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

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73 127052 Jul 16, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $1,471.48
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.75
8.32
9.5
70-300mm


Specifications:
Designed to deliver ultra-high quality images along with lightning fast operation, the new Canon EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS USM telephoto zoom lens brings a favorite zoom range to the celebrated Canon L-series of lenses. It features two Ultra Low Dispersion (UD) elements for improved image quality and reduced chromatic aberration, incorporates a floating focusing mechanism for sharpness from close up to infinity, plus an IS system that increases usability by approximately four stops. The EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS USM features a function that prevents erroneous operation when the lens is mounted on a tripod or monopod. Gleaming white, with a removable tripod collar, dust and water resistant construction, and a newly developed Fluorine coating that keeps soiling, smears and fingerprints to a minimum, its phenomenal performance and flexibility is assured. For portraiture or to bring what's far away up close, this addition to the L-series is guaranteed to perform.

- Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 70-300mm 1:4-5.6
- Diagonal Angle of View: 34° - 8° 15'
- Focus Adjustment: Lens extension via inner focusing and focus cam plus floating mechanism
- Closest Focusing Distance: 1.2m/ 3.9ft
- Filter Size: 67 mm dia., P=0.75 mm /1 filter
- Max. Diameter x Length, Weight: 3.5 x 5.6 in, 2.31 lbs. / 89 x 143mm, 1050g


 


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dnauer
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Registered: Oct 22, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 11
Review Date: Oct 21, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,499.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: IQ, Focus speed, IS, Size
Cons:
Have to use non-canon teleconverter

Bought this spring during the rebate program, it is one of two lenses usually found on my camera. Love the lens for its size, sharp images, lightening fast focus. Tried a Kenko Pro 300 DGX and wasn't satisified with resulting IQ and focus speed was not good even in mid-day sun. This lens is a great one to carry and expect excellent results from -- I consider it one of my best lens purchases even at the price it goes for. I used the consumer 70-300 IS for several months before buying this and consider the L to be a considerable upgrade in th important factors of color, contrast, sharpness, focus speed, and that increidble IS.

Oct 21, 2011
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Kris Reiswig
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Registered: Jan 13, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 659
Review Date: Oct 20, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Size, weight, IS upgrade, color rendition, weatherproof
Cons:
Have to buy a 3rd party lens colar

I bought this lens specifically for a 3 week trip to Iceland. I used it all summer in preparation. Wow, is this lens ever a dandy, especially for landscape photography. It was so easy to open up to F11 and beyond, even with handholding, due to the IS. The colors that this lens produces are fabulous. It will not replace my 100-400 as my main wildlife lens, but when I want to travel light, this lens and a T3i body are perfect companions. Only con was tracking down a lens collar.

Oct 20, 2011
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Aichbus
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Registered: Jan 22, 2009
Location: Germany
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 6, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharpness, build quality, size
Cons:
distorsion, ca

When I bought this lens, I already owned the 4/70-200, 2.8/70-200 (I) and the 100-400. So I can compard the lens to those three. Apart from the different focal lengths, its overall IQ is on par or better than these. I tested two copies and they were identical. What is annoying however is the rather strong distorsion. Even for a zoom lens. The 100-400 performs betten in this regard. While this is not important for most people, for me it is. Architecture is a no go with this lens if you want to have the maximal image quality. Sure you can correct the distorsion, but you will notice the loss in IQ. The distorsion is so strong that you will have problems when stitching images together. Under the same conditions, I had no problems with the 100-400. But apart from that, the lens is wonderful.

Oct 6, 2011
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John Daniel
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Registered: Jun 6, 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 1337
Review Date: Sep 25, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,600.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, fast, IQ, compact, weather/dust proof, light
Cons:
No tripod collar...c'mon Canon ...

This lens is surprising. I consider it the replacement for the 100-400; but the relationship stops right there. I first tried this lens in store on a 7D and I was stunt by the focus speed.

The lens is sharp wide open. I have done shots of birds wide open at 300mm and I was very surprise of the results with the sharpness of the lens; even on very much cropped shots.

My regrets goes to the absence of collar; not even accessible on the market yet and the fact that Canon played it safe by designing the lens without the possibility of adding an extender. Although I have purchased a kenko pro to use with it and the results are very good.

All in all, an excellent lens for traveling light.


