For the price, not a bad lens.
Written: Mar 28, 2008
a Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Light, Very inexpensive
Cons:OK build quality, Somewhat soft images
The Bottom Line: At this price point, it's a great lens. Don't expect too much of it, and you won't be disappointed. It's a great telephoto zoom for most users!
If you have a Canon Digital SLR, and just the kit lens that it came with, there is no doubt that you will sometime find yourself wishing that you had more zoom. Face it- That 18-55 that the camera came with just doesn't get you up close- where you really want to be. This is especially true for subjects like animals, that tend to scurry away well before you can get close enough to take their picture.
But, you may not have a lot of money to spend on a new lens. Or, you may just not be able to justify spending $1000 plus on a new lens. Is there an alternative? Sure there is- This lens.
First, you need to understand that there is a REASON that the more expensive lenses are more expensive- Good quality optics cost big money. This is certainly an area that you will get what you pay for. Are you going to get photos of an equal quality with this lens as one costing $1000's more? Of course not. Are you going to get good photos with this lens? Well, If you are a good photographer, sure!
My impressions of the lens There is no doubt that this is a consumer grade lens. The build quality is decent, but no where near that of Canon's pro lenses. But, it doesn't feel 'cheap'. Compared to other zooms in this range, It's light.
The zoom and focus are both somewhat smooth, and don't seem overly sloppy at all. One drawback on this lens is that there is some zoom 'creep'- If you have the camera hanging around your neck, the zoom tends to extend to fully open, thanks to gravity. A minor nit, but it can be annoying.
As is indicated by the USM in the lens name, this lens has an ultrasonic motor in it for focus. You have to disengage it to manually focus. Autofocus is decent, but not that fast- Don't expect it to keep up with really fast moving objects like birds in flight.
Using the Lens Considering the price of the lens, the image quality is pretty good! It is sharpest at 200mm and below, and becomes noticeably softer as it approaches it's 300mm max. Keep in mind that softness is a relative thing- I am used to the sharpness of the pro grade lenses. For screen resolution images, and smaller prints, you aren't going to notice a huge difference unless you look close.
This is an outdoors lens, for the most part. Why? Well- It's SLOW. f/5-6.6 isn't going to be so hot inside, unless you crank up the ISO. Also, since it isn't stabilized, you are going to have significant camera shake issues if you do a lot of shooting at 300mm. You can make up for that to a point by using a faster shutter speed... But if you think that you are going to use your lens a lot in low light, then you might want to look elsewhere.
Who should buy this lens? Photography is not a cheap hobby by any means. And, anyone who has ventured into a camera store will know that you can spend thousands with no problem on a single lens...
But, not everyone needs a pro grade lens. Not everyone can afford a pro grade lens. I used this lens extensively until I could afford to buy pro grade "L" lenses. At the time, I concentrated on improving my technique. Remember, give a great photographer mediocre equipment, and you will get good photos still- But give a mediocre photographer the best equipment, and you still get bad photos.
So, if you need a decent telephoto zoom, but are on a tight budget, this is a great choice! Understand it's limits, and you will get GREAT photos.
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