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

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201 605823 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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brianschwartz
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Registered: Jul 24, 2005
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 2
Review Date: Nov 5, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $700.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: weight, IS
Cons:
A bit flimsy (but I guess thats the price to pay for light weight)

IS a delight. How can one live without (for long range)? Sharpness is excellent and with the light weight it does'nt add to much extra weight to the camera bag. Colors could perhaps be a little richer but thats easily fixed in PS.
Conclusion: Would not exchange this lens for a 70-200 f/4 having a lower range and no IS.


Nov 5, 2005
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mortain
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Registered: Feb 28, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 5
Review Date: Nov 2, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros:
Cons:

To tdarnall.
You are reviewing the wrong lens. You bought the 70-300DOIS. This is not the same lens


Nov 2, 2005
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jrad
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Registered: Nov 2, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 2, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent, sharp focus; IS is a dream; portable; unobtrusive (black)
Cons:
At this price - none

Been looking forward to this to replace my aged Sigma zoom. It is a delight. Crisp focus; IS really works, you really can handhold.

My other lens is an "L" - well, OK, this one is not quite "L" quality, but it's not far off, and it is a third the price. Brilliant.



Nov 2, 2005
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jake611
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Registered: May 10, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Oct 27, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $521.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Size, image quality especially bokeh, image stabilizer, and its black
Cons:
Doesn't feel as solid/nice as the 17-85. Rotating focus lens.

It's a much better lens than expected in the image dept. Bokeh is surprisingly good b/c of the 8 blades and its very sharp. Maybe I got lucky but its equal to my 70-200f4. Or my 70-200 may not be that great?

I expected it to have similar focusing and construction as the 17-85, but it doesn't (focus ring rotates & it's a little loose). All in all it's more useful to me than my 70-200 b/c of the IS and it is inconspicuous due to color. Focusing is a little noisy but quick.

I found my 70-200 really needed sunny days or a tripod for good sports pix. This lens on the otherhand makes more "Keepers" even on overcast days and w/o a tripod. For me, an avid amateur, this is a perfect fit.


Oct 27, 2005
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ijshusky
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Registered: Dec 13, 2004
Location: Japan
Posts: 2
Review Date: Oct 26, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Price, optically better than the old 75-300 USM
Cons:
Build, no full time manual focus, size



Oct 26, 2005
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Tom Lisciandra
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Registered: Oct 25, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Oct 26, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $480.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: This lens worked well on my 20D. IS is great and improved compared to my 28-135 IS. I used it in Zion all weekend and had some great landscape shoots. Very sharp for a consumer lens
Cons:
Focus hunts in low light. When zoomed out and tilted up the barrel dropes back in to the lens either when focusing or snapping the picture.

I was looking for a low price long lens. I feel that this is what I received. The lose barrel is a problem. It is sharp and produces decent color. I can not say enough about the IS. It really works great and you can see it and feel it working. I can hand hold it and zoom out with out worry. The lens is a little noisy but I can live with that also. I can honestly say I recommend this lens to the consumer level photographer.

Oct 26, 2005
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PandaT13
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Registered: Oct 15, 2005
Location: Singapore
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 20, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros:
Cons:



Oct 20, 2005
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LJVroon
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Registered: Oct 18, 2005
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 9
Review Date: Oct 19, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Price, IS, accurate focussing.
Cons:
Noise

Waiting for this lens to come out since August, I bought it last weekend without finding anything on the web but a few prices. This week I discovered fredmiranda.com again and... the first reviews!

All the reviews here tell enough already, especially the extensive report by spoli58, so here just something general to think about: its sound. I bought it without any information but the Canon specs and a price. The shop was noisy when I tried itout. At home I was disappointed first about it's AF and even IS sound (I can't hear IS on my EF-S 17-85mm). But if you know that and accept it, it's a great lens for anyone who wants a telezoom with IS. I have just an old EF 70-210mm f/4 from 1988 to compare with, but AF seems fast enough and accurate. I agree to other reviewers that with less light, at 300 mm, AF gets lost sometimes.

I haven't been testing its image quality much yet, except for IS were I was curious about (the main reason for wanting this lens), and I must say that it's great to have 3rd generation IS on a telezoom.

This is a consumer lens and therefor "less" perfect. I recommend this lens to any serious amateur.


Oct 19, 2005
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tdarnall
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Registered: Aug 13, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 3
Review Date: Oct 18, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $550.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Zoom range, size, weight, IS, performance below 200mm
Cons:
Performance above 200mm; very soft left edge below f/11, build quality (smooth operation, just feels flimsy).

I have been using the L-series "tanks" (24-70, 70-200) very successfully with my 1Ds and 1Ds MII for several years. I recently decided to put together a lighter weight combination, using a 5D, for longer hikes, etc. I was very eager to see how this lens performs. I just tested a 75-300 DO, but returned it to the dealer because of soft performance above 200mm. Based on the other positive reviews here, I'm wondering if I got a poor "copy". I will likely return it and get a second one to try out. Meanwhile, I'm very excited about the 24-105 f/4L IS. It's an excellent foundation zoom.