Sep 25, 2011
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gringollanero
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Registered: Oct 15, 2010
Location: France
Posts: 1
Review Date: Sep 17, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Compact, fast AF, good IS, very good IQ
Cons:
No tripod collar shipped with it. I had to make one up from an older Canon collar

Sorry, I shall not get into CA and little inconveniences since they were not important enough to bother me.
I just wanted to say how amazing this zoom lens is for its overall qualities which convinced the jury to win the 2011-2012 EISA professional european lens award.

Compact enough to fit into a reporter's pocket, fast focus (humm… better using a 1D MkIV than a plagued 5D MkII), efficient stabilizer,very good to excellent IQ throughout the focal range (the fall-off beyond 200mm is not obvious), this lens does not fail to amaze me. Not dirt cheap but worth every penny, this is a clear winner.
When I go out with it, I unconsciously know and feel it's going to deliver and it does every time. I grew a fondness for this one and if I ever get tempted by another setup, like a coming 200-400mm, it is going to be a struggle to let go of it. On vacation or distant assignment, this is the compact gear you want. According to reviews out there, the new 2.8/70-200L II seems still above, but with animal photography, children and even ordinary portraits, I don't know if the latter's IQ preempts losing the extra usable range beyond 200mm, which on numerous occasions allowed me very good discreet portraits I would have missed with a 70-200 zoom.


Sep 17, 2011
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FindingNature
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Registered: Sep 4, 2011
Location: France
Posts: 3
Review Date: Sep 4, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Size, weight, IS, sharpness, weather sealing
Cons:
Size, weight, IS, sharpness, weather sealing Lock button not lockable anywhere else than 70mm, outer focus

We are very satisfied with this lens, coming from the 70-200 we weren't sure if the lens was going to be as good in term of image quality.

+ Really nice build quality.
+ We were concerned at the beginning because the zoom/focus rings are in the opposite way that they are usually (typically on the 70-200s) but finally it works pretty well.
+ Image quality, at our own surprise, is comparable to the 70-200.
+ Weather sealed, we already took some showers, and the lens is fine.
+ No need to use the locker, it doesn't move around and zoom by itself.
+ Size, it can fit in a bag in the same position than a 17-40, heading up, this is really cool and saves some room.
+ IS, we shot ibex at dawn at 1/25 of a second, no problem.

- We would have like to be able to lock the lens at 300mm.
- Outer focus, the more you zoom, the bigger is the lens...but it's the price to pay for having this size.
- Maybe a bit pricy.

If you want to see real situation samples, check :
http://www.finding-nature.com
And join us on Facebook!
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Finding-Nature/206803999379616

The Finding Nature Team.


Sep 4, 2011
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dld542004
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Registered: Dec 13, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 341
Review Date: Aug 26, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Right size as walk around lens. Sharp and FAST AF. Built like a tank and dust and moisture resistant.
Cons:
Price?!? variable aperture

Recent purchase to take on Alaskan Cruise beginning of August. Only brought 2 lenses for my 7D, 70-300L and 10-22 EF-s. Kept the 70-300L on the majority of the time. Beautiful pics! Highly recommend this lens.

Aug 26, 2011
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JohnnyMelbourn
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Registered: Aug 25, 2011
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 25, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Superb sharpness wide open, non existent CA, great image stabilizer, fast autofocus
Cons:
Slight softness wide open from about 275-300 (see below)

At 85mm this lens wide open beats my 85f/1.2L MKII in terms of all round image quality.
That is to say, centre and corner sharpness are better (minute amount), CA on my copy is literally non existent.
85L has slightly more saturated colours (again minute differences)
And the bokeh is smother without darkened doughnuts for highlights (again though small differences).

At about 105mm my copy wide open is the second sharpest lens I have ever used, first being 24mm f1.4L II.

The main "trouble" for this lens is at 300mm
Wide open it lacks the brilliance from 70-250 but I would still not hesitate to use wide open!
At f8 at 300mm the image is very very good rivalling my now sold 300mm f4 IS at comparable aperture.

I really really love this lens! It's superb and light years better than my 70-200F2.8 IS MKI.

It does have variable aperture which I know alot of people hate.
But the lens is so good (my copy is) that I only stop down for DOF, something I could never claim to do fully even with my 300mm f2.8 L IS.

I can't compare it to any other zooms as I'm not not normally a zoom user, but i can't help but recommend this great chap.



Aug 25, 2011
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IceAero
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Registered: Aug 15, 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 15, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,499.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Build quality, size, weight, center sharpness, Very good IS
Cons:
Aperture at 300mm, cost, corner sharpness on full frame, copy variation!

