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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 240850 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 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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alfarmer
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Registered: Aug 15, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 2046
Review Date: Sep 8, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Awesome IS; great overall lens quality, especially in the short & mid range; Size, weight, color, portability, etc.
Cons:
Priced too high, VERY soft at 300mm, zoom action a little stiff (but that's better than not stiff enough), and too slow

I didn't run into any of the flare issues, but I did see the ghostly halo effect in a number of my images. I kind of liked it, though, as it made for a soft-focus effect that was pleasing for "creative" photography. But $1200 is a bit much for something I wouldn't use in most of my picture taking.

I really liked the size and stealth of the lens and would have kept it just for travel if it weren't for the extremely soft images I got at 300mm. And it wasn't just my copy -- I've heard/seen others complain of the same problem. Add to this that it should have been and f/4 or better (3.5-4.5?) across its range, and I just couldn't see keeping it.

But if none of those things bother you, this is an otherwise excellent lens.


Sep 8, 2005
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calbirder
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Registered: Nov 20, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 53
Review Date: Sep 5, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Lightweight, black color is unobtrusive compared to the white zooms, IS works great
Cons:
Not as fast focusing as I would like

When handholding a lens at 300mm my shots really benefit from the IS. This is my long lens for travel since I prefer to be less obvious than the white zooms make me. I tried the 70-200 f/4 and while it took nice pictures it was just too big to carry around for a day. The 70-300 DO IS fits neatly into my small camera bag and makes it possible to have a long lens along without carrying 20 pounds of gear. I don't use it for birds (that's what I use the 500mm for) but it works great for zooming in on details and people at a distance when I travel. The main complaint I have with it isn't flare, though there is a bit of that, but the slow focusing. I was shooting "frisbee dogs" at the State Fair and had a lot of trouble getting the focus to keep up with a fast moving pup. Guess that's what the 70-200 IS 2.8 is for, but I won't be carrying one of those monsters around any time soon!

Sep 5, 2005
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Tom_W
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Registered: Jan 20, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 5381
Review Date: Jun 13, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,110.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Top notch IS, surprisingly sharp, compact, light, good Canon color & contrast, well built.
Cons:
Flare, slight hazy softness wide open (but can be eliminated with just 1/3 stop smaller aperture). A little higher cost than might be expected.

This is a much better lens than its early reputation indicates. It's quite sharp, almost as sharp as the 100-400 L. Color and contrast are very good, and it shines at f/8. Bokeh is usually pretty good, though it can take on an unusual "target" look on OOF highlights in odd circumstances.

Flare is the lenses' only significant weakness, but it can be dealt with if you are careful about your positioning. Generally, you will get a hazing flare when you shoot with the sun (or other very strong light source) just outside of the image frame, but still within the hood opening. Keep the light about 20+ degrees away from where you are pointing and it shouldn't be a problem.

It's size and weight make it a great lens for hiking and touring. Very unobtrusive way to reach out 300 mm. The lens is put together with almost the same build characteristics as "L" lenses.


Jun 13, 2005
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Stoffer
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Registered: Jan 27, 2005
Location: Denmark
Posts: 563
Review Date: May 19, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Excellent IS, unobtrusive size (and color), fast Auto Focus
Cons:
Soft, even a tad soft closed down, inconsistent results

Like others I really wanted to be happy with this lens because with its unobtrusive size and color, zoom range and IS, it would be the perfect travel lens. But in end I returned it and got a 135 f/2L instead.

I my copy was soft wide open on the long end but more importantly didn't always got truely sharp closed down to f/8. I would say that my real problem with this lens was the inconsistent results: Sometimes I got sharp enough results, but other times the photos was too soft and lacked micro constrast/detail. White highlights also seems to bloom and obscure detail in areas with a lot of white.

Would I recommend it to others? I voted yes, because other lenses simply cannot provide all of its features, BUT it is important to test it yourself in order to decide whether the image quality is good enough.


May 19, 2005
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John K.
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Registered: Jan 4, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 15
Review Date: May 11, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Lightweight, fast autofocus, superb image stablization
Cons:
Soft images

To be fair, I used this lens after extensive use of a 24-70 2.8 and a 70-200 2.8 IS. And the images from the 70-300 suffered in comparision. I do realize it's a bit unfair to directly compare L glass with non-L glass, but my reaction is what my reaction is.

Mind you, the images were by no means soft across the board. In some instances, they were quite good. But I want sharp images across the aperture range, and I just didn't see it with this lens.

By the way, I used it with a 20D, in the event that info is helpful.


May 11, 2005
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markcar
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Registered: Jul 8, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 8
Review Date: May 6, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,299.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Compact, Sharp. well-balanced, inconspicuous, much lighter than the 70-200 f2.8L IS, and Image Stabilization works well (see my notes below)
Cons:
Zoom is not smooth, slow (4.5 - 5.6), and it's the price of an L Series lens.

