The Best 70-200mm Zoom Lenses

Outdoor Photography

Everyone has a favorite lens. It’s usually in a focal length that matches the way the photographer sees in his or her mind’s eye. We’ve heard of studies that show a human’s vision to be roughly equivalent to a 40mm lens on a full-frame DSLR, but we all focus on things within our field of vision a little differently. Some see in 20mm, and some see in 200mm. In addition to everyone “seeing” in a certain focal length, many of what we think of as traditional nature subjects seem to lend themselves to a particular range. At the confluence of these two phenomena is a lens that has become known as a workhorse for nature pros: the 70-200mm.

Of course, we’re not saying that this is the only lens the pros use, but it’s a lens that so many pros rely on for a considerable portion of their photography that the leading manufacturers of camera bags design their wares around it. We’ve seen countless demos by the bag makers who describe a pro-level case as being able to hold a DSLR with a 70-200mm. Why is the lens so popular with nature shooters? In a word: versatility.

At the 70mm end, it’s wide enough to take in a broad landscape or show an animal within its full surroundings. At the 200mm end, it’s telephoto enough to get in fairly tight on an animal or to create a foreshortened perspective on a landscape. The lens also hits a sweet spot in its size. While there are size and weight differences between ƒ/2.8 and ƒ/4 models, even the largest and heaviest 70-200mm is manageable compared to a 300mm or 400mm telephoto.

A Selection Of The Best 70-200mm Zoom Lenses

These are the best 70-200mmm zooms from the major camera and lens makers. Our list features the most premium lenses for each system—those with fast ƒ/2.8 constant apertures—but we’ve also included a more affordable ƒ/4 model, if available.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM

Image of the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM

Canon’s top 70-200mm for full-frame DLSRs, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM features an Image Stabilizer system capable of up to 3.5 stops of correction when shooting handheld. It can focus on subjects as close as 3.9 feet throughout the zoom range and includes extensive weather sealing.

Also consider: Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM ($1,299)

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM
Weight 3.2 pounds
Length 7.8 inches
Minimum Focusing Distance 3.9 feet
List Price $2,099
Check the price and availability of the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM

Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM

Image of the Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM

Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM

For Canon EOS R full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM is the premium option and is the lightest and most compact 70-200mm lens Canon has designed to date. It offers optical image stabilization of up to 5 stops and extensive weather sealing like it’s EF counterpart. There’s also a programmable control ring to adjust settings like aperture or shutter speed.

Also consider: Canon RF 70-200mm F4 L IS USM ($1,599)

Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM
Weight 2.6 pounds
Length 5.8 inches
Minimum Focusing Distance 2.3 feet
List Price $2,799
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Fujifilm FUJINON XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR

Image of the FUJINON XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR

Fujifilm FUJINON XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR

For Fujifilm’s X Series APS-C sensor cameras, the FUJINON XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR provides a 35mm-equivalent focal length range of 76-213mm. The lens includes built-in optical image stabilization for up to 5 stops of correction on its own, or up to 6 stops when used with a Fujifilm camera that has in-body stabilization of its own. It’s sealed for dust and moisture resistance and can operate in temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

Also consider: FUJINON XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS ($699)

FUJINON XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR
Weight 2.2 pounds
Length 6.9 inches
Minimum Focusing Distance 3.3 feet
List Price $1,599
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Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR

AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR

One of the most expensive but also highly regarded 70-200s for full-frame DSLRs is the AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F2.8E FL ED VR from Nikon. It can focus as close as 3.6 feet and provides Vibration Reduction up to 4 stops. Premium Fluorite and High Refractive lens elements dramatically reduce distortion and improve contrast and sharpness.

Also consider: AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR ($1,399)

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR
Weight 3.2 pounds
Length 7.9 inches
Minimum Focusing Distance 3.6 feet
List Price $2,349
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Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S

Image of the NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S

Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S

The only 70-200mm released so far for Nikon’s Z full-frame mirrorless cameras is the NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S. It’s an S-Line lens, Nikon’s designation for its premium Z system lenses, and has an impressive minimum focusing distance of just 1.64 feet at 70mm that gradually extends to 3.28 feet as you zoom to 200mm. Built-in Vibration Reduction enables up to 5.5 stops of image stabilization. The lens also features a customizable control ring and programmable shortcut buttons.

Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S
Weight 3 pounds
Length 8.7 inches
Minimum Focusing Distance 1.64 feet (wide)/3.28 feet (tele)
List Price $2,599
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OM Digital (Olympus) M.Zuiko ED 40-150mm f2.8 PRO

Image of the M.Zuiko ED 40-150mm f2.8 PRO

OM Digital M.Zuiko ED 40-150mm f2.8 PRO

For Olympus (now OM Digital) Micro Four Thirds sensor cameras, the M.Zuiko ED 40-150mm f2.8 PRO is the premium option. The MFT sensor has a magnification factor of 2x, so the lens is equivalent to 80-300mm—there’s no precise 70-200mm equivalent available from OM Digital. Though the lens does not have image stabilization built-in, OM-D system cameras do, so you’re covered with any lens you choose.

Also consider: M.Zuiko ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 R ($199)

OM Digital M.Zuiko ED 40-150mm f2.8 PRO
Weight 1.9 pounds
Length 6.3 inches
Minimum Focusing Distance 2.3 feet
List Price $1,499
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Panasonic LUMIX S PRO 70-200mm F2.8 O.I.S.

Image of the LUMIX S PRO 70-200mm F2.8 O.I.S.

Panasonic LUMIX S PRO 70-200mm F2.8 O.I.S.

The top Panasonic L-Mount full-frame lens in this range is the LUMIX S PRO 70-200mm F2.8 O.I.S. As an L-Mount lens, it can also be used with compatible Leica and Sigma cameras. The dust- and moisture-sealed lens includes a powerful image stabilization system capable of up to 7 stops of correction. 

Also consider: LUMIX S PRO 70-200mm F4 ($1,699)

Panasonic LUMIX S PRO 70-200mm F2.8 O.I.S.
Weight 3.5 pounds
Length 8.2 inches
Minimum Focusing Distance 3.1 feet
List Price $2,599
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Panasonic LUMIX G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 II POWER O.I.S.

Image of the LUMIX G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 II POWER O.I.S.

Panasonic LUMIX G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 II POWER O.I.S.

Panasonic LUMIX G Micro Four Thirds system shooters have the LUMIX G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 II POWER O.I.S. The 2x magnification of the MFT sensor makes the lens’ range equivalent to 70-200mm. It’s designed to resist splashes, dust and extreme temperatures, and has optical image stabilization built-in, though Panasonic doesn’t specify the number of stops of correction for the IS system in this lens. It’s incredibly light at under 1 pound.

Panasonic LUMIX G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 II POWER O.I.S.
Weight 0.8 pounds
Length 3.9 inches (extended)
Minimum Focusing Distance 2.8 inches
List Price $1,099
Check the price and availability of the Panasonic LUMIX G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 II POWER O.I.S.

Pentax HD PENTAX-D FA★ 70-200mm F2.8ED DC AW

Image of the HD PENTAX-D FA★ 70-200mm F2.8ED DC AW

HD PENTAX-D FA★ 70-200mm F2.8ED DC AW

The HD PENTAX-D FA★ 70-200mm F2.8ED DC AW is the premium Star Series 70-200mm available for Pentax K-mount full-frame DSLRs cameras. It doesn’t have image stabilization built-in, but PENTAX DSLR bodies do. It features extensive weather sealing. 

