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70-200 2.8 IS II vs original IS???


I know this has been beaten to death probably somewhere in this forum but here is my dilemma:


I just bought brand new Canon 6D, a new Canon flash, a new Canon 400MM 5.6 L lens, so I've spent a couple of $$ recently.


I own a:

  • Canon 24-70 2.8
  • Canon 70-200mm 2.8 (redundant, just happen to still own it)
  • Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS
  • Canon 2X extender 2

Is the 70-200mm 2.8 IS II that much better than the original IS?

I can probably sell the 2 originals and make enough money to buy the II outright, but I just don't know if it's that much better.



I shot mostly bands and wildlife (occassional low light, fast action).













I never tested by myself the original IS version, but the 2.8L IS II USM is awesome, and amazingly sharp even wide open.


Comparing some reviews on internet there is a difference in image quality, also in the AF accuracy and IS performance. I really suggest you to do some research before taking your final decision.


If you don't really need two 70-200 2.8, then I'd suggest selling them and getting the latest version.


Latest lenses + latest cameras (like 5D3, 1DX, etc) with good AF system achieve faster and more accurate focus (that's a technical matter managed by Canon AF improved system)


Just a note: the latest version (70-200 2.8L IS II USM) , as many other zoom lenses (I don't know if the older version is) is not parfocal, so if you focus at 200mm and pull zoom to 70mm (or vice-versa) you have to adjust focus. Of course the AF will do it for you without any problem, but it's something that's not always mentioned out there. This applies to many L zooms as well.


I found this a bit annoying when shooting video, since I can't zoom in or out while shooting without loosing focus (or making very difficult adjustments while doing it).


I'm almost sure (already sold it) that my previous 70-200 f/4L IS USM was parfocal and didn't have this "problem". Anyway I'm very glad with the 70-200 2.8L IS II USM, it's an amazing lens.


Hope this helps,



HD Cam Team
Group of photographers and filmmakers using Canon cameras for serious purposes. | |


First off let me say, My 70-200mm f2.8 Mk II is my favorite lens of all time. And I have been into photography for 40 years. But if I already had the 70-200mm f2.8 first edition, I doubt I would spend the extra bucks on the Mk II.

You need to ask the question, “What is good enough?”. Is the Mk II better, absolutly, but just think, the first one is better than 75% of the average persons camera/lens combo.

In my case I went from the 70-200mm f4 so the step up was far better. I don't want to try and talk anyone out of buying one because it is probably the best 70-200mm ever made, but you need to accurately calculate your requirements.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!


The Mk2 is incredible.  So much so that part of the reason I bought a full-frame body when I did was so that I could get more use out of my 70-200 f/2.8 mk.2.  It was just a little too long for a crop body in most situations.  Now on the FF body, it drops down into the long end of "walk-around" territory.  The colors and sharpness are incredible.  It gives the most beautiful results of any of my lenses, even when not seriously trying.


Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?


I own the version 2 and still own the version 1 which I've had for several years.  In a nutshell, yes the lens is that much better than the earlier version copy that I have.  The 2 is much sharper than the earlier version plus the IS is better as well.  The new one is sharper at f2.8 than my old one is at any aperture and I don't consider it a bad lens; just average for that version.

Currenly using R5 and R7 mostly plus a variety of Canon RF and EF lens...


Without question.  The Mark II version is much beter than the original.


I have owned and used every version (both f/4 and f/2.8) of that lens that Canon has made.  I spent the money to upgrade from the original to the Mark II version and never regretted it for a second.  It was probably some of the best money I have spent for photo gear.


I shoot approxiamately 20,000 motocross images per season and my 70-200 f/2.8L IS II pretty much lives on my 1D Mark IV during that time.  I also use it for a great many other things.


It is crazy sharp, super accurate AF, fast and has an incredible IS.  The color and contrast are outstanding.  The image quality delivered by that lens rivals my 300 f/2.8L IS.


They will have to pry the lens from my cold dead hands.



Definitely, the new lens has all the attributes mentioned above. Previous one was fine but no more. A must have if using the 5DIII; this camera can really show lens flaws.