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Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
109 238575 Feb 20, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
82% of reviewers $1,155.47
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.67
6.38
8.1
ef70-300_45-56doisu

Specifications:
A superior performance, ultra-compact telephoto zoom lens with Canon's Image Stabilization. These Diffractive Optics elements are combined to reduce size and boost image quality. AF is super-fast and silent with a ring-type USM, and it focuses down to 4.6 feet Ė without rotating the front element. A new zoom lock button keeps the lens safe and secure when not in use or used at the wide angle.


 


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elshaneo
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Registered: Jul 10, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 30, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Small, light, portable, very good quality output results from range 70mm to 220mm, and the Image Stabiliser feature is truly a revelation!!!
Cons:
Very very Expensive!!! And between range 250mm and 300mm, it's quite soft but stopped down at f/8, it's indeed good.

I recently bought this unique Diffractive Optics zoom lens from Canon because I needed this focal length range which is small, light, portable with good quality optics, although not as excellent as the Canon L lenses, but not that far behind. And the Image Stabiliser feature is simply the best, it's a revelation!!!

I must admit that I paid a very high price for it, but this lens is unique and it serves well for its purpose, it is definitely a lens that I will carry with me more often compared to the big, heavy and white (attracts lots of attention) Canon L telephoto zoom lenses.

In brief, I'm very satisfied with what I'm getting when I use this DO lens, and that's what really matters ;-)


Apr 30, 2006
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Ric Grupe
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Registered: Jan 15, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 43
Review Date: Apr 29, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great range...small size...good saturation...files take very well to sharpening. Robust build...and it's black! Fast accurate AF.
Cons:
Zoom stiffness and creep can be irritating at times.

Earlier posts about poor image quality were greatly exaggerated...or quality control has improved. This lens has a great feel to it...with fantastic results.

Since there is nothing else like it, it deserves a high mark for innovation alone.

After 500 frames I have no complaints and feel like I spent my money wisely. Other lens will out perform this one for specific applications, but this is one you will use more often.

Highly recommended.


Apr 29, 2006
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TangaroaV
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Registered: Nov 28, 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 12
Review Date: Mar 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Solidly built, light and very very discret for such a good quality long zoom lens, (unlike the loud whites) . Very good color rendition and great photo quality . The best IS in Canon's line up, (including L lenses). Very very very fast AF.
Cons:
Yes it is a bit soft at 300 mm, some call it ''dreamy''. Software can fix that if and when required. Bokehnot always very good...

This DO IS lens on the expensive side. But then, what is there out in the market place to compete with ? Certainly not the cheapy 70-300 .. The only other alternatives are the even more expensive, very large, heavy and so visually loud white L lens. Can you see yourself with such a monster at family reunion or walking down the street of your downtown area ??

I would have rated it a 10 but the dreamy state at 300mm, the bokeh situation and the price are three aspects that could be improved, so an 8.5 to 9 is the score I gave it.

IMOIt is sthe best walk around long zoom for the great majority of canon owners . Great photo quality in a very solidly built lens. I am very happy to have mine.

LPG


Mar 26, 2006
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paddy19
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Registered: Mar 29, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 78
Review Date: Mar 12, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,149.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Small, lighter in weight, fast AF, great IS
Cons:
Doesn't seem to take to CP filters, expensive

LIke many others I debated long and hard between this and the 300 f4 is. Once I decided I took more images on the travel and stealth side Than on the tripod, it was an easy choice.

Got Thursday last and have taken about 400 images. All outside in overcast gray to sunny and bright. Shot a St Paddys parade yesterday and call it the bliss of ignorance but this is an excellent lense. The amount of keepers blew me away.

Say what you like but I'm very happy with mine. Trying a cheap Hoya CP didn't return the results I expected. Not sure in a higher quality polarizer would do any better. But this is my only issue with the lense.


