Review: Canon RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM by CameraLabs

HMC11

Travel
CR Pro
Sep 5, 2020
22
12
Good review, fair and balanced. Can't quibble with any of his observations.

Have mine on order - looking forward to size and weight. Planning on using it as the alternative lens in my 2 lens/camera set ups - 16-35F4 & 70-200F4 for landscapes & 400 DO II or 100-400 and 70-200 for wildlife. I'd have gone for the 70-200 F2.8 if I was still doing indoor sports and I have the 85 F2 for occasional portraits so the F4 fits my use case perfectly. Suspect it'll be a step up from my 70-200 F4 non-IS which was my first L lens back in the day.

I have pretty similar considerations for travel, but would probably pair a 15-35 f4 with the 70-200 f2.8 instead. While this combination is about 400g heavier and that the f2.8 is bigger, it allows for portrait shots of family members (which is essentially a 'requirement' :)). This would save having to carry a 85 f2 prime. Besides, based on Gordon Laing's review, it looks like the 2.8 produces a shade better overall IQ at the same aperture.
 
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Antono Refa

EOS R
Mar 26, 2014
1,249
407
Canon definitely had a different strategy for its RF 70-200s than what it had with EF or what Nikon has done with with its Z 70-200. Gone are compatibility with extenders and constant length, and instead what Canon produced were variable length lenses that are compact and lighter. I think I like the tradeoff that Canon made. Even with the EF variants, I rarely used extenders with the 70-200s. If I needed more reach, I chose the 100-400.
I don't use >200mm often enough to justify spending >$2,000 on another white lens. Moving to Nikon Z looks that much more attractive.
 
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davidcl0nel

Canon 5D3, 17 TSE, 35 IS, 100 L, 70-200 2.8 IS II
Jan 11, 2014
149
14
Berlin
www.flickr.com
Gordan Laing makes good videos. He is not the guy with steroids as other "photographers" flooding early reviews of new stuff...
But everyone has the audience....
 

Pierre Lagarde

Canon, Nikon and So on ...
Aug 4, 2020
41
44
France
www.deviantart.com
Damien Bernal covers the vignetting at 200. Good review, en Francais, but the the pictures tell the story. About 8 minutes in. C'est la vie.

Overall he is also very positive about the RF f4. If my French is not misleading me.
Right, he especially points out better ergonomics than on the F/2.8 version (better rings arrangement, in his opinion). Vignette looks better on the F/4 version. Stabilization is also a tad better. He didn't find any significant optical difference at comparable focal length + aperture in normal conditions. Colors are a bit warmer on the F/2.8.
The F/4 version's bokeh may be a tad more "nervous". And flare is a bit more present too.
Fot the rest, to him, it's mainly a question of price/size/weight/usage of F/2.8 aperture, which is quite a similar conclusion to the one of the guy at CameraLabs.

Cheers
 
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SteveC

R5
CR Pro
Sep 3, 2019
2,136
2,020
For me, I suspect that buying the RF 70-200 f/4L would be a sure-fire way to get a variety of indoor sports assignments that would be better-served by the f/2.8. :cautious:

Oh, Murphy's Law works for you too then? :ROFLMAO:
 
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stevelee

FT-QL
CR Pro
Jul 6, 2017
1,894
685
Davidson, NC
I have pretty similar considerations for travel, but would probably pair a 15-35 f4 with the 70-200 f2.8 instead. While this combination is about 400g heavier and that the f2.8 is bigger, it allows for portrait shots of family members (which is essentially a 'requirement' :)). This would save having to carry a 85 f2 prime. Besides, based on Gordon Laing's review, it looks like the 2.8 produces a shade better overall IQ at the same aperture.
But in travel pictures of family, don't you want the locale to be obvious rather than a blur? Or did you just mean that you'd use the camera at home for portraits as double duty? In that case, for a lot less money, you could get the f/4 zoom and some prime lens for portraits, one that opens wider than f/2.8.
 

HMC11

Travel
CR Pro
Sep 5, 2020
22
12
But in travel pictures of family, don't you want the locale to be obvious rather than a blur? Or did you just mean that you'd use the camera at home for portraits as double duty? In that case, for a lot less money, you could get the f/4 zoom and some prime lens for portraits, one that opens wider than f/2.8.
An F2.8 allows for the option to have nicer bokeh. To capture a sharper background, it is possible to stop down, and/or focus at the hyperfocal distance.
 

mkamelg

EOS R
Feb 1, 2015
49
26
Poland
Maybe I missed it but he hasn't covered vignetting, chromatic aberrations and distortion at all. Strong vignetting is a weak point of some of the new RF lenses.
If you and others want to know almost everything about this lens, take a look at the review published on the South Korean portal popco.net. In my opinion, they make the best lens reviews in the Internet outside of YouTube. I used Google translator to translate the headings of the individual pages from Korean to English.

1.디자인&조작 (Design & operation)

2.렌즈 활용&촬영 (Lens utilization & shooting)

3.해상력&광학 성능 (Resolution & optical performance)

4. 원본 샘플 (Original sample)
 
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HMC11

Travel
CR Pro
Sep 5, 2020
22
12
And you might get even nicer bokeh with the cheap f/1.8 prime.
While that could be true, an image depends on more than just bokeh. I have compared the 85 f1.2 with the 85 f2, and found that I prefer the overall rendering of the former. I guess a good photographer would be able to use the latter such that images from it would appeal as much as those from the f1.2 to most people; but, alas, I am not so good and only sort of improving incrementally. Besides, I was trying to find a good travel combo, and would prefer 2 zooms without having to bring along a prime - not so much the weight, but trying to keep lens switching to a minimum.
 
Feb 7, 2013
103
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I really like his reviews. He always seems to take a sober look what he's testing without getting too caught up in hype.

Good and fair review; horses 4 courses on this one. For £1600 option is to pick up the compact F4 70-200 (bearing in mind no TC can be used with it) vs the excellent sharp EF MK 2 70-200 F4 £1200 which can use EF TC's extending range of lens to 98-280 F5.6 or 200 -400 F8.
 

stevelee

FT-QL
CR Pro
Jul 6, 2017
1,894
685
Davidson, NC
While that could be true, an image depends on more than just bokeh. I have compared the 85 f1.2 with the 85 f2, and found that I prefer the overall rendering of the former. I guess a good photographer would be able to use the latter such that images from it would appeal as much as those from the f1.2 to most people; but, alas, I am not so good and only sort of improving incrementally. Besides, I was trying to find a good travel combo, and would prefer 2 zooms without having to bring along a prime - not so much the weight, but trying to keep lens switching to a minimum.
I was addressing two things, since I wasn’t sure which you meant. The fast prime was for portraits around home. For travel portraits, which I see as a positive alternative to selfies, isn’t the point that it shows that the person is at this remote/beautiful/exotic spot? In that case blurring out the beach/volcano/mountain seems to be counterproductive, and thus calling for stopping down.
 

HMC11

Travel
CR Pro
Sep 5, 2020
22
12
I was addressing two things, since I wasn’t sure which you meant. The fast prime was for portraits around home. For travel portraits, which I see as a positive alternative to selfies, isn’t the point that it shows that the person is at this remote/beautiful/exotic spot? In that case blurring out the beach/volcano/mountain seems to be counterproductive, and thus calling for stopping down.
It's for travelling. However, blurring out the background for travel photos would be desirable in various situations, particularly at crowded scenic spots where it would be hard to avoid distractions, or when such effects are intended (by me). So having the option to do both would be good for me.
 
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