Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L

Second Edition

Canon discontinued production of this lens in 2004. This is one of the most outstanding 35mm lenses ever produced for indoor sports and performance photography. It performs extraordinarily well under reduced light or in situations where your subject needs to be isolated from a cluttered background. This lens is designed to be shot wide open and produces wonderfully sharp and high contrast images with diffuse blurring of background structure. It is also an excellent lens for wide-field astrophotography. The image field is flat with minimal distortion, even at the edges of the negative.

This lens has received the highest rating (4.8) of any lens tested by

Stopping the EF 200mm f/1.8L down doesn't appreciably increase resolution. Stopping down an EF 70-200 f/2.8L two stops increases resolution.
Testing Procedure for Resolution.

The EF 200mm f/1.8L has outstanding microcontrast (50% MTF) shot wide open.
The method for measuring 50% MTF is here. MTF values should only be compared within a review and not between reviews since conditions varied between lens reviews for this test parameter.

Examples of Images Produced with the EF 200 f/1.8 at f/2

Examples below demonstrate that narrow plane of focus of the EF 200mm f/1.8 L at f/2 with the EOS-1Ds and the outstanding blurring of background detail that would otherwise detract from gymnast images.

University of Florida's Savannah Evans in floor exercise at 2004 Super Six Challenge at the Univesity of Alabama. Note blurring of background crowd and coliseum detail.

Astrophotography with the EF 200mm f/1.8L

Rho Ophiuchus

Example of astrophotograph taken with the EF 200mm f/1.8L

Emission and reflection nebulas with dust lanes around Antares and globular cluster M-4 in Scorpius and Ophiuchus.

Equipment Review Index


© 2001-2005, William L. Castleman

First edition 27 December 2001, Second edition 2 January 2005; Last Update 15 September 2007