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  Reviews by: Jon Fernandes  

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

Review Date: Nov 11, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very good optically. Poor build initially. Solid construction after repair. Light weight. Relatively compact. Reasonable price.
Early version with wobbly barrel and severe zoom creep. Felt flimsy and cheap. Exorbitant cost for hood.

I had an early version of this lens - 0 third digit serial number. It had a very wobbly barrel especially when extended and the zoom mechanism was very loose - would zip out to fully extended when pointed down.
I could not detect the focus problem at 300mm in vertical mode on my 20D. Canon Australia put out a notice recommending all of these "affected" lens be taken to a service centre for checking and correction as necessary.

22 days later I have a lens with a solid construction and firm but smooth zoom. There is no rattling and it is a pleasure to use. There is no zoom creep. The feel is not quite the same as my 70-200 f2.8L but very acceptable. Speed of focusing is obviously not in the same league as the L but acceptable.
Images from f8 are virtually indistinguishable from the L and at 300 fully open with a little processing by DxO are excellent.

Why didn't Canon properly pre-test and release a fixed version of the lens ?
While they did respond and fix the lens problem it reflects badly on the quality control processes of the company.

In addition the lens now has a tarnished reputation.
If the newer versions of the lens without the problem are anything like my version after the repair this is an optical bargin at the price with what is now very good construction. Only time will tell how it wears with use but it looks very promising.

A perfect travelling lens with its light weight and excellent OS and imaging.