I volunteer every year running a collegiate Model United Nation conference. One of my responsibilities the past few years has involved taking photos. This year, I decided to rent a lens since I lacked both a good zoom and a good telephoto lens.  The Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II fit the bill and so I gave it a shot.

I needed a lens longer than my 100mm f/2.8, but I didn’t want to sacrifice speed since I was shooting inside at a hotel where the light can be described as poor at best. During the opening and closing plenary sessions, about 2,000 people fill a hotel ballroom that feels as big as a football field (at 125×320, it’s pretty close), and I am mostly taking photos from around the edges in order to not obscure people’s views.

Here are a couple of the shots I took with it.

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The biggest negative is by far the size and weight. Carrying a 7.8″ 56oz lens around is a big change for someone who is used to shooting with a 50mm lens weighing 1/5 as much.

Overall, I found this lens to fit my needs, though it is heavy.  It’s super sharp at both ends of the zoom, quick to focus, and worked well in all the lighting conditions I encountered. Next year, I will likely rent a lens again.  I’m debating if I should try the Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 which is even heavier but gets me some further range.

What is your experience with fast telephoto zoom lenses?  Anything I should consider next time I need one?