Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
I've been reading the forums lately and have noticed that this lens gets a lot of hate from people who haven't even used it. Well I'm part of the elite group of people who have switched from the 70-200/4L to this lens and I don't regret the decision one bit. I was thinking of upgrading this lens to something a step up the other day but I couldn't think of a single lens that would fit the bill. Sigma 70-200/2.8? Only goes to 200mm and doesn't have IS. Sigma 100-300/4? It's too big and would be much harder to handhold without IS. Canon 300/4L IS? It's a great lens but it doesn't zoom, plus it has older gen IS. Canon 200/2.8L? No IS, only 200mm, and doesn't zoom. Canon 70-300IS DO? Ha!
Looks like the 70-300IS is the perfect lens for me.
Let's get started with the review.
Here are some pictures of the lens itself:
Now I'll talk about the lens in use. As you've noticed, the lens extends while zooming, extends while focusing, and rotates while focusing. Yuk. Also, the lens does not have full-time manual override, so if you want any manual correction you'll need to switch to MF mode. DO NOT try to turn the focus ring while in AF, this is bad for the lens. Now that the bad is out of the way, the lens feels great while in use. The zoom ring is smooth and damped, the focus ring is a bit loose in MF mode (but still easy to use) and all the switches work fine. The IS works great, stabilizing both the lens itself and the image in the viewfinder which makes for easier tracking/framing and focusing.
The AF of this lens is generally where it tends to fall back into second place against the 70-200/4L, and because this lens doesn't have ring-USM, the AF is a little loud and slower than that of the 70-200. However, it is pretty accurate and for everything other than very fast paced sports or extremely low light use, it works fine. Hell, the lens even works great for action shots...in these next examples I was tracking a couple friends on a jetski going 60mph, AI-Servo, continuