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Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
173 335655 Jul 7, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
97% of reviewers $1,060.87
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.70
9.11
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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PabloJij
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Registered: Apr 29, 2014
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 7, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Good combination of price, weight and size. Solid build.
Cons:
Images often come out soft, even at f8. Old IS design

Coming from the 70-200mm f4 I was expecting this Prime 300mm lens to offer a major step-up in term of sharpness and resolving power. It is slightly better sometimes, but sometimes worse, and leaves you feeling underwhelmed.

Comparing these two, the 70-200mm f4 to the 300mm f4 in real world situations, I used:
- a new 70D body
- Handheld, at the same distance to the subject, around 25 meters
- Both lens at f5.6 (which is the sweet spot for the 300m)
- Shutter 1/500th or faster
- Both lenes mirco adjusted, giving no difference on Live View vs Viewfinder focussing
- Both cropped in software to give the same image and sufficiently zoomed in to reveal sharpness.

The 70-200 yields sharp results every time, and I mean when expanded up so the subject fills the same frame as the 300. Many shots on the 300 come out softer, some are about the same, and about a ⅓ of them are slightly better on the 300m. (after correcting the 300mm's CA in Lightroom). The results vary greatly, some good and some bad, so maybe a the IS not locking on reliably? You'd think a noisey IS also means vibration, which can't be good. I swapped the lens for another copy guess I just had a bad one, but the second was the same. It's also sensitive to UV filters, and I had to take the UV filter off the 300mm to get comparible performance to the 70-200.

So surely it must be easier to make a prime lens sharper than a zoom lens? And also easier to make an a smaller aperture sharp, compared to the enormous technical challenge of the huge f2.8 - which Canon managed to make incredibly sharp. So what's up Canon? Can we get an update to this lens please? You shouldn't need to heft around the 2.4kg of f2.8 glass just to get sharp images at f5.6. I get the feeling that today's 20mp crop sensors are very revealing of any softness, which you can now see in this lens design from 1997. On the early full frames cannons from 10 year ago (11mp) it was probably fine, but times have moved on. We now have around 9 pixels were there was only one.

Don't get me wrong this is a very good lens, but needs an update to bring into line with the 70-200 below, and the 300mm f2.8 above.


Jul 7, 2014
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J-man
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Registered: Dec 20, 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 32
Review Date: May 10, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: sharp & contrasty, fairly fast & reliable focus, Ok IS, close focus, solid build, great for macro, compact and light for what it is.
Cons:
Old IS only good for 2 stops, not super crisp when focused near infinity

This is my favorite and most used lens that I own. With a 1.6x crop body it makes an excellent wildlife lens, similar to a 500mm f4. It handles like a dream, is built like a tank & has all the feature boxes ticked (IS, focus limiter, sliding hood, USM). There is one problem ITS OLD, because it was engineered 17 years ago it has only 2 stop IS & optically could improve (very good on it's own & decent with 1.4x).

See my much longer review on my website: http://www.sheridanphoto.com/?page_id=1531

Jay


May 10, 2014
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photo1a
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Registered: Feb 4, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 480
Review Date: Jan 16, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,123.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, light, durable
Cons:

I bought this lens in 2006, used it some, then put it aside because it did not fit my needs at the time. However, recently I "resurrected" the lens to use for sports photography with a 5DIII. This combination is very sharp. The lens locks on and focuses quickly. Color is good. It is a an ideal lens for intermediate range: shorter than a 500mm and longer than a 70-200.

Jan 16, 2014
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oldshutterhand
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Registered: Jan 24, 2012
Location: Hungary
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 31, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, nice contrast, vibrant colours, stabilizator, very good even with the 1,4 converter
Cons:
Price

This is a very nice lens with beautiful colours, shapness and contrast. The stabilizator is also a very useful feature. Highly recommended.

See my review at :
http://oldshutterhand.com/equipment-reviews/canon-300-f4-is/


May 31, 2013
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brogan
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Registered: Aug 23, 2011
Location: South Africa
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 15, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: very very sharp, AF is quick enough for just about anything while using 7D
Cons:
IS is a bit noise at times, gave a 9/10 for build quality because of the lack of weather seals

I have had this lens for two years now and still love it!

I had (what I thought) was a problem, with soft images constantly. This until i replaced the UV filter with a Zeiss T UV filter. This lens is super sharp and lovely to use for just about any type of photography.

