The Canon 70-200mm f2.8 II is a lens I’ve always wanted to own. If you have a crop sensor camera like the Canon 7d then the 70-200mm ends up being a 112-320mm  equivalent. I’ve had more then one chance to play around with it, and a few times I’ve actually been able to take it out for a day. At 200mm (320mm equivalent) f2.8 gives you a very shallow depth of field and the built in IS does a great job of keeping the lenses stable, the auto focus feels fast and smooth, the build feels great and everything about the lens screams buy me.

Sure you could pick up a lens like the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 and you’ll end up saving around $800 with the same focal length, but once you’ve handled the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 and the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 you’ll understand the difference in feel. I wish I’d been able to handle both of these lenses at the same time, but sadly I spent a day with the Canon one weekend and a day with the Sigma another weekend.  I can’t set them side by side, but even with the weekends between lenses It really seemed like the focus on the Canon 70-200mm out preformed anything I was able to get with the Sigma.

Both lenses are very large and I don’t normally enjoy the look of a white lens, but the feel of the Canon 70-200mm was a step up from the Sigma, the focus rings moves smoother, the IS switch feels better and over all the image quality of the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 II seemed to be better. When I say “better” for the most part I mean auto focus, it seemed like no matter what I tried the Sigma would always end up giving me a soft image. With the Canon 70-200mm it seemed like almost ever shot I took was ultra sharp.

Tamron also makes a 70-200mm f2.8 model that I haven’t had a chance to play around with, so I have no idea how it stacks up against these other lenses. Tamron’s offering is around $400 less then Sigma’s and I think I might need to find a someone who is willing to let me play around with it.

The Canon 70-200mm f2.8 II feels nice and does a great job, but I wonder, once the honey moon is over, will I just go back to using my favorite prime lenses and have something like the 70-200mm lens wasting space in my bag. It’s hard to imagine packing light with a lens that weighs over 3 pounds and adds 12 plus inches to your camera body.

I might have to rent all three of these lenses for a week and give them a full set of tests before I decide to spend my tax return on a lens in this price range. The thought of switching over to Ramen Noodles for a few months didn’t seem like a bad idea when I held the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 in my hand. Maybe I’ll hunt around for a and get the price down around the cost of Sigma’s offering.

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