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Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

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201 607869 Jun 6, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $566.98
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.63
8.63
8.9
70-300_isusm

Specifications:
The EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM telephoto zoom lens has been developed to meet the high-performance standards that today's photographers demand. Improved Image Stabilizer Technology provides up to three stops of "shake" correction, and the "Mode 2" option stabilizes images while panning with a moving subject. Compared to the original Canon EF 75-300mm IS zoom lens, this telephoto lens has faster autofocus, and overall the lens is lighter and has a smaller diameter than the original. The zoom ring can be locked at the 70mm position, making this powerful lens easy to transport, too.

Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 70-300mm f/4-5.6

Lens Construction: 15 elements in 10 groups

Diagonal Angle of View: 84 - 23 20' (with full-frame camera)

Focus Adjustment: Front-focusing method with helicoid ring drive

Closest Focusing Distance: 4.9 ft./1.5m

Zoom System: 6-group helical zoom (rotational angle: 84)

Filter Size: 58mm

Max. Diameter x Length, Weight: 3.0 in. x 5.6 in., 22.2 oz. / 76.5mm x 142.8mm, 630g (lens only)


 


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nikos_s
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Registered: Jan 13, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 17
Review Date: May 3, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: IS works great, sharp pictures, decent cost. Favorite part of the lens is the focal range.
Cons:
Build quality, rotating front end

I've had this lens for about 3 months and I have no regrets thus far because once I got the hang of it, I get reliable sharp pictures with lots of keepers.

I took this lens to a concert and I was very satisfied with the results I got in the low light conditions. IS definitely played a major role!

One thing I noticed is that the telescoping assembly loosened up since I first got it. When I first bought the lens, I could point it straight up or down and the lens would stay in its place. Unfortunately, that is no longer true but I'm still satisfied that my picture quality is still sharp.

Bottom line is that for the price, this lens is a great performer.


May 3, 2006
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tstonit
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Registered: Apr 25, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 25, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: $650.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Sharp from 70-200mm. Image Stabalization
Cons:
Rotating Front Element, awful optics 250-300mm.

I bought this lens a few months ago and was really excited about the rave reviews of the new IS system on this lens. I originally debated buying this lens vs. the DO version, but to me length of the lens does not matter - though it is annoying when people ask you if you can see the stars with it on. I have to say that the IS does work wonderfully. I do not have a stable hand and I has taking indoor shots with 200mm at f/5.6 and they were turning out clear. If this is why you want the lens then I'd suggest buying it. But I mainly use this lens at the 300mm end and the optics were far from my expectations. I even got shots at f/8 with an almost ghost appearance around my objects (which I tell everyone I did on purpose for an artsy feel). For this reason, I can not recommend buying this lens. I do have to say though, my pics were very crisp and clear at the 70mm end, but as I said earlier, thats not the reason I bought the lens. I will be returning this and trying out the Sigma 100-300 f/4 - faster and has better reviews optically (but sadly no IS).

Apr 25, 2006
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hijkim
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Registered: Oct 27, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 85
Review Date: Apr 14, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: IS, Sharp and in some situations it is as good as "L" lens.
Cons:
Build, not a solid lens. Focus ring makes noise.

I took this lens and my other L lenses to my son's school concert in their auditorium. The ISO was at 400 and took pictures at max aperture and the sharpness, contrast and saturation was almost as good as 17-40L and 24-105L at same settings. It was slightly soft at 300mm but not that noticeble from 70mm and 160mm.

But in other situations like taking pictures of trees and big open fields at bright day light it was really soft at 300mm than at 70mm.

This lens is almost as good as L lens when it comes to the glass but the build does not even come close to L lenses. It is really flimsy build. And rotating front element makes it really hard to use polorizer filters.

Overall I really like then lens and I can recommand it to non-professionals who don't really require super build lenses.


Apr 14, 2006
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riversen
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Registered: Apr 7, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 6
Review Date: Apr 10, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $560.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Great range and nice lens for the price. Though certainly not an 'L' lens, it takes wonderful pictures with great auto focus and zoom capability. A good lens to have if you are on a budget!
Cons:
It really extends too far out (for the price, this is acceptable), no hood is included, and the lens tends to extend by itself if I let the camera and lens hand on my neck. IS function is loud, but I suppose that may be expected.

