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Thread started 27 Jan 2015 (Tuesday) 11:12
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Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM, reviewed by ceegee

TOGGLE RATINGS BETWEEN ALL AND ceegee (showing now: ceegee)
Overall Rating10
Overall Image Quality10
Value for Money9.5
Bokeh9.5
Sharpness10
Contrast10
Focusing10
Must Have9.5
Suitability to Intended Use10
Got What I Expected10
Ownership Status: "own"

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List all reviews of Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM
 
ceegee
Goldmember
2,320 posts
Joined Mar 2008
Montreal, Quebec
Post has been edited over 2 years ago by ceegee.
Jan 27, 2015 11:12 |  #1

Background

For my longer telephoto lens I originally owned a 70-200 f2.8 non-IS, which I sold because of the weight and lack of IS. I replaced it with the much lighter 70-200 f4 IS, which I owned and loved for several years. However, I eventually needed more reach. After trying a 1.4 extender with my f4 IS, I came to the reluctant conclusion that I needed a new lens. The 70-300L was my choice; it was smaller and more portable than the only other candidate, the 100-400. On paper the 70-300L doesn't look like much, so I decided to rent before buying - and was blown away by the results it produced. It's a very impressive lens indeed.

Focusing speed

One of the things I loved about my 70-200 was the focusing speed. The 70-300 is just as good, if not better: lightning fast and extremely accurate. I photograph fast-moving dog sports, and the 70-300 performs beautifully.

Subject separation

One of the most common criticisms of this lens on the forums is that f5.6 doesn't give good subject separation. Aperture isn't the only determinant of subject separation, however, and I've been able to produce good separation with this lens simply by choosing my shooting position and angle carefully. This aspect hasn't been a problem for me in real-life shooting situations.


Cost, value for money and performance

I buy all my gear used, and it took me a year to find a decent deal on a used 70-300L. In the end I was able to buy one for less than the selling price of my 70-200 f4 IS. While I was sad to lose the 70-200, I haven't missed it - and that is a testimonial to the overall performance of the 70-300L. It provides the extra reach and performance level I needed while still being small and light enough to carry everywhere.

Overall rating

I rate this lens a 9.5 or 10 in all categories. It does an outstanding job on the types of photography I enjoy the most - portraits, sports/action, and wildlife/birds. It's extremely sharp and focuses quickly and accurately. The images it produces are comparable in all respects to those I was able to achieve with my 70-200 f4 IS, with the added bonus of a lot more reach. Despite its unassuming specifications on paper, it's a terrific performer in real life situations: a real workhorse. I highly recommend it.

IMAGE: http://christinegardnerphotography.zenfolio.com/img/p161666996-5.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://christinegardne​rphotography.zenfolio.​com/p1058438210/e9a2d7​b4] (external link)
Dogs (external link) by Christine Gardner Photography on zenfolio

IMAGE: http://christinegardnerphotography.zenfolio.com/img/p625615945-5.jpg
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Birds on the Beach (external link) by Christine Gardner Photography on zenfolio

IMAGE: http://christinegardnerphotography.zenfolio.com/img/p827372404-5.jpg
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Birds on the Beach (external link) by Christine Gardner Photography on zenfolio

IMAGE: http://christinegardnerphotography.zenfolio.com/img/p601771356-5.jpg
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Guides Canins Frisbee 2014 (external link) by Christine Gardner Photography on zenfolio

Gear: Canon 7D, Tokina 12-24 f/4, Canon 24-105L f4, Canon 70-300L, Canon 60 macro f/2.8, Speedlite 580 EXII, 2x AB800

Websiteexternal link

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hummingbird
Senior Member
Joined Feb 2007
North Carolina, USA
Jan 27, 2015 14:28 |  #2

I have had my 70-300 lens for about 6 months and I love it. It does, indeed, focus fast.

