Geeky Stuff Photography

Lens of the Week: Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS

That's a biiiiiiig lens!

Every weekend this summer, I am going to try and rent a new lens to expand my portfolio and inspire myself to take more dynamic shots. This week I rented for the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS zoom lens. What a beautiful piece of glass. Super slick for the entire range, great dof, and simply money at the top end of the zoom. This lens can do a lot and is awesome for capturing sports/action shots, wildlife, candid people picks, and portraits.

Inspired by Scott Bourne’s wildlife photography, I spent hours trekking about in search of wildlife. I did come across a seal, a beaver, and a skunk, but those animals were much to sneaky to get a decent shot of them from a distance. I think I need to invest in some serious gumboots and really get in the muck. The only creatures I could get up close and personal with were some silly seagulls, who for pretty pesky birds were super fun to watch.

Friendly Seagull

Also, I snapped some shots of some little Polish Dancer girls who were waiting to perform at the Kitsilano Showboat.

red boots 6/365

Polish Dancer Girls

And then this dude just bike past looking so summertime funky, I just had to take a shot.

summertimes are funky

I completely fell in love with this lens, I fondly nicknamed this super huge lens, “The Beast”. My arms and back are seriously aching today from lugging him around for 3 days of “magic hours” in a row. I spent so much time waiting for magic hour, I half expected to run into Michael Bay, his sleek power mane glowing in the warm soft light, yelling profanities at his hapless crew. “More debris you a–holes!”

I’ll be uploading my other sweet shots to my 700-200 flickr photoset tomorrow.

Thanks for all your suggestions and keep ’em comin! I think next week I’ll either go for the 10-22mm f/3.5 or a fixed wide angle. I’d like to do some Vancouver cityscapes.

And I encourage you to rent new lens next weekend with me!

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    June 30, 2008 at 2:44 AM

    Jesus! That’s a big ass lens. you should become a pap for a weekend. :)

  • Reply
    June 30, 2008 at 4:02 AM

    Nice shots. I need to find a place near me that rents lenses. I’d love to get my hands on the 70-200mm f/2.8. The red boots shot is awesome. Great color.

  • Reply
    Nathan Coffey
    June 30, 2008 at 4:53 AM

    How much would a lens like that cost to purchase? (US Dollars please)

  • Reply
    June 30, 2008 at 7:05 AM

    70-200mm f4 IS is half the weight.

  • Reply
    June 30, 2008 at 7:31 AM

    I love that shot of the bike.. Got a very old-school lazy summer feel too it, with a little Lomo thrown in.. I’m looking forward to the rest of this experiment :)

  • Reply
    June 30, 2008 at 8:23 AM

    Oooooh, that lens is total hotness. Your expression holding the rig is classic.

    @Nathan: Retail for this lens usually hangs around the $1600 mark on the high end.

  • Reply
    Duane Storey
    June 30, 2008 at 6:20 PM

    Actually, that lens is closer to $2500 last time I checked. The non-IS one is around $1500.

    I’ve rented the 10-22mm. I didn’t really like it. It’s so wide as to be not usable. It’s fun for drama shots, but I’m not sure how useful it would be in a kit. I’d recommend the 85mm f/1.2L.

  • Reply
    June 30, 2008 at 6:53 PM

    You will find it a lot easier to get those nature shots if you get hold of a longer zoom. 300+ mm will make your life a lot easier.

    A friend of mine bought a fixed 800 mm lens a while back and he’s taken some awesome photos with it. Since you are so far away, the animals aren’t bothered by you so you can snap away without them flying/running off.

    Of course an image stablised 800 mm lens would be absorbantantly expensive, but the non IS ones aren’t quite so bad.

  • Reply
    Duane Storey
    July 1, 2008 at 10:32 AM

    An 800mm lens is crazy heavy and expensive. I saw a few people with them at the Junos.
    Also, bear in mind that a 200mm lens on a 1.6x crop factor Canon (like the XTi) actually seems like a 320mm lens.

  • Reply
    July 1, 2008 at 10:55 AM

    If you think that’s a heavy lens, you should come with me and do a entire day of plane shooting using a 1D Mark2 + a canon 600mm f4L IS (9 hours shooting, hand held, with a couple hundred people always bumping into you and steeping in you’re toes…). That’s almost 7Kg of equipment in you’re hands (15,4 pounds) and a backpack with a Canon 20D + 17-55 + 8mm fisheye + 70-200 + 1,4x TC + 2 extra battery’s + 2 flash + a much needed and appreciated bottle of fresh water… By the end of the day you can hardly feel any part of you’re body…

  • Reply
    July 1, 2008 at 11:00 AM

    Forgot to add this…

    Good things about it: you get VIP access to the air force base, get nice photos and get to use equipment that a “normal” every day working human being can’t afford to buy….

    Bad things about it: you can’t use the photos anywhere (paid jobs do have some restrictions…), and by the end of the day you feel like you’ve been in a 90 round full contact fight…

    Some times i fell like even the air on my head hurts….

  • Reply
    Roland Hulme
    July 1, 2008 at 12:27 PM

    Is that a Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS zoom lens or are you just REALLY REALLY REALLY pleased to see me?


    (**i’m childish**)

  • Reply
    Mostly Lisa
    July 1, 2008 at 2:05 PM

    @Pasquale — chomp.

