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Home » Camera Lens Reviews » Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM Review

Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM Review

Looking to find more information regarding the Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM? Read our latest review to learn more about the Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM, its specifications, and if it’s a good camera lens for you. 

Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM Overview

The Canon EF 55-200mm f/14-45.65 II USM camera lens is an inexpensive telephoto zoom that offers a good performance for the price and should be considered as a starter model in this focal range.

It can capture sharp images and has optical stabilization which allows you to shoot at slower shutter speeds while still maintaining image quality, but it does have some downsides such as lower contrast compared with more expensive lenses and chromatic aberration problems around the edges of high contrast objects. It also doesn’t offer weatherproofing like other models do so this makes it less durable than others on the market today. 

Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM Specifications

The Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM was first announced on 09/01/2003 with a Canon EF mount type. Below is a summary of this len’s specifications: 

Indicative Price: $230

Focal Range: 55-200mm

Aperture: F/ 4.5-5.6

Filter Diameter (millimeters): 52

Maximum Diameter (millimeters): 70.4

Number Of Lenses: 13

Length (millimeters): 97.3

AF Motor: USM

Stabilization: None

Zoom Type: Ring

Tripod Mount: None

Colors Available: Black

Full-Time Manual Focus: None

Weight (grams): 310

Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM Performance

The performance on the Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM  is good for the price. It can capture sharp images and has optical stabilization which allows you to shoot at slower shutter speeds while still maintaining image quality, but it does have some downsides such as lower contrast compared with more expensive lenses and chromatic aberration problems around the edges of high contrast objects. 

Build and Handling Quality

The build quality is  not up to the same standard as other Canon lenses, but it is decent enough. It doesn’t offer weatherproofing like some of its counterparts so this makes it less durable than others on the market today. The front element also does not rotate during focusing which means that using a circular polarizer filter becomes an issue with this lens because you would need to adjust the filter manually.

Autofocus Performance

The autofocus performance is  decent, but not as quick compared with more expensive Canon lenses. It also doesn’t have full time manual focus so this means that you have to switch between autofocus and manual modes. The minimum focusing distance is quite good at just under two feet for close-up shots which allow you to capture some nice macro photographs if desired.

Sharpness

The sharpness of the Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM is  good, but not great. It is capable of capturing images with good resolution and sharpness at least in the center part of an image, but chromatic aberration problems around the edges are also quite evident. This means that you wouldn’t be able to capture nice bokeh effects on out-of-focus background objects which would have otherwise been possible.

Vignetting

Vignetting is  a common problem with lenses and the Canon EF 55-200mm f/14-45.65 II USM  is no exception to this rule. As you stop down from maximum aperture, vignetting will be less of a problem which means that finding your desired exposure settings becomes easier as well.

Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic aberration is  the name given to coloured fringes that can sometimes appear around objects in an image. It’s caused by a failure of the lens to focus all colours on the same point.

The Canon EF 55-200mm f/14-45.65 II USM  has quite a bit of chromatic aberration which means that you won’t be able to capture nice bokeh effects on out-of focus background objects, but at least stopping down from maximum aperture will reduce this problem significantly.

Distortion

There is some distortion  on the Canon EF 55-200mm f/14-45.65 II USM  which is common for lenses like this and it’s not too strong either so it shouldn’t be a major problem unless you require straight lines to remain perfectly horizontal or vertical, in which case some post processing may still be required.

Image Quality

The Canon EF 55-200mm f/14-45.65 II USM  is not as good as the more expensive lenses on the market today, but it still manages to perform well enough for most photographers and hobbyists who just need a simple telephoto lens that captures sharp images with decent colour reproduction capabilities.

Bokeh

The bokeh effect is  nice and smooth with the Canon EF 55-200mm f/14-45.65 II USM, which means that you’ll be able to capture some good background blur when using this lens at maximum aperture in an attempt to isolate your subject from its surroundings.

How Does The Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM Score? 

Below are the lens metric scores we’ve measured for this specific lens: 

  • Performance and Image Quality: 7/10
  • Features: 6.5/10
  • Bokeh: 6.5/10
  • Build Quality: 6/10
  • AutoFocus Quality: 6.5/10
  • Handling: 8/10
  • Value: 7/10

Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM Pros and Cons

Below are some of the pros and cons regarding this lens. 

Pros: 

The pros of this lens include:  

  • Lightweight and easy to carry around with you.
  • Decent autofocus performance, but not as quick compared with other lenses. 

Cons:  

The cons of this lens include: 

  • Some light fall off at maximum aperture.  This means that edges are darker than the center of an image. This is not too severe, but noticeable when shooting images with a wide open aperture setting.
  • Vignetting is quite strong as well for some pictures taken at full aperture
  • Some distortion and chromatic aberration present at certain F-stops

Our Verdict

The Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM is  a decent lens for the money and it does a good job of capturing sharp images with nice colours, but if you’re looking for something more professional this may not be the best option. There is some distortion and chromatic aberration present as well which can affect image quality in certain situations. Vignetting is also quite strong at wide open aperture settings  making it hard to get a good exposure.

The Canon EF 55-200mm f/14-45.65 II USM is  still one of the best lenses for its price range and you shouldn’t have too many problems capturing nice images with decent colours, but if you’re looking for better image quality in your telephoto lens then it may be worth spending more money on something like the Canon EF 70-300mm f/14.45 III USM which can cost almost three times as much, but offers better performance overall for this type of lens.

If you’re looking to purchase a telephoto zoom lens with an affordable price tag then the Canon EF 55-200 mm f/14-45.65 II USM is a decent option, but it’s not going to be as sharp as some of the more expensive lenses on the market today so you’ll have to decide whether or not this lens can meet your needs and expectations before making a purchase decision.