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Canon EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
34 171149 Oct 15, 2011
Recommended By Average Price
85% of reviewers $207.89
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.83
8.83
7.6
ef100_300f45_56_1_

Specifications:
Highly practical and portable telephoto zoom lens. The five zoom groups make the length only 4.8 in. (121.5mm). With rear focusing, the lens does not change length or rotate during focusing. Any filter effects therefore remain intact. It also makes autofocusing quick and quiet.


 


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Roadmaster
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Registered: Nov 13, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 11
Review Date: Jan 1, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Economical, good zoom range, excellent value for money.
Cons:
Not L quality, but you get what you pay for.

I bought this lens in 1998 and its major expedition was on safari in Africa. I was very pleased with it then and remain so, it has been my main zoom lens for a while now, although I would like to upgrade to something better this year. I have been pleasantly surprised at how sharp it can be, although much of my shooting involves apertures in the f8 - 16 range. In recent months I have used it with a monopod (I have often used it with a tripod) and the results have been as good as I could have hoped for. It feels a bit 'cheap' but is a great lens for casual outings. Mine has taken a fair bit of punishment over the years but remains in excellent working order and I have been very happy with most of the photos that I have taken with it.

Jan 1, 2006
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ddixon
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Registered: Dec 27, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 27, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Cost, Ring type USM, good weight, feels pretty solidly built
Cons:
A little soft but expected at this price point, zoom ring is a little wobbly

I just got seriously into photography in February of 2005, before that just playing around with P&S cameras. This is my first telephoto lens, and I thought it would make a good companion to my 28-105 II.

It is a little soft when looking at 100% crops, but this isnt really obvious when looking at full size images. Im using a 20D, and the images so far have been quite good. Its not L quality, but thats not what I was expecting either. The focusing is a little slow compared to my 28-105, but still wonderful for my needs. And its quiet which is really nice. My girlfriend has a Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG, and it makes a godaweful racket when it focuses. I havent experienced the zoom creep problem yet, but that could be because mine is just out of the box.

Overall, its perfect for my current needs as a beginner, but I anticipate moving up in the not too distant future. Im already starting to think about which lenses are in my future....


Dec 27, 2005
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rosspeterson
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Registered: Aug 21, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 149
Review Date: Dec 21, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Ring USM, FTM, weight and size, cost-effective lens
Cons:
Zoom creep (can be bad on some copies), okay glass

I have to give this lens credit, a lot of people bad-mouth it and compare it to L glass - not a fair or accurate comparison. This is an economical telephoto lens with a decent range that performs better than expected. Undoubtedly if you can afford L glass then go for it, but this lens can hold its own, and I have used it on my 1D MkII - not a typical combo, and it has turned out some fantastic shots. For the budget photog or for someone that wants to bring along a cheap telephoto in a high-risk environment, go for it - it is still a Canon lens after all.

Dec 21, 2005
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photomarvin
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Registered: Sep 23, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1789
Review Date: Nov 10, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $110.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Build Quality, ring USM, FTM, weight and overall look, good bang for buck lense
Cons:
Zoom creep (but not too bad), starts to get soft over 200

This is a great lense for someone who is still trying to get his or her feet wet in photography.

You get what you pay for and sometimes you get a little more. That is the case with this lense. If you have ever played around with any of the 'toy' 75-300 zooms Canon offers you will be pleasantly surprised when you try the 100-300. I just don't think you can get more value for so little money except maybe the 28-105 3.5-4.5.

The zoom creep is a little annoying but definitely not a deal breaker. 58mm filter size won't break the bank either. This is definitely going to be a learning lense for me until I can afford 'L' quality. Definitely look for a used one because you just might get a really good deal.



Nov 10, 2005
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smaniscalco
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Registered: Dec 11, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 748
Review Date: Sep 22, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Reasonably fast and sure to focus. Sharpest 300mm at this price range.
Cons:
Tiny manual focus ring.

