Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to test out Canon's EF200mm f/2L IS USM lens, which was first announced about a year ago. The lens is part of Canon's L (luxury)-series of lenses, and is targeted to photographers who need the blazing fast aperture of f/2, including those shooting indoor or outdoor sports, fashion runway photography or photographers who shoot other subjects in low-light.
The lens features an optical image stabilizer that offers up to four stops of stabilization correction. The lens is pretty hefty, you could theoretically shoot with it hand-held, but why would you? While shooting, I used a tripod, as you can see by the photo of the lens on an EOS 5D in the mountains of Yosemite National Park. Either a tripod or monopod would make shooting more comfortable than trying to hold the lens, since the lens itself weighs 5.6 pounds--especially if you're walking around an athletic field or standing in one spot for long periods of time. Shoot with an EOS 5D and it's a lighter combination than say, an EOS 1Ds Mark III or EOS 1D Mark III, but still, a lot to carry around.
The EF200mm f/2L IS USM lens uses 17 fluorite and UD lens elements in 12 groups for chromatic aberration correction. The lens utilizes a 52mm drop-in gelatin filter holder and a sizeable lens hood. With the lens hood on the lens, you almost double the length of the lens. The closest focusing distance of the lens is 6.2-feet, and the lens focuses in AF or manual modes. The AF focused quickly and accurately. The lens offers two image stabilization modes. The lens can be used with either extenders or extension tubes, if need be, although they'll degrade the image slightly.
The Canon EF 200mm f/2.0 L IS USM Lens offers a Focus Preset feature. You set the Focus Preset to a specific distance and when your shooting needs require that specific distance, you simply press the Focus Preset button to get back to it.
Shooting with this lens is an experience. The shear size of the lens might be intimidating to someone who isn't used to shooting with such equipment, but it is quite a gorgeous lens. Crisp, tack sharp, bright--are all words I'd use to describe the EF200mm f/2L IS USM. And when you're shooting with the lens wide open, it offers a beautiful, shallow depth of field.
The street price of this the Canon EF200mm f/2L IS USM is just over $5,000.00.
For more information on this or other Canon lenses, visit www.usa.canon.com