A solid lens and performer. If you are on a budget, then get this one. A really nice lens that takes solid and crisp shots. I wanted to keep it, but the 70-200mm f/4.0L was too much of a deal. If you need the 100 to 300mm capability, then this is the one for you!

Apr 10, 2006
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tirzah
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Registered: Apr 6, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 20
Review Date: Apr 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: IS, lightweight, optical quality and price
Cons:
no hood

I've had this lens for a week and the only downside I have found is that when I load my photo's onto my PC and review them... I find they need little to no pp. I'm now totally sold on IS... gotta love physics!

I haven't noticed any of the portrait issues mentioned by others nor have I expirienced any lens creep.

my 70-300IS USM gallery...
http://tirzah.smugmug.com/gallery/1329570


Apr 7, 2006
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Winginhunk
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Registered: May 2, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 105
Review Date: Apr 2, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: $565.00

Pros: Good optical quality, excellent IS, easy to carry around..
Cons:
No hood, and slightly soft in vertical position (portait). Rotating front lens.

This is a followup to a prior report on this lens where I rated it 6. I would like to change it to a 9 with a YES recommendation. My first copy had the known portait problem and that was the main reason for the prior poor recommendation. I decided to exchange the lens and give it a second chance. My second copy was a little better, but still at 300mm was not as sharp in portait position compared to landscape shots. And this is only at 300mm, 250mm and below there was no difference. Since I have never printed larger than 8x10 I decided that I can crop a landscape photo to portait style. About 95% of my photographs are taken in landscape anyway and no one sees a 100% copy anyway.

I took a bunch of photo's at the local duck pond with the lens. These were taken mostly at iso 400 to 800.
http://flickr.com/photos/winginhunk/sets/72057594094705791/


Apr 2, 2006
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Eric Hendrup
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Registered: Mar 28, 2006
Location: Denmark
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 30, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very sharp from corner to corner in horizontal position. IS an absolute advantage.
Cons:
Unsharp corners in portrait position. Creeping lens when held in vertical position.

Purchased the first lens last week. At first the lens was considered to be in another league than the Sigma 70-300mm 1:4.-5.6 APO through the whole range from 70 to 300mm (and the Sigma is not a bad lens). The Canon lens was tack sharp even at wide open aperture. Right until I turned the camera in portrait position and found that the corners were blurred regardless of aperture. Using the common brickwall recording on a stable tripod (Manfrotto with built-in level) with the camera mounted absolutely parallel to the wall and using a remote switch in order to avoid any vibration.
One recording in horizontal position.
One recording in vertical position.
This procedure was done at 70,135,200 and 300mm focal length at widest aperture and the whole thing done again at F13.
Tripod was then removed to another wall and the whole story repeated. More than 100 pictures were taken (sorry-I have worked for many years in an application engineering department in a German company, so I know about statistical insecurity). There was no doubt: Beginning at around 200mm the corners were blurred. Worst case was 300mm upper right corner and hardly any difference varying the aperture. My dealer changed the lens and I could start testing all over. Unfortunately there did not seem to be any difference, so I do believe the problem is a constructing item, and I could test another 10 lenses without finding one in flawless condition. I decided to keep the lens, because I mainly use the 300mm focal lenght capturing birds and they are normally in the center of the picture (hopefully) where the picture is sharp anyway.
The creeping of the lens is a little bit annoying, but else the lens is a really bargain and IS is a great help.


Mar 30, 2006
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fox1
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Registered: Jun 10, 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 76
Review Date: Mar 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Image quality hardly noticeable from 'L' Image stabilisers spot-on. Handy Lens Lock
Cons:
No lens hood Tad over-priced.

I replaced a Canon 100-400mm L with this lens because it's
some much lighter and compact.

A sample of what the lens can do:
http://www1.airpics.com/showimg.php?imgid=92677


Mar 28, 2006
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Rixu
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Registered: Jan 16, 2006
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 10
Review Date: Mar 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $525.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: IS, the look of it, and the locksystem.. the price, the build
Cons:
rotating barrel is not the problem, the noise of it is.. hard to get good shots portrait CANON should have taken this matter seriously allready, no words as far as i know still...

