras.
Test shots taken with the EOS 5D under a wide range of conditions were sharp and crisp with no evidence of flare or ghosting in moderately backlit situations. At wide apertures, the eight-bladed diaphragm produced attractive blurring of out-of-focus areas, especially with the 200mm setting, as can be seen in the sample shot.
Imatest testing showed the lens to be an excellent performer on the EOS 5D. It produced consistent MTF50 figures of between 2020 and 2115 for f4 and f8, with a slight falling off to 1550-1700 at f32. Chromatic aberration was too low to be visible, with readings consistently below 0.037%.
On the EOS 300D, we found the same slight fall-off in performance as we found with the EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens. Sample results for both cameras are available to subscribers on the Photo Review website. 
Focal length range: 70-200mm
Maximum aperture: f4
Lens construction: 16 elements in 13 groups
Minimum focus: 1.2m
Filter size: 67mm diameter
Dimensions (Diameter x L): 76.0mm x 172.0mm
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