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Is there really a difference? The Canon 70-200 f/2.8 and the 200mm f/2 lens

October 20, 20192 min read

For those with short attention spans: yes, there is a big difference.  But now onto to the real meat of the matter.

In the world of portraiture, especially outdoor portraiture, there is a strong following among those that really adore the bokeh of wide open apertures, and specifically the bokeh of 'fast' telephoto lenses like the Canon 200mm f/2 lens.

But we can't be alone in wondering this: is there that much of a difference between the 70-200 f/2.8 lens - a solid professional lens with fantastic performance, and the very heavy, very expensive 200mm f/2 lens.  

Not being the type of folks to rely on other's opinions of lenses, we decided to find out for ourselves.

We took the lenses out as part of a photographic "play date" of sorts - they kind where we film lots of content and snippets for the upcoming Outdoor Lighting course that will be released this Winter.  

And while we performed all sorts of hands on testing - testing that involved a running Belgian Malanois dog and ball - we did stop to create a few natural light portraits to show the out of focus backgrounds created by both lenses so we could show them to you side by side.

Is there a real difference?  One you can really see?  You judge!

The Canon 70-200 f/2.8 vs the 200mm f/2 lens

We see a huge difference!  Visually, the difference is striking.

Of course, this still might not be the lens for you and your work.  We will get into all of this is a separate video in The Master Lighting Course as part of the Outdoor Lighting program.  Sure, it isn't strictly about lighting, but it is one of those questions that comes up in our world all the time.  

And after all, that is what we do - we answer questions for working photographers!


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Bud Thorpe

Bud is a portrait artist, photographer, and educator with a gallery and studio in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He and his wife Kimberly Buccheri are the authors of The Master Lighting Course.

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