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

Review Date: Dec 23, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Smaller size and weight, nicely built and good IQ

First let me say it's my first post here but have learned a lot from all of you. Thanks! That said I want to upgrade my 70-300 IS USM (non L) lens as it was very soft at full zoom. After reading all the reviews and comments about this lens as well as the 70-200 f4 and f2.8 I decided to test them all on my camera, a T2i. I'm posting here to perhaps help others who are on the fence and how this lens compared to others I actually tried.

When I took my first couple of shots with this lens I was sold.....kinda

Here were my results....Yours may differ. I set my camera on a tripod, automatic timer, spot focus and shot 100 and 400 ISO.

The 70-300L was awesome for its size and weight. IQ was far better than the non L glass. A HUGE difference in IQ at 300mm and better feel and contrast. Much sharper at 300mm than the non L but not a huge difference at the 200mm range (with good light). In my tests it was actually sharper at 200mm at f5.6 than the Mark I 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM.

Next I tried the 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS USM. It blew me away. I like 300mm for wildlife but I experimented cropping images on this lens to equal the 300 and they still surpassed the 70-300L.

This lens does not compare to the 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS USM in any category (except reach) but it gives you a lighter and smaller package that's easier to carry around with excellent IQ. I felt the IQ was as good if not better than the (Mark I) 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM at 200mm and f5.6.

Bottom line....If you need IQ and small and can live with a slower lens this is a great one. I was impressed but will buy the 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS USM for the few hundred more.