    @Dan — I’m totally on the hunt for Jessica Alba.

    @Cecil — def rent that lens. so awesome.

    @Nathan — ask google. jeeeeeeez. prob aboot $1400-1600 for the IS version. ha! i was right @Erwin already answered. oh but @Duane says $2500. just google it. gosh.

    @Stephen — but f/4??? need the 2.8ness.
    @Jonic — i’m totally getting all experimental with lens flare and faux lomoness. check out my other faux lomo shots here.

    @Duane — good call. i’ll check that out.

    @Ryan — don’t know if they rent anything that huge. i’ll ask though. dunno if i can cart that around. =0

    @duane — exactly.

    @Joao — whoa! that’s some serious gear you’ve got. do you have the photos up anywhere?

    @Roland — sooo original =P

  • Reply
    July 2, 2008 at 4:53 AM

    Um, those dancing girls, awesome pic, however just to correct they are not Polish, those are native Ukrainian outfits.

  • Reply
    July 2, 2008 at 3:27 PM

    Ha! My wife has that same lens… also dubbed “The Beast”.
    Apparently it’s a suiting name.

  • Reply
    July 3, 2008 at 8:56 AM

    That’s the one I rented for Canadians this year. 5 straight loooong days of holding that thing up was brutal, but worth it for the great shots that I got.

    Looking forward to seeing what you get with a wider-angle. Right now, I think top priority is upgrading to “The Beast” (I use the fixed 200mm/2.8L now, which is great – except when I shoot smaller events and I’m standing at the boards), but after that, I reallly want something with a wide angle. I just bought a 28-300 this month for travelling, but I’d love to have something even wider.

  • Reply
    July 3, 2008 at 12:57 PM

    @Lisa – From the planes, not at the moment… I can’t put them on my on-line gallery because i’m not allowed to do that… (stupid contract rules…)

    But i will scan some that were published on a couple of magazines, and i’ll post a link to that later.

    I can give you a example of a nice day’s work condition so that you can have a idea about some “normal” work conditions…

    Photo result ->

    My spot ->

    (Legend: 1 – My backpack with a couple of lenses 2 – my monopod/walking stick 3 – my spot and the little brick wall where i would hide and protect myself from projected rocks)

    My backpack when i was finished (remember, the original color of the backpack is black…) ->

    Found 2 from the planes that i can post without a problem.

    This one is from the Portuguese Navy, flying a Westland Super Navy Lynx MK95, doing a search and rescue demonstration. I toke this photo with out looking, since i was getting so much water thrown into my eyes that i could hardly see 1 feet in front of me…

    This one is from the French Team Guinot, witch is a “sky walking” demonstration team.

  • Reply
    Derek K. Miller
    July 5, 2008 at 9:04 PM

    Where are you renting from? Beau Photo? Leo’s?

    I saw some bird photographers with silly-big lenses (and tripods) at Burnaby Lake a couple of months ago. Like this guy (camo on the lens even):

    And there I was, walking around with my Nikkor 50mm f/1.8…

  • Reply
    Jauder Ho
    July 6, 2008 at 11:30 PM

    The 70-200mm lens is great and crazy sharp. If you need a bit more reach, you can add the 1.4x teleconverter. That along with the 1.6x of the body should give you some decent reach.

    I used to own the 10-22mm and loved it. It takes some very nice pictures.

    Here are some examples.

  • Reply
    My first photography subject: Jessie Farrell |
    August 4, 2008 at 1:20 AM

    […] also blame the Canon 70-200mm IS f/2.8 lens I rented again. It has such a delicious sweet spot that makes me swoon when I hit it. Wait. That sounded bad. […]

  • Reply
    Mostly Lisa Photo tip: Turning Blah into Beautiful |
    November 17, 2008 at 4:27 PM

    […] try to rent different lenses for my dSLR as much as possible. I find it a great way to explore photography and keep myself […]

  • Reply
    June 7, 2009 at 10:44 PM

    I just got the 70-200 2.8 IS a week ago. It is one of the best lenses Canon makes hands down. I bought it new with Canon’s current rebate for like $1600 and some change with tax and all. Beautiful lens. You look good with it to!

  • Reply » Blog Archive » My Photographic Journey
    December 28, 2009 at 12:52 PM

    […] one, I started renting lenses for specific shoots or just for fun. For $35, I could rent a $1500 70-200mm IS f/2.8 for an entire weekend. I rented everything from wide angles to macro lenses to honking zooms, […]

  • Reply
    September 22, 2010 at 12:56 PM

    @Duane Storey: FAVORITE LENS EVER = 10-22mm!!! Its the only Ultra-wide angle for cropped sensors. If you find it “too wide” you don’t know how to use it properly. Yes the 85mm 1.2 is fun and nice (really nice) but it is a completely different lens. How does it even begin to compare?

  • Reply
    January 10, 2011 at 5:55 AM

    Not to mention half the price :P

  • Reply
    February 25, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    amazing photos, i love your work !

  • Reply
    June 23, 2011 at 8:09 AM

    love love love the 70-200 2.8, just wish wish wish i could afford to own one and not have to hire, beg & borrow one

  • Reply
    Photo tip: Turning Blah into Beautiful | Meyer's Landing
    November 8, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    […] try to rent different lenses for my dSLR as much as possible. I find it a great way to explore photography and keep myself […]

  • Leave a Reply