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Archive 2012 · Canon 300mm f/4 L IS vs 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS (I need you...
  
 
ShaneB77
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Canon 300mm f/4 L IS vs 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS (I need your help!)


Trying to decide between these two lenses is incredibly difficult!
The pros and cons as I see them:

300mm f/4 L IS
---------------------
Pros
f/4 @ 300mm
f/5.6 @ 420mm w/ 1.4 Extender
Tripod mount included.
Respectable .24x maximum magnification, which improves w/ an Extender.
A little cheaper than the 70-300mm. (-$57)

Cons
There is no zoom, which means less compositional flexibility. Ouch.
A bit heavier and significantly longer than the 70-300.
Poor resell value if purchased new.
2-stop Image Stabilization is pretty outdated, as is the lens itself.

70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS
--------------------------
Pros
The 70-300mm range is great for many different subjects and compositions.
The 4-stop IS system increases this versatility a great deal.
It's lighter and smaller than the 300mm f/4.
Better resell value. (But not by any extreme amount.)

Cons
Stuck at a maximum of 300mm. (The 1.4 extender technically works, but I'm just not interested in rocking f/8.)
f/5.6 vs f/4 @ 300mm.
.21x maximum magnification is lower than the 300mm.
No Tripod Mount.
A little more expensive than the 300mm. (+$57)


Being a guy who appreciates his fair share of nature, the 300mm f/4 really entices me, and I lean towards choosing it over the 70-300. However, the complete lack of any zoom makes me hesitate a great deal.
Though I *mostly* use my current telephoto, the 70-300 non-L, at 300mm, I *have* on occasion found the need to zoom out, especially at my town's yearly music festival. (There, I shot a good deal at 100-200mm.)

What's a guy to do about this, when he can only have one lens? I'm stumped...




Dec 24, 2012 at 05:48 AM
harland
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Canon 300mm f/4 L IS vs 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS (I need your help!)


I think most of us have been in this situation at one time or another. I have the 300f4 and love the lens, but I also have the 100-400 because I need the versatility of a zoom. Not sure, but I thought the 300 held its value pretty well. I end up with the 100-400 on the camera 90% of the time. If I could only have one, I would stick with the zoom.
Darryl



Dec 24, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Chris B.
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Canon 300mm f/4 L IS vs 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS (I need your help!)


Not an easy decision for sure... What body will you be using with it?

I have had the 70-300L, almost from the day it was released, and have been exceptionally happy with it. I typically don't shoot in low-light situations so the maximum aperture has really been no concern to me. It too has an excellent MFD (almost as good as the 300 prime) so it can be used in a pinch for some close-up stuff if needed. But I think you can save some money off the bat by not investing in the optional tripod collar... I did, and can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I've used it.



Dec 24, 2012 at 04:12 PM
thedutt
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Canon 300mm f/4 L IS vs 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS (I need your help!)


Hmm, if you are looking for a telephoto, go for 300 F4 IS, it is a really good lens. if you can get it canon refurb when they have 20% off, price will be <$1k so resale issue will be solved. On the other hand, I couldnt bring myself to sell mine even when someone offered a really good price ( $975 local), the size and useability with 1.4x is ideal for hiking. Here is one shot taken on the trail when just walking around with T2i @ 1600 ISO, 1/160s f4.5:
http://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-i0e6qPpLt-c/T9ppyvCdiSI/AAAAAAAASAY/uzIlnKRvG08/s800/IMG_0702.jpg





Dec 24, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Canon 300mm f/4 L IS vs 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS (I need your help!)


I have both of those lenses. The 300 was my first L telephoto and certainly has served me well over the years. I have always been impressed with how sharp it is. It may be the most under appreciated L tele in the lineup. That said the only time I have used it since I got the 70-300 is for macro work with tubes. The 70-300 is way more versatile, compact and makes a great walk around lens. IMHO if you need to choose between the two I would lean towards the 70-300.

Tim



Dec 24, 2012 at 05:15 PM
OwlsEyes
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Canon 300mm f/4 L IS vs 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS (I need your help!)


If you're looking for a "wildlife" lens & this is its purpose, Inthink that you are better served by the 300 f4. If you're seeking a compact lens that can meet multiple needs, then the zoom is a better choice. Having owned them both, and some, I prefer the stright 300. Regarding resale... are you planning to sell your new lens already? To be worried about resale forces a decision that that might not actually meet your needs. If resale was a real concern for me, I'd never upgrade my cameras... Just look at the crashing prices of 1Dmk 3 (& 3's)... Buy what you need/want and accept the depreciation as the cost of having fun (spoken by a guy who just sold two formely expensive bodies to cut the cost of a 5Dmark3 who's resale value will crash in a year or so )
Bruce



Dec 24, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Don Clary
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Canon 300mm f/4 L IS vs 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS (I need your help!)


My concern with your choice is the f5.6 aperture of the zoom. I've had a 300 f4 and will soon be purchasing a f5.6 zoom (100-400L) for an upcoming Africa trip.

I plan to take both and will try very hard to use the 300 first. This is because my body is 5DIII, and I can use the outer 10 cross sensors on each side, which are high precision and require f4 to operate. If I use the f5.6 zoom, I can't use these 20 sensors, and must rely on the central 21 sensors, which are standard precision at f5.6.

A specialized application perhaps, but it concerns me.



Dec 24, 2012 at 05:46 PM
JohnJ80
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Canon 300mm f/4 L IS vs 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS (I need your help!)


I have the 300 f/4 and it's a great lens. I would be better than the 70-300.

If you want a "zoom" version of the 300, the best way to go is 70-200 f/2.8 II + 1.4TC. The image quality is indistinguishable from the 300 and is better in many cases.

J.



Dec 24, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Imagemaster
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Canon 300mm f/4 L IS vs 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS (I need your help!)


JohnJ80 wrote:
If you want a "zoom" version of the 300, the best way to go is 70-200 f/2.8 II + 1.4TC.
J.


Hardly best if you don't want to spend nearly $1,000 more.



Dec 25, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Imagemaster
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Canon 300mm f/4 L IS vs 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS (I need your help!)


Go for the versatility of the 70-300. It performs very well with a 1.4x TC:






  Canon EOS-1D Mark IV    EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens    420mm    f/8.0    1/1600s    800 ISO    +1.0 EV  






  Canon EOS-1D Mark IV    EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens    420mm    f/8.0    1/320s    1600 ISO    -0.3 EV  






  Canon EOS-1D Mark IV    EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens    420mm    f/11.0    1/3200s    1600 ISO    -0.7 EV  




Dec 25, 2012 at 12:42 AM
 

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ShaneB77
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Canon 300mm f/4 L IS vs 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS (I need your help!)


JohnJ80 wrote:
I have the 300 f/4 and it's a great lens. I would be better than the 70-300.

If you want a "zoom" version of the 300, the best way to go is 70-200 f/2.8 II + 1.4TC. The image quality is indistinguishable from the 300 and is better in many cases.

J.


I've thought about that in the past, but there are big problems with this.

1. Weight. Handholding such a combo isn't very comfortable out in the field.
2. A *max* of 280mm is simply too short for me.
3. It costs *much* more.

I can't get past either of those three issues, so it's simply not an option for me. However, thank you for contibuting anyway.



Dec 26, 2012 at 02:48 AM
ShaneB77
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Canon 300mm f/4 L IS vs 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS (I need your help!)


Imagemaster wrote:
Go for the versatility of the 70-300. It performs very well with a 1.4x TC:



F/8 makes me very nervous. Anything beyond broad daylight, and you're toast.



Dec 26, 2012 at 02:50 AM
JohnJ80
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Canon 300mm f/4 L IS vs 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS (I need your help!)


ShaneB77 wrote:
I've thought about that in the past, but there are big problems with this.

1. Weight. Handholding such a combo isn't very comfortable out in the field.
2. A *max* of 280mm is simply too short for me.
3. It costs *much* more.

