WTB: Canon EF 200/1.8L

Discussion in '[Classifieds] Want to Buy' started by David A. Goldfarb, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I seem to be doing a lot of shooting from the house in dark theaters this past year, so I've been on the lookout for one of these in good working order (autofocus not broken and hood attaches properly) with clean glass. Trunk case isn't a necessity, and I'm not too worried about the cosmetics of the barrel.
     
  2. j-dogg

    j-dogg Subscriber

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    There is one for sale on Craigslist here in Florida, in the South Florida section. It re-appears every couple of days. Might be worth a look.
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks for the tip. Might be the same one showing up on eBay from Florida lately.
     
  4. edlbear

    edlbear Member

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    I have this lens in very good condition. It has some minor wear marks on the tripod foot and body. Includes trunk and neck strap. Asking $3500. Can send photos if interested.
     
  5. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    honestly, unless you are looking for a BGN deal, go with the Ef 200/2, it's better in many meaningful ways. I've shot both, and while I enjoyed and respected the 200/1.8, with the 200/2, it's time has past.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'd be interested to hear more, Ed, since you've used both.

    Looking at images people have posted from both lenses, but no side-by-side comparisons of the same subject, my impression is that the 2.0 is going to be sharper handheld, thanks to IS, maybe on a tripod as well, but it's hard to tell that without a head-to-head test of a static subject. Out-of-focus rendering looks consistently smoother to me with the 1.8, and not because it's a faster lens, but because it's a different optical design. And 1/3 stop is 1/3 stop, and generally I'd rather have a faster lens on a tripod than a slower lens handheld with IS.

    1.8's seem to have a serious issue with the focus mechanism wearing out over time, which is a concern, and it seems like the 2.0 is better sealed. The 2.0 is also lighter, despite having more elements and IS. I don't know if the later version has better autofocus speed, but in general I don't use autofocus, so it's not a factor.

    Does this sound about right to you, and are there other issues you've noticed?
     
  7. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I'd be scared of the 200/1.8. Canon doesn't service them anymore, right? Does anybody? I'd hate to have that kind of money in a lens and have the AF break and be stuck with a dud.

    I've never really looked at these lenses, but what you post about the two lenses is the feeling I've gotten from reading over at fredmiranda over the years. But Lighter + IS + modern would make me think about the new one.

    This thread might be informative. Or not. FM can be hit or miss :smile:
    https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/733852/0&year=2009

    Oh, and if you aren't using AF, you might look into a Leica R 180/2. I bet that's a mighty nice lens, and *might* be going for a bit cheaper than they used to since the R is a dead system.
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks for the tips, Tim. I've looked at the Fred Miranda threads. The Leica 180/2 is interesting, and has come down in price, but the availability of adapters for it has still kept the price close to that of the new Canon 200/2.
     
  9. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    More info

    Here's some more thoughts.

    Re: 200/1.8

    As mentioned, canon won't work on these any more, as they have no parts. Some 3rd parties can and do still work on them, and have a parts stash, but it can be hit or miss. If the AF dies, the whole lens is basically useless since it's drive-by-wire focus. Other things that annoy me about the 200/1.8: overpriced, even now. If it was <$2k, I'd say take the chance but at $3500+ it's not worth it, even if it was better optically (it's not). Also, it's very front-heavy. When hand-holding, this is a pain. the 200/2 is better balanced. The hood for the 200/1.8 is huge, and doesnt' store reversed on the lens without a 3rd party lens foot (RRS, et al.). Speaking of that hood, don't break or lose it, as replacements are impossible to find and $500+ when one does show up, it seems.

    Many of these 200/1.8s were used by pros back in the day and got pretty beat. They were expensive when contemporary (mid-1990s), and somewhat under-loved at the time (sort of like the 50/1.0L was un-loved back then). Of course when discontinued, the value shot up and has remained high ever since.

    Re: 200/2 - the IS is worth at least 3-4 stops, which is ok as long as your subject has little motion. Frankly, I think the bokeh from both of them is great, but that's a subjective topic so it's hard to say if one may be regarded as better.

    I think the IS, plus weight balance, size, servicability, and optical superiority (in every measureable way, basically) puts the 200/2 as the better choice. The only downside is price. the 200/2 is not cheap. If a 200/1.8 could be sourced for $2k or less, that's about the break-even point in my mind with regards to risk vs. quality/usability vs. cost.

    Olympus also made a 180/2 for the OM system but both Canon 200s are significantly superior. If you can live with 2.8, the EF 200/2.8L is a great lens and a serious steal, price-wise vs. the 200/2 or 1.8.

    FWIW
    -Ed
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks, Ed. More to think about.
     
  11. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    The 135mm f/2 is my theatre lens, the poor man's 200mm f/2 I guess! An IS version has been rumoured for years but no sign of it still so I'm glad I bought mine instead of waiting forever as some seem to do for future lens rumours.
     
  12. Asher Kelman

    Asher Kelman Member

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    Will Thompson has both and I believe has taken a 200 i.8 apart! So he's one to talk to!

    Asher
     
  13. Asher Kelman

    Asher Kelman Member

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    David,

    I'm glad you are so busy. I have done a huge amount of work in dim light for music performances and ballet and can attest to the challenge. I find that under-exposing 1-2 stops at ISO 1600 and then recovering the highlights works well with my Can 5DII. Stage lighting that appears great to the stage production folk, is often very harsh and over contrasty for photography with rapid gradient from over-exposure to horrible shadows. With digital workflow using Capture One, very good results can be had shooting at f4.0-5.6. Only rarely do I use f 2.8 as the DOF tends to be too limited for more than a few people moving on stage.

    So I don't think that f2.0 is needed. The 70-200 2.8 L works so well and has the advantage of allowing zoom to cover more of the cast if need be. I use a sound blimp, and I cannot imagine having two blimped bodies, one with a 200 f1.8 and another with a 70-200 2.8L which is needed anyway in most cases, unless a 50mm is needed for the entire stage.

    Asher
     
  14. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks for the input, Asher.