I've read a bunch of complaints about this lens, but, the fact is, this is a great lens.

No, it isn't as sharp as an L Series even though it has the L Series price, but what I paid for is compact and relatively sharp lens. As far as I know there is no other lens in this focal length range with IS and compact size.

Obviously, the main design considerations were size, weight, and Image stabilization. Canon successed well on all of these features. I agree that the lens is not as sharp and contrasty as the L Series zooms, but, take a look at those lenses - they're huge.

I originally bought the 70-200mm f2.8L IS and exchanged it for this lens; the former was just too heavy and awkward for a general walk-around type of lens. However, I was very sad to lose the speed and image quality. I will purchase that lens for keeps in the near future.

The 70-300 DO is a fine compromise. It's easy to handle and sharper than the 75-300 f4-5.6 IS USM and doesn't have the CA issues. It's sharpers and an all-around better performer than and of the Nikon zooms in this range.

The Image Stabilization was a bit of a disappointment. I'm using this lens on a Rebel XT 350D and the mag factor is 1.6. So, the 35mm equivelent focal length is 480mm. The rule of thumb for hand-holding is to use a shutter speed no less than the reciprocol of the the focal length in use. That means fully extended (480mm equiv) I should be using a shutter speed of 1/500 with IS off. IS supposedly is effective up to three stops. If that's true I should be able to hand hold at 300mm with a shutter speed of about 1/60. Not so. The best I could get was two stops better than with IS off when photographing a static subject. Even so, that's still quite a bit of help. With a max aperture of f5.6 @ 300mm and required shutter speed of 1/500 IS is neccessary in most normally lit situations.

Even with these few negative aspects I'm still very satisfied with the lens. You can see some of my images made with this lens at the following link.

http://www.pbase.com/markcar


May 6, 2005
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Schemeloong
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Registered: Apr 29, 2003
Location: China
Posts: 318
Review Date: May 4, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Ideal size, great zoom range, relatively lightweight, lacky of CA, funky green ring, IS, 58mm filter size
Cons:
Pricey, unsharp, bad zoom ring feel.

Great concept by Canon, but the copy that I got was unable to churn out sharp pictures, most of the shots are soft, very soft. The zoom ring feels very rough so not so ideal for sports. Maybe I should wait a while (like the 400 DO), let Canon improve the manufacturing process a bit and repurchase the lens again. If this lens can be just as sharp as the 70-200 F4L then I won't mind to pay the high price for such a useful lens.

May 4, 2005
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csd2020
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Registered: Apr 27, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1005
Review Date: Apr 29, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Compact, good reach, fast AF, IS, mine is sharp!
Cons:
Not L build quality at an L price

I bought this because I travel a lot and my 70-200L f/4 is just too big to fit in a travel size case. I was looking for something more compact but not willing to give up the sharpness of the L. I figured on buying this lens just to try it out and if not satisfied, resell it. I'm keeping it. I have shot hundreds of pictures side by side with the L and must say, this lens holds it own. The IS really makes a difference for me, especially at longer focal lengths. I have shot numerous resolution charts off a tripod and I can see no difference. The MTF charts are sufficiently close to back that up. My main use is handheld and here the IS really makes a difference. You do need to stop down beyond 200mm to keep it sharp, but the L doesn't even go there. My biggest complaint is the build quality. It's not L quality by any means and there is so much going on inside this thing that I worry about durability. Only time will tell.

Apr 29, 2005
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AGeoJO
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Registered: Jul 8, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 11991
Review Date: Apr 28, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Compact size, light-weight, superb IS and focusing speed
Cons:
Price a tad too steep, although I bought mine used.

My copy of this lens is a stellar performer and I am pleased with the performance of this lens as a travel lens. I did urban shooting during a recent travel for an extended period and the images are superb after contrast adjustment and sharpening in PS.

Apr 28, 2005
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jamach
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Registered: Jan 31, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 6104
Review Date: Apr 22, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Well built, precise, 58mm threads so filters cost less, accepts adapters, has IS. Great lens hood.
Cons:
A bit pricey.

I was a bit hesitant when I bought this lens and was excited about trying it out. The test drive was flowers and people. I am not going to worry about it anymore. This lens is very sharp with contrast, the bokeh is beautiful, and the IS definitely works to increase the keeper rate. Out of 129 pictures only 2 were fuzzy, not bad at all. Also the build quality reminds me of an L lens. If you always wanted a great lens hood this lens has one.



Apr 22, 2005
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vince
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Registered: Mar 18, 2002
Location: China
Posts: 306
Review Date: Apr 16, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Excellent compact and hand holdable design, IS really works, black unlike the attention grabbing L lenses, optics are better than non-L zoom lenses.
Cons:
Ripoff price. Slow f/4.5-5.6.

