Canon’s been making EF mount lenses for a long time and there are a lot of discontinued L series lenses that have been retired over the years. The older lenses are sometimes missing some of the new features like Full time manual focus or ultra sonic motors, but the build quality is still solid and the optics still do a great job.

An example of this is the L lens which was replaced by the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 in 1995. The 80-200 was a very popular lens over it’s 8 years of production and a lot of older photographers still have them stashed away in a camera bag somewhere, right next to their old from the early 90’s. It’s the type of lens you might talk your uncle into letting you have after helping him move across town.

Now that this lens is 2 generations behind Canon’s current lineup, you can often find it priced between $400 and $700 on the used market. If you manage to find it on the lower part of the scale it could end up being even less expensive then the Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 which clocks in at around $650.

There are a few things to keep in mind if you do end up finding the  abandon in a pawn shop somewhere. The first and probably most important thing to know is that this lens has problems with auto focus when using a Canon teleconverter, so you’ll have to give up your dreams of turning this into a 160-400mm with an EF 2x extender. This lens is also missing full time manual focus, which means no playing around with the focus ring while in auto focus mode. The other thing to keep in mind is that 80-200mm uses an older style of lens motor, not the USM models currently on the market today, which means the auto focus system isn’t as quiet as most of Canon’s current L series models.

None of these problems are deal breakers if the price is right, especially when you still get the solid metal build of an L series lens with a fixed f2.8 aperture. If you can find the priced under $500 you will most likely be more then happy to deal with it’s few short comings.

Special thanks to Bryan for the great shots of his L lens.

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