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70-200mm Zoom Lens Reviews

In the latest Digital Photographer magazine (issue 60) there’s a helpful review of three 70-200mm f2.8 lenses.

The beauty of this type of lens is that it gives you a fast lens, wide enough focal length to be useful in many everyday applications, yet the reach to really zoom in on your subject at the 200mm end of the spectrum. They are also useful for getting some nice blur in the background when shooting a subject – leaving them as the clear focal point.

They are the:

A word of warning before we get into the review results – none of these lenses are cheap.

For the full reviews of each of the lenses you’ll need to get the magazine – but here’s a summary of each in the order that they were ‘rated’ by the reviewer:

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Zoom

Rating – 93%

Description – the biggest of the lenses in terms of size but lighter than the Canon this lens is given 10/10 marks in the areas of Features and Quality of Results.

It has Vibration Reduction built in which eliminates camera shake well. It produces sharp images at all aperture settings along the focal range and is quick and quiet.

The only real downsides of this lens according to the review was it’s cost, weight and size. Apart from that it’s written up as the ultimate 70-200mm lens.

Following are three shots taken using this lens (source 1, 2, 3):

Nikon-1

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Telephoto Zoom

Rating – 88%

Description – I own this lens and rate it as the 2nd best lens that I own (I use my 24-105mm more – but this is an ideal companion). The review gives it a perfect rating (10/10) on a ‘features’ rating with it’s image stabilization boosting it’s rating (it has two modes of IS, one for everyday and one for panning). This is a fast lens – both in terms of aperture but also AF (although at times they say it ‘hunted’ for the right thing to focus upon. It’s also very quiet.

The downsides of this otherwise excellent lens again are cost and weight (it’s the heaviest of the three). It is two thirds of the price of the Nikkor lens which is nice – however still will hit the bank account hard. The review also found a tiny bit of softness shooting at 200mm at f/2.8 – but otherwise it produced beautifully sharp images.

Here are some examples of what this lens can do (sources 1, 2, 3):

Canon

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO HSM Large Aperture Macro Zoom (Canon) and for (Nikon)

Rating – 83%

Description – while this lens came in last of the three lenses reviewed – it was also the cheapest (winning the ‘value for money’ section with a 9/10). This lens doesn’t have any form of image stabilization/vibration reduction – which puts it at a disadvantage in darker shooting conditions – however it also lightens the lens – both in terms of price and actual weight which makes it a more practical option for many.

The other plus of this lens is that it can focus as close as 1 meter (40cm better than the Canon and 50cm better than the Nikkor) which can be very useful.

The downsides of this lens center more around image quality. Whilst it produces good images, they’re not as ‘tack sharp’ as the other two tested. It is also a touch noisier and slower than the others.

Here’s how this lens performs (sources 1, 2, 3):

Sigma

All three lenses were highly recommended by the reviewer.

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Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse

is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals.

He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

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