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Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
171 329400 Jan 16, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
97% of reviewers $1,060.87
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.71
9.12
9.6
ef300mmf_4_1_

Specifications:
Compact L-series telephoto lens with an Image Stabilizer which compensates for camera shake with the equivalent effect of a shutter speed two stops faster. Two Image Stabilizer modes are provided: Stabilizer Mode 1 (the same mode featured on the EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM) and the new Stabilizer Mode 2 which steadies the image during horizontal or vertical panning. Mode 2 detects the panning direction automatically. The closest focusing distance is 4.9 feet (1.5 m).


 


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primalcarl
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Registered: Dec 26, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 26
Review Date: Dec 26, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent IQ, pretty light, IS, built in hood
Cons:
None

I love this lens. I've gone through all variations of the 70-200, but always found myself wanting more reach as I visit zoo's a lot. I wasn't 100% satisfied with the image quality when using a 1.4x tc with a 70-200. I switched to a 100-400 and whilst the range was very good, I was very disappointed with the quality of images. They weren't as sharp or colourful as I was used to from L lenses.

I then made the decision to go for a 300mm F4 IS, and so far I'm very happy. Image quality is the most important factor for me, and this lens really delivers. Sharpness is excellent, and so is colour and bokeh. As the image quality of this lens is so good, you can crop images quite heavily without a significant reduction in quality (I have a 40D).

The only downside with this lens is the subject may be too close to you in certain situations, but that's not a fault with the lens just a question of choosing the right kit to take with you


Dec 26, 2008
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JHV_Digital
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Registered: Oct 13, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 2, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $850.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Razor sharp even wide open (I'd hope so for this price). Not too bulky. Fairly fast focus.
Cons:
Noisy IS/AF

I waitied an interminable time for this lens to arrive and when it finally did, it was pouring rain outside. My initial shots were indoors which is hardly a fair place to test a lens like this. Regardless, the results were fantastic. Super sharp as it should be and very good IS.

My only complaint is that the IS/AF is noisy. Not mildly annoying, Noisy like elves are moving heavy furniture inside the lens. I thought that I might have a problem with the lens but when I compared it to another copy at my dealer, it made the same noises as well. I'm going to wait for the Canon rep to come to the store and see what he thinks, but int the meantime, I'm very happy with this purchase.

I would easily recommend this to anyone who wants a super sharp medium telephoto.


Dec 2, 2008
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lextalionis
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Registered: Jul 28, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 1076
Review Date: Nov 18, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Compact, hand-holding ability, integrated hood, sharp, low CA and good color.
Cons:
Really the only negative I can find is that the IF focus will drop internally when the lens hangs down which causes subsequent shots to sometimes take longer to focus lock on the subject.

Compact, hand-holding ability, integrated hood, sharp, low CA and good color.

Really the only negative I can find is that the IF focus will drop internally when the lens hangs down which causes subsequent shots to sometimes take longer to focus lock on the subject.

Great outdoor sport and nature lens...highly recommend!

Sample shot taken with a Canon 30D

-Roy


Nov 18, 2008
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lwrnclightner
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Registered: Oct 2, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 614
Review Date: Nov 7, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $595.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Instantanious focus, Excellent color and contrast, and won't mention sharpness and clarity
Cons:
You tell me

I have the non Is version. I don't see how this lens can be this good. If the accalaids that the 2.8 version gets is better than this I guess I will have to own one one day.

I can not believe how good this lens is. I shoot with the 1d mk I and I am just blown away by this combo. I have hand held it at 1/40 shutter in iso 1600 conditions, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised, now would IS been useful, no doubt.

I just can not speak highly enough of this old dinasour. It has quickly become my favorite. I had planned on making this one of my last have to have lens, after a 35L, but when I saw it on buy and sell I had to jump. So the 35 will have to wait. I have a 24-70L that will get the job done in the meantime.

If you need a little more than 200mm You can't go wrong with a 300 f4, be it with or without IS,(if you have good technique I should say). Mine will be a starter in my line up anyday.


Nov 7, 2008
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John Korduner
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Registered: Jan 5, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 957
Review Date: Aug 16, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $925.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: My favorite lens. I like everything about it. Although it left me eating Ramen for quite some time, it's still a great value with lots of bang for the buck.
Cons:
You'd better know what you want to shoot, because unless you're into shooting trees from a distance, a fixed 300mm distance can be extremely frustrating.

This was my first, and remains my only L-lens. My primary interest is college sports, and initially I purchased the 70-300 IS for those purposes. Needless to say, after 2 or 3 events I felt I had to mothball it. In consideration of a "modest" budget, this lens immediately presented itself as the perfect fit.