First of, my gear consists of the 350D+kit, ultimately i missed the zoomrange which i had on my fFUJIS5000 last year, I read that this product is equal to a 112-480 on my body, it has IS and has descent results on 300 [480] mm, ofcourse it has to be sharp throughout the range,.. the-digital-picture.com convinced me with their review and also the pbase examples...

So yesterday after months of thinking which lens, i purchased the 70-300 IS USM ... I didnt even look at it or the salesman started to tell me ''get an L cause CANON admitted this lens has a 300mm portrait problem...'' But first see then believe i thought..
Who can you trust these days, seriously, did he just wanted me to buy a lense trice the price?, or maybe not and was he just being honest..
they tested 16 copies and they all have the problem, they said that the ones who don't just dont see it very well..

But i took a couple of shots.. And 300mm isn't even that far but a 400mm would be way over my budget.. 300mm with IS, this is the shit.
At least my flashshots on the portrait were as sharp as the landscapes
and maybe you need twice as more shots on portrait then landscape but it is possible to get the same result as in the landscape mode when you shoot non flash, its harder to get the result but you can get it.. at least with my copy... to be honest, a CANON product should be perfect ofcourse ... so that sucks a lil all the speculation...

The image stabalizer is really the best of the best on this product.
press your shotbutton halfway and it will focus the subject for 2 seconds.. and shoot.. i tracked a bird far in the sky, was hard to hunt it but once i had it, pressed halfway, the IS followed it and i got him nicely. Later that night the sun was going down it was on 30 degrees from being down, so it wasn't perfectly light in the park and still got a 300mm shots handheld with a shutterspeed of 1/320..

I think it looks so great,.. it's quite big, the barrel just makes quite a noise when its hunting and that is not nice, but plasticky, isnt really the word for it also, i feel like i got something valueable in my hands and it will deliver me the goods for quite a few years atleast!... it will be just a adventure to get the best shots.. ill post some of my first here when i have the time for it


Mar 28, 2006
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grodolfo
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Registered: Oct 31, 2005
Location: Italy
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Good optical quality, decidedly better than its predecessor especially near the long end. Nice zoom lock to avoid zoom creep when carrying the camera. Good stabilization, with the added bonus of an additional setup for panning. Acceptable mechanical quality. Low weight.
Cons:
Fron element rotates while focusing, so if you use a polarizing filter you may have a problem. USM micromotor is quite slow and does not allow full-time manual focusing. Maximum aperture is f/5.6 at the long end

This lens replaces the 75-300 IS USM which I sold last year without regretting too much.
I've field-tested it both with a film camera (EOS 3) and with a digital one (EOS 20D) and I'm frankly satisfied. I'm pretty sure that I've bought the right lens for the right price (which is an essential consideration).

Sure, an L series lens (say the 100-400 IS L) is better, but the price is not comparable, especially for one (like me) who is not a professional photographer.


Mar 28, 2006
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Gray3
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Registered: Feb 16, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 56
Review Date: Mar 27, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Good lens for all round phtography very sharp great IS, near L lens quality.
Cons:
No hood , build quality could be better, rotating front lens.

Good lens to own. Has lens lock great when on walk about. No problems to date.

Mar 27, 2006
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JPurple
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Registered: Mar 27, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 9
Review Date: Mar 27, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: IS, Sharpness
Cons:
It does rattle

I've been using this lens for a couple of weeks and I have not experienced the reported vertical problem. It works very well in both positions. Now, if anyone is still thinking if IS is worth the extra money, the answer is YES.

Mar 27, 2006
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John Daniel
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Registered: Jun 6, 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 1337
Review Date: Mar 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $625.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast, precise, clear & contrasty images, light, short, discreet.
Cons:
Front rotates, pastic contruction but, hey light cannot equal metal...

This rather cheap lens amazed me from day 1. I have a 70-200 f/2.8L IS and a 100-400 IS which are both heavy and great. I also had the 70-300 DO which I sold quickly because of poor optics. Well after several shots and tests (comparing this lens with the 70-200 f/4 that I had and sold), I have decided to buy the 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS for my travels. Guess what, I am not disappointed. The only inconvenient I see are the rotative front that makes use of circular polarizer rather complexe and second, the plastic construction; well you have to take care of it more than an L lens. Although the construction is still very well made, the zoom is very smooth and fast, the IS and autofocus buttons are better than before so there are no risk anymore of swithching them off by mistake.

