I got the Holy Grail!

Started Mar 13, 2010 | Discussions thread
OP MICHAEL_61 Senior Member • Posts: 2,156
Re: I got the Holy Grail!

tremorhand wrote:

I'm not familiar with the 200/1.8, but your pictures are beautiful.

  • Thank you!

Can similar results be obtained with the 200/2 (the pictures taken with smaller apertures, for example the 5.6?).

  • Well, yes and no. Of course, 200/2 is an awesome lens, very close to 1.8, in some respects even said to be better. But 1.8 aperture gives you unique bokeh - and, strange as it may seem, that would be different even at smaller identical aperture, like 5.6. This tiny little wee difference iis of big importance. Take, for example, 50/1.8, 50/1.4 and 50/1.2 - they all are good lenses, but that small difference in aperture makes the first one so-so compared to the second one, and the second one nothing to write home about compared to the third, which looks like magic:

Or, take the 85/1.2:

that's wide open, here's stopped down for more DOF:

Not a scientific side-by-side test, but I hope I managed to explain?

At equivalent apertures, what would make the 200/1.8 superior to the 200/2?

  • I guess, the size and the composition of it's glass elements in technical terms, and the beautiful artistic blur of out-of-focus background in terms of aesthetically pleasing - especially in combination with razor-sharp part of the photo which is within the very shallow DOF.

I don't see the 200/1.8 on the Canon website. Is it no longer being manufactured?

  • Yes they discontinued it awhile ago, so, since not so many were made to start with, and the existing ones are not getting 'younger' either, a clean one is getting more and more difficult to find - this is why it is called 'The Holy Grail'.

Is the 200/2 the replacement for it?

  • Yes.

Would an extender with the much less expensive 135/2 produce anything close in image quality?

  • Never tried, but I don't think so. Speaking of extenders, one of the advantages of 200/1.8 is that with the 2x it becomes a 400/3.5 - retaining the fast and precise AF and still - in spite of TC, which always degrades IQ - beautifull optically, as you saw in my examples. So, you, like, get 2 teles for the price of 1. Quality wise, I had a chance to compare it with the 100-400 IS L, which, being a very good lens, looks not nearly as good without the TC and pretty bad with the TC - almost unusable. Having said that, I'm not against zooms - in some situations their versatility makes them my only choice.

For more different opinions on 200/1.8, see also:



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