I recently had the pleasure of renting the Canon 70-200 2.8 L IS MK II from BorrowLenses.com. Like all their rentals – they try to provide everything that would have come with the item had you bought it. In this case that means a lens case, hood, front and rear caps, tripod mount ring, and they also throw on a UV filter for those that prefer them.
The very first thing you notice upon taking the lens out is the weight – a hefty 3+ pounds! My current heaviest lens is at a paltry 1+ pounds, so it was quite a dramatic difference for me. This was especially notable as I was renting it for a wedding, and knew I’d be hand holding the entire day. No tripod mount for me! At one point in the day I remember letting the lens hang at my side and shaking out my arm. I felt that sucker all through my bicep.
Next was the size. This certainly was the largest/longest lens I’d used and it felt solid. That’s what an L lens is about though – and why they get a red ring to instantly stand them apart from other lenses. (For those who wondered – the L means Luxury.) They are very high quality, weather-proofed, and built to be a long haul lens for discerning professionals (or hobbyists with deep wallets).
The hood has a button you need to depress to remove/mount it on the lens, which I found nice. You knew that it wasn’t going anywhere after bumping around at your side for an hour. It also had a flocked black interior, to prevent light bounce causing flares.
Since the lens arrived on a Thursday afternoon, and I left early Saturday morning (with a day job on Friday to work), I didn’t get a whole lot of practice time with it. I basically just jumped in and started shooting. I was very pleased with the results. Sharp images at both ends and excellent bokeh results. I was able to get the close intimate shots without being annoyingly on top of my clients.
I shoot with a crop camera (30D and 50D) so my reach is slightly altered, but after years of shooting EF lenses on a crop sensor I easily compensate for it with footwork. I’ve never had any performance or quality concerns doing so, and that held up with this lens too.
Verdict – I LOVE this lens. It is everything everyone says it is, and the only thing keeping me from owning it is the hefty price tag that goes with it. . . $2500 retail. If you’re doing this as a business and can make that money back, I say rent it and see if it is for you. Odds are you’ll have lens envy pretty quickly. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!