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Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM

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116 250246 May 8, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
97% of reviewers $3,728.32
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.93
9.17
10.0
ef300mmf_28_1_

Specifications:
Telephoto lens newly equipped with an Image Stabilizer enabling hand-held shooting for easier movement. The fluorite element and two UD-glass elements effectively correct the chromatic aberrations prone to occur with telephoto lenses. With the EOS-1v and EOS-3, the AF speed becomes the worlds fastest. To reduce the overall weight and enhance portability, the lens barrel and many other exterior parts use magnesium-alloy. Also, the detachable tripod collar revolves smoothly and locks securely.


 


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Adam L
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Registered: Aug 15, 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 399
Review Date: Aug 26, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, contrast, focus speed, IS, bokeh, build
Cons:
The diddly little make up case that comes with it standard :)

There aren't many things I'd give perfect 10s to. Even the price here gets a ten. This lens could probably sell for more; it's that good.

I was skeptical at first, wondering just how much better it'd have to be to other sharp lenses to warrant such a following. So I took the gamble and made the purchase. And boy were those stories right! Everything is perfect straight out of the camera. Focus speed is amazing. Locking onto moving subjects is a breeze. And wait until you see the DoF @ 300mm, with f/2.8! It's so razor thin. If you've seen the 200 f/2, you'll understand what a shallow DoF is.

It took a while for me to get used to the features of this lens (focus limiting, etc), but I'm getting into the swing of it, and if you get it right, the focus speed actually increases (as with all Canon super teles)

I've added the Advantage Max4 lens coat to this lens. It's now my "wildlife" lens. With a Kenko 1.4 TC, it's as if there is no discernible difference in IQ. Focus speed is still super quick. I rarely, if ever, use my 100-400 now.
I've also been using a 70-200 2.8 IS and this combination is just slick. Low light photography is suddenly easy.


Aug 26, 2008
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mfoto
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Registered: Sep 18, 2002
Location: Canada
Posts: 2335
Review Date: Jun 19, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,900.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Feels like a real tool that just works and likely will work for a long time to come
Cons:
Price - but read the above

I first set out to get a 300 2.8 back in 1992. I had actually ordered it and before it shipped I got cold feet and went for the f/4 version instead. Clearly I had wanted this lens for quite some time before I acquired back in November 2007. I have now had the lens for almost eight months and feel I can give some input.

First of all I debated between the 400 and 300 as I shoot a bunch of soccer. The weight and not at least the price made the decision quite easy though. Id have to say I am glad I went with the 300 as it is very versatile. I use the lens mainly with a 5D and the setup is much lighter than I expected especially if you take the grip and tripod collar off. Ive used it like that for a few cross-country ski races where I find myself running all over the place. For soccer I use the grip and stick the combination on a monopod.

The 300 2.8L IS is everything I knew it would be. Great color, great bokeh, focuses fast, its sharp and a delight to use. I rarely leave for a shoot without it. Ive shot a variety of sports, theatre, landscapes, birds and more.

Feel free to check out some of my shots in this 300 2.8L IS gallery:

http://mfoto.smugmug.com/Cameras%20&%20Lenses/413808



Jun 19, 2008
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rentedmule
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Registered: Jun 13, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 41
Review Date: Jun 16, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Everything
Cons:
Nobody will leave you alone when in public while using the lens.

Bought this lens based on the reviews here. Handles very well on a monopod. My 13 yr old daughter lugs this around at the zoo for hours at a time so yeah its heavy but not crippling. I am new to wildlife photography but with this lens I will be carrying my camera into the field instead of my gun for many of my future hunting trips.

I bought this lens for high school sports but have not tried it for that yet. For the zoo and backyard wildlife it's a hoot. I simply cannot believe the images my daughter an I are getting with this lens and a 40D. I have not tried any of the other big primes so I can't compare it to them but it would seem to be impossible to best the 300.

My plan was to start with the best big lens I could afford for my most intended use. So far so good. The 400 f/2.8 is probably better for outside sports but was too expensive and too heavy for me and I need it for volleyball and basketball also.

I will take this one with me to the grave. Sell a kidney, its worth it.


Jun 16, 2008
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MDteX
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Registered: Dec 4, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 117
Review Date: May 23, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Stunningly sharp images--after all that's all we care about right?
Cons:
Price

I've owned this lens for a few months now and have shot thousands of images with it. I had some L lenses before but this one is simply the best. I was amazed by the images. The detail I know see is awesome. I do youth sports photography and this is a staple for that work and it is on my camera all the time. I've used it with 1.4 & 2.0 TC with no problems at all. Images are still sharp.

Most of my work is sold in a 20x30 size so it needs to be sharp. So far nothing but compliments from customers.

Does it weigh a lot? A little. Nothing extreme. I've handheld it for back to back lacrosse games. I was a little tired by the end but not really any more than usual. I do regularly use a monopod now so I can have the extra stability.

Sharpness and build quality are of the highest standards. And the lockable hard storage case is very nice although a little more difficult for airline travel.

