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Wide open, the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II is so much better than the original model at f/2.8, that this factor alone might be reason alone to upgrade for those who regularly shoot at f/2.8 - f/4. Gone is the dull veiling haze of the original model, instead we see excellent detail and high contrast over most of the frame at f/2.8, with only the edges and corners showing slightly low contrast. Only a lens like the 200mm f/2L IS can improve upon this performance.

The 70-200/2.8L IS II appears to have performance in reserve for a future 30 - 40 megapixel camera, but that presumes perfect optical alignment of lens, camera and sensor, along with exacting focus precision.

Precision requires care

The highest level of performance seen with sample #6 takes a bit of luck: two of the first five samples were as sharp but skewed left/right, and three were clearly inferior.

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diglloyd Advanced Photography includes hundreds of pages of exclusive coverage and high resolution, Retina-grade example pictures detailing Canon and Nikon DSLR bodies and their lenses, with in-depth analysis of sharpness and contrast, color, bokeh, vignetting, distortion, MTF, and flare. Also included is a wealth of in-context technique and workflow insight. Since 2006, diglloyd Advanced Photography is the authoritative review and on-line reference for discerning Canon and Nikon shooters. Subscriptions cost $ per year.

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