Let me just start this off by saying how good this lens is, because it has really surprised me coming from the older 70-300 non-L. As sharp as the 70-200 F4L IS is, this lens matches it at all focal lengths and focuses faster than I expected! But, there is a caveat...I tried two copies of this lens in a camera store and the first was simply not sharp beyond 200mm, even in the center, with too much CA across the frame. I was deciding between the 70-200 F4L IS and this lens; the 7-2 was very sharp on my 7D, but I really wanted the extra range. I'm very glad that I picked up another 70-300L to test because it was very sharp, as good as the 70-200 F4L IS and the IS felt better; it feels like it 'starts' quicker and makes almost no noise. On a crop sensor this lens is extremely good, corner or corner with absolutely awesome contrast. The 70-200 F4L IS or F2.8 II has a corner advantage on full-frame, but I think everyone knows this. The weight of this lens is perfect, and it feels very good in your hand. I thought it might require me to use my 7D with the grip, but it just wasn't heavy enough or front-balanced to require it for comfort.

Everyone has said this lens is built like a tank, and they are correct. I was a little worried about the extending-zoom design of this lens and the ability to be weather sealed, but this lens simple exudes quality and tight tolerances. I'm willing to bet that dust and moisture are non-issues for most people. Physically, the 70-200s could be sealed better than this lens, just by design, but I don't know if they really are. Unlike my 15-85, the rear element of the 70-300L barely moves when zoomed, and I don't feel any air being pushed into the camera body (like the other extending zoom lenses do).

Many reviews online say this lens is as sharp as the 7-2 F4L IS, and many others say it is just a step-below it--the first one I tested was probably two steps below... I'm willing to bet, maybe because of the design, that there is more copy variation in these than in any of the 7-2s. I did a few tripod tests when I got the lens home of targets at 5 and 15 feet and this lens is razor sharp in the center at 70 and at 300.


Aug 15, 2011
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Sheila
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Registered: Apr 28, 2002
Location: Australia
Posts: 5456
Review Date: Aug 13, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Do not need to constantly change lenses as this size fits all! Super sharp.
Cons:
Cannot think of any as yet but would prefer fixed aperture at f/4 but this would have made it more expensive.

This lens is brilliant. I came second on a Canon EOS photo comp and was awarded $2,500 Australian to be spent at the sponsors camera website. Before this I had no intention to buy any more lenses but as I had an opportunity to do so, I checked out various lenses. In the end I chose the 70-300 f/4-5.6 L IS and have never regretted it. I sold my beloved 70-200 f/4 L IS and my aging Canon 300 f/4 L IS to a friend who was looking for good L lenses and they have gone to a good home! I can find no difference in quality between my former lenses and this lens. It's excellent and I highly recommend it. It's fairly light (in comparison to the 300) and the biggest plus is that I no longer have to constantly change lenses as this does it all. Along with my Canon 24-70 f/2.8 L, this lens is rarely off my 5DII.



Aug 13, 2011
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RichNYSME
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Registered: Oct 9, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 12, 2011 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,535.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Focal range, AF speed, build quality
Cons:
Uneven performance, IQ @ 300MM

When this lens was announced I knew I had to have one. For my motorsports needs it seemed to be the perfect lens as far as size and focal length so I bought one. After using it at 3 race weekends I ended up selling it. I did get some great shots with it but the performance seemed very uneven. As fast as the focus motor is, I had a large number of OOF pics, far more then with my 70-200, 300, or 400. In some lighting color was washed out badly, and the pics in many cases seemed not to be very "crisp". Perhaps the world of motorsports is not for this lens as I did get some nice shots away from the track but its not what I bought it for. So for me, its back to my 70-200 F/4 and 300 & 400 primes.....I'm very dissapointed, perhaps I got a dog and you'll do better.

Aug 12, 2011
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Sportscaster
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Registered: Jul 30, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Aug 4, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,519.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Well built, high quality "L" lens
Cons:
None

It was with a heavy heart that I finally made the decision to give up my much used 70-300 f/4,5-5.6 DO IS USM for this lens. I can honestly state that purchasing this lens, i.e., the 70-300mm 4-5.6 L IS USM, is one of the best decisions I have ever made so far relative to my Canon gear.

There is no comparison between the two lenses. If you own a Diffractive Optic 70-300 lens (or for that matter any Canon 70-300mm lens), and have been wondering about this lens in light of all the outstanding reviews, give it up and get this lens.

Simply put, it is a great lens all the way out to 300mm. Its optical performace truly surprised me. Image Quality is excellent. The very first picture is a "Wow." And, it is real sharp. Auto focus is fast and accurate, and the focus ring is smooth with no play. It has great bokeh. Come weather sealed and it looks like in all respects what you would expect from a well built, high quality "L" lens.

