Lots of tripod love in this thread.
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The 200 f/2 is the portrait lens. The 135L is the closest thing to it for budget users.
I think you will find that the design brief for the 200 f2 was primarily lowlight and shorter long focal length sports, that it is used very effectively for portraits by some is a complimentary use for it. Certainly if you want to see ten or fifteen 200 f2's together just go to any ATP World Tour event. Canon made the 85 1.2 as a pure no holds barred portrait lens and considered AF of secondary importance to the "look" it gives.
I remember for years the sample images for the 300 f2.8 IS are head shots portraits, though nobody would doubt that portrait shooters are not the primary market for that lens! Though there are a few that use it, for instance I do, but primarily because I have one and don't need the 200 f2.
EDIT: Obviously the 200 f2.8 is the budget version of the 200 f2.
BTW, as an extra, i shots some crude tests with my UN-beloved 5D2 last night.
MIDTONE BANDING at iso 100 - it still has it! Real-world photos are where I first found the problem, specific test shots certainly replicate it. I need to do a few more tests just to make sure this is not a glitch of my display calibration curve but I'm pretty sure it isn't as I can accentuate the pattern with a simple unsharp function in PS.
Should i start a new topic with that when I get a chance?
You keep saying this but are always unable to post a photo illustrating it, whenever you are asked for one, or the percentage of your images you loose to it, you leave the thread.
Can we see some of these real world images that you consider unusable?