I visited my local camera shop this evening. I've been eyeballing the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for several months, but I had never tried one yet... until tonight. The salesman reached into the cabinet and pulled out the f/2.8 and f/4 versions of the Canon EF 70-200mm lens.
The two lenses were quite different from each other. I understood before seeing the lens that the f/2.8 was much heavier than the f/4, but I didn't realize that the f/2.8 was also quite a bit larger too. I'm not talking astronomical differences here, but still quite noticeable.
I tried the f/2.8 lens first on the Canon EOS 30D camera body (the same camera that I use). It was substantially heavier than my Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM and Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lenses. However, when I held it in my hands and snapped a few shots it just felt right. Very well balanced and if I'm doing handheld shots the tripod mounting bracket sits nicely in the palm of my hand.
I swapped it out with the f/4 lens and that really felt too light. Don't get me wrong... it's an amazing lens. But with the f/2.8 I felt like a superhero... and with the f/4 I felt like the superhero's sidekick.
I tried the f/2.8 lens a second time and felt that excitement flow again! I think I may rent it before making the big purchase so that I can get a feel of how heavy it is after lugging it around for several hours.
I told the salesman that I was going to have to take some time to think about it. He joked around saying that "this was the kind of money (for a lens) that you don't tell the wife about." I haven't crossed that road yet, so no worries here.
If you own either the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM or the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM lens, let me know what you think of it and whether you would recommend one over the other.