Mar 12, 2006
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AviB
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Registered: Jun 21, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 34
Review Date: Feb 11, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,149.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Feels like an L, great zoom range, sharp, great color and contrast, IS, IS, IS, great travel Lens, small size, good bokeh
Cons:
Expensive, zoom was a little stiff, has a green circle instead of red

It took me a long time to make the decision on this lens given the less than stellar reviews about sharpness and comparison to the less expensive version (half price). But since I've become addicted to my 24mm-105mm L's quality build and pictures I just wanted to get the same size lens for the 70mm-300mm range. I've taken several hundred pictures mostly of birds at 300mm and f5.6, ISO 400 avg speed 1/160. My basis for comparison is my L lens plus my 10mm-22mm EFS and my Tokina 80mm-400mm.

The picture quality is fantastic, sharp, great color and contrast. With my Tokina (excellent lens as well) I needed a tripod to get similar shots. My pictures were all hand held using the phenomenal IS system. Could I have gotten sharper pictures?? Yes. With a tripod, faster shutter speed, and cooperative birds (standing still for a second) , more precise exposure (maybe) I could have gotten sharper pictures.

When you consider the size and quality build of this lens and the zoom range- I think it's a great buy. I rate it a 9 instead of a 10 because of the price.


Feb 11, 2006
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bwclark
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Registered: Jan 14, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 9
Review Date: Jan 18, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: PQ...see site listed in comments.
Cons:

Been considering a 70-300 zoom lens recently for use on my 5D, but did not want to get one of the "L bricks". I saw this post on another forum and have to say WOW! Why so many negative comments?
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1029&message=16749732

Anyway, I suppose since he used the 5D and did some processing the potential is there if you understand how to work PSCS2, etc. well.....I may have to learn :-)

I am impressed, duh


Jan 18, 2006
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ortho2000
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Registered: Jan 6, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jan 15, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent contrast at all ranges. Actually very good/excellent at 300 mm also Very easily held. Very smooth focus. Balances extremely well on many cameras.
Cons:
The DO at 300 mm is actually very very good. It is just not superb as my 300 mm f/4 prime, but that is a reflection of the prime's superb optics, and not a shortcoming of the 70-300 DO

I bought this lens after being so disappointed at the latest 70-300 mm non-DO version that Canon introduced in late 2005. I returned it. In contrast, the DO version is as solid as many of my L series lenses. The focus in manual is very smooth, and AF snaps into place almost instantly. I shoot with a 1.6 x Canon 20D. Comapring my Canon 300mm f/4 L series IS prime and the 70-300 mm DO, I can detect a modest difference at 300. However, I think this reflects more on the extraordinary excellence of the 300 mm prime. The DO's contrast and lack of CA are impressive. I don't know why this lens is rated so modestly. My copy is superb. I have other Canon Zooms as well ( 16-35, 17-85, & 24-105). All my Canon Zooms are L series except for this 70-300 DO. I am very happy with it and it's size and stealth factor only add to my satisfaction with this little optical jewel.

Jan 15, 2006
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J Rabin
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Registered: Aug 6, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 528
Review Date: Jan 1, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Most recent ('05) best 3-stop IS. Fast rear element USM focus and no front element rotation compared to equal consumer zoom. Pointed at subjects in good quality light results in excellent photos. I have some sharp photos @300mm & 1/15. Absent CA.
Cons:
Photographing subjects with out-of-focus background consisting of fine details results in "cracked-up" bokeh. Mixed response with filters and polarizers. Takes excellent photos, then frustrates at moments under adverse light conditions, when needed. Price vs. performance expectation better at $800+/-.

After 6 months use, I placed my user experience with 70-300mm DO in captions of these 13 images:
http://aesop.rutgers.edu/~rabin/70-300%20DO%20IS%20Lens/index.htm
70-300 DO likely to always remain controversial. A keeper as my elite "Travel" lens, but not for everyone or all situations. If you've shot sports with professional 70-200L zooms, the DO frustrates because you're accustomed to internal zoom and DO front element weight creeps. So, don't do that. DO has amazing lack of chromatic aberrations.
Users complain about flare. I'm not convinced it is flare per sae, but rather how the fresnel DO lens element renders OOF backgrounds with fine detail. Downright ugly, so I don't do that. Focused foreground details are excellent. See my images in link.

DO owners advised to shoot RAW, adjusting contrast, and using PS Edge Sharpening routines (PhotoKit Sharpener, Focalblade, etc.) in workflow. DO images demand, benefit from, and tolerate immense levels of local contrast enhancement sharpening.

