Why Was the Canon 200mm f/1.8 So Expensive?

Canon has quite a storied history of extreme lenses, and one of the most famous of those was definitely the EF 200mm f/1.8. This great video examines what made that lens so special and why it was (and remains) so expensive.

Coming to you from ZY Productions, this fun video takes a look at the EF 200mm f/1.8 and examines why it's such an expensive lens. The 200mm f/1.8 came out in 1988 and was eventually discontinued in 2004 (at least in part due to the fact that it contained lead), and in that time, about 8,000 copies of the lens were made, though it's not clear how many remain in existence. It's a remarkable lens: beyond its insane maximum aperture given its focal length, it's incredibly sharp across the frame wide open, has great autofocus performance, excellent contrast, jaw-dropping bokeh, and is extremely rugged. 

The 200mm f/1.8 has been replaced by the EF 200mm f/2L IS USM, which is itself a stellar lens and carries the advantage of image stabilization, a great boon for photographers. Nonetheless, the 200mm f/1.8 still holds a special place in many photographers' hearts. Check out the video above for more on this rare piece of glass.

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6 Comments

I've noticed that this is the third article in three days using content from ZY Productions, particularly this "Why is 'XXXX' so 'YYYY'?", to help build more articles for FStoppers. I don't hate it, but it leads me to wonder if FStoppers is becoming merely a curator of content across the web, or if it strives to be a company that writes, produces, and delivers original content.

I get that we are all in the business of traffic and clicks, but it's been happening frequently enough for me to notice and go as far as to comment and ask whats up.

Rod Kestel's picture

If the content is good, who cares where it comes from?

Fstoppers does have its category of originals and they seem to add a pretty good stream of content.

Christian Lainesse's picture

And for those who don't want to watch a video review: https://phillipreeve.net/blog/review-canon-ef-200mm-1-8-l/

I've used this lens for portraits and it is amazing. My friend owns this lens and he let me try it out, but you better have big guns or keep it on a tripod.

Spy Black's picture

Lovely lens, but I have to say that, for obvious reasons, I love my old 200mm f/4 Ai Nikkor...