The optical is, without any hesitation, great and give you the opportunity to shoot discreetly at L ranges for a very small price.

I would give it a 10 but it is not an L so...


Mar 26, 2006
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Winginhunk
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Registered: May 2, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 105
Review Date: Mar 17, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: $565.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Good optical quality, but as it approached 300 things became soft. I loved the IS, worked as advertized.
Cons:
The front lens rotates (& extends) when focussing. Focus sharp in landscape position, but more than half the time became soft in portrait.

First let me start out my saying I am a new dSLR user with limited experience with different lens. I have the Canon XT with the kit lens & Sigma 24-70 F2.8 to compare to.
I was wanting a zoom in the 200 to 300mm range and had narrowed my decision to either this lens or the Sigma 100-300 F4. I liked the IS and cheaper price of the Canon. I had read all the reviews and knew that there was a chance of getting one with the portrait problem. I guess I got one of the lens with the problem.
I was impressed with the size & weight. For me the focus was fast, although sometimes it hunted a little. In the lower zoom range both portrait & landscape was about equal. From 250 to 300 I started getting more misses in landscape and a lot more softer images in portrait. I took hundreds of photo's comparing landscape & portrait in different zoom & F stop's using the IS. Then with the camera on a tripod & IS turned off I repeated all the shots again without too much difference. I focused on contrasted targets from about 10 feet, 50 feet, and about 200 feet away, trying all the combinations in different focal lengths & zoom ranges.

I thought about keeping the lens and just use it in landscape mode, but will not. I will be sending it back to B&H and ordering the Sigma 100-300 instead. I will miss the IS & light weight, but hopefully image quality will be more consistent. I will just have to keep hauling my tripod around with me.


Mar 17, 2006
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iceflyer
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Registered: Oct 20, 2005
Location: China
Posts: 6
Review Date: Mar 16, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: The Canon EF 70-300 f4-5.6 IS USM is a great "newbie" affordable lens that would grow with your skills and performs as well.
Cons:
I have seen images taken by an "L" lens.The 70-300 IS USM produced images that are comparably sharp and contrasty but lack the "L" punch in color and sharpness as others observed. I don't like the way the lens "extends" to 300mm...seeing it how "plasticky" and cheap this lens is buillt. But I'm not complaining...I'm good with its performance overall.

Your pictures are only as good as your lens. As a photo enthusiast, I started out with a Canon 350D's kit lens 18-55mm then grabbed a 50mm F1.8 II affordable lens... and as I get agrressive and more excited in these crazy lens madness, I needed to upgrade to better, more expensive lenses. Other people say, why buy the more affordable lenses when you know you will only purchase the better ones in the future... you might as well just purchase the better ones now." But I can't and thought of getting a learning "practical" zoom lens.

An advise was given to me that "the problem with SOME (not all) of the more affordable lenses is that they will have poor picture quality. There are some that are great though. So this is where research comes in. It's important to choose affordable lenses that perform well." He advised me to get the Canon 70-200mm f4L lens. I tried this lens and it was AMAZING! I got confused getting between the Canon 70-200 f4L and the 70-300 f4-5-6 IS USM. I needed a light-weight, affordable zoom lens and IS that will help avoid "camera shake" or my problems in hand stabilization Sad. Got the 70-300 IS USM and so far images it took aren't that bad. It took great outdoor images of my family and shared it with friends and thought I was a professional LoL...It felt good as an amateur. Images are very sharp and colours are accurate. As for a learning enthusiast like me, this lens produced good quality images. Its a matter of how you capture images and create that "photographer's eye". The Canon EF 70-300 f4-5.6 IS USM is a great "newbie" lens that would grow with your skills. Hopefully I can afford an "L" soon Smile


Mar 16, 2006
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Scrappy
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Registered: Jul 21, 2005
Location: Sweden
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 15, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: IS, 300mm, weight, sharp in horizontal mode.
Cons:
blurry in portrait mode, no real USM, front rotata while focusing

I was happy until i turned the camera in portrait orientation. Canon repurchased the lens and now I'm going for a "L" insted.

Mar 15, 2006
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Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
201 607869 Jun 6, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $566.98
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.63
8.63
8.9
70-300_isusm


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