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Canon Announces the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II

The mystery of the disappearing Canon lenses deepens. Today, Canon announced the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. The first version of this lens is among Canon’s most highly regarded (and expensive) lenses, so if this second version delivers on all its improvement claims, then it’s sure to be another home run.

Here are some of the important improvements you should be aware of:

Durability

Canon claims that the new lens has been redesigned for better strength and durability without a significant increase in weight. The weight is increasing from 3.24lb/1.47kg to 3.28lb/1.49kg, and increase of about one percent.

Optics

The internals of the lens have been redesigned and added to, leading to less chromatic aberration and higher contrast and resolution. Canon has pretty lofty goals for this lens, and claims that it will become “the leader of Canon’s L-series lenses,” a title arguably attained by the first version.

Focusing

The algorithm behind focusing has been improved, leading to faster AF speeds. In addition, the minimum focusing distance of this lens has been reduced from 4.6ft/1.4m to 3.9ft/1.2m, which allows you to get significantly closer to your subject than you could before. This give the new lens the same minimum focusing distance as the f/4 versions of the 70-200mm.

Design

A common complaint with the first version of the lens was that the auto/manual focus switch gets bumped easily. Some photographers worked around this problem by covering up the switch with tape. While it’s unknown whether this particular annoyance has been resolved in the new lens, the “UI” of the lens has been redesigned, and the thickness of certain components such as the switch panel has been reduced, leading to a sleeker-looking lens.

Pricing and Availability

The lens will be available at the end of February 2010, with the price reportedly set at £2,799.99, or roughly $4,500.

Conclusion

It looks like the rumors going around about big Canon announcements are starting to come true. However, Canon is acting somewhat unusual in announcing such a significant lens so quietly before CES, which starts Thursday. Even more curious is the fact that Canon will not be attending PMA next month, which is where pro-oriented gear is usually announced.

Regardless, we expect more announcements coming from Canon in the near future (possibly the 24-70mm f/2.8 IS?), so stay tuned!


 
  • http://twitter.com/eugenephotoblog Eugene

    Hmm, it looks like Canon have not definitively announced the pricing of this new lens…

    One thing which you don't mention, but I think is important to note: the cost of $4500 isn't going to be the price of the lens in the United States (which is more than 2.5 times the cost of the Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS, currently retailing for around $1700). One thing to remember is that the prices in Britain are almost always higher than those offered in the United States, so the conversion from £2,799.99 to $4500 is only useful to see how the dollar price compares to that observed in the United States (which I predict will be between $2000 and $2500).

  • http://www.petapixel.com Michael Zhang

    Good points. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/petercoxphoto Peter Cox

    It may not cost $4500, but look at the 24mm T/S-E Mk II: $2199 vs $1199 for the Mk I version from B&H. It's clearly going to be significantly more expensive.

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