Gear of Yesteryear: DPReviewTV reviews the Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM

Canon Rumors Guy

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Here is a fun review of an epic Canon lens from the past. In this episode of Gear of Yesteryear, DPReviewTV reviews the Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM. To some, it is regarded as one of the best lenses that Canon has ever made, to others… well they still think it’s awesome.
The Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM is a relatively easy lens to come by, as they are regularly available on eBay. I purchased this lens used from the Fred Miranda forum for about $3000 USD. I didn’t need a mint copy and so the price was right.
These lenses can be repaired, there is a company in Michigan that can apparently rebuild the autofocus motors and make other repairs on it. Canon themselves won’t do any sort of repairs. So you need to know that going in, but these lenses are as reliable as any big white Canon L lens.
You can check out the sample gallery from the review here.
Canon EF...

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usern4cr

R5
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That's a great review! The images from this lens are beautiful with the smooth background blur.
Now, if only Canon would come out with a RF version of this lens, or other wide open (~90-110 mm entrance pupil) telephoto lenses ... ooooohhh! :p
 
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Darrell Cadieux

6D, 24-70 2.8 II, 70-200 2.8 II, 35, 85, 200 1.8
Cool little test. I have wondered how my 200 f1.8 would perform on an R5. I agree with their assessment of the colour saturation and contrast...it really is part of the magic of this lens. The lens is the same on my 6D. No where did it mention that they used the eye detection AF on the camera...so we don't know. And to that end, one thing I found a little confusing was that they said the lens focused on the eye lashes instead of the iris. It is the camera AF algorithm that selects the focus point...not the lens.
 

koenkooi

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Cool little test. I have wondered how my 200 f1.8 would perform on an R5. I agree with their assessment of the colour saturation and contrast...it really is part of the magic of this lens. The lens is the same on my 6D. No where did it mention that they used the eye detection AF on the camera...so we don't know. And to that end, one thing I found a little confusing was that they said the lens focused on the eye lashes instead of the iris. It is the camera AF algorithm that selects the focus point...not the lens.

The lens focus system might not be accurate/repeatable enough for this application. Canon never confirmed it, but things like the RF70-200 focus issue on launch strongly imply that the AF system is open loop, it doesn't confirm focus after the lens focussed to the distance the camera told it to focus at.

I would be nice if Canon offered an option to use DPAF to get the lens focussed quickly and then use the good old CDAF to fine-tune it.
 
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wtlloyd

EOS RP
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Good luck getting repair parts for it, if you can even find someone who will work on it. I loved my pristine late-year copy, but sold it to fund a 600 f/4.
It was awfully front-heavy, I understand the newish 200/f2 is much better in that regard.
 

Viggo

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Dec 13, 2010
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The only reason I keep the RF-EF adapter is if I decide to go for this or the 200 f2 again. Seeing the gallery at DPreview makes me want to get one again. To me, nothing comes close..
 

Canon Rumors Guy

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Good luck getting repair parts for it, if you can even find someone who will work on it. I loved my pristine late-year copy, but sold it to fund a 600 f/4.
It was awfully front-heavy, I understand the newish 200/f2 is much better in that regard.

There is a place in Michigan that can rebuild these lenses including the AF motors.
 

Otara

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Jul 16, 2012
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The lens focus system might not be accurate/repeatable enough for this application. Canon never confirmed it, but things like the RF70-200 focus issue on launch strongly imply that the AF system is open loop, it doesn't confirm focus after the lens focussed to the distance the camera told it to focus at.

I would be nice if Canon offered an option to use DPAF to get the lens focussed quickly and then use the good old CDAF to fine-tune it.

They also talked about increased haze and lower contrast, slower focus, and it being more about hit rate - given the increased distance as well, I wonder if it all combined a bit compared to the 85mm 1.2 RF she's used to.
 

dolina

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I was just rereading about this lens 13 hours before.

It was removed from Canon's product catalogue in 2003 and was selling for $3,400 of that time's money. This was when I got my first dSLR the EOS 10D. Manufacturing of that lens ended years earlier.

I've spoken to owners of this lens who also bought the 200/2.0 IS and they all consistently said that the 200/2.0 IS is a better buy even if it's 1/3 stop slower.

But for photogs who just run on numbers and not handled it practically the f/1.8 number on a 200mm is just mind blowing.

Here's my gallery of 200/2.0 photos

And an improvised lens cap.

Selecta Ice Cream by dolina, on Flickr
 
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usern4cr

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Sep 2, 2018
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The lens focus system might not be accurate/repeatable enough for this application. Canon never confirmed it, but things like the RF70-200 focus issue on launch strongly imply that the AF system is open loop, it doesn't confirm focus after the lens focussed to the distance the camera told it to focus at.

I would be nice if Canon offered an option to use DPAF to get the lens focussed quickly and then use the good old CDAF to fine-tune it.
Regarding eye AF, I hold down the button I assigned to "eye AF" which tracks the eye (and I assume continuously AF's on it) while I take photos. So it should be focusing continuously and I get great results. But it can't guarantee it is on the eye vs the eye lashes every time since it has a limited number of discreet AF spots and the eye iris & pupil often do not fall on the spot whereas the skin around them will then hit the point of focus.
 
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usern4cr

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I think I'd rather have the f/2L :LOL: (ok it's not a very fair comparison but still)
Hopefully we'll get a RF 200mm f2L eventually. I hope (and expect) it has a max. mag. closer to 0.25x or above (vs 0.12x in the EF version) since the RF designs often have much higher max. mag. values from their closer min. focus distances.
 

dolina

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Hopefully we'll get a RF 200mm f2L eventually. I hope (and expect) it has a max. mag. closer to 0.25x or above (vs 0.12x in the EF version) since the RF designs often have much higher max. mag. values from their closer min. focus distances.
Would be nicer if Canon offered a RF 200mm f/1.8 IS, 85mm f/1.0 IS and 50mm f/1.0 IS so it would have more than double digit for both lens and body.

Photos of this remarkable EF lens of two different owners

200mm f/1.8L USM by dolina, on Flickr

Pat Te Seng by dolina, on Flickr
 
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navastronia

EOS RP + 5D Classic
Aug 31, 2018
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I have always lusted after both of those versions and due to budgets, settled for the other 200, the 2.8L, which is no slouch itself. It made a great complement to the 135L, esp since I am not a fan of 70-200's.

Here, here! I quite like my slim, light, 200/2.8 L II, which I picked up for a very reasonable sum on Ebay this time last year.
 
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