The f/4 non-IS version, the least expensive L-series lens Canon makes, is popular among weight-sensitive landscape photographers and hobbyists who want L lens quality without spending thousands of dollars. The f/2.8 versions are popular among event photographers and photojournalists where the lower light capabilities are required; some portrait photographers also prefer this lens for the improved background blur produced by the f2.8 aperture. The non-IS f/2.8 version was released in 1995 and replaced the EF 80–200mm f/2.8L lens. The IS version lenses use circular 8-bladed diaphragms which maintain a nearly circular aperture when stopped down by up to two stops. The f/2.8 and f/4.0 image-stabilized versions also feature weather sealing (resistance to dust and water) when mated to a weather sealed camera to such as the Canon EOS 1D-series bodies. Weather sealed Canon products are not completely sealed from the environment, they are merely more resistant than non-sealed versions. These lenses are compatible with the Canon Extender EF teleconverters.
When used with a Canon APS-C (1.6x crop) DSLR camera or APS-H (1.3x crop), the field of view of this lens is equivalent to a 112–320mm on an APS-C sensor, or 91–260mm on an APS-H sensor. This is due to the crop factor inherent with APS-C or APS-H (crop) sensor digital SLR cameras.
The most frequently pointed-out problem with this lens is the placement of the IS and AF buttons, that makes them prone to accidental flipping during hand-held shooting. Some photographers solve this simply by covering the buttons with a piece of gaffer tape. In recognition of this issue, the most recent of these lenses (the f/4L IS USM model and recent f/2.8L IS USM lenses) uses switches designed to reduce the incidence of accidental switch activation.
Canon EF 16–35mm lens, with the same maximum aperture of 2.8. Serves as an ultra wide-angle to complement the 70–200mm. This combination is commonly used by photojournalists.
Canon EF-S 17–55mm lens, with the same maximum aperture of 2.8. Compatible only with Canon APS-C bodies (1.6x crop factor). General-purpose zoom to complement the 70–200mm; this combination is used by some owners of higher-end APS-C bodies.
Canon EF 24–70mm lens, with two current production versions featuring different maximum apertures — 2.8 and 4.0. Serves as a general-purpose lens to complement the 70–200mm. The f/2.8 version of this combination is commonly used by wedding photographers.
^Carnathan, Bryan. "Canon EF 70–200mm f/2.8 L USM Lens Review". The-Digital-Picture.com. Retrieved 10 September 2011. "Unlike its IS sibling, the Canon EF 70–200mm f/2.8 L USM Lens is not fully weather-sealed — Extra caution will need to be taken in wet conditions."
^Carnathan, Bryan. "Canon EF 70–200mm f/4.0 L IS USM Lens Review". The-Digital-Picture.com. Retrieved 10 September 2011. "The Canon EF 70–200mm f/4.0 L IS USM Lens is the second lens in the Canon 70–200mm L lens family to sport weather sealing (the f/2.8 IS is the first)."