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Archive 2013 · Assessing used 300 f/4 IS, what to watch for? Pictures wi...
  
 
onegreatcity
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Assessing used 300 f/4 IS, what to watch for? Pictures with 1.4 please...


I'm testing a used 300 f/4 IS this week and if it works out, I plan to add a 1.4 TC for some additional reach. I'd be using this combo on a 7D for small wildlife and occasional BIF. Does anyone use this combo much? How is IQ and hand-hold-ability? I'd love to see some images if you'd care to post.

The owner has stated she bought this item used from one of the big US retailers so it may well have been through several sets of hands. What should I be looking/listening for when I test it?

2008 date code, if it means anything.

Thanks very much,
Cam

Edited on Jun 23, 2013 at 03:54 PM · View previous versions



Jun 23, 2013 at 01:10 PM
StillFingerz
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Assessing used 300 f/4 IS, what to watch for? Pictures with 1.4 please...


Cam, are you asking about the 300 f2.8 or f4? I'm guessing the f2.8, might help if you clarify...

I have the f4L IS and use it with the 1.4x II and recently the III. Even shooting with crop bodies; a 40 and 50D in my case, I have found the outer edges of an image to be a bit sharper with the III but haven't seen much difference in the center. I'll soon be testing on a 7D so I'll keep an eye on this thread...both the f2.8L IS MkI and MkII look like 'great' lenses

Not sure I've helped...
Jerry



Jun 23, 2013 at 03:41 PM
onegreatcity
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Assessing used 300 f/4 IS, what to watch for? Pictures with 1.4 please...


StillFingerz wrote:
Cam, are you asking about the 300 f2.8 or f4? I'm guessing the f2.8, might help if you clarify...

I have the f4L IS and use it with the 1.4x II and recently the III. Even shooting with crop bodies; a 40 and 50D in my case, I have found the outer edges of an image to be a bit sharper with the III but haven't seen much difference in the center. I'll soon be testing on a 7D so I'll keep an eye on this thread...both the f2.8L IS MkI and MkII look like 'great' lenses

Not sure I've helped...
Jerry


Jerry,
Thank you for catching this, it is the f/4 version I'm inquiring about (too many edit attempts using the iPad for me, pooched up the original post). Fixed now! I'll be very curious as to your findings with the 7D so post when able.
Cheers,
Cam



Jun 23, 2013 at 03:58 PM
Squirrely Eyed
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Assessing used 300 f/4 IS, what to watch for? Pictures with 1.4 please...


The 300 f/4 and 7D is a great combination. I rented one previously, it is fast focusing, sharp, and easily hand-holdable in daylight.

I'd be concerned if 300mm is enough for BIF and have not used it with a TC.

What I would watch out for is any softness or focus issue. I recently considered purchasing a used one, but it was soft in the edges. For a crop sensor, it should be tack sharp through the entire image just like the one I had rented.

You will notice that the IS system is a little clunky, literally. You'll feel it engage/disengage and it is normal.




Jun 24, 2013 at 03:34 PM
Sneakyracer
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Assessing used 300 f/4 IS, what to watch for? Pictures with 1.4 please...


onegreatcity wrote:
I'm testing a used 300 f/4 IS this week and if it works out, I plan to add a 1.4 TC for some additional reach. I'd be using this combo on a 7D for small wildlife and occasional BIF. Does anyone use this combo much? How is IQ and hand-hold-ability? I'd love to see some images if you'd care to post.

The owner has stated she bought this item used from one of the big US retailers so it may well have been through several sets of hands. What should I be looking/listening for when I test it?

2008 date code, if
...Show more

I had one for years. It's a solid lens. I also had the 1.4x II and used it with the lens a few times but the results were not great. I rather use the lens straight and crop. The IS works ok but not as good as the much newer lenses. If you need the reach I think the 100-400mm or the 400 f5.6 (on monopod/tripod) are better choices.



Jun 24, 2013 at 04:06 PM
erikburd
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Assessing used 300 f/4 IS, what to watch for? Pictures with 1.4 please...


I've used the 300 f/4L with a 1.4x TC on a 450D. Overall it took great pictures, although the focusing time was noticeably slower with the TC. Without the TC it was reasonably quick. The IS system is very loud and a bit clunky, given it's an early version of IS.

I found it to be very hand holdable and relatively portable for hiking.

