Canon Lens News

Just the MTF Charts: 70-200mm f/4 Zoom Lenses

Lensrentals.com continues to release new MTF charts for various prime and zoom lenses. This time, they test 70-200mm f/4 lenses from Canon, Nikon and Sony. The Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM does extremely well.

From Roger:

The conclusions here are pretty simple. If you shoot (or adapt) Canon EF mount lenses the Version II Canon 70-200mm f/4 IS II is excellent. It’s so good that you should only buy the 70-200mm f/2.8 version if you need f/2.8. (Since lots of people want the narrower f/2.8 depth of field for portraits or need all the light they can get for stop-motion action photography, the f/2.8 still will have lots of takers.) Check out all of the MTF charts at Lensrentals.com

Buy the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II | Rent the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II

mb66energy

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 18, 2011
1,294
200
Germany
www.MichaelBockhorst.de
Many thanks to Roger Cicala for doing these comparisons.

They make me confident, that my EF 4.0 70-200 i is not the worst choice because I use it most of the time @200mm. And I bought a 1 year old copy in nearly unused condition three years ago for 600 bucks.
But I know and will keep in mind if I use it with a high res (APS-C) camera the version ii might be a tad better @200mm and substantially better at the lower end so maybe I will upgrade later. But for the moment I am relaxed and just that was worth the reading!
 

koenkooi

EOS 7D MK II
Feb 25, 2015
494
293
Many thanks to Roger Cicala for doing these comparisons.

They make me confident, that my EF 4.0 70-200 i is not the worst choice because I use it most of the time @200mm. And I bought a 1 year old copy in nearly unused condition three years ago for 600 bucks.
But I know and will keep in mind if I use it with a high res (APS-C) camera the version ii might be a tad better @200mm and substantially better at the lower end so maybe I will upgrade later. But for the moment I am relaxed and just that was worth the reading!
My 70-200 F4L (non IS) has developed a problem in the manual focus ring, it slips between the middle two thirds of the range. Autofocus is still perfect. These MTF charts give me confidence that the 70-200F4L IS II will give me sharper images at 200mm when I get round to replace the old one.
 

Ale_F

6D - 7D
Nov 22, 2018
45
32
The focus slip affect most of the IS mkI version and some non IS version (rare). Practically is a lab - forum joke, because I never seen a problem with AF in real life. I also tried a very bad lens but in AF it still works. The only problem I found is in a perfect vertical position with a very bad lens. I think this is one of the reason for the building of the mkII version.
 

koenkooi

EOS 7D MK II
Feb 25, 2015
494
293
The focus slip affect most of the IS mkI version and some non IS version (rare). Practically is a lab - forum joke, because I never seen a problem with AF in real life. I also tried a very bad lens but in AF it still works. The only problem I found is in a perfect vertical position with a very bad lens. I think this is one of the reason for the building of the mkII version.
Aha! With the lens a horizontal position it's not that severe, but I tested it in a almost completely vertical position so I could run the focus down a 3 meter long chain that holds the lights. I was lying flat on the ground to get the most distance to the ceiling, which is about 5.5m/18ft high.
 

Codebunny

EOS M50
Sep 5, 2018
38
18
Looks fantastic, I use my 70-200mm f4.0 a lot when I want a lighter lens than the 300 f2.8. I find I only use it at 200mm so I think rather than upgrade to this, I'll go for the 200mm f2.8 (which I wish had IS).
 

Berowne

... they sparkle still the right Promethean fire.
Jun 7, 2014
254
93
Did i miss something, is there a single MTF overlay chart comparing Canon/Nikon/Sony etc.

Cheers
Stuart
Roger does'nt make overlay-charts. He shows the comparisons in mirror charts, for instance canon to the right and Nikon to the left.
 
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mb66energy

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 18, 2011
1,294
200
Germany
www.MichaelBockhorst.de
My 70-200 F4L (non IS) has developed a problem in the manual focus ring, it slips between the middle two thirds of the range. Autofocus is still perfect. These MTF charts give me confidence that the 70-200F4L IS II will give me sharper images at 200mm when I get round to replace the old one.
I replaced the old non-IS variant which was great for 8 or 10 MPix cameras (APS-C) with the IS version mark i and it's a vast difference on 24 MPix sensors: The images are much crisper and the flare resistance (was a problem in a lot of photos for ME) is vastly improved:

So while the manual focus problem of your lens is a pitty you will profit vastly from the IS versions overall IQ advantage + the IS system which gives you additional sharpness/contrast with the same shutter speeds!
 

AlanF

Canon 5DSR II
Aug 16, 2012
5,758
3,112
I sold my 70-200mm f/4 L IS but kept my EF-S 55-250mm STM because it was sharper on my M5 but also because my 100-400mm II at 200mm was much sharper on FF. If you don't believe me, look at these charts from lensrentals (the top from lensrentals 4 years ago https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/08/canon-100-400-is-ii-mtf-and-variation-tests/where they wrote: "
Both the MTF and Consistency scores are just outstanding. The 100-400 has some of the highest consistency scores of any zoom lens we’ve ever tested. It waxes the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS II lens, for example, having far less copy-to-copy variation.

To give you an idea of just how excellent the MTF is on this lens, I’ll put the MTF of the 100-400 IS Mk II side-by-side with the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS II lens. Now remember, the 100-400 has the advantage of being shot at f/5 here. The 70-200 f/2.8 would have better MTF curves stopped down. The point here is that the 100-400, while not able to compete in aperture with the 70-200, certainly does compete in resolution. And the 70-200 IS II is one of the sharpest zooms made."

200mmcomp.jpg
200mm-f4-comps.png
 
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bod

EOS T7i
Dec 5, 2013
55
7
I don't think it's emphasized enough how much lighter the f/4 is compared to the f/2.8... That's why I chose it! (that and, uh, less money).
I agree. The light weight of the f4 zoom combined with its excellent IQ is the reason I have it rather than the f2.8.
Also I would highlight the shorter MFD of the f4 IS II which was the primary reason that caused me to upgrade from the f4 IS I.
 
Jun 16, 2019
3
1
I am debating on getting the 70-200 f4 is or the 70-300 IS USM ii. I want a general telephoto lens especially for landscapes and sports (Mountainbiking) but maybe also some wildlife if I run across it. Which would you choose?
 

Codebunny

EOS M50
Sep 5, 2018
38
18
I am debating on getting the 70-200 f4 is or the 70-300 IS USM ii. I want a general telephoto lens especially for landscapes and sports (Mountainbiking) but maybe also some wildlife if I run across it. Which would you choose?
I would go for the 70-300 if wildlife is even remotely involved. 200 is just too short for most subjects fox sized and below.
 

Memirsbrunnr

EOS 80D
Nov 19, 2017
111
60
54
Denmark
In conclusion buy them both....... the F4 for during the day and walk-around, the f2.8 for indoors, portraits, sports and low light..:unsure: Is my distillation of his recommendations correct?:cool: