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Sent my 300 F4/L IS in for service... with some perspective.
  
 
bboule
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Sent my 300 F4/L IS in for service... with some perspective.


I was shooting with my 300 F/4L IS quite a bit over the past 2 weeks.. took my son to a zoo that has a lot of open enclosures a week ago, and then we got to walk along the Cape Code National Seashore this past weekend and I was able to shoot some birds & seals. (Seals seem impossible to actually get an interesting photo of IMO... I've seen an awful lot of seals but they always look boring once I shoot the photo!)

Anyway the IS in this lens is starting to "jump" sometimes, so I sent it in for service. I think it was $80 for the service and it cost me about $50 to ship it with enough insurance to feel OK about putting it in the mail. I am hoping they clean it out and go over it and it's back to peak performance. It's still VERY sharp with the IS off but I swear the IS is enacting more of a quality penalty than it didn't in the past.

But it made me think about it.. when I bought this lens way back in 2003 I considered it vs a 70-200 2.8L or 4L. Ended up with the 300 because I thought I was more trying to get reach for wildlife. I've come to think it's not quite enough a lot of the time, and ended up with the 1.4X II converter, which doesn't perform great.

Anyway.. since I bought the 300 I have used it with:

Elan 7e
10D
5D
5D3 (current camera)

At 14 years of usage it's cost me < $100/yr to own this lens. Some of the big hyped camera brands weren't even in business 14 years ago and only Canon has had basically 100% compatibility with their lenses in that entire time period. Over this time period I am still really happy I chose Canon when I started getting into photography.



Oct 10, 2017 at 02:48 PM
Ernie Aubert
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Sent my 300 F4/L IS in for service... with some perspective.


I hope you post after you get it back to tell us the results - and I hope they're good.


Oct 10, 2017 at 03:36 PM
Zenon Char
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Sent my 300 F4/L IS in for service... with some perspective.


I shot with mine since 2008 until I picked up my 100-400 II. I got a lot of good years from that lens which does not get much use but I'll keep around.


Oct 10, 2017 at 04:30 PM
technic
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Sent my 300 F4/L IS in for service... with some perspective.


bboule wrote:
I was shooting with my 300 F/4L IS quite a bit over the past 2 weeks.. took my son to a zoo that has a lot of open enclosures a week ago, and then we got to walk along the Cape Code National Seashore this past weekend and I was able to shoot some birds & seals. (Seals seem impossible to actually get an interesting photo of IMO... I've seen an awful lot of seals but they always look boring once I shoot the photo!)

Anyway the IS in this lens is starting to "jump" sometimes, so I sent it in
...Show more

I paid about $10 per year for my 4/300IS, I purchased one secondhand and sold it after about five years for 50 EUR less. The repair fee for your lens sounds very reasonable, if it solves the issue.

What is sad though is that in many ways, this 20 year old lens still has no better alternative from Canon. I don't consider the f/2.8 versions that weigh over 2x more, cost 5x more and have far worse magnification a real alternative. And especially when it comes to closeups (working near MFD), that old 4/300IS is far superior in image quality IMHO to the recent and far more expensive 100-400II (the 100-400 wins at normal distance, but that doesn't get much use from me). I sold my 4/300IS for the 100-400II and seriously regret it :-(

On the other side, my 4/300IS was inferior in resolution for infinity subjects to my 4.5/300mm Olympus OM lens, a lens with similar price level that is at least 15 years older ...



Oct 10, 2017 at 05:32 PM
bboule
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Sent my 300 F4/L IS in for service... with some perspective.


Yah I've had it for a long time and have gotten pretty used to it, never really thought about the infinity focus issue but I think I can see it now that it's mentioned. It's not that it's bad at infinity, it's that it's a lot better in closer.

I'll have to post it up though, I took a "portrait" of a 3-toed sloth a week or two ago, IIRC it definitely wouldn't have been at infinity focus but it is stupid sharp.

But birds, etc.. I'm usually at or near infinity focus and I think I see that issue with mine. Hard to tell though, because birds don't sit still and wait for good light, and the sharpness seems heavily dependent on lighting. Said example with the 3-toed sloth was great yet challenging lighting and the sloth while moving a lot faster than I thought they moved, was still very slow. In that case the rendition that the 300/4 IS came up with was really nice to my eye.




Oct 10, 2017 at 06:52 PM
tsangc
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Sent my 300 F4/L IS in for service... with some perspective.


I came to a similar conclusion after sending in my 70-200 f2.8L IS v1 two years ago. I was a little unhappy that the USM focus module had broken. But then I thought, I bought it in 2006 and it worked great until 2015. That's nine years of shooting with a 300D, 350D, 20D, 40D, 5D, 5D2, 7D2, SL1...

...if there's any reason to use Canon equipment, it's the nature of a product line that everything works together. In the same period of time, Sony acquired then let die the A-mount, in favour of the E mount (and I suppose FE mount), while Nikon introduced then effectively given up on CX-mount. Not to mention flashes, remote controls, even to some degree batteries--my 5D2 (2008) uses the same batteries as my 7D2 (2014), LP-E6. And of course to some degree ergonomics and layout. (Although the zoom function buttons...grr)



Oct 11, 2017 at 05:58 PM
Gochugogi
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Sent my 300 F4/L IS in for service... with some perspective.


I bought a used EF 300 4L in 1994 for $600! I used it on an EOS A2E and 1N is those days. The cameras are long gone but the lens still works great—sharp and fast AF—but but gotta use a monopod or tripod to get sharp images. Really spoiled by IS on my other lenses.


Oct 12, 2017 at 05:46 AM
rscheffler
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Sent my 300 F4/L IS in for service... with some perspective.


I had the 300/4IS for a while. Never really liked it that much. The IS was only good for ~2 stops and IMO sometimes caused problems. For example, if shooting a burst, I noticed the IS would drift a lot and once the burst was done, would settle back to a steady image in the viewfinder. I too sent it for servicing and I think the IS module was replaced. But it still did the same thing, which I chalked up to it being old tech.

Another problem with it was I could never get peak fps from my 1D cameras when shooting sports (with the IS off). Switching to a 400/2.8, for example, resulted in a noticeably faster burst rate.

This is a lens that could really stand a refresh. Better optics, much better IS, potentially a DO design similar to what Nikon has... But I guess the current 70-200/2.8 with 1.4x TC or 100-400 II in many ways are tough to beat for IQ and versatility.



Oct 12, 2017 at 06:58 AM
Fast6
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Sent my 300 F4/L IS in for service... with some perspective.


I've bought two of them now; the second after experiencing seller's regret from the first.

While it doesn't gather as much light as the superteles, and while it's not as flexible as the zooms (I also have the 100-400 II), it sits at a sweet nexus of size, weight, focal length, and IQ. Many of my memorable images have been made with this lens, largely because it crossed the selection threshold to make it into my bag that day.

The aperture on mine broke about a year ago, and I think it cost me 300NZD to fix it, so with this extra investment, I'll probably keep it for a loooooong time.

Maybe it could do with a refresh (2-stop IS being the most notable weakness in my mind), but it really is a gem as-is. No shame in choosing it over a 70-200, 100-400, or the f/2.8 superteles!



Oct 12, 2017 at 08:08 AM
melcat
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Sent my 300 F4/L IS in for service... with some perspective.


technic wrote:
And especially when it comes to closeups (working near MFD), that old 4/300IS is far superior in image quality IMHO to the recent and far more expensive 100-400II (the 100-400 wins at normal distance, but that doesn't get much use from me). I sold my 4/300IS for the 100-400II and seriously regret it :-(


I agree. Fortunately, I kept my 300mm f/4 IS. It's also smaller and lighter. I have a use for both lenses, so I kept the 300 even though the plan had been to sell it.

On the other side, my 4/300IS was inferior in resolution for infinity subjects to my 4.5/300mm Olympus OM lens, a lens with similar price level that is at least 15 years older ...

I had that one too, although only the old sngle-coated version, and did side-by-side comparisons. I found the resolution close but the OM was a clear winner in contrast, providing you weren't shooting into the sun. The OM did have severe lateral chromatic aberration, enough to cause problems when correcting in software.

(Of course the older OM lens didn't have IS, or autofocus, and I never really got decent results from it with my OM film bodies. So much so that I left it at home when I went to Antarctica and took a 180 instead. The irony was that it was a much better lens on the Canon than on its native OM.)



Oct 12, 2017 at 08:28 AM
 

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technic
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Sent my 300 F4/L IS in for service... with some perspective.


melcat wrote:
I agree. Fortunately, I kept my 300mm f/4 IS. It's also smaller and lighter. I have a use for both lenses, so I kept the 300 even though the plan had been to sell it.

I had that one too, although only the old sngle-coated version, and did side-by-side comparisons. I found the resolution close but the OM was a clear winner in contrast, providing you weren't shooting into the sun. The OM did have severe lateral chromatic aberration, enough to cause problems when correcting in software.

