Canon, Nikon have both recently announced new 70-200mm lenses, and Sony’s FE-Mount version remains one of the most expensive and coveted lens for the brand.
And with good reason, on most shoots, it’s my main lens for almost everything editorial related.
But it’s not for the zoom range, it’s for the amount of control you gain from the focal length.
There are a few big reasons to use a 70-200mm beyond “it zooms”:
- Depth of field
Now, when you zoom in on any lens, you’ll notice that your background from your subject is more separated than it is with other lenses even at apertures as high as 5.6, you’ll also still see a relative amount of depth compared to something at 24mm. This is known as isolation because your lens is able to isolate your subject better because it’s a longer focal length. So it’s not able to have as much in focus or capture a large field of view of a close subject.
Compression is “slightly” easier, it’s how close your background appears in the shot. The longer your lens the closer your backgrounds will appear. Compression gives you greater control in terms of positioning what is in your shot. This again declutters your shot, as it means you could be at a small bay, and make it look like a beautiful beach by just getting a little bit of sand, or in the heart of the city but by aiming high, all you get is clear blue skies as a backdrop.
This gif will show you how useful the two are:
Finally, your ability to create depth of field even with the f/4 version’s is awesome. By having more of your shot out of focus, you’re able to have smoother backgrounds, and focus on what’s important; your subject.
Locations often become cluttered because there is too much going on, for me the simplicity of being able to declutter and pick the simplest background allows me to focus on getting the most out of the people I shoot. This is why for editorial, fashion, and portraits, this is the one lens I would say you need to pack.
Some sample images with my Canon 70-200 L 2.8 IS: