Weu2019ve chosen some excellent discontinued lenses that cost a lot less than their replacements yet are often a match in optical quality

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM £800-£1,200


Like Canon’s 24-70mm optic, this lens was a popular professional model until its replacement in early 2010. The Mark II version saw a new construction for better image quality, an improvement in the image stabilisation – from 3EV to 4EV – and closer focusing. This older lens, however, is still extremely sharp and gives great results throughout its range. This is a handy focal range for both full-frame and APS-C cameras, and features two stabilisation modes and a focus-limiter switch. When buying, look out for signs of heavy use, such as dents and scratches or dust inside the lens, as it may have had a hard life if previously used professionally.

Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 (III) £800


The first version of the Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 lens was released in 1965 and is one of the most reworked lenses in Leica’s collection, now in its fifth incarnation (Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 Asph), announced in 2005. With each release, Leica has reduced the size of the lens, with the current version the most compact Leica M model and with a claimed improvement to its

optical performance.


The third-generation optic featured here was produced from 1979-1993. It has an optical construction of eight elements in six groups, rearranged since the previous model to accommodate a more compact build. Unlike its predecessor, though, the Mark III optic here has a redesigned mount that features Leica’s familiar focusing tab, making it a firm favourite with reportage photographers. Leica states that the optimum aperture setting of the lens for centre contrast and sharpness is f/4, but its range stretches from f/2.8 to f/22.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM £700-£900


This highly popular standard professional zoom lens was only recently replaced with a Mark II version, and is well worth seeking out. The new lens reversed the extension, so it now extends for longer focal lengths, while this version extends for shorter focal lengths. It features a 77mm filter thread and a water-resistant body to complement Canon’s professional camera bodies. Results are extremely sharp, and its constant f/2.8 aperture is great for low-light shooting. This is an ideal lens for any full-frame Canon body. The new model is only just reaching stores, but once it does we expect this older version to be a popular second-hand choice.

  1. 1. Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC LD Aspherical £230
  2. 2. Sigma 50-500mm f/4-6.3 EX DG HSM APO £600
  3. 3. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM £800-£1,200
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  • Gordon Miller

    Both the D90 and D200 will operate AF and AF-D lenses. The D7000 and D200 also provide some metering for older Ai and Ais lenses, though obviously not AF. Some of your reader4s will not know this.
    A very useful article – thank you.
    Sincerely, G. Miller