Zoom versus fixed focal length: 200-millimeter lenses from Nikon and Canon in the test

Up to a focal length of about 100 millimeters we move in the usual realms of most photographers, beyond that it is special. The 200 mm prime lenses in this test can therefore rightly be called exotic. They are large, heavy and expensive (about 5500 euros). But they promise outstanding imaging performance at high light intensity and they score with powerful image stabilizers and fast autofocus. But do you need this technical overkill? We want to find that out in comparison with 70-20 mm zooms. These are also not cheap, but in contrast to the special optics they remain manageable in terms of weight and size and they also provide a reasonable light intensity with a maximum aperture of f / 2.8.

A question that arises with exotic focal lengths and special optics is: what can they do that what zooms cannot? The lenses tested here are mainly used in sports photography, are popular with animal photographers and press representatives also like to use them. With their light intensity of f / 2.0, they enable shake-free shots even in unclear lighting conditions on site, without having to pull up the ISO number too high. Thanks to the excellent exemption, they also allow atmospheric portraits without getting too close to the model.

Camera systems:

  • Canon EF (EOS 5D Mark IV)
  • Nikon F (D850)

Test lenses:

  • Canon EF 200mm f / 2L IS USM
  • Canon EF 70-200 mm f / 2.8L IS III USM
  • Nikon AF-S 200mm f / 2G ED VRII
  • Nikon AF-S 70-200 mm f / 2.8E FL ED VR

The 70-200 millimeter zooms belong to a different lens class. As members of the so-called "Holy Trinity" from wide-angle, standard and telephoto zoom, they offer high-quality workmanship, good light intensity and a high degree of flexibility. As an all-rounder, they cover a much larger area of ​​application, but have to cut corners here and there. For example, the lenses offer one aperture level less light intensity and the engineers had to find a compromise across all focal length levels when correcting errors. Previous zoom tests showed that the lenses often performed best at the shorter end of the focal length.

  • Access to all heise + content
  • exclusive tests, guides & backgrounds: independent, critically sound
  • Read c't, iX, Technology Review, Mac & i, Make, c't photography directly in the browser
  • Register once – read on all devices – can be canceled monthly
  • first month free, then monthly € 9.95
  • Weekly newsletter with personal reading recommendations from the editor-in-chief

Start FREE month

Start now for FREE month

already subscribed to heise +?

More information about heise +

. (tagsToTranslate) 200mm lens (t) Canon (t) DLSR (t) DSLR (t) prime lens (t) Nikon (t) lenses (t) lens test (t) test (t) zoom lens