You should get sharp images across the image with a crop.



Jun 24, 2013 at 05:47 PM
StillFingerz
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Assessing used 300 f/4 IS, what to watch for? Pictures with 1.4 please...


Hi Cam, I've had my 300 for two yrs, used it with a gripped 40D and really like it; but I've no big glass to compare it to; no 400/500L, etc in my kit. Bare it is a great lens, very hand-holdable, well balanced and I find it's sharpness and contrast to be wonderful.

I've used both the 1.4x T/C II and III, and find the III to be just a bit sharper at the edges; AF response is the same with both T/Cs...sloooower I use center point single shot AF. Mounted on and EOS-3 film body there is more edge sharpness with the III as expected given the FF image surface. I've not tested with a 2x yet.

The 300's IS is not as fast as the 70-200 f4 L IS, and is a tad louder as well, older IS designs/lenses tend to be that way

Most of my subject matter is not action; some surfing, racing and an occasional BIF, that said, the 300 with a single or set of extension tubes is IMO a killer combo. Close ups of flowers, their bits-n-pieces look great. Many a garden has had the 100L and the 300 shooting it's bounty.

For me the 300 f4L IS fits perfect, budget, reach, sharpness, fun factor

I don't have any images to post ATM, I'm about to rebuild my laptop, move to Win7Pro, more memory/drive space, upgrade to LR5. So my archive is off line for a bit. When things are, including me, up and running I'll post a few shots from the 40D, and will follow-up when the 7D gets in the game.

I've one shot uploaded here on FM using the 40D/300, the link is below, it's not the best shot for checking sharpness, the sparrow picture was about 40-45 ft. away on a very cold/overcast day.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1219631/0#11617060



Jun 24, 2013 at 07:10 PM
bfs208
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Assessing used 300 f/4 IS, what to watch for? Pictures with 1.4 please...


I love this lens. I used it all the time when I don't want to carry the 500 f/4. I usually hand hold it with the 1.4 II on my 7D.

Here's a shot I took with it a couple of weeks ago at Oso Flaco Lake near Guadalupe, CA

http://www.centralcoastscenics.com/p203003498/h6974ade5#h6974ade5



Jun 24, 2013 at 07:40 PM
Don Clary
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Assessing used 300 f/4 IS, what to watch for? Pictures with 1.4 please...


I had one for years. It's a solid lens. I also had the 1.4x II and used it with the lens a few times but the results were not great.

I've owned this lens for 12 years and love it; I use it on a full frame. Some claim lens to lens variation. Mine is a superb example, sharp to the edges on full frame, even wide open. And this was determined by benchmarking it against 2 Canon L telephoto zooms and 5 Canon L telephoto primes.

Below are 3 pictures, all handheld. The squirrel monkey is extreme (70%) crop, too far for 300mm. The snub nosed monkey is near full image. The third picture is the only one with 1.4X. It was under terrible Falkland Islands conditions (heavy overcast, hand held, wide open).






Costa Rica squirrel monkey







Rare Yunnan China snubnosed monkey







Falkland Islands magellanic penguin







100% crop




Jun 24, 2013 at 10:48 PM
onegreatcity
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Assessing used 300 f/4 IS, what to watch for? Pictures with 1.4 please...


Sneakyracer wrote:
I had one for years. It's a solid lens. I also had the 1.4x II and used it with the lens a few times but the results were not great. I rather use the lens straight and crop. The IS works ok but not as good as the much newer lenses. If you need the reach I think the 100-400mm or the 400 f5.6 (on monopod/tripod) are better choices.


Thanks for the insight. I'm seriously kicking myself for having sold my 100-400, the absence of which led me to the possible 300mm and TC.



Jun 25, 2013 at 12:04 PM
 

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onegreatcity
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Assessing used 300 f/4 IS, what to watch for? Pictures with 1.4 please...


Squirrely Eyed wrote:
The 300 f/4 and 7D is a great combination. I rented one previously, it is fast focusing, sharp, and easily hand-holdable in daylight.

I'd be concerned if 300mm is enough for BIF and have not used it with a TC.

What I would watch out for is any softness or focus issue. I recently considered purchasing a used one, but it was soft in the edges. For a crop sensor, it should be tack sharp through the entire image just like the one I had rented.