Also consider: HD PENTAX-D FA 70-210mm F4 ED SDM WR ($1,099)

HD PENTAX-D FA★ 70-200mm F2.8ED DC AW
Weight 3.9 pounds
Length 8 inches
Minimum Focusing Distance 3.9 feet
List Price $1,799
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Pentax smc PENTAX-DA★ 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM

Image of the smc PENTAX-DA★ 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM

smc PENTAX-DA★ 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM

For APS-C sensor Pentax cameras, the smc PENTAX-DA★ 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM provides an equivalent focal length range of 76.5-207mm. Like it’s full-frame Star Series sibling, it features extensive weather sealing and omits a built-in image stabilization system, relying on the in-body stabilization of Pentax DSLRs.

smc PENTAX-DA★ 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM
Weight 1.5 pounds
Length 5.4 inches
Minimum Focusing Distance 3.3 feet
List Price $1,049
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Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | S

Image of the Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | S

Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | S

Available in Canon, Nikon and Sigma full-frame DSLR mounts, the Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | S offers a solid value alternative with excellent optical and build quality for significantly less than similar Canon and Nikon models. It includes an optical image stabilization system capable of up to 4 stops of correction.

Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | S
Weight 4 pounds
Length 8 inches (extended)
Minimum Focusing Distance 3.9 feet
List Price $1,499
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Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II

Image of the Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II

Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II

The first Sony G Master lens to be upgraded to Mark II, the FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II is approximately 29 percent lighter than the first generation model. It offers improved sharpness throughout the zoom range and a new 11-blade diaphragm for smoother bokeh effect. The AF system has received significant improvements as well, with 4 XD linear motors that Sony states is 4 times faster than it predecessor. Optical image stabilization is also built-in.

Also consider: Sony FE 70-200 mm F4 G OSS ($1,499)

Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II
Weight 2.3 pounds
Length 7.9 inches
Minimum Focusing Distance 1.3 feet
List Price $2,799
Check the price and availability of the Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II

Sony E 55–210 mm F4.5-6.3 OSS

Image of the Sony E 55–210 mm F4.5-6.3 OSS

Sony E 55–210 mm F4.5-6.3 OSS

For APS-C sensor Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras, the Sony E 55–210 mm F4.5-6.3 OSS is very inexpensive and compact. It provides a 35mm-equivalent range of 82-315mm, so it leans more telephoto than a traditional 70-200mm, but it’s the only option in this general range for Sony’s APS-C models. It includes built-in optical image stabilization that can work in concert with in-body stabilization systems.

Sony E 55–210 mm F4.5-6.3 OSS
Weight 0.8 pounds
Length 4.3 inches
Minimum Focusing Distance 3.3 feet
List Price $299
Check the price and availability of the Sony E 55–210 mm F4.5-6.3 OSS

Tamron SP 70-200mm F2.8 Di VC USD G2

Image of the Tamron SP 70-200mm F2.8 Di VC USD G2

Tamron SP 70-200mm F2.8 Di VC USD G2

Available in Canon and Nikon mounts for full frame DSLRs, the Tamron SP 70-200mm F2.8 Di VC USD G2 features built-in image stabilization system capable of up to 5 stops of correction. The minimum focusing distance has been improved in this second-generation model, allowing the lens to focus as close as just over 3 feet. 

Also consider: Tamron 70-210mm F4 Di VC USD ($499)

Tamron SP 70-200mm F2.8 Di VC USD G2
Weight 3.3 pounds
Length 7.6 inches
Minimum Focusing Distance 3.1 feet
List Price $1,299
Check the price and availability of the Tamron SP 70-200mm F2.8 Di VC USD G2

Tamron 70-180mm F/2.8 Di III VXD

Image of the Tamron 70-180mm F/2.8 Di III VXD

Tamron 70-180mm F/2.8 Di III VXD

For Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Tamron 70-180mm F/2.8 Di III VXD is a more affordable alternative to Sony’s offerings. It’s also very light and compact for a zoom of this range. It does not include built-in image stabilization, instead relying on the in-body systems in Sony cameras. One noteworthy feature is the ability to focus as close as 10.6 inches at the 70mm end of the range when focusing manually.

Tamron 70-180mm F/2.8 Di III VXD
Weight 1.8 pounds
Length 5.9 inches
Minimum Focusing Distance 10.6 inches (at 70mm)
List Price $1,199
Check the price and availability of the Tamron 70-180mm F/2.8 Di III VXD

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