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:


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.


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.


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.


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.

January 2010