You will notice that the IS system is a little clunky, literally. You'll feel it engage/disengage
...Show more

Thanks for the reply. I did notice the IS 'clunk' a bit when I tested a new one in store. Is it the same generation IS that lives in the 100-400L?



Jun 25, 2013 at 12:07 PM
onegreatcity
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Assessing used 300 f/4 IS, what to watch for? Pictures with 1.4 please...


StillFingerz wrote:
Hi Cam, I've had my 300 for two yrs, used it with a gripped 40D and really like it; but I've no big glass to compare it to; no 400/500L, etc in my kit. Bare it is a great lens, very hand-holdable, well balanced and I find it's sharpness and contrast to be wonderful.

I've used both the 1.4x T/C II and III, and find the III to be just a bit sharper at the edges; AF response is the same with both T/Cs...sloooower I use center point single shot AF. Mounted on and EOS-3 film body there is more edge
...Show more

Thanks Jerry, I appreciate your thoughts. I recall seeing posts (yours or someone else's) using tubes and a 300 for macro work with impressive results.



Jun 25, 2013 at 12:09 PM
onegreatcity
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Assessing used 300 f/4 IS, what to watch for? Pictures with 1.4 please...


Don and bfs208, thank you both for the replies and images, much appreciated. I hope to see the lens later this week...


Jun 25, 2013 at 12:11 PM
bboule
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Assessing used 300 f/4 IS, what to watch for? Pictures with 1.4 please...


I've had one for about 10 years too.. I have the 1.4x TC II as well. I would NOT recommend getting a used 1.4x TC II though, pay the extra to get a Mk III.. The II is out of production and Canon is only repairing them if they have parts... they gave me a hard time when mine broke in the last year or so. And I suspect it will break again, even with my light use.

I currently have a 5D3, I've owned the 300 f/4L IS and used it with an Elan 7e (film), 10D, 5D, and currently with the 5D Mark III.

The AF is great on the bare lens, but keep in mind it goes downhill quite a bit with the TC. With the 5D3/1DX this lens uses all the points bare or with a 1.4x, but with a 1.4x only about the central 20 points maintain "cross-type" functionality". Depending on the use, that means you need to stick to the central points. (E.x. birds, probably not for race cars and other more predictable subjects. For the lesser AF systems the performance will just degrade and you'll probably end up sticking with the central point if you use the TC.

I have never ever been disappointed in the optical quality of this lens, and it's pretty much fine with the TC too, you just see a noticeable degradation in contrast if you use the TC, which is easy to adapt to in post processing, but certainly would have been a pain with film. It's really quite significant, if you shoot the scene bare and with the TC the histograms are wildly different, the TC seems to compress the dynamic range of the scene by 1 stop or more.

The IS on my lens is noisy too.. I think that was normal when this lens came out.. my 24-105 f/4L IS and the new 35 f/2 IS I have are indeed way quieter.

These are from last weekend.. first is with the TC and second one without. Both of these are 5D3 images and are the full frame, no cropping. I don't currently use this lens all that much, circumstances just don't allow.

http://www.bsquared.net/Other/Supermoon/i-MpksHN4/0/XL/GS3A1387-XL.jpg


http://www.bsquared.net/Other/Supermoon/i-tPqdz78/0/XL/GS3A1408-XL.jpg



Jun 25, 2013 at 03:00 PM
OntheRez
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Assessing used 300 f/4 IS, what to watch for? Pictures with 1.4 please...


I have the pre IS version of the 300 f/4.0. It truly is a fine lens. In my sports work when there is enough light - basically softball/baseball season - I will switch for periods of time to the 300 from my standard 70-200 f/2.8L II. When I'm wading thru the 400- 600 images after a two game shoot I will occasionally be struck by how truly crisp an image is. Examining the Exif shows that it was shot with the 300. A lens that in the right circumstances can out perform the excellent 70-200 is worth having particularly is I bought this one used real cheap. The 300 doesn't acquire focus as fast as the 70-200 nor does it track as well, so there is a lower keeper rate. OTOH when it does it, results are exceptional. Have never used a converter so can't offer insight on that.

bboule, nice moons! I did the moon rise two nights ago with the 400 f/5.6. My best were bracketed, then merged. I was interested in your settings and for whatever reason Exif viewer (under Firefox) insists that the first pix was done with an iPhone 5. Impressive to say the least The second comes up as a 5DIII. Would be interested in your settings for the first pix as I really like how you got both the detail of the moon and that great glow.

