Equipment review- Canon 200mm f/2.0 L IS

Since this blog is new, I will let everyone know I will be occasionally posting a photographer-geek link or offer some discussion about equipment. Being a photographer means I get to use both my technical and artistic sides. I am often interested in the latest gear and gadgets, and when it comes to photo equipment I am no different. Canon announced last fall and made available this spring a new lens which could be used quite often in the context of a wedding- the EF 200mm f/2.0 L IS.

Having a strong desire to try it out and compare it to my 300/2.8 I bought the lens from Bryan Carnathan (who operates The Digital Picture, a lens review site). I was fortunate enough to find it used since it had only been out for a month! That meant I got to save a couple hundred bucks and I got to play with a almost brand new lens.

I did a thorough review of the lens focusing on my astrophotography hobby. However I did have the opportunity to use this lens while second shooting at a wedding, which was an important experience.

The 200/2 is really a dream lens-- despite the weight and ostentatious white color (which says "look here!" or "steal me!", bad things for candid photography) it is a spectacular piece of optics. The background just melts away into blurry nothingness. And the image stabilizer on the lens makes handholding the 5 pound beast a breeze, especially in low light situations (which I found out at my test wedding). For headshot portraits, it has no match in the Canon lens lineup, except perhaps the 135L.

The main drawback to this lens is it's prohibitive cost. Had the lens been priced at or below the value of the 300/2.8, the discussion would have been over. However, Canon priced the lens rather high making it financially prohibitive for a portrait and wedding business. That's too bad, because there would be a lot of happy customers out there otherwise. I wish I could've kept it, but the cost just wasn't going to be recuperated. For a sports photographer, the justification is much different, as this lens in a sports context would make it's value back, and then some, over time.

So, gearheads, if you're a rich amateur (or a rich professional!), by all means go ahead and buy the lens. It does everything as advertised. Otherwise, you can accomplish much of the same with a 135 f/2L.