My father bought the 200mm F2.8 MK II two months ago and they are in a different ball park. But for the price you pay for the 300mm f4. It more than holds its own weight.

Combined with a 1.4 III it is also amazing. Found almost no problems with the IS being slower.

I have no problems with picking up this gem before any other lens. Unless the light is not permitting.

OVERALL: the focal distance is perfect for me, the image quality is perfect (sell on Getty), AF is fast enough to track birds in flight, and the IS is very welcoming on a long hike. I would recommend this lens to anyone!!

Regards

Brogan


May 15, 2013
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James Markus
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Registered: Jul 19, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 4409
Review Date: Sep 21, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $915.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, light weight, IS and excellent build quality
Cons:
None

Excellent reach when paired with the Canon 1.4x TC and the 7D (almost 700mm). Light, well built, IS that really works well, and very, very sharp. What else could you want in a 300mm lens?

Sep 21, 2012
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lherrainz
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Registered: Sep 20, 2012
Location: Argentina
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 20, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness, lightweight, small, IS, you have 420mm and 600mm using canon extenders.
Cons:
slow AF, noisy IS
Sep 20, 2012
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dmcharg
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Registered: Nov 30, 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 788
Review Date: Aug 27, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Strikes an excellent balance between size, weight, price and gives you a very nice fast prime with great bokeh. The close focus distance also makes this lens great for macro work as well.
Cons:
Would be good to see canon update this but not if they double the price.

A really outstanding lens. A really great prime that strikes a nice balance of size, weight & price. Bokeh is wonderful as well. When you consider the size, weight and price of the 300 2.8 this lens is a real bargain and really delivers. Having F4, IS and the close focus distance makes this lens very flexible. Would be nice if canon upgrade and maybe added the latest IS but i hope they don't double the price of this lens. There really is something to be said for a telephoto lens with this size/weight as you really can walk around all day with it.

Aug 27, 2012
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hogband
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Registered: Apr 4, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 639
Review Date: Dec 23, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Size. Weight. well-built. Love the IS even though it took some time getting used to it.
Cons:
None

I bought this lens in October 2011. I shoot Arkansas Razorbacks football and high school football but couldn't justify trying to purchase a 300 2.8. I had been shooting the games, mostly in daytime, with my 70-200 nonIS with a 1.4 extender. After switching to the 300, I can't believe I hadn't got one earlier. This is a great lens and with a 7D and higher ISOs, I don't have any problems using this combo at 6400 or higher.

Dec 23, 2011
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Woodgrain
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Registered: Dec 10, 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 23, 2011 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Excellent size and weight. Great hood. Wonderful close minimum focus. Very nice soft case at no extra cost.
Cons:
Image quality soft at f4 and not spectacular at any aperature. AF not fast or consistently accurate.

I recently sold my new 2011 300mm f4 IS lens after about six months of ownership. It was the perfect size and weight for a 300mm prime, and the short minimum focus distance was ideal for a variety of subjects. It had an excellent sliding lens hood and a nice soft case was supplied at no additional cost. I really wanted to like the 300mm f4, but at the end of the day image quality is all that really matters, and in this area the lens was a disappointment for me. I use a 40D, and if I was careful to shoot stopped down to at least 5.6 this lens could produce pretty good images, but not significantly better than the 70-300 consumer (non-L) zoom stopped down to f8 that I used to own. My 70-200 f4 IS with a 1.4x teleconverter (280mm) yielded slightly sharper images at f5.6 than the bare 300mm f4 wide open and equivalent images when both were stopped down. I bought the 300mm f4 planning to use it with a 1.4x teleconverter, but this degraded the image noticeably, even stopped down to f8. In addition, the IS on the 300mm f4 was only good for one or two stops max with no tripod-sensing feature, and the AF was not consistently accurate and was too slow to follow birds in flight when using a 1.4x teleconverter. Downloading images at the end of a day shooting with the 300mm f4 was often frustrating too many missed shots that were either slightly out of focus or simply too soft for my expectations.
I traded my 300mm f4 for a used 2009 300mm f2.8 IS. The difference between these two 300mm lenses is like night and day. The image quality from the f2.8 lens is amazingly sharp and brilliant. The outrageously fast and accurate AF and tripod-sensing IS combined with the very bright viewfinder image make the lens a joy to use. It can be shot wide open with confidence and accepts a 1.4x teleconverter with virtually no image quality loss. With the converter the 300mm f2.8 still focuses faster and more accurately than the bare 300mm f4 lens. Yes, the 300mm f2.8 is bigger and heavier, but it is still quite portable and I routinely hand-hold it with no problems. Many people are happy with the 300mm f4, but if, like me, you expect a little more from an L-series prime lens, rent the f2.8 version and try it for yourself. Is a used 300mm f2.8 worth three times the price of a new 300mm f4? For me, the answer is absolutely yes.


