Canon EF 70-300 mm F/4-5.6 L IS USM Lens Reviews
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Canon EF 70-300 mm F/4-5.6 L IS USM Lens

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CANON EF 70-300MM F4.5/6 IS USM LENS - Get personal from a long way away!

Mar 3, 2011 (Updated Mar 3, 2011)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Quiet operation, quick autofocus, solid construction and good optics for a great price

Cons:Not very fast glass

The Bottom Line: I dont shoot with the EF 75-300mm lens all that often, but when I do, I can count on nice, sharp photos every time. Good glass for a great price.


You wouldn't know it from my constant stream of exploitation reviews, but I'm a personage of many hidden talents. One of these talents is the art of photography. Yes, really! Heck, inspired by Jaws and Star Wars, I went to collage and took advanced film and video communication to become a filmmaker - but when that didn’t pan out, I shifted my interest to photography. Hey, I might as well use my degree SOMEhow!

I started shooting slice of life stuff, documenting instead of making art. Along the way, I started flexing my creative muscles. As you browse my photos you'll find an equal mix of highbrow artsy-fartsy stuff and family picnics and day-at-the-beach kind of stuff. But then, I’d like to think that even my Day-At-The-Beach stuff has a good composition and rises above your average snapshot.

For the last decade or so, I shot digital, starting out with a point and shoot Kodak EasyShare DX4530 Zoom. While it and it's 5 megapixels was solid enough and served me well, I was quickly suckered by the sexy bells and whistles of the Canon PowerShot S3 IS. And then when I realized that I was kind of taking this photography thing seriously as a hobby (you know, buying strap on lenses and whatnot) I decided to make the jump to the Canon Rebel XSi. And then, after dropping all kinds of money on flashes and filters and lenses, I wind up picking up a old Canon Rebel K2 film camera, shooting 35mm film.

Ain't technology grand?

Anyway, before I made the jump backwards to film, I shot with a DSLR for two years, accumulated a number of lenses, a couple of extension tubes - and while I cant rattle off lens sharpness numbers or depth of field ratios, I'd like to think I've got a pretty good eye - and some pretty good tools, which is where the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens comes in.

THAT'S NICE, BUT WHAT IS IT?
The EF 75-300 is - obviously - a telephoto zoom lens. The 300mm focal length is a fairly good distance for shooting at zoos, game preserves and wildlife in general, some landscape shots and sporting events. As an added bonus, the 75-300mm is JUST short enough that most stadium security guards will let you past the gate without hassle (although this isn’t guaranteed 100% of the time)

Optically, the EF 75-300 is a very sharp lens sporting some excellent image quality - easily comparable to similar, more expensive lenses. Another added bonus is that while it's a big lens, it's not very heavy - meaning that you don't get tired shooting hand held (and your shots are clearer as a result).

WAIT - BLURY PCITURES?
Yeah, you can shoot the EF 75-300 handheld, and come away with some very nice shots. When you scroll to the bottom and check out my examples, most of those were indeed sans tripod. But even if you don't have the steadiest hands in the world, fear not - Canon has got your back! The Canon EF 70-300mm also sports two types of of Image Stabilization. One for when you hand hold your camera, and the other is for when you are panning left and right. It takes a bit of getting used to (the wrong mode can emphasize the camera blur, not reduce it), but once you spend a couple of hours with it, you'll have the two modes down!

SOUNDS GOOD. ARE THERE ANY DOWN SIDES?
Well, aside from potential shooting with the wrong IS engaged, it's not a very fast lens. The lowest F-Stop that the EF 75-300 has is an aperture of f/4.0. That means that you'll need lots of natural lighting for good pictures (like landscapes), and low light situations (concerts and museums) wont work very well.

The other thing? The lens tends to flop out when not in use. With the lens mounted, if you point your camera straight up or straight down, the barrel extends (or retracts) all from it's own weight. There is a zoom lock slider that holds the barrel in place, but it's an extra step to flick it when you want to shoot (and something that could get between you and a shot if you need to snap something quickly).

ANYTHING ELSE?
Yeah - get one! The lens is priced right (about 600 bucks, depending on where you shop. I got mine a couple of years ago at B&H Photo for about $549 shipped), the optics are nice and sharp, and even though I don't shoot telephoto all that often, I don't regret getting it. But when I do drag it out of my camera bag, I am never disappointed.

GOT ANY SAMPLES?
Since they say that a picture is worth a thousand words, here are several hundred for your pleasure. The top one was shot on a Canon XSi and the middle two were shot on 35mm Kodachrome and the bottom one was shot on Ilford XP-2.
* http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonyjcase/3616349814
* http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonyjcase/4660835214
* http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonyjcase/4666085395
* http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonyjcase/5417519481


Recommend this product? Yes

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