1) what you love about this lens?
2) what don't you like about this lens?
3) How many times did you return it before you get the right copy (I've heard the 24-70 is known to go through many returns before photogs are happy w/theirs, so I'd like to know if this is the case for the 70-200 f/2.8 as well)?
4) what price did you purchase your's for? what's a good price to get in now as it seems prices of lenses have gone up lately?
5) anything else you'd like to add...?
I haven't used this lens extensively yet as I just got it a few weeks ago, but I'm already loving it. I already have the 70-200 f/4 L IS which is another great lens, but I decided I wanted the extra stop for DOF control. I had a chance to use it during the Olympic torch relay recently. I got a couple of good shots although the runner passed by very quickly and the crowds make it difficult to get a clear view. The lens performed very well under these difficult circumstances. (I used the center AF point in AI servo mode on my 5D2.)
1. The focal length range is very versatile on FF, making this a great all-rounder for sports and action shots. It is fast enough to handle moderately low light, and the aperture is wide enough for portraits and blurred backgrounds. I'm looking forward to trying it with my 1.4X TC as the loss of IQ should be quite small. I find the combination of my 24-105 f/4L and a 70-200, plus the TC and an extension tube, covers most shooting situations in a compact and relatively light weight kit for travel photography.
2. The first thing that comes to mind is the MFD - it is noticeably greater than the 70-200 f/4 L, and it makes the lens significantly less useable for casual closeups. It is heavy, but I stood around for over an hour at the relay and didn't really notice it. I was using a Black Rapid strap, which helped. I find the weight most noticeable when it is in my camera bag (I think I must have weak shoulders!) Nobody seemed to find it conspicuous in the crowd, maybe because I was standing next to an ITV cameraman
3. I haven't returned it, it seems fine. I think it may be front focusing just a tad, so I will try AFMA. Partly I am just not used to the small depth of field at these focal lengths. With a cheap consumer lens at f/5.6 you get plenty of DOF, but at f/2.8 that is no longer the case.
4. I got mine for about $2,300 during the last round of Canon rebates. Sounds like I missed the lowest prices at the end of last year, but I didn't have the cash to buy it then. Although it is a pricey acquisition for an amateur, the lens has such a great reputation that it should be worth near what I paid if I ever need to sell it.
5. The build quality is simply fabulous! In short, it is good enough to replace a bag full of primes in most situations.