Robert



Jun 25, 2013 at 05:03 PM
Sy Sez
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Assessing used 300 f/4 IS, what to watch for? Pictures with 1.4 please...


Other than the obvious checks as to function, and outward appearance;
be sure to look "through" the lens, from both ends, in good light, at wide open aperture.

Look for flaws--especially fungus, which if "etched" into a lens coating would require "glass" replacement--- A very costly repair!

Leigh

www.leighwax.com



Jun 25, 2013 at 05:15 PM
bboule
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Assessing used 300 f/4 IS, what to watch for? Pictures with 1.4 please...


OntheRez wrote:
bboule, nice moons! I did the moon rise two nights ago with the 400 f/5.6. My best were bracketed, then merged. I was interested in your settings and for whatever reason Exif viewer (under Firefox) insists that the first pix was done with an iPhone 5. Impressive to say the least The second comes up as a 5DIII. Would be interested in your settings for the first pix as I really like how you got both the detail of the moon and that great glow.

Robert


yah iPhone 5 with an adapter. (They are both 5D3)

These are both single shot images with just basic lightroom adjustments.

The first image the trees are actually light painted with 2 600EX-RTs at max power/200mm zoom. Camera was about 100 yards from the trees, the flashes were significantly closer to the trees. This one was a high (1600?) ISO shot at 1/200th I think (sync speed) to be able to get enough light onto the trees for them to show up.

The second one is more of a straight moon shot at low ISO although I had to do a ton of bracketing to try and balance the clouds and the moon and then push/pull the hell out of the shadows/highlights to try and get detail. (This might be one of those cases where the Sony sensors would be a huge improvement.)

I actually tried to use an ND grad to darken the moon and allow a long enough exposure to get detail in the moon + clouds at the same time. It might have worked if I got lucky and the clouds were in the right position at the right time. It is almost impossible to place an ND grad onto an f/4 lens that is pointed at the night sky though.



Jun 25, 2013 at 05:46 PM
photo1a
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Assessing used 300 f/4 IS, what to watch for? Pictures with 1.4 please...


I have the 300 f/4 IS and like it. Several years ago I used in on a trip to Tanzania, mounted on a 40D. I was very satisfied with the results. I now have a 500 f/4 IS, but still use the 300 (with 7D) because of its light weight and easy handling.


Jun 27, 2013 at 03:40 PM
OntheRez
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Assessing used 300 f/4 IS, what to watch for? Pictures with 1.4 please...


bboule wrote:
yah iPhone 5 with an adapter. (They are both 5D3)

These are both single shot images with just basic lightroom adjustments.

The first image the trees are actually light painted with 2 600EX-RTs at max power/200mm zoom. Camera was about 100 yards from the trees, the flashes were significantly closer to the trees. This one was a high (1600?) ISO shot at 1/200th I think (sync speed) to be able to get enough light onto the trees for them to show up.

The second one is more of a straight moon shot at low ISO although I had to do a ton
...Show more

Well, dang! I was all ready to offer you serious money for the phone particularly since mine won't do anything like it

For whatever reason, I'm not a good moon shooter. Generally the light of the moon is all blown out and everything else is just black. Somewhere I thought I'd been advised to shoot it like the sun i.e. f/8.0, relatively fast shutter. That doesn't work well. I'll try going to higher ISO and experiment more. My fall back position in any high contrast situation is to exposure bracket. Maybe the 1DsIII really doesn't do dark as well as the latest greatest from Sony, but I'm fairly convinced it is idiot operator rather than a sensor problem The "painting" of the trees is a nice trick. Got to try that sometime.

Robert



Jun 27, 2013 at 04:23 PM
jeffdjohnston
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Assessing used 300 f/4 IS, what to watch for? Pictures with 1.4 please...


I thought my 300/f4 IS + 1.4x was a great combination. On a 7D, you have the equivalent of a 672mm/f5.6 IS lens that will focus closer than 5 feet. I used it for large mammals, bugs, reptiles, flowers and occasionally birds. It was small enough I could hand hold, but easily stabilize with a monopod rather than a tripod. I think the 300mm/f4 lenses by Nikon/Canon are some of the best "bang for your buck" glass they make.


Jun 27, 2013 at 05:14 PM
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