I went back and forth, looking for something long at a reasonable (cheap) price. I tried the Sigma 70-300 APO super macro II. I liked the images from it, but it was too slow to focus.
I tried the Canon 70-300 and found nothing postitive about it at all.
I picked up this lens used and am reasonably happy with it.
For $270 new, you can't beat it.
It should be a constant f4 w/IS and a UD element or two...but then it would cost $1k or more.


Sep 22, 2005
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brettdespain
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Registered: Jun 9, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jun 9, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: price, light weight, ring type zoom.
Cons:
too light weight, slow focusing for a usm lens, not very sharp.

I need a 300mm lens. What I really want is a 28-300mmISUSML lens. I do most of my photography from the confines of a fairly tight airplane cockpit. I thought that a compact lens such as this 100-300mm would fit the bill. So I bought it.

It's going back to the dealer tomorrow. The lens is so light that it's near impossible to hold steady while on a bumpy taxiway or in light turbulance in the air. I really need a heavier lens to help dampen out the bumps. I also can't believe how dependent I have become on the stabliztion feature of my 28-135isusm, which of course the 100-300 doesn't have.

One of the reasons that I switched from Nikon to Canon when I went digital was because of the vast array of super fast focusing USM lenses. In my view the 100-300 lens is very slow in focusing. And it has difficulty finding and maintaining focus through the thick plexiglass windows of my airplane. My 28-135isusm is razor sharp and cat quick in focus. You may check out the following website, where most of the photos were taken with my 28-135mm lens

http://www.airliners.net/search/photo.search?nr_of_rows=89&sort_order=views&first_this_page=0&page_limit=15&thumbnails=&&photographersearch=Brett%20B.%20Despain

Bottom line: I'm saving my money for the 28-300mmISUSML lens that I really want!



Jun 9, 2005
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TonD
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Registered: Aug 2, 2004
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 144
Review Date: Mar 31, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $279.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Real USM with FTM, weigth and size, prize
Cons:
Gets softer above aprox. 250mm, really benefits from stopping down

Like someone else said before, I think this lens is pretty underrated. Maybe there's a bigger difference between samples as compared to L-lenses, but I think mine is pretty sharp indeed. This lens was my first true Ringtype USM and I got imidiately hooked to it Smile

Of course no comparison would be possible between this lens and the "L"-series glass, but you get what you pay for and compared to many 75-300 lenses I prefer this one.


Mar 31, 2005
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W9SIX
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Registered: Jun 20, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 370
Review Date: Nov 22, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $175.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Light weight, USM, 58mm filter size, performance for the price.
Cons:
Zoom creep! my only real complaint.

I must have an excellent copy of this lens after reading some of the reviews below. Mine is wonderfully sharp when held steady in decent light. Pretty nice bokeh on mine too. Only real complaint is that the zoom creep drives me crazy. I think its one of the best bargains out there, since I see them on the B&S forum all the time for $130-$200. If you need sharpness and speed and a metal body, then you have to buy the L-glass. If you can't afford any L-glass, then this one is worth looking at if you can get a good copy.

Nov 22, 2004
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wcarey
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Registered: Oct 20, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 48
Review Date: Oct 21, 2004 Recommend? no | Price paid: $180.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Affordable. Very long on a 1.6x crop DSLR.
Cons:
Low contrast. Soft at full extension.

This was the second lens I bought (the first was the EF 28-105 f/3.5-4.5 ii) and it served me well while I was learning. Now I've moved on and up to the EF 200 f/2.8 L and the difference is striking.

I use my long lenses for high school sports (soccer and baseball). The USM drive in this lens is quite capable of keeping up with sports.

The maximum aperature of f/5.6 when extended really hurts though. In all but the brightest sunlight that forces me to shoot ISO1600, which is decent on the 10D, but not spectacular.