I obtain excellent images with it - traveling - but I do not attempt use for money shot - must get - images at work. It is a keeper for me, but if I only owned one zoom as a consumer, this might not be it.


Jan 1, 2006
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pindman
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Registered: Oct 8, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 3
Review Date: Dec 25, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Small and much lighter than my 70-200 f/2.8L IS. Optical quality FAR better than I expected from reading revies, when put head to head with the 70-200L. Optically better at 300mm than the 70-200 with a Canon 1.4 Extender! So far haven't found flare to be a problem.
Cons:
Relatively slow (trade for small size.) Everything's a trade-off, and considering the size, I've not yet run into negatives.

See above. A keeper! But will keep the 70-200 f/2.8 when I don't have to carry it far. This lens is fantastic!

Dec 25, 2005
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adnil
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Registered: Mar 2, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Dec 20, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: excellent IS, fast auto focus, lightweight and short(packs easily in a camera bag)
Cons:
expensive

I also have the 400mm L 5.6 and this lens compares. In fact, on a recent trip, I had more good pics using the DO. If you think that your images are a little thin, use a little contrast and USM in Photoshop.

Dec 20, 2005
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ivanshusky
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Registered: Nov 7, 2005
Location: Japan
Posts: 228
Review Date: Dec 13, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Compact size, build, fast AF, amazing IS
Cons:
Prone to flair, price, needs post porcess to get desired results, hope it is a constant f4

It is a rather controversial lens. You either love it or hate it.

For me this is the lens gets to go out with me due to its compact size. Hope it is a bit lighter though.

Optically it actually produces decent pictures, at least my copy is. It might not be as sharp as some big white L lenses but for me the sharpness can be easily fixed with the help of a bit of PS.

It is maybe more prone to flair than other lenses in the same range but it can also be easily corrected by applying the CLEAR picture style file in DPP if you take pictures in raw.

Some people say it is not an L but costs like one. Maybe it is true. I agree it is indeed over priced, but it can actually produce L like pictures if you know how to use this lens well.



Dec 13, 2005
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dadas115
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Registered: Nov 25, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 1502
Review Date: Oct 25, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,199.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: Fast AF Easy to handle Good bokeh Great CA control
Cons:
Price Lack of contrast Lack of sharpness wide open, especially at longer FL's Lens seems more prone to flare than others in its range

This lens handles very well. The AF is nice and fast and easily keeps up with birds flying past or people running around. The IS is very effective and really has come in handy for me on several occasions. The build quality is good but not great. CA is very well controlled and the bokeh is usually very nice.

Unfortunately the biggest negative with this lens for me is its optical performance. I am not saying the lens canít take a good picture but I have certainly seen better performance out of lenses with similar specs at much lower price points. The contrast isnít great and sharpness wide open, especially at the longer focal lengths, isnít very impressive. The lens seems to be more susceptible to flare than other lenses I have used in this range. It has usually not been a problem but to does seem to come up. Also the OOF highlights can sometimes look a bit odd. This has hardly ever been a problem in my pictures but it does happen from time to time. I donít think it is anything that will ruin a picture and I havenít had much trouble getting rid of it in PS. Use of the hood with this lens does seem to really be a benefit. Unfortunately the supplied hood is quite large and defeats a lot of the small size that this lens is supposed to afford. The cost is very high for this lens considering the optical performance.

The whole size and weight savings aspect of this lens is a bit of a enigma for me. This lens is heavier than the new 70-300 IS and is larger in two out of three dimensions. The DO gives you a lens that is 1.7íí shorter in length but is significantly bigger in diameter. I found that this lens benefits from the use of the hood but the hood is unfortunately very large. The day I got the lens I was out testing it out and someone who saw me shooting commented that I sure had a big lens!

This lens certainly does have the gee-whiz factor and the technology is very exciting (for me anyway) but it is apparently a pretty tricky technology. I think eventually we will see DO zoom lenses with L like performance but my feeling is that this one just isnít there yet in the optics department.


Oct 25, 2005
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Christobel
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Registered: Sep 26, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 9
Review Date: Sep 26, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,130.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: IS, great travel lens, good image quality, sharp, beautiful bokeh.
Cons:
Sometimes a little soft at 300, but I've still gotten some beautiful, sharp images.