(Of course the older OM lens didn't have IS, or autofocus, and I never really
...Show more

I didn't do side-by-side comparisons, but the resolution / micro-contrast advantage of the OM lens (MC version) with infinity subjects is obvious from my Kodachrome slides. I remember obvious LOCA / PF when using it full open in high contrast lighting. I used the OM lens mainly for landscape style shots in relatively good light, so lack of AF and camera shake were not a real issue (before that I used a cheap 5.6/400mm, so I already had some practice in keeping a long lens steady). But with my current alternative - the 2.8/200mm with 1.4x TC - it is painfully obvious that IS is helpful for such long lenses, even a simple IS system like the one on the 4/300IS.

Currently trying to sell my 100-400II but it seems difficult to do that without taking a huge loss. Maybe I will keep it just in case I get into birding or something similar in future ;-) And for the 300mm, I hope Canon announces a 4/300DO or a new long macro prime next year, otherwise I will probably buy a Nikon DSLR with their 4/300 PF VR lens instead.



Oct 12, 2017 at 09:21 AM
rattlebonez
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Sent my 300 F4/L IS in for service... with some perspective.


The IS on the Canon 300mm F4 IS was too slow to sync for some fast subjects. I would get better results with IS off for quick birds in flight shots.

The Canon 100-400 IS II does not have that issue with IS. IS syncs up fast. I also think the IQ on the new 100-400 IS II is better than the old 300mm F4 IS at 300mm wide open. The detail in shots from the 100-400 IS II has been impressive in a wide variety of shots.




Oct 12, 2017 at 11:59 AM
bboule
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Sent my 300 F4/L IS in for service... with some perspective.


So this was kind of "ouch" but I got back a quote that the IS module has to be completely replaced on my lens. Only $123 in parts but $360 in labor costs, it must be really hard to fix!

I'd imagine some of the newer lenses might be designed to be fixed faster saving repair costs.

I authorized/paid for the repair this morning. It sucks but I'm not going to get into any other lens remotely comparable for less than $1000.

I agree it would be nice if they refreshed this lens with a newer/better performing IS unit. I've had to learn to work the IS pretty hard over the years in this lens, constantly switching between Mode 1 and 2 as needed and turning it off when that's the best approach, whereas some of my newer lenses I just leave the IS on all the time and never need to worry about it at all.

Only problem is somehow I'm sure if they came out with an EF 300mm F4/L IS II that it would cost $2500-3000 the way Canon is going with new lens pricing lately. I would never upgrade for that cost, if I was going to spend $2k I'd add a 70-200 f/2.8L IS II I think or maybe even go the other way and get my hands on a TS-E lens.

This is not my first Canon repair and it seems easy every time... another thing that makes me happy to have Canon gear as someone else mentioned. Everything just works with good compatibility for years and years and their customer service and repair stuff is great.

The other lenses I sent in for repair came back working a little better after service than they did when new.. going to keep my fingers crossed this one comes back tip-top too.



Oct 12, 2017 at 02:49 PM
melcat
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Sent my 300 F4/L IS in for service... with some perspective.


rattlebonez wrote:
I also think the IQ on the new 100-400 IS II is better than the old 300mm F4 IS at 300mm wide open.


And so it should be—it's nearly a stop slower. The 300mm f/4 IS improves a lot when stopped down from f/4 to f/5.6, although I don't think it ever quite catches up in sharpness at normal distances.



Oct 13, 2017 at 02:31 AM
technic
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Sent my 300 F4/L IS in for service... with some perspective.


rattlebonez wrote:
The IS on the Canon 300mm F4 IS was too slow to sync for some fast subjects. I would get better results with IS off for quick birds in flight shots.

The Canon 100-400 IS II does not have that issue with IS. IS syncs up fast. I also think the IQ on the new 100-400 IS II is better than the old 300mm F4 IS at 300mm wide open. The detail in shots from the 100-400 IS II has been impressive in a wide variety of shots.



true but it depends on the subject (how much acceleration in angular velocity). For dragonflies-in-flight even the 100-400II IS isn't helpful at all and fights the photographer, but unlike with the 4/300IS the IS of the 100-400 does work with slower, more predictable flight. With the 4/300 the IS only works when they are hovering or gliding slowly.

As to IQ it also depends on the subject: the 100-400II is clearly better than the 4/300 for faraway subjects (but keep in mind that the 300mm has 2/3 stops larger aperture compared to the 100-400 at 300mm). But for very close subjects until f/8-f/11 the 300mm is way superior IMHO, no nasty glow, severe backfocus and focus shift issues. And many subjects in nature for which one would use a long lens do not allow working at f/11 due to light levels ...