The low contrast, however, is a killer for me. Since I picked up the 200 f/2.8 L I haven't taken a single picture with this lens. The colors and sharpness of the prime put it to shame.

If I had it to do over again, I'd pass on the zoom, useful though it was, and save up for good fast primes.


Oct 21, 2004
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clonardo
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Registered: Jan 19, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 608
Review Date: Oct 8, 2004 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 2 

 
Pros: lightweight, fast focus
Cons:
total lack of sharpness, unsurprisingly cheap build quality, MF ring too small/in a weird place

I borrowed this from an acquaintance to use while my 70-200/2.8L is being repaired. I'm not making this a direct comparison, since that would be like comparing splendid apples to rotten oranges.

This lens has the worst rating of any Canon lens tested by Photodo. I could have told you this after looking at my soccers shots. Simply terrible. I've used Nikon's 70-300/4-5.6G, which has a lower MSRP of $179.99, and that's much sharper. I cannot stress enough how poor the image quality is here. Maybe it's good enough for 4x6" snapshots, but looking at 50% or 100% crops off my 1D, they're terrible.

The build quality is pretty cheap, but that's to be expected of most consumer-grade tele zooms. I'm counting the days until my 70-200/2.8L is back. I don't even miss the fast aperture as much as having acceptable photos for newsprint.


Oct 8, 2004
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eyes
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Registered: Oct 23, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 221
Review Date: Sep 12, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: focal length. price.
Cons:
lens slide. soft images. you pay for what you get.

I gave it a fair ratig because it doesn't do much other than provide me with 300mm. I will upgrade from it for sure. In well lit situations, it works well. I have taken some decent Little League photos with it.

http://sumtershots.smugmug.com/photos/8131146-L.jpg


Sep 12, 2004
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Newk
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Registered: Apr 23, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 1356
Review Date: Jul 25, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Good price, light weight, very sharp for the price.
Cons:
My zoom would flop to the extended position if I carried it with the lens pointing down.

I owned mine thoughout most of the 90s and sold a ton of pictures made with it for magazines, etc., as did the guy who owned it before me. I've always felt it was an under-rated lens, although maybe I just had a very good copy.

Jul 25, 2004
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eeprete
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Registered: Jun 4, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 3733
Review Date: Jun 21, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $155.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Excellent focus speed. Relatively lightweight.
Cons:
Quality drops off at about 240mm, but still acceptable image quality at 300.

After reviewing this lens and the Sigma 70-300 APO Super II macro lens, I was actually sold on the Sigma lens. While looking for a bargain on the Sigma I came across this copy on ebay and was able to get the lens for a relatively good price.

My expectations were not set too high with it, as I saw mostly positive reviews but nothing on the level of outstanding. Well, after shooting with this for a few days, I can positively say this was a fantastic purchase. The lightning quick focusing of it was well worth the asking price alone.

Quality seemed to drop of a little above 240mm but I still was able to capture relatively good images at 300. Some sample shots can be seen at http://www.pbase.com/eeprete/bee . These may help you to make a better judgement call as far as your own expectations.

If you had to choose between this and the Sigma, I would suggest this used over the Sigma new, but if you can't find a used copy, the 279 pricetag may be a tad high.


Jun 21, 2004
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Wavepix
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Registered: Apr 5, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 890
Review Date: May 4, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: quick focusing, light weight, full-time manual focus ability, affordability, reliability
Cons:
not sharp over about 180mm

This is the second lens I ever owned. I purchased it in 1993 and had it till last month. I sold it because I shoot mostly primes 85 f1.2, 200 f1.8 and 400 f2.8. This is a "gateway" lens. With lots of use I wanted something stronger because this didn't do it for me anymore. I really enjoyed the use I got out of it though. I liked it better than the 75-300 IS I borrowed. The ring USM was one of the high points because you could manually adjust the focus at any time. Great lens to learn on.