I used it throughout the college baseball season, and initially it made me miserable. Honestly, I don't think I have any pictures worth the space they consume on my hard drive until the last couple games of the Super Regionals. However, after I became familiar with its abilities and limitations, it has proven to consistently produce my best pictures by significant margins. It should also be mentioned, that the built- in hood, although a minor addition, is a great intangible!

I'm about as equally qualified to discuss photo jargon as I am any other subject dealing with numbers and equations, but I find there's a significant improvement in clarity and color over my other 4 or 5 non-L type lenses. At the same time, since I'm also that meatball people smirk at as I pass by with a long tan lens attached to my trusty Rebel, using an entry level camera targeted at novices really seems to highlight the differences both performance as well as the increased capabilities L-lenses offer.

Although I am at a loss for any complaints, there are a couple of aspects of the lens where I find myself daydreaming of improvements.

First, I'm not sure how useful the autofocus will be for other sports. Although most of my unsatisfactory results are directly related to inexperience, I did notice my results significantly improved if I manually focussed at times when I knew there would be increased motion. That aspect combined with the fixed distance of the lens could prove to be a significant hurdle for any quick paced sports.

Second, although it's not really a shortcoming, so much as a limitation, but I found the f/4 limit of the aperture often left a distracting background. But, I also discovered that a basic competency with CS2 significantly narrows the gap to the next level of L lenses, which aside from being significantly more expensive, I've been told are also much heavier as well as bulky.

Finally, I haven't found any significant uses for the IS function. If the non-IS model is the same, I'm not sure what the justification/motivation is to spend substantally more for this version is.

All in all, I do not foresee myself parting with this lens anytime in the distant future.



Aug 16, 2008
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BenFPhotog
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Registered: Jun 21, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 173
Review Date: Jun 27, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Price, Weight, Speed, Sharpness, Colour, Versatility!
Cons:
None that I can think of. AF isn't as fast as my 70-200 f/4

After selling my 70-200 f/4L because it was too short, I was looking for a telephoto around 300-400mm to use for general wildlife, sports etc. I pondered the Bigma, Canon 100-400 and various other super zooms. All of these had positive and negative aspects until I was recommended this lens on FM Forums. I preferred primes generally (28 2.8 and 50 1.8) but I was slightly dubious to spend 800 on a 300mm prime. I was then attracted to the non IS version, but I couldn't find it anywhere. Finally, I found the IS version in a UK dealer for 590, so I went for it. And to cut a long story short - it's mind blowing.

It certainly wont be my last L prime. The AF is fast, consistent and deadly accurate. The IS (although the 1st generation) works fine for me. I 90% handhold this lens and my keeper rate is HIGH. The colour wipes the floor over any 3rd party zooms I've ever used, and my god this thing is sharp. It's just an amazing lens.

One thing I haven't really seen mentioned about this lens is the MFD. At 5 feet it can do semi macro work, and at the same time capture larger birds, wildlife, anything! I think the non IS version has a slightly longer MFD, and obviously no IS, so if like me you aren't sure about primes, but want something around 300mm for a good price, I'd get the non IS, but, if like me you're lucky and get find this version for under 650 then get it before someone else does. It's well worth every penny.


Jun 27, 2008
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bobshop
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Registered: May 12, 2008
Location: France
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 12, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: IS, sharp, compact, price
Cons:

I come to aquerir the 300 f4 IS superb goal for the animal a short distance I recommend it even with 1.4 ext it is still very good
After having had the IS 100/400 my preference remains for the 300 f4 IS
the dream would be the 300 f2.8 IS but too many for me $ !!!!!!


May 12, 2008
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wfr2
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Registered: May 14, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 1302
Review Date: Apr 10, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: IS, sharp, compact, built in hood, price
Cons:
none that I have noticed

I went back and forth between this lens and the f2.8 version. Finally decided on this one as the better mate to my 500f4 because I thought I would never carry both the 500 and the heavier 2.8 whereas I would be willing and able to carry the compact version with my 500. I figured that, no matter how good the 300 f2.8 is, it was not much good if I left it at home. I had a 400 f5.6 but hated not having IS so this with my 1.4TC is a substitute for that lens too. It is still very sharp with the TC. I put a Lenscoat on it which I found useful in that the Lenscoat is cut long and forms a friction brake to hold the hood in place. It makes a great carry around lens for wildlife where the distances are not too great (I use it on a FF camera so I do not get any multiplier effect). I bought mine used on FM but it looks like new.

Apr 10, 2008
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Dr Jimson
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Registered: Mar 3, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 80
Review Date: Mar 10, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp. Image stabiliser is brilliant. Built in hood. Light weight for size and quality.
Cons:
None

One of my sharpest lenses. Easy to use. Probably the best value "long lens" Canon produce.
Works well with 1.4x TC (2x TC is manual focus only)
I am a big fan of lens hoods and the built in hood is much easier to use.
The image stabiliser is very effective.
I find this lens is a very nice weight and can be hand held fairly easily. Mount it on a monopod and it is awesome.


