Earlier this month I wrote the article Canon’s Secret Weapon for Landscape Photography about their incredible EF 17-40mm f/4L USM ultra-wide zoom lens. Today I want to introduce you to two more Canon lenses that I love to use for landscape photography, the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM medium telephoto zoom and it’s image-stabilized brother, the EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM.
What’s that you say? What self-respecting photographer would use a medium telephoto zoom for “serious” landscape photography? Believe me when I tell you that these two gems in Canon’s lens lineup are darn near perfect for landscape work. In fact, most of my top selling posters and fine-art prints were shot with one of these two lenses and I’m not alone in this. Many of the most highly respected professional landscape photographers in the world today use one of these two lenses, and for good reasons.
Photo & charts courtesy and copyright © Canon
The build quality of these two lenses is nothing less than superb and the fact that they are Canon’s smallest and lightest medium telephoto zooms makes these ideal landscape lenses in the field. The ring-type USM (ultra-sonic motor) focuses very fast and silently. Both the focus ring and zoom ring are firm to the touch and spaced apart enough not to interfere with one another in use. The zoom function is completely internal (the barrel does not extend) and the focus is the same. Again, both of these features are ideal for landscape photography. The image quality from this lens is nothing less than superb and the optical design features a fluorite element and two ultra-low dispersion (UD) (ultra-low dispersion) glass elements.
However, the best feature of these two incredible landscape lenses is the price. At $600 (USD) for the standard version and only $1200 (USD) for the image stabilized version, they are less than half the price of their much more expensive cousin the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM II, priced at $2300 (USD). Yes, the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USm II is one full stop faster, but when was the last time you took a landscape shot with a wide open aperture? I generally shoot landscape shots with my 5D Mark II at f/16 or smaller to achieve the greatest depth of field possible.
Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 70 – 200mm f/4
Lens Construction: 20 elements in 15 groups
Focus Adjustment: Inner focusing system with USM & full-time manual
Closest Focusing Distance: ~ 4 feet
Zoom System: Internal Rotation
Filter Size: 67mm
Largest Diameter x Length and Weight: 3.0″ x 6.8″, 26.8 ounces