Dec 23, 2011
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AirbornePhoto
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Registered: Jul 30, 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 59
Review Date: Oct 3, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $899.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast focusing, IS is outstanding. Great build and honestly it's one of my favorite lenses I own. Fun for a cheap price.
Cons:
Not too much. The IS is a little noisy, but I dont have issues with that. If i were to suggest one thing, I'd like bigger front glass on it, maybe a drop in filter.

this is one of the best (for the price) lenses i have ever used. for a littler under/over (varying where you buy it) $1000, this fast canon prime lens can capture everything from a senior photo to a well lit hockey game. It's build is rugged. It has survived 10 months so far with me in Afghanistan, and the glass just keeps on producing better and better pictures (1Ds/7D). The fast focus combined with the 77mm glass paints quite a picture, with excellent contrast and minimal CA, even in full frame. I enjoy shooting this lens more than any other because of its weight (compared to the 300 2.8) and its ability to focus so darn fast! Overall I gave it a 9 because no lens is perfect (besides the 200 1.8 of course). great job canon, cant wait to see the mark II version of it!

Oct 3, 2011
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Januzzi
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Registered: Aug 22, 2011
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 1, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast autofocus; sharp images; macro function
Cons:
non
Oct 1, 2011
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brogan
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Registered: Aug 23, 2011
Location: South Africa
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 25, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: 1.Sharp 2. Contrast 3.IS 4.light (relatively speacking)
Cons:

I recieved my Canon 300mm f4 L IS USM lens on the the 17th August this year.

it is amazing. And even though I have not used it for the main purpose for why I got it (wildlife), I have shot some amazing pics of my dogs, cats and just playing around with it.

cant wait till this weekend when I take it to northern farms.

I have been waiting for this lens for quite some time. now I just need to get the 1.4 TC and then I'm sorted for a long time.

I also own the 200mm 2.8 mark 1. and although this lens is my favorite, this lens is creeping ever so clode to it, just based on the quality of pictures. the 200mm 2.8 i love for the size and it does not draw attention as the 300mm does. (white lens).

Kruger next holiday will be amazing with these two lenses in my camera bag.


Aug 25, 2011
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Xoa.
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Registered: Apr 11, 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 10
Review Date: Apr 11, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: minimum focusing distance; sharp wide open; light weight; bokeh can be stunning
Cons:
IS could be better.

This thing lives on my 7D with a 1.4 tele.

It is my wild life lens (and birds...its short for birding, so you get creative), my landscape lens (yeah... sometimes), macro lens, portrait lens (on occasion). It is light weight, and great for hiking.

The Bokeh can be absolutely beautiful.

It is sharp wide open, even with a 1.4 tele on it.

Fantastic Lens. Try it, you'll love it.




Apr 11, 2011
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asanduloiu
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Registered: Feb 2, 2009
Location: Romania
Posts: 377
Review Date: Mar 28, 2011 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros:
Cons:

I will not going to quote again the lens in any way, for not changing the results, but I feel the necessity to come again here and express the enthusiasm for the lens. I do use it with a Kenko DG Pro 300 1,4x and the results are just extremely satisfatory. Some of them could be viewed at http://sanduloiu.ro/en/home
Strongly recommend this lens! You'll not going to regret the purchase.


Mar 28, 2011
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Hudsons
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Registered: May 8, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 18
Review Date: Feb 6, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Light for focal length, sharp, handy built in hood
Cons:

I bought this lens for a series of adventure cruise holidays to the high Arctic and the Scottish Islands. I have also used it for seascapes and sea bird shots along the English coast. It was a 'toss up' between this lens and the 100-400 L, this just won. I have achieved good results with this lens (and it does work with the 1.4X converter.) I managed to hand hold it in a zodiac to get good shots of polar bears.

Feb 6, 2011
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Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
173 335655 Jul 7, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
97% of reviewers $1,060.87
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.70
9.11
9.6
ef300mmf_4_1_


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