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New Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II in hand

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Courtesy of our trusted vendor B&H Photo, I now have the new Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L IS II in hand (in stock as I write this, unusual for a new lens, perhaps the US$2499 price dissuades some buyers in this tough economy, but it’s not Canon’s fault that the US dollar has been emasculated).

The first thing I noticed was that Canon packed this lens more snugly and securely than any prior lens from Canon I’ve seen, excepting the super teles. It is also built extremely solidly, and even the lens hood has been upgraded, with a black flocking on the interior.

At 1490g (3.3 pounds) without the hood, it’s a lens that you have to use and like a lot to want to carry around. But when you need it, you need it. While the existing 70-200mm f/4L IS is extremely unlikely to match this new f/2.8 monster, the f/4 is a heck of a lot easier on the body.

With a fluorite element and 5 UD elements to control color errors, the new lens has a lot of promise. And with luck, I won’t run into the “first sample problem” I did when I reviewed Nikon’s 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II. But with twenty three (23!) elements in 19 groups, let’s hope they all stay aligned upon receipt and with long term use, because it won’t take much to throw that complex a design off.

I intend to review the new 70-200 along with the in progress Canon 200mm f/2L IS and the 70-200mm f/4L IS and the original 70-200mm f/2.8L IS.

But this year has brought a plethora of deserving products, and I first must finish the in-progress Nikon ultra wides piece first.
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