Mar 10, 2008
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Breitling65
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Registered: May 31, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 5182
Review Date: Feb 29, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Light, build in hood, IS, F4. Perfect range 300mm to do a lot of different type of shots.
Cons:
Not as fast AF with 1.4tc, also with TC IQ not sa good.

I got this lens after I sold expensive and unused much 70-200mm F2.8L IS. Also since I went primes only route.
It is surprisingly good to excellent lens, and my first air show with it produced lot of keepers. Perfect for far away objects macro! Found IQ inconsistent with 1.4tc, haunting and much slower AF. In general as any Canon L primes having superb build and I like hood very much.

Samples:

http://www.pbase.com/breitling65/image/86534595
http://www.pbase.com/breitling65/image/84846388
http://www.pbase.com/breitling65/image/85264853
http://www.pbase.com/breitling65/image/83961238



Feb 29, 2008
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trenchmonkey
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Registered: Oct 21, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 34557
Review Date: Feb 19, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,025.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Stellar IQ, light, sharp, fast, love the built in hood, IS handy, great value.
Cons:
None

It's a 10! Some guy writes...
"overall a good lens, however for pro uses, you need the 2.8, speed winners and sharpness, with or without converters."
Duh!! you knew it was an f4 when ya bought it!! Gave it a 6.???
Awesome bang for the buck, folks. I've got the 300 f2.8 IS and I'm
hangin' on to this...it's that good.:)


Feb 19, 2008
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TomWilko
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Registered: Oct 20, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 153
Review Date: Feb 17, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Extremely fast to focus, built in lens hood, very well built, great price for the range and ability of this lens.
Cons:
Power hungry

I was looking for a prime that I could add to my current 70 - 200 F/4 L setup. Price was an issue (couldn't afford F/2.8 primes) but I wanted something that was optically fantastic and with good range for Motorsport.

This lens is a joy to use and I would have no hesitation in telling people to make a purchase, particularly for Motorsport or fast moving objects.


Feb 17, 2008
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toma7
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Registered: Jan 31, 2007
Location: Austria
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 8, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp, IS, price, filter size 77mm (the same as 24-105/4L and 17-40/L), L colors & contrast
Cons:
louder IS than the new one, beige color
Feb 8, 2008
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tt81156
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Registered: Feb 15, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 3
Review Date: Feb 3, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $700.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Price (especially when bought 2nd hand), great performance, everything I had expected after reading the reviews here.
Cons:
if you twisted my arm, then I might say what's all that clonking about when the IS is on, but it works fine so who cares....

I bought my copy second hand and I've not been disappointed, there is nothing I can say that hasn't already been said. So if you still need some help here's some examples of it in use.....

http://www.newyorkslideshow.com/Galleries_Everglades07.htm

and some with the 300L + 1.4x

http://www.newyorkslideshow.com/Galleries_BigginHill.htm


Feb 3, 2008
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Andus
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Registered: Apr 26, 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 36
Review Date: Nov 26, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: fast, sharp, IS GOOD~
Cons:
not 2.8, won't work with 2x extender

i'm not a pro, so i'm not looking for a $4000 lenes like the 2.8 verson, at least.. not for now~
usually use this on wildlife, yes, is not far enough for birds, i did consider buying the 400 f5.6 non-IS, but i found that i can always add a 1.4tc to make it a 420mm 5.6 WITH IS!!~
IS works really well that allow me to lower my shutter down to 1/50 or 1/60 still with a crystal clear shots.
here's some of the pic samples of this len:

http://picasaweb.google.com/andus.luk/0711/photo#5136294428931078178
http://picasaweb.google.com/andus.luk/0711/photo#5136294416046176274
http://picasaweb.google.com/andus.luk/0711/photo#5136294355916634066


Nov 26, 2007
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mertmag
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Registered: Feb 15, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Nov 3, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, IS works well, Fast autofocus
Cons:
Not black

Having owned a Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 a Canon 70-200 f/4L a Sigma 100-300 f/4. I can tell you this is the sharpest one of the group. Can't zoom of course but shooting wildlife it doesn't matter much. And the extra reach over the 70-200 really helps when shooting birds. The comments about the IS making noise is over blown. If your using a 20D your shutter will make more noise. The IS really works great. I am able to hand hold as slow as a 60th and I am not a very steady shooter. Also the ability to focus at just under 5 ft and get a very sharp image. It's almost like having a macro.

Nov 3, 2007
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Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
171 329400 Jan 16, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
97% of reviewers $1,060.87
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.71
9.12
9.6
ef300mmf_4_1_


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