I wanted a lens that could be carried all day long, was unobtrusive, and could be hand-held at 200 to 300. This lens has produced beautiful images for me, and the bokeh, color and contrast are superb.

Sep 26, 2005
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Fred Bopp
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Registered: Jan 2, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 199
Review Date: Sep 25, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Size, weight and color
Cons:
Extreme flair and ghosting. Very unpredictable results

I also have the 70-200 2.8L IS and the 100-400 L IS.There is no comparison between these Canon lenses and the 70-300 DO.

The DO has a very bad problem with flair. Shooting towrds the sun it developes flair spots so bad you have no way to save the shot. When bright objects are in the scene it frequently creates ghosts above the subject.
I do a lot of waterfront scenes and panoramas and this is not the lens I would rely on After 2 days I sent the lens back to Adorama under their satisfaction warranty. I tried to do a sunset in New Bedford harbor last night and it was a joke. Looked like a comic book page from spiderman.

I supose if you plan to do walk about shooting on a trip you might be tempted to take this lens along. I would not waste any more time with it. I'll put up with the extra size and weight knowing I have the best tools at hand with the 70-200 & 100-400.


Sep 25, 2005
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RCicala
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Registered: Jan 8, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 2834
Review Date: Sep 24, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $950.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Small, killer IS, well built
Cons:
Good images require shooting RAW and postprocessing. JPGs are not a lot better than the consumer 70-300s, but you can get really good shots with a little work

I NEED this for a travel lens. It took me a couple of days practice to learn to use it, and when I did it works well for me. Some people have trashed the sharpness and I found several things that could account for that:
1) This lens doesn't like UV filters.
2) The lens is not very contrasty. The detail is there but it requires some postprocessing to bring out. This isn't a 135L that you can print shots right out of the camera. I've automated a workflow for the lens in PS that makes it pretty easy. Basically you've got to up the color contrast (I use an "Overlay" layer at 25%, then a wide radius, low amount USM (40 pixels, 20%). At that point the image is usually pretty good, I sharpen as normal and I get very nice prints.

It holds its own very well till about 250mm but past that it does get pretty soft.

Overall its a very good, but pricey travel telephoto. At home I leave it in the box and take one of the Ls.


Sep 24, 2005
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mobileburn
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Registered: Sep 18, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 18, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,160.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Relatively small and light, given its focal range. IS system is fantastic - it feels more effective than on my 17-85mm IS.
Cons:
Very expensive, very soft at 300mm - even at f8.

Bought this lens for the African Safari I will be taking in late October. I was already in love with Canon's image stabilization system from having used the 17-85mm IS lens since it and the 20d first came out. This lens jumped out at me as an obvious choice since its compact size and low'ish weight would make it easy to cart around at other events such as the Tour de France and various other races I attend.

I had read a lot of reviews on the lens and had seen much mention of its supposed softness, the odd bokeh, and the weird white halo effect. But there were some people that thought the lens was just fine. I'm not a pro photographer per se, but I do have a studio at home that I use for product shots with my job as a journalist. I never have owned an L series lens and thought that this lens might be "good enough" for me, as a non-pro.

I was sadly mistaken. The lens is quite soft - even at f8. Test shots of a friendly neighborhood spider (not spiderman), some newspapers in the studio, and a kids soccer game proved that, beyond a doubt, I would not be happy with this lens in any situation where the photos really mattered.

You can see some of the soccer shots at the URL below. All of the photos were shot at f8. Note that these low-res photos have been heavily sharpened to get even this much detail showing:

http://www.digitalburn.com/?jump=galensoccer

I do love the IS, though. I was able to take any number of photos at 1/13th and 1/15th of a second at 300mm on my EOS 20d (effective length of 480mm). I have quite a steady hand, but this was still easily 3 stops better than I could do normally.

If you have the cash to blow and need an around town long zoom, this will be great. But if it matters where you invest your money, I'd look for a better value elsewhere.


Sep 18, 2005
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Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
109 238575 Feb 20, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
82% of reviewers $1,155.47
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.67
6.38
8.1
ef70-300_45-56doisu


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