Oct 18, 2005
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spoli58
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Registered: Oct 18, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 18, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Excellent IS (better than expected), good quality optics for the price, good build quality (similar to EF-S 17-85mm IS USM), nice finish, inconspicuous, relatively light weight, recommended for landscape, wildlife in good light and for portraits
Cons:
No real Ring USM and FTM (Full Time Manual focus), front element rotates when focusing, variable aperture, too slow for sports or for freezing motion in low light, soft corners at long end especially wide open (however better than most consumer lenses), no weather sealing

Overview (day 1)
The Canon EF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 IS USM Lens has a useful focal length range, small size, light weight, midrange price and Image Stabilization. It is relatively small (76.5 x 142.8mm / 3.0 x 5.6" retracted) and light (630 g / 22.2 oz) for its range and fits nice a Canon 20D body. Build quality is similar with my EF-S 17-85mm F/4-5.6 IS USM -- i.e. decent: mechanically ok, nice finish, no weather sealing.

The zoom ring feels comfortable and rotates smoothly but is a bit too sticky in my opinion. The front element does not rotate when zooming; however, the front element does rotate when focusing. A switch locks at 70mm to prevent the lens from extending when not in use.

The focus ring is adequate but the front section (that extends) seems to be a bit loose when in MF mode (or at least it feels like that). Unfortunately, there is no distance scale and no real Ring USM. The Canon 70-300mm F/4-5.6 IS USM Lens does not include FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing -- you must switch to MF mode to manually focus the lens.
Focus speed is average (I expected faster AF because of the USM) but accurate in good light. In low light, especially at the long end, I noticed some focus-hunting.

The EF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 IS USM Lens uses Canon's latest generation Image Stabilizer (IS) that provides an additional 3 F-stops for handheld operation. This is definitely my favourite feature of this lens. My first indoor tests indicate that the IS is very effective: using a shutter speed of 1/40 I was able to obtain sharp photos even at the longest focal length (300 mm); I've got decent sharpness even at 1/13 @ 300 mm -- amazing !

When pressing the shutter half way down, the IS engages -- the effect is very obvious in the viewfinder -- it helps to compose the image as well. There are two IS modes: mode I (normal -- all directions) and mode II (panning -- direction of camera motion); for the moment, I've been using the first one only. The IS seems to be relatively noisy compared with my EF-S 17-85mm F/4-5.6 IS USM.

The optical quality of this lens remains to be tested. But the preliminary photos (handheld only) did not show any obvious problems in terms of sharpness and resolution. Unfortunately, it will take me a while to perform some serious tests -- maybe this weekend.

The price of this lens reflects its qualities (and defects): $736 CAD (~ $620 USD). I'm sure that at least $250 is the IS -- it is a worthy feature especially for those who want to carry less: handheld is fine most of the time in good light, but in difficult situations (i.e. in low light at the long end of the focal length) a monopod is more than enough with the IS system on. Personally, I use a Manfrotto monopod 681 + rubber head 235C. I would have paid $100 more to have Ring USM and FTM. Maybe the next generation...

Optical Quality (day 2)
I spent few hours this weekend with my new Canon EF 70-300mm IS USM telezoom. Using a standard ISO 12233 resolution chart and a tripod I tried to evaluate the quality of the optics provided by this lens by comparing it with my old EF 55-200mm USM and with my actual EF-S 17-85mm IS USM.

Test conditions:
· camera used -- Canon 20D 1.6x FOVCF
· sensitivity ISO 200
· outdoor light, sunny day (around 3:00 pm), moderate wind
· light tripod and IS turned on to compensate for wind effect
· ISO 12233 resolution chart (450 x 300mm) printed on a HP inkjet plotter (~1200 dpi resolution)

Few conclusions:
· Overall impression: good quality optics, better than EF 55-200, probably not L grade but not too far if you consider the price and the class of this lens.
· In the range 70 to 85mm @ F8...F11 the results look similar to my EF-S 17-85mm IS USM, surprisingly sharp at the corners (hard to see real differences in terms of sharpness and geometrical distortions) -- great outdoor lens in good light conditions.
· At F8 the image is sharp for almost the entire focal range -- at the long end (between 200-300mm) the image looks a bit soft without affecting the resolution -- maybe it's just the fact that I'm using a cheap tripod and IS turned on rather than a rock solid tripod, mirror lock and no IS.
· Wide open the softness at the long end is present, however not annoying; corner softness is also more obvious, especially at short focal length, but nothing to worry about in real situations.
· Stopped down to F16 or more this lens is soft but usable -- you can turn this into an advantage in portraits or other situations where softness is desired.
· Using a 1.6x FOVCF camera, I cannot complain about vignetting or geometrical distortions (I would be curious to run some tests on a full frame camera) -- barrel distortions are minimal at 70mm and disappear around 100mm, pincushion at 300mm is also minimal. I guess that on a full frame camera the distortions may be more pronounced.
· CA (Chromatic Aberration) is very well controlled -- it is much better than my EF-S 17-85mm IS USM or EF 55-200mm USM.
· Canon EF 70-300mm IS USM Lens has an 8-blade circular aperture that give a very good defocused image quality (bokeh), better than EF-S 17-85mm IS USM or EF 55-200mm USM.
· With a maximum magnification of .26x, Canon EF 70-300mm IS USM can be used for macro (minimum distance 1.5 m) with good results. At 300mm the depth of field is very shallow and focusing is critical – AF single spot seems to work in many cases, but sometimes manual focusing and a good tripod may be critical. Here is where I miss the MTF of a real ring USM lens.

