One of the more annoying things about photography… is the insanely negative and rude comment culture that photographers for god knows what reason find perfectly acceptable and not ridiculous at all.
Today, that has presented itself in the form of comments about the upcoming (rumored) 70-200mm f/4 L IS II. It seems that people think it either can’t be improved because it’s already very sharp and that it’s a scheme to make more money by creating an “updated” product that is essentially the same but at twice the cost.
That last bit has some truth and is an actual thing that has become rampant among some tech manufacturers… The idea is to create as many “unique” products, as many variations as possible, with ever-increasing prices for each and every feature that used to be included as is in the standard product.
I do not think that is what Canon has been doing or will be doing with the 70-200mm f/4 L IS II.
What I think we’re going to see is…
- Cosmetic styling update. This is the extent of what people will most likely notice.
- A fix for “slippery focus”, the problem encountered by the 70-200mm f/4 L IS I where focus would slip when pointed upwards or downwards, this fix will not be mentioned by Canon. It would imply the previous product was fundamentally defective.
- New coatings on elements.
- Internal improvements which you will not know about, but will become apparent to repair personnel. More modular and repairable now seems to be a fundamental part of Canon’s L lens design philosophy (see Canon 35mm f/1.4 II)
- Image stabilization will be improved, I’m guessing not to a huge extent, but for all we know Canon may be able to claim “5 stops of IS” with the update instead of 4.
- Diaphragm could include 9 blades, instead of 8, to better round out bokeh. More diaphragm blades in premium lenses has been a trend of late.
- Fundamental software updates / changes, so the lens will play better with current and future Canon cameras, which will not be apparent to photographers. An update provides Canon the opportunity to introduce a lens ready for the future.
There is a lot of improvements that could be made by Canon to the 70-200mm f/4 L IS II, the lens is somewhat old, and not every dang thing is about the optical formula. The optical formula may very remain exactly the same. The lens will still perform better than the old one.
No, the update may not end up being worth it to you personally… but you know what… you aren’t everybody. On top of that, an update would still be financially beneficial for you. You could get a replacement lens of the original version for less than you’d pay now and get a used one for even less than that.
Stop complaining and open your noggin up.
To remind you, the update of this lens is still just a rumor. One that makes a lot of sense, but still just a rumor.
As a side note, Sigma is also planning to introduce a new 70-200mm f/2.8 Art lens. I imagine 2018 into 2019 is going to show us several 70-200mm updates across brands. Tamron has already introduced the 70-210mm f/4 after-all.