Oct 13, 2017 at 08:41 AM
technic
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Sent my 300 F4/L IS in for service... with some perspective.


bboule wrote:
Only problem is somehow I'm sure if they came out with an EF 300mm F4/L IS II that it would cost $2500-3000 the way Canon is going with new lens pricing lately. I would never upgrade for that cost, if I was going to spend $2k I'd add a 70-200 f/2.8L IS II I think or maybe even go the other way and get my hands on a TS-E lens.


I agree about the IS woes, I also hated having to switch IS off for fast moving subjects and then a few minutes later forgetting to switch it on again for stationary subjects, resulting in mild camera shake (or the other way round, having to stop tracking the accelerating subject because the IS starts 'whining' loudly and fighting the camera movement). My cheap 55-250STM doesn't have that problem, it keeps functioning normally even with very fast camera movements (admittedly, the IS is hardly effective at the long end ...).

As to price: Nikon has the 4/300PF VR lens which costs around EUR 1800; usually Canon lenses are a bit cheaper than similar Nikon lenses. An updated 4/300IS from Canon (without DO) should cost less, and even with DO more than $ 2500 would be outrageous IMHO, compared to the Nikon lens. If it's really good I would still consider it at that price level, but I doubt there would be a market for the lens at that price. Only pros and rich enthusiasts pay such prices, but not for this type of lenses with relatively 'modest' spec; most of them would probably prefer a used 2.8/300IS that start around $3000 nowadays.



Oct 13, 2017 at 08:54 AM
borno
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Sent my 300 F4/L IS in for service... with some perspective.


I don't use mine often since I would have to leave my 70-200mm or 100-400mm home to make room, but I do like the OOF rendering better than the 100-400mm II. It's petty good with the 1.4x also.


Oct 15, 2017 at 01:42 PM
bboule
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Sent my 300 F4/L IS in for service... with some perspective.


Got the Lens back around 1PM on Saturday... super impressive turnaround. I paid for it on the 12th and they had it back in my hands on the 14th!

All is well it is weird that it behaved in a subtly broken way that made me not realize it was really broken. Maybe it was cause it gradually stopped working and I just started adjusting my technique. The performance is excellent again.



Oct 16, 2017 at 04:09 PM
technic
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Sent my 300 F4/L IS in for service... with some perspective.


technic wrote:
I agree about the IS woes, I also hated having to switch IS off for fast moving subjects and then a few minutes later forgetting to switch it on again for stationary subjects, resulting in mild camera shake (or the other way round, having to stop tracking the accelerating subject because the IS starts 'whining' loudly and fighting the camera movement). My cheap 55-250STM doesn't have that problem, it keeps functioning normally even with very fast camera movements (admittedly, the IS is hardly effective at the long end ...).

As to price: Nikon has the 4/300PF VR lens which costs around
...Show more

Digging up an older thread for a slightly off-topic addition:

Looking at alternatives on other platforms, I can't help but notice the new Panasonic-Leica 2.8/200mm IS lens for m43 cameras. This is about equivalent to using a 4/300IS on APS-C and not only is this lens 50% heavier than the Canon 2.8/200L and even heavier than the Canon 4/300IS (!!), it is also $3000 (including TC) instead of less than $1000 for a used 4/300IS in very good condition. Wow ...

I bet that new Leica is a very nice lens and it sounds interesting enough to look at m43 options again, but why so heavy and expensive? Same story as with the Olympus m43 4/300mm but even worse ... It is good that they now finally have some long and bright tele lenses for nature/wildlife but I doubt many are going to buy this (but maybe I'm wrong?).

Canon really needs to update that 20 years old 2.8/200L with IS and show Leica that they can do better: lower weight AND lower price and still excellent optics. I think they could include a TC AND a good body for that same price (and if the body is an SL2, maybe even for the same weight ...) .



Nov 08, 2017 at 05:08 PM
alundeb
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Sent my 300 F4/L IS in for service... with some perspective.


technic wrote:
Looking at alternatives on other platforms, I can't help but notice the new Panasonic-Leica 2.8/200mm IS lens for m43 cameras. .....

I bet that new Leica is a very nice lens and it sounds interesting enough to look at m43 options again, but why so heavy and expensive?


Because the target audience believes it is a 400mm f/2.8 equivalent



Nov 09, 2017 at 11:49 AM







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