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rc9999
Member
62 posts
Joined Sep 2010
Feb 06, 2015 13:45 |  #3

Agree. I've had this for about a year and this lens takes fabulous pics. The one thing that bugs me is that the focus ring and zoom ring are switched so if you have the hood turned around backwards for storage (there is probably a better term for this) you cannot zoom. other than that...great lens.


Rob

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Jorgac
Senior Member
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Joined Sep 2013
Durban, South Africa
Feb 09, 2015 05:29 |  #4

I recently reluctantly traded in my 70-300L and 400 5.6 L in order to replace both lenses with the 100-400 mkii and 500 f4 mkii- I mainly shoot wildlife so this made more sense to me (and I'd been saving up for some time). The 70-300 is an unbelievable lens and the only shortcomings I can think of is the reach (if you need more than 300mm) and the fact that it is not particularly fast if shooting in low light with a moving subject. The IS is brilliant so low light with a static subject should hardly be an issue.


Name is Charles | Instagram charlesjorg
Canon 7d Mkii, 5d Mkiv, EF 500mm f4 Mkii, EF 70-200 f2.8 Mkii, EF 100-400mm f4-5.6 L Mkii, EF 100mm f2.8 L, EF 24-105mm f4 L, EF 16-35mm f4 L, EF 85mm f1.8, Sigma 35 f1.4 Art

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xarik
Goldmember
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Joined Sep 2013
May 06, 2015 09:01 |  #5

Hey,

I've been struggling with my 70-200 F2.8L IS because it's not long enough without my 1.4X and it's not wide enough with the 1.4X....So without the 1.4X it's a 70-200mm and with the 1.4X it's 98-280mm...So the best of both worlds would be a 70-300 of course. I tried having a 300mm F4 and the 70-200mm F2.8 and this worked out well but sometimes I just didn't have the time or want to switch the lenses.

The two things that make me nervous is that superzooms typically lose quality in one way or another and the fact that the aperture is pretty bad compared to a 2.8 and it's variable. I intend to use this lens to shoot field sports (baseball, football...) as well as indoor sports (basketball), but additionally it would have to perform as a wedding video and photo lens. Will it function well?

At what points do the apertures change? I've heard of lenses that claim a good aperture (such as a 3.5-5.6 or F4-5.6), but I've heard that they fall rapidly so you only get F4 from 70mm to 80mm or something silly like that. I'm wondering where the apertures change.

Thanks for any help


Bodies: Canon 5D3
Lenses: Tokina 16-28mm F2.8 - Zeiss 50mm f/2.0 Makro-Planar T* ZE - Canon 70-200mm F2.8 L
Extras: 2 Neewer TT520 Speedlites - Manfrotto 3021BPRO and ballhead

Check out my Flickr (external link)!

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Tommydigi
Cream of the Crop
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Joined May 2010
Chicago
May 06, 2015 09:12 |  #6

I agree, outstanding lens. I only sold mine because I want the new 100-400II. I loved its compact size but I found I prefer using my 135 when I want to go small and light, but I had this lens from the time it was introduced and I've shot portraits, sports, wildlife etc with it and I was always impressed with the image quality. Every bit as good as the 70-200 2.8 IS II with even better IS.


Website (external link) | Flickr (external link)
Canon 5DII • 7DII • G15 • 24LII • 50L • 100L • 135L • 40 STM • 16-35L F4 IS • 24-70L F4 IS • 100-400L II • 1.4x • 600EX II • 270 EX II

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xarik
Goldmember
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Joined Sep 2013
May 06, 2015 09:15 as a reply to Tommydigi's post |  #7

I shoot a 5D3 so I suppose I shouldn't worry about the variable aperture because the ISO performance is ridiculous on the 5D3 and often times I see myself shooting at F4 or 5.6 on my 70-200 to get the sharpest image.

Still wondering when the aperture changes on the lens though.....I'm considering either this or one of canons crazy lenses like the 28-300L, which I know won't be the best performer, but will make my life super easy


Bodies: Canon 5D3
Lenses: Tokina 16-28mm F2.8 - Zeiss 50mm f/2.0 Makro-Planar T* ZE - Canon 70-200mm F2.8 L
Extras: 2 Neewer TT520 Speedlites - Manfrotto 3021BPRO and ballhead

Check out my Flickr (external link)!