It immediately became my new go-to walk around lens and I am crazy about it. It is not too big and not too heavy. It feels just right with my UPstrap on my 5D Mark II. While 3/4 lbs heavier than the DO, it is actually 1 lb lighter when compared to the 70-200mm f2.8 L IS II USM. It is not that beautiful suble black with a beautiful green ring like the compact DO lens, but the white is not screaming either.

It is just right for me and I am a very happy Canon customer. No doubt that this lens will be THE Canon standard for 70-300mm lens for some time.



Aug 4, 2011
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rndman
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Registered: Apr 10, 2009
Location: N/A
Posts: 2
Review Date: Aug 2, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,419.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness wide open, build
Cons:
Price

I just got this today. I couldn't pass-up a very good deal on the new piece.
The quick test found satisfactory. I have yet to take it to the paces, but I am happy.


Aug 2, 2011
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eidelman
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Registered: Aug 8, 2006
Location: South Africa
Posts: 13
Review Date: Jun 18, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Canon L lens quality, build, size, range, image stabilization, image quality, smooth zoom, fast focus
Cons:
Heavy, zoom ring furtherst from camera, lens extends on zooming

Hi everyone.
I bought this lens just before a trip to Europe and middle east. What attracted me was the thought that it would be an ideal all round travel lens. My pretesting gave me superb quality images.

This lens proved itself. It is not light and when married to a 1D mark4 by the end of the day I was happy to have a rest.

I got quality images throughout the zoom range, superb bokeh, remarkable saturations and no distortions. I would have normally used my 70 - 200 f2.8L IS but this lens has become my choice for travel.

There is the argument of the aperture range but pushing up the iso to 400 and further gave me adequate shutter speeds and the image stabilization

This lens showed it's class while shooting from a hide. My companion was using a 300mm f2.8 prime and the images are comparable although the canon 300mm at f2.8 gives a better background blur obviously. But this raises the question of where else can you get 300mm L quality in a zoom and at the size and weight of the 70-300 f4 to f5.6 L IS.

For it size, weight, cost, range, build and IS it's a hard to find an equivalent out there and I have a feeling I will be using this lens more often than my Canon 300mm f2.8 IS


Jun 18, 2011
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largesock
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Registered: Jun 9, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 37
Review Date: May 16, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,549.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Light weight; fast, quiet autofocus; sharp wide open; very effective IS
Cons:
Might be a bit overpriced; slow

I received my 70-300L last week and took it to the zoo over the weekend. It was a real treat. It felt faster than it was, though on occasion I'd struggle to get a usable shot of an animal in the shade. I got several sharp shots at 1/20s and 300mm (though to be fair, it was probably about a 50% usable rate at that speed and focal length). The autofocus was surprisingly fast on my 5D2. I was afraid that, being a slower lens, it would suffer. Perhaps best of all, carrying it around with me all day did not get tiring or cumbersome.

Overall, I'm very happy with it. It has a reach advantage over the 70-200 lenses, a weight advantage over the 70-200 f/2.8, and is just barely slower than the 70-200 f/4. For my needs, the extra focal length and smaller size suits me perfectly. The build quality is fantastic; it feels a step above my 100L macro or 24L II. The bokeh is great, and it's still possible to get fairly isolating DoF wide open and at 300mm if you watch for good backgrounds.

Some of my web-sized shots with it are at http://aptaperture.com/2011/05/16/omahas-henry-doorly-zoo/.


May 16, 2011
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halfpic
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Registered: May 7, 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: May 7, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,535.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very sharp throughout focal range and corner to corner; smooth operation; less weight, smaller and more reach than 70-200.
Cons:
67mm filter size; focus and zoom switched (picky here)

This lens replaced the 70-200mm IS L f/2.8 II in my bag for a trip to Chiapas, Mexico.

All during the trip, I found the ease of use and extra reach over the 70-200 to be an advantage. The lower weight was also noticed over a series of long days.

I did get a little tired of other photographers wanting to hold it and look through it.

Now, when I go on a trip that requires a lens with some reach, it will be the 70-300. It performed well for me, and I am glad I purchased it.

Since the trip, I have continued to use the lens at home. It is nice to have that extra reach. This lens gives me hope for a nice 200-400 soon.



May 7, 2011
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Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
73 127052 Jul 16, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $1,471.48
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.75
8.32
9.5
70-300mm


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