I can't get past either of those three issues, so it's simply not an option for me. However, thank you for contibuting anyway.


The handling isn't much different from the 300 f/4. I've shot thousands of shots with both.

The primary benefit in this is that you essentially get a 100-300 f/4 IS zoom out of it which is a much more flexible lens than a 300 f/4 prime. The AF is screaming fast and is similar to the 300 prime by itself. I haven't tried it with the 2x TC, but that might be interesting. The AF on the 1.4 TC is blazing fast - in point of fact I shoot alpine ski racing with it; a very difficult application for AF.

A good 70-200 should be in every shooter's bag in which case the cost to get to 300mm is pretty low (cost of the TC). That said, if you don't have a 70-200 then I take your point on cost.

As far as the difference between 300 and 280 - I'd be hard pressed to tell the difference. Be interesting to actually test out a 300 and see where it lands in actual focal length.

J.



Dec 26, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Pixel Perfect
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Canon 300mm f/4 L IS vs 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS (I need your help!)


Just get the 100-400L. It's optically as good as the bare 300 f/4L IS, it's better than the 300 + 1.4 in IQ and AF and it'll better the 70-200 II + 2x in both areas too. Had the prime, and sold it immediately on getting the 100-400L, just superb. It takes a 1.4x TC very well too, giving you a handy 560 f/8.


Dec 26, 2012 at 10:27 PM
abqnmusa
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Canon 300mm f/4 L IS vs 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS (I need your help!)


I would ask myself if 300mm is long enough focal length for nature; especially birds
the 400mm F5.6 L would be better for birds; especially birds in flight

100-400 if you want a zoom with 400mm

If you have to resort to a 1.4X tele-converter then 300mm is too short.



Dec 26, 2012 at 11:07 PM
WestFalcon
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Canon 300mm f/4 L IS vs 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS (I need your help!)


I have both and use the zoom much more...both are winners though


Dec 26, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Jefferson
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Canon 300mm f/4 L IS vs 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS (I need your help!)


Canon 300 f/4L IS + 5Dc...@f/10 and 1/160...ISO 50

http://jeffersonposter.smugmug.com/Category/12-Fall-WERA/i-WtCKkNs/0/XL/%2712%20WERA%20Fall%2C%20Road%20Atlanta-623-XL.jpg

Canon 300 f/4L IS + 30D + 1.4xII (670mm aprox. FL)...@f/13 and 1/200...ISO 100

http://jeffersonposter.smugmug.com/Category/12-Fall-WERA/i-QGfK86K/0/XL/untitled-XL.jpg

Center focal point...spot metering...Tv mode...AI Servo on both shots



Dec 26, 2012 at 11:43 PM
JohnJ80
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Canon 300mm f/4 L IS vs 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS (I need your help!)


Pixel Perfect wrote:
Just get the 100-400L. It's optically as good as the bare 300 f/4L IS, it's better than the 300 + 1.4 in IQ and AF and it'll better the 70-200 II + 2x in both areas too. Had the prime, and sold it immediately on getting the 100-400L, just superb. It takes a 1.4x TC very well too, giving you a handy 560 f/8.


I believe the 100-400 is being redesigned, is it not? I'd wait for that.

f/8 for AF? Iffy on many cameras AND light needs to be perfect (bright).

J.



Dec 27, 2012 at 12:31 AM
RobDickinson
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Canon 300mm f/4 L IS vs 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS (I need your help!)


The 100-400 has been getting redesigned for what 8 years now?

I wouldnt wait for the mkII



Dec 27, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Pixel Perfect
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Canon 300mm f/4 L IS vs 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS (I need your help!)


JohnJ80 wrote:
I believe the 100-400 is being redesigned, is it not? I'd wait for that.



Yes I've heard it will be the new kit lens for the EOS 3D being released on April's 1st


f/8 for AF? Iffy on many cameras AND light needs to be perfect (bright).

J.


Hmm, I was using my 100-400L + 1.4 at dusk regularly last week and lens had no issues focusing on my 1D IV.



Dec 27, 2012 at 05:07 AM
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