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On Amazon, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras is $2500 whereas the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras is a mere $1400. Why is there such an important price difference? I'm saving to buy the cheaper one; should I wait, save more money and buy the "better" one?

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I mean, the difference is over $1000... –  the.midget Apr 18 '12 at 6:43

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Adding to to the answer above it has to be mentioned that a zoom lens benefits significantly from the Image stabilizer. I own the IS lens and can tell you that the effect is very strong, specially if you use a 1.4 or higher extension on the lens.

The price difference is given by the fact that the non-IS lens you listed here is much older (its the first, not the II model) AND lacks the image stabilizer. You should read reviews of all 4 lenses (IS vs. non-IS, I vs II) To see how big the quality difference is and if it matters to you. If you look for example at the lens flare comparison, the older lenses perform MUCH worse than the new ones, similar for contrast.

In general, I can only recommend to never save on a lens, specially the L lenses since they last for a very long time and are more important than having a good camera in my opinion. You will change bodies over the years more often than throwing out a lens and getting the successor model.

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Note: There are only three lenses. There is no version II of the non-IS lens. –  Lindydancer Apr 18 '12 at 8:14
    
Ah sorry, misread something. Thanks for clearing that up –  uncovery Apr 18 '12 at 9:36

To start with IS and II are two different things. The II indicate that this is the second-generation 70-200/2.8 IS.

IS means "image stabilizer", i.e. a system that reduces hand-shake. This system will allow you to take sharp pictures with a lot longer shutter speed. However, it doesn't do you any good if the subject moves...

If you need it? There is no way to tell.

An alternative would be a used 70-200/2.8 IS, i.e. the first generation. This is cheaper than the II version, but most users would not notice any difference in image quality.

Also, if you think that the ISfeature is more important than aperture, you could also consider the 70-200/4 IS. This lens is way lighter and smaller yet delivers great pictures.

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If you are planning on using the latest 2x converter with the lenses, the latest II have remarkably improved image quality when closely looking at the result. If you are not looking to do this to get a 'cheap' 140-400 lens as well, then the image quality differences will be less important to you –  Dreamager Apr 18 '12 at 10:26
    
I can also vouch for the amazing quality of the f4 IS which I have, but this won't be as usable with a 2x converter as it won't be able to auto focus –  Dreamager Apr 18 '12 at 10:27

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