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feeda
Member
94 posts
Joined Sep 2008
Jun 09, 2015 03:33 |  #8

Is the image quality at 280-300mm much better than with the 70-200 f/4 IS + 1.4x extender?




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Jorgac
Senior Member
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Joined Sep 2013
Durban, South Africa
Jun 09, 2015 06:05 as a reply to feeda's post |  #9

I wouldn't say that the image quality is much better but I think the AF will be much faster on the 70-300 vs 70-200 with 1.4 extender


Name is Charles | Instagram charlesjorg
Canon 7d Mkii, 5d Mkiv, EF 500mm f4 Mkii, EF 70-200 f2.8 Mkii, EF 100-400mm f4-5.6 L Mkii, EF 100mm f2.8 L, EF 24-105mm f4 L, EF 16-35mm f4 L, EF 85mm f1.8, Sigma 35 f1.4 Art

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feeda
Member
94 posts
Joined Sep 2008
Jun 09, 2015 21:36 as a reply to Jorgac's post |  #10

Got it. Interesting, since both lenses are f/5.6 at that focal length, though I can imagine a teleconverter can throw things off a bit.




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chaturanga
Member
58 posts
Joined Jul 2015
Jul 23, 2015 07:43 |  #11

Very nice shots.. Thanks for review.




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P4ulG
Senior Member
520 posts
Joined May 2010
Norfolk UK
Aug 26, 2015 14:32 |  #12

I been deliberating over this lens for a while and now I've read this review I'm sold. I'll probably get this lens in couple of weeks. I've read other reviews which contradict regarding the use of extenders with this lens. Can the 1.4 extender be used with this lens?


Canon 6D Canon 600D Canons 24-105mm L 70-300mm L. 100mm F2.8 macro L IS. 16-35mm L nifty fifty. 55-250mm IS. Speedlights Siggy DG530 super Canon EX430II Vivitar 3700

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Jorgac
Senior Member
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Joined Sep 2013
Durban, South Africa
Aug 27, 2015 12:14 |  #13

The only drawback is that it won't take a canon extender. I've think I've heard of it taking a kenko extender but I'd double-check on that if I were you.


Name is Charles | Instagram charlesjorg
Canon 7d Mkii, 5d Mkiv, EF 500mm f4 Mkii, EF 70-200 f2.8 Mkii, EF 100-400mm f4-5.6 L Mkii, EF 100mm f2.8 L, EF 24-105mm f4 L, EF 16-35mm f4 L, EF 85mm f1.8, Sigma 35 f1.4 Art

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CanonCameraFan
Goldmember
1,584 posts
Joined Sep 2011
Annapolis Maryland
Aug 27, 2015 17:46 as a reply to xarik's post |  #14

It stays at 4.0 up to about 180 mm. Goes to 4.5 of course. I don't recall when the other f/stop changes are.

Buying this lens was the most significant equipment purchase i ever made. It opened up new possibilities for me. Having said that, my second best lens has to be my 100/2.0!


EOS 7D w/BG-E7 (3), 550EX (3), 430EX II, Sunpak 622 Pro, Vivitar 285HV, Opteka 6.5mm/3.5, Canon EF-S 24/2.8 STM, Canon EF 50/1.8 STM, Canon EF 100mm/2.0 USM, Canon EF 70-300mm/4-5.6 L IS USM, Quantums 1 & 1+, Tamrac 614 Bag & 787 Backpack, Crumpler 7 MDH, 6 MDH
http://www.flickr.com/​photos/johnebersole/se​ts/ (external link)

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7DSurfer
Member
31 posts
Joined Sep 2010
Sep 20, 2015 06:01 |  #15

Thank you for the review. I like seeing someone taking good pictures with this lens.




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Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM, reviewed by ceegee
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