Canon has one upped itself with the 70-200IS II. The original lens, or the IS, was introduced in 2001 as a magnificent leader in its class. As a professional use model, it followed the Canon tradition of setting the standard for brilliant photographs. Even since the appearance of the new lens, the forefather has been highly regarded by pros internationally. And while it may be hard to believe that the brand favorite could be made even better’s exactly what Canon did when they introduced the ISII.
The Coming Age of the IS
In 2010, the original IS was retired. However the platform itself was not discarded. Improving on the original design, Canon developed some unique changes, altering the initial format in only calculated ways that would leave the lens’ trademark origins intact. The primary differences between the old lens and new, reside in the lens’ optics. While the parent lens had 23 elements in 18 groups, the ISII places 23 elements in each of 19 groups. They both use UD elements, however, the younger version includes 5, while the old uses only 4. Both use USM technology. USM stands for UltraSonic Motor. The ISII is noted as being quieter, though.
The weight difference in the pair will most certainly be noticed. 200 grams separates them with the newer model also being the heavier. They share the same amount of F stops, but overall focus is considered better in the upgraded edition. The close focus is shorter by half a foot in the ISII.
The price point is a matter of significant variance between the lens models as well. An average of 700 to a thousand dollars separates the new in box model of the ISII and the original IS, which can only be found for sale as used, since it’s retirement. While, the sharpness of the older model was considered to be very good by professionals, the ISII has been given the rating of “extremely good” within similar reviews. The distortion variant on the newer model has also been improved. The dark-out and shading issues that the predecessor had (which were very minimal), have been resolved, creating a crisper final image.
Finally, and to some, most importantly, is the improvement on the IS (image stabilization) itself. The image stabilization ability of the original lens was wonderful and considered the best available in its class by many pros. Canon wanted to make it even better on the updated model. Reports by the second generation IS users indicate that this feature has been upgraded as much as 20 percent.