As others have said--slap on a 2x TC and you have a 600 f5.6 with IS. I'm sure the birders will find that very useful.


May 23, 2008
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marxzed
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Registered: Dec 8, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 74
Review Date: May 22, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image quality, build quality
Cons:
none really in context of the above qualities

I'm going to throw this in here as there's no review page for the older non IS version.

Basically read all the reviews here and ignore the IS stuff. Optically this lens is so good, so free of distortion and CA, that I can shoot this with a 2x TC and still pull sharper images than with my 70-200 f 2.8 L (and that's no bad lens either)

The non IS version of these lenses pop up now and then on ebay and through used camera stores. I had the good fortune to be in a shop when they were selling a large number of them on consignment from a large newspaper who had traded them in on new IS versions.

I tried them all and really optically they were all as good as each other with no issues reliability wise or faults which given these were used for over 5 years constantly shooting sporting and other events shows you that they hold up to abuse very well.

The older non IS version, if you can find it, offers unparalleled optical quality at a price that even a povphotag can justify.

These examples are reduced size images from a 8MP 20D (sorry no 100% crops available at time of writing and not updating my pbase account at the moment but may add more recent shots second half of 2008/early 2009) all taken WITH a 2xTC ie working as a 600mm f/5.6 lens:

http://www.pbase.com/marxz/image/93560484/original

http://www.pbase.com/marxz/image/93560884/original

http://www.pbase.com/marxz/image/93561040/original

if your going to complain about the size and weight then basically your looking at the wrong lens, I have a few other telephoto lenses (Sigma 50-500, Canon 70-200 f/2.8L & 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS etc etc) and I do use these more often than this lens as they are more convenient for casual use, when I want the best telephoto quality I can get I pack a tripod or monopod, the 300 f/2.8 and a 1.4x and 2x TC.



May 22, 2008
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simon_k
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Registered: Mar 12, 2007
Location: Germany
Posts: 390
Review Date: Apr 25, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharpness, speed, bokeh, bulid quality, everything else
Cons:

I thought the 85/1.8 was sharp (oh yeah it is) but this lens just let my jaw drop to the floor.
I really couldn't believe what I saw when I first looked at the pictures. I even accidentally zoomed to 200% and thought "oh nice" before recognizing my fault.
The price is very good for what you get... if you pay $ and not this is.
I'm using the Lens with a Sigma 1.4x and a Canon 2x TC. With the 2x there is a slight drop in IQ but with the 1.4x it is extremely hard to notice any differences.

All in all this lens is an absolute masterpiece of engineering and absolutely deserves the praise it gets here.


Apr 25, 2008
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Andrew Welsh
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Registered: Jan 19, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 4971
Review Date: Apr 9, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: What can I possibly add? All the hype is true. Makes a great astro lens too.
Cons:
Weight, cost if you're not used to super teles. If you are, then the weight and cost are plusses!

An equipment measurbator's wet dream. If you take a bad picture with this lens it's your fault, not the lens' or the cameras. Haven't done many portraits with it but I don't doubt the wonderous bokeh, sharpness and color rendition this lens can provide. I need not worry about a bad copy, because there is no bad copy of this optical gem.

Optically, this lens is in line with the finest APO telescopes offered to the astronomy community too. Flat field corner to corner and mega-sharpness with zero CA's. Sure you might find a few optical warts at 500% zoom (thanks Jerry Lodigruss) but the same could be said for the Keck telescope. Excellent for astro wide open--- which is a claim that only a handful of lenses worldwide can make.

For sports, wildlife I will let the other experts weigh in on it but no doubt it's a ripper. It's not lightweight but you can handhold it with a little practice.

Note: this lens is not discrete. Crowds will part to let you up to the front. People will notice and make audible comments. Yeah, it's a status symbol like a Ferrari, so be prepared for the lovers gushing over it and the haters who want to steal it.

P.S> make sure you have a sturdy mount if you wish to do astrophotos with it :D


Apr 9, 2008
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edelsolar
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Registered: Aug 16, 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 13
Review Date: Mar 22, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Truly a kick ass bad boy lens.
Cons:
Only negative is the close focus point, but will take close up tubes.

As good as it gets in the Canon camp. Perfect with 1.4 extender, razor sharp by itself, delivers very good quality with a 2X an good long lens technique, better than my 500mm and 2X. Super light, extremely portable, true legendary bad ass boy, tripod not required unless you attach a 2X.

Camera backs attached to this lens I will get rid off at some time, lens will come with me to the crematorium. I almost prefer this one over the 500mm....never thought I could say that. Maybe I will just take both to my burial ground.

Life is short, get it and enjoy.