I borrow this lens off a pro photog almost every week for our weekend photo events, as I don't own this lens. The lens is really good. I love the way it zips into focus and the IS really works wonders compared to the ancient 75-300 IS whose IS is sub par compared to this baby. I've seen many people complain about the optics, but every single shot I've taken with this lens has been sharper and more detailed than the stuff I get out of my canon consumer zooms.

Of course if I did a controlled test at f/8-f/11 between this lens and (say) a 100-300/4.5-5.6 USM, maybe they will be equal (maybe they won't) but I don't have the time to fuss around with lpmm and resolution charts, there's lots of shooting to be done in the real world, lots of great images waiting to be made.

Yes, my 70-200/4L beats this lens every time, the L gives me better color and a lovely texture which this lens doesn't but for what it was designed for, it does the job.

That said, I would never buy this lens. It is a ripoff. If it dropped by 50% maybe I would consider it, but not otherwise.


Apr 16, 2005
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ijshusky
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Registered: Dec 13, 2004
Location: Japan
Posts: 2
Review Date: Apr 11, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Compact, IS, range, sharp
Cons:
Price

I have no idea about what people are complaining about this len. Maybe I am just luck to have a good copy, but I am not the only one. This lens produces sharp pictures most of the time and the IS really works.

Apr 11, 2005
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getg3
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Registered: Mar 23, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Review Date: Apr 4, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: compact, dual IS, black
Cons:
expensive

I need a compact zoom for outdoor travel shots. I set my expectation low after reading mixed reviews, but I finally decided to buy this lens. To my surprise, though not a L lens, IMHO this is very sharp lens, even at 300mm. The IS is excellent, I can leave the tripod in my car for most of my shots.

The build is very solid. The only negative thing other than the expensive price is the lens extended when positioned vertically downward, the good thing is there is a lock to prevent it.

I would highly recommend this lens for those enjoy travelling light.

Some sample shots are posted here (some USM applied):
http://www.pbase.com/getg3/los_angeles_zoo


Apr 4, 2005
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CanonB
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Registered: Jan 6, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 5
Review Date: Mar 22, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 3 

Pros: small, IS, range
Cons:
slow, soft, black :P, expensive

I was looking for a tele zoom with IS for hiking, and the DO wont be the one.

Get a white zoom if you really want a good tele zoom. Forget the DO.


Mar 22, 2005
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John57
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Registered: Jun 13, 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 53
Review Date: Mar 7, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 3 

Pros: Size, black casing.
Cons:
Poor sharpness, poor contrast and colour. Cost

I had high hopes for this lens.... small, not white and very manageable. Am I satified though - NO ! The images I have had from this lens have been poor at all focal lengths, soft and lacking in contrast. It has been very disapointing. I really wanted to like it. It is an ideal travel lens and marketed as 'near' L quality. Well, it isn't near the quality of any of my L lenses..... I have compared it to the 28-300, 100-400 and 70-200 - all of which are in a different league! To be fair they are all huge, heavy and white whereas the 70-300 DO is light by comparison, very compact and black. The trouble is the cost of this DO lens puts it up there with them and not say towards the 75-300 IS.

The size and colour make me want to keep it but I will probably sell it - the image quality just isn't up to the standard I want and am used to.


Mar 7, 2005
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MandrewsA
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Registered: Dec 14, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 50
Review Date: Mar 2, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very light, surprisingly sharp, terrific IS, unobtrusive size & color
Cons:
A bit slow, but anybody who is surprised by that either can't read or has ADD.

I've been spending money on L glass like a drunken sailor (just picked up a mint 200 f/1.8 for a heinous price), and have really been nervous that this glass would be a big let-down compared to the 200 f/1.8 or my 70-200 f/2.8 IS. I got this lens for my wife, so that she'd be less intimidated in using our 1DsM2.

I needn't have worried; this lens is great! It's a real joy to use as a walk-around. Yeah, compared to the L glass I've mentioned, it lacks a (very minor) tad in terms of sharpness, saturation, & contrast, but anyone who can spell Photoshop can compensate for those issues in about 30 seconds, at least for print sizes up to 13x19. Maybe I hit the Lottery in terms of a great copy, but it certainly seems that this is one great little lens. The IS is amazingly effective, even more so than on the 70-200, it seems.

At any rate, I'm glad I read all the negative comments about this lens - they served to set my expectations very low, such that I was very pleased by the reality of this particular copy. I've heard a lot of remarks about the DO optics suffering from variable quality; who knows if I just lucked out or Canon's reduced the variablility of their DO line. Clearly, though, the 70-300 DO is capable of some very impressive work, especially for its size.


Mar 2, 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 240850 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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