May 4, 2004
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moallen
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Registered: Dec 19, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jul 23, 2003 Recommend? no | Price paid: $239.00 | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: Light weight, convenient size, USM autofocus is fast and silent, nice feeling to zoom action. 58mm filter size is nice.
Cons:
Disappointing lack of sharpness -- poor at 200 or greater.

I bought this lens to shoot softball games, so I was frequently using the lens at 200-300 to get closer to the action on the field. Shooting action late in the day, I had my 10D set to ISO 800 and 1600 to get reasonable shutter speeds. The lens was wide open, unfortunately. I kept the camera on a tripod to eliminate shaking. Results were disappointing -- very soft. I had to apply aggressive sharpening to rescue the images. This lens is not a good choice for action sports. If I were going to do sports on a regular basis, I would invest in one of the fast L-quality lenses.

If your subject allows you to shoot on a tripod, stopped down to f/11 or greater, results are better, but still not great. Not recommended.


Jul 23, 2003
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Gochugogi
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Registered: Jun 25, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 9797
Review Date: Jul 17, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $325.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast AF, FTM, nice zoom range and good quality for the price
Cons:
Zoom gets loose with use.

I bought the EF 100-300 4.5-5.6 USM in 1990 along with an EOS 10S. The 10S center cross sensor and ring-USM of the zoom produced jaw dropping fast and accurate AF. It was an earth shattering improvement after struggling for months with the slow and unreliable AF of a Nikon 8008. Polycarbonate construction, but with a metal mount, keep this zoom to a reasonable 550 g (19.4 oz). The twist action zoom is smooth but tends to creep after wearing in. Like most AF lenses, the manual focus ring is small and is not as silky or fine as the manual lenses of yesteryear.

It sports a ring-type USM (Ultrasonic Motor) that drives a rear lens group and, thus, AF rips. Amazingly, AF is slightly faster and quieter (no gear train noise) than the EF 70-200 4L USM. The front element does not rotate and the barrel does not expand or contract during focusing. Of course, being an USM lens, it is silent when focusing. It has FT-M, allowing you to manually focus without switching out of AF mode. If you prefocus manually, the distance window in meters and feet is very useful. The filter size is a modest 58 mm, making filters affordable and easy to share with common Canon lenses.

The EF 100-300 4.5-5.6 USM is a wonderful lens for the EOS Elan series, A2/A2E or D30/60/10D. It isn't as well suited for the pro EOS cameras like the EOS 1V or 1Ds as the variable aperture of F3.5 to 4.5 is too slow to activate their cross AF sensors. Couple this zoom with the EF 28-105 3.5-4.5 USM or EF 24-85 3.5-4.5 USM and you'll have an excellent but affordable all purpose kit.

For a consumer telezoom, the EF 100-300 4.5-5.6 USM is reasonably sharp and contrasty, a notch above the EF 75-300 IS USM. If you stop down to F8, it is as sharp as a prime lens at 100 mm. After 200 mm, the image gets softer but still makes nice 11 x 14 prints if your stop down to F11-16. Distortion is much better controlled than than the EF 75-300 IS USM. In fact, unlike the EF 75-300 IS USM, ocean horizons don't exhibit noticeable pincushion distortion! Moreover, flare is well controlled for a zoom. Although some flare and ghosting occurs if you shoot bright sunsets, this lens is more flare resistant than the EF 75-300 IS USM. Of course, you should use the lens shade (ET-65II or ET-65III) to help keep flare in check.

When the EF 100-300 4.5-5.6 USM first appeared in 1990, it sold for about $325 (NY prices). Now its about $250 new, a bargain. If Canon added Image Stabilization, this zoom would be a perfect balance of cost, ergonomics and performance. Heck, I'd gladly pay a couple hundred more for it.


Jul 17, 2003
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Canon EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
34 171149 Oct 15, 2011
Recommended By Average Price
85% of reviewers $207.89
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.83
8.83
7.6
ef100_300f45_56_1_


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