Photo: 5D MkII and 70-200 f/4L IS, 2 shot panorama
One of the eternal questions for Canon owners is which 70-200 should I get ? Of the 4 to choose from, they are all very good, but with a range in cost of $500 to $1700 how does one choose ?, I have had the 70-200 f2.8 L, 70-200 f2.8 IS L and presently the 70-200 f4 IS L. All three of these len's where sharp. I purchased the original back in my film days and enjoyed it, at one point it was stollen so my re-purchase was the 2.8 IS version (at the time there was no f4 IS), the "IS" or image stabilization is an amazing feature that works exceptionally well. So I had a trip comming up and this caused a problem, which lens's to take with me ? I realy wanted to take the 17-40, 24-105, 70-200, 300 f4 and one body, but these would not all fit in my bag of choice, not to mention the weight would be prohibative to pack around all the time. My solution ? buy the 70-200 f4 IS, try it out and sell the loser. keep in mind that for me the bokeh of the f2.8 was not that important, I have other lens's for portrait shots and the 1 stop differance between f2.8 and f4 is not enough to matter for low light shooting, for that you want f1.4 len's. So after recieving the f4 IS version and trying it out on a skyline shot of Seattle I became convinced, at half the weight, a $600 savings, one stop better image stabalization and getting a sharper lens, to me there was no competition, I sold the f2.8 IS version, in a perfect world I would have kept both, but in these times of economic turmoil, not going to happen. Oh and this allowed me to fit all the lens's I wanted in to my carry on bag, and made my life a lot easier.
So if you want one of these lens's you need to juggle, weight, cost, speed and image stabilization, as far as IQ is concerned, they are all very nice and you can't go wrong there. If its portrait work, its got to be one of the 2.8 versions, I think for most other applications f4 should suit most people fine. Photography has always been about trade offs, this is just another one those.
My recommendations are as follows:
for portrait work: 70-200 f/2.8L IS II
for all other work: 70-200 f/4L IS
for cost saving: 70-200 f/4L
Update: the newest member, the EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, at around $2300 trumps them all, yes its worth it, I upgraded to the EF 24-70 f/2.8L II and it is also well worth the money.
Kai says it all here
Images In Light
The Digital Picture Review