The Canon EF70-200mm F/2.8 L IS II USM is a must have for any wildlife photographer. Yes, its expensive, yes its heavy but the image quality it produces is fantastic.
I’m not going to go through all of the technical details of this lens – you can get that anywhere on the internet, but I’ll explain its main benefits for a wildlife photographer.
When there isn’t much light and you need to get a fast shutter speed, you will want to set your camera to as wide an aperture possible. One of the best times of day for wildlife photography is sunrise and sunset so you’re often fighting the light to get a high shutter speed.
The f/2.8 aperture of this lens is ideal.
Important: The aperture can be set to F/2.8 at all focal lengths in the 70mm to 200mm range of this lens. Some lenses that say F/2.8 are only F/2.8 at their shortest focal length and often become F/5.6 at the longest focal length.
Fast, Silent Focusing
One of the absolute musts for a wildlife photographer is to have a lens that will be able to focus on a fast moving animal quickly and not lose focus as the animal moves. The Canon EF70-200mm F/2.8 L IS II USM does this extremely well – it focuses very quickly, very quietly and with amazing accuracy,producing a pin sharp image.
Four Stop Image Stabalization (IS)
When hand holding your camera if the shutter speed isn’t high enough then your image may end up blurred because your hand is shaking.
There is a rule of thumb to calculate the minimum shutter speed that you’ll need in order for hand-shake not to be a problem. This is calculated from the lens’s focal distance and your cameras crop factor.
Without going into detail with the technicalities, for a crop factor of 1.3 and focal length of 200mm (maximum for the Canon EF70-200mm F/2.8 L IS II USM without an extender):
Minimum shutter speed without IS: 1/500 s.
Minimum shutter speed with IS: 1/30 s.
This makes a big difference in low light! Don’t forget that this is the minimum shutter speed to prevent hand shake from blurring your image. If the animal is in motion, that’s a different story.
Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) taken with a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS lens
Exposure: 1/125s at f/2.8, ISO 400, Focal Length: 100mm
Lens: Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM, Camera: Canon EOS 350D
B&H are offering a good price for this lens. Over 1500 customers have scored it 5 stars out of 5 so you can’t go wrong.
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Pin sharp at any focal length – fantastic!
Internal focus and zoom
Everything in this lens is internal. If you zoom in or focus,the lens stays exactly the same size as all movement is internal.