For samples and a additional information see:

http://snicolae.org/spoli/Canon/EF_70_300_IS_USM.htm

This is a work in progress, so expect changes, additions, etc.


Oct 18, 2005
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LX200
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Registered: Oct 11, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 40
Review Date: Oct 16, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $649.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: New IS is awesome. Sharp pictures wide open. Focus accuracy VERY good. Good telephoto range. Focus speed better than expected.
Cons:
Front lens element rotates when focusing, no full time manual focus.

Much sharper than I expected, at both 70mm and 300mm, as well as wide open. The new IS is just AWESOME. I got good very useable shots at 300mm at 1/50 of a second. Focuses faster than I expected, and the focus is VERY accurate. Almost no missed focus.

Again, the 3rd gen IS is fantastic. I even got a useable shot at 100mm at 1/8th of a second. This lens kicks butt, and I am much happier with this than the 70-200 F4 L that I had for a few days. It had terrible focus accuracy on my 20D. Perhaps Canon is beginning to optimize their new lenses for digital cameras, because this lens is just fantastic.


Oct 16, 2005
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Dana_O
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Registered: Nov 13, 2004
Location: South Africa
Posts: 2
Review Date: Oct 16, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Weight, IS, image quality
Cons:
Price, no hood included in price

I have a third party lens in the same range which I bought a few years back. There is absolutely no comparison between the image quality and responsiveness of the two lenses. I am not a professional and cannot afford L-glass currently. This lens gives me what I was looking for: comfortable weight and great pictures.
I bought the lens in South Africa - we always pay a lot more than US and GB.


Oct 16, 2005
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Mr Pix
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Registered: Jul 3, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 25
Review Date: Oct 15, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $649.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Range, Weight, I would put it up against any of my L glass. Very sharp through the entire range
Cons:
None, considering that it is a well functioning lens and surpasses all glass in it's range.

I would recommend it to any one that is looking for a lens in this range. It will be one of my new travel lenses where weight is of paramount consideration when put on my 1D mark II. I will not compare it to any of my L glass as this is of another group so why talk about build or weather sealing. Far surpasses every aspect of the original 75-300. The IS is unbelievable and the sharpness is better than the 70-300DO and half the price.

Oct 15, 2005
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jreagan
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Registered: Oct 11, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 11, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $649.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Way better build quality than my older non-IS 75-300, black matte finish doesn't show finger prints, all the switches are easily located and clearly click into position
Cons:
wish it had the better USM motor; IS a little noisier than I expected

Moving from a Elan7e to a Rebel XT with the 1.6x sensor factor, I really wanted (needed) an IS lens to get steady shots at 200-300mm. I had avoided the prior generation given its age. This lens is what I was looking for. Sure it isn't an "L", but for cryin' out loud, most folks should be very happy with this lens.

I took several shots around my house and I'm very happy. I can't wait for my upcoming vacation to Australia/Singapore/Taiwan/India to try this lens out.

At $649US, it was a little steep. I hope it will come down over time, but I wanted it now and I paid the premium.


Oct 11, 2005
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2bruce
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Registered: May 18, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 280
Review Date: Oct 11, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $649.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: weight IS colour range
Cons:
price & no pouch or hood

Well today I was like a kid with a new toy just got my new 70-300 mm IS this is my first image stabilizing lens so I was excited to try it out, so i took off my 70-200 4 L probably a good lens to compare it with.
Well first thing is the weight it's light and inconspicuous compared to my 70-200 L with its black finish ,
it feels very nice and it's fast to focus, image stabilizion is excellent and the range is great 112mm to 480 mm on my xt rebel
colours and sharpnesss are a not nice as my 70-200 f4 L but image stabilization and weight and extra range make it very attractive I am happy with it
see some picture unedited and some edited on my site
p.s I did not try with IS set to to setting no:2 & I am not a professional
http://www.pbase.com/2bruce/gallery/canon_70-300_usm_is_


Oct 11, 2005
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A.Y.
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Registered: Oct 11, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 829
Review Date: Oct 11, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $490.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros:
Cons:

This lens is noticeably sharper than the 75-300mm across the board. IS works great. Highly recommended! Did I say much sharper @300mm?

Test your lens right away because my first copy produced double image at upper left hand corner only @300mm and had to be replaced. Dell’s customer service is great!


Oct 11, 2005
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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 605823 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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