Sample images, used with a 1.4x and 2x at Galapagos.
http://delsolar.org/galapagos/


Mar 22, 2008
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lsr792000
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Registered: Oct 13, 2005
Location: Singapore
Posts: 18
Review Date: Feb 21, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Blazing AF speed with 1 series cam, amazing sharpness, smoothest bokeh, solid build, works very well with extenders & stacked. Try it to believe!
Cons:

I was quite sketical when i first purchased this lens. Well, i own the 300mm f4 before and that lens was already soo good! But this f2.8 version is much better compared to the f4 version! AF speed is blazing, sharpness is undeniable, smoothest bokeh i have ever seen, works extremely well with my sigma 1.4x, canon 2x II and even stacking both together, build was sooo solid and very well balanced with my 1DIIN! In short, it is really my dreams lens! Now i have a lens that can do almost all aspects of photography which i like - can work as a macro lens with extension tubes, def a sports lens, birding with 2x extender and even mini astronomy uysing the stacked extenders! What more can one ask for such a beautiful piece of lens? If you can afford it, purchase it and never turn back!

Feb 21, 2008
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redmullet
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Registered: Jan 17, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 6
Review Date: Feb 8, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Its all good. Believe the hype......
Cons:
The lens hood will take a bit of getting used to.

Very seldom will something in life live up to your expectations, especially when its as hyped as this famous piece of glass.

But this lens, quite simply, did just that - and more.

I can shoot away at f2.8 wide open and know that the subject will be critically sharp, whilst rendering the background into the mother of all buttery bokehs.

I have a lot of good glass, mainly "L" stuff, but this stands out as something really, really special. Oh, and initial tests suggest that it does indeed give a very sharp 840mm with stacked TC's, with negligible image degradation.


Feb 8, 2008
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gordon l
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Registered: Aug 17, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 3936
Review Date: Jan 2, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpest pictures I've ever seen. You see them and you jaw just drops to the floor.
Cons:
Not easy to blend into the crowd with this baby!

I have had this lens for over a year now. The image quality is outstanding. I've never seen better. Is quite easy to handhold. The IS is very helpful. Amazing to take out and come back with shots that are all winners (well maybe not ALL, but most). I use it for portrait, wildlife, airshows, sports, and just for fun. It's big and hard to hide when you're in public. But man it's fun to shoot with!!!

Jan 2, 2008
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albertino
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Registered: Dec 22, 2007
Location: Italy
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 23, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Ottica eccezionale-nitidezza ineguagliabile-autofocus velocissimo-stabilizzazione
Cons:
peso e costo

Senza ombra di dubbio, per me, la migliore ottica in commercio.
Nessuna ottica capace di regalare le immagini che questo obiettivo produce


Dec 23, 2007
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Tapeman
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Registered: Feb 21, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 721
Review Date: Dec 10, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness & focus speed are great. Accepts T-cons well
Cons:
OK, I wish it cost less.



Dec 10, 2007
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philp
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Registered: Jul 31, 2004
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, focus speed, IS
Cons:
Cost

I have had both the Sigma 120-300 f2.8 and the Sigma equivilent of this lens but neither are as good as this.

Sharpness is amasing and it is so easy to hand hold.

A great lens if you can afford it.


Nov 29, 2007
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toomas
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Registered: Oct 7, 2004
Location: Estonia
Posts: 3
Review Date: Nov 14, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Small and light compared to the longer "supertele" lineup, extreamly sharp even with extenders
Cons:
None

Probably one of the best (Canon) lenses ever produced. Although I sold mine about 6 months ago for the 500 f4 because I just needed the longer reach and didn't have a budget to keep the two, I most certainly will buy one again someday.

Some image samples with 1.4x II TC:

http://toomasili.com/?pid=145&lang=eng
http://toomasili.com/?pid=134&lang=eng
http://toomasili.com/?pid=126&lang=eng
http://toomasili.com/?pid=173&lang=eng
http://toomasili.com/?pid=85&lang=eng

And with 2x II TC:

http://toomasili.com/?pid=155&lang=eng
http://toomasili.com/?pid=68&lang=eng
http://toomasili.com/?pid=110&lang=eng
http://toomasili.com/?pid=61&lang=eng
http://toomasili.com/?pid=90&lang=eng


Nov 14, 2007
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svx94
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Registered: Mar 25, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 657
Review Date: Nov 13, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, beautiful bokeh, great with extenders
Cons:
heavy, I wish the tripod mount is removable.

I just sold it but I know I will miss it. It may be the best portrait lens ever (but I never get chance to try the 200mm/1.8), the brokeh is so smooth, make everything a beatiful backdrop. IS works very well, adding the F2.8, it is very practical to use handheld without blur the image. And for that reason, it will be nice to have a removable tripod mount to make it lighter whenever possible. I can not complaint about the weight too much since it is a F2.8. I wish Canon can bring down the price and make it more affordable for more, people will LOVE this lens.

I saw great sharpness out of this lens with 2x extender. It is obvious the 2x is made just for those F2.8 lenses, and deliver what they should. People really should not complaint about the 2x when they use it on slower lens. But a sharp picture first comes out of the lens, and the 300mm/2.8 IS is just near perfect.

Get it if you can!


Nov 13, 2007
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Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
116 250246 May 8, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
97% of reviewers $3,728.32
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.93
9.17
10.0
ef300mmf_28_1_


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