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Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Review Date: Jun 30, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, lack of IS, low weight, nice price but super finish

Attention: this review is about the 300/4.0 without IS which is
in nearly all aspects a much better lens then the 300/4.0 IS,
both in professional test as in readers reviews, so don't waist
your money on an IS version, especially if you are going to
use it on a 10d or a 1Ds, see:

For the unbelievers: this lens and also the 400 5.6 L are MUCH
sharper then the 100-400 L IS USM. I own all three of them.

I bought mine second hand but in new state. Before I was using the
100-400 intensivly. The 300 4.0 is very, very sharp, compact and on
the 10d with its excellent noise values at ISO 400+ I don't miss IS.

After the good results with this lens I purchased a new 400 5.6 L.
The 100-400 has retired and is only used on occasions I need
the zoom. I mostly use the 300 4.0 on the 10d with ISO 400 or 800.

I also have the 300 2.8 IS but this lens is used as 'winter lens',
the 300 4.0 is as near as sharp. Only the 10D revealed how
good both the 300 4.0 and the 400 5.6 really are, I think this
is because of there relative 'simple' construction without IS.

Less = more in this case !

As camera's will become more and more precise and ISO
values become more and more noiseless it is the question how
Canon will be able to build sharp lenses in the future to match
there bodies if keeping on building them with IS and also trying
to keep the price down

Canon EOS 10D

Review Date: Jun 17, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,875.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Colours, ISO speeds, auto-focus
Very soft out of the camera pictures, Poor RAW convertor in camera self, very bad bundled software

I have just sold my 023* series 10d. Even though Canon tested it and said it was allright it produced very soft pictures. Tomorrow I will get my brand new 05* series 10d, hopes it performes better. I am sure the 10d is capable of producing excellent pictures, I have seen enough samples that seemed OK.

I intensivly used the D30 and D60 before. The greens of the 10d, colours generally, are much more natural. Auto focus is much faster and the Av and Tv programs function better. I am missing changing the ISO value with the SET button at the back. I don't like the little button in front of the camera.

The software with this camera is really shit, especially the ZoomBrowser is full of bugs. I switched to BreezeBrowser.

Update: since I switched to RAW and use the Capture One RAW
convertor the quality has increased dramaticly. The internal
RAW convertor of the 10d isn't very good. Also the use of
a circular polarisation filter on sunny days will boost the colour
saturation enormously, I use the Pro-F from B&W.

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM

Review Date: Jun 17, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Light, VERY sharp, nice colours, no IS, build quality

I bought a second hand one a year ago, combined it with the D60 and sold it because I found it hard to use without monopod or tripod. After I bought the 10d and found out how good this camera is at ISO 800 and even 1600 I realised the 400 5.6 is now much more useable, even at dark conditions. The lens is extremely sharp and comes very close
to the 300 2.8 IS I am also using. I nearly always use it at ISO 400.

I think the lack of IS is in reality an advantage for this lens. Canon was able to constuct it with only 7 pieces of glass in 6 groups. It is very interesting to know that for example the good old 300 4.0 scores MUCH better in test then the current 300 4.0 IS. Less is more here.

I payed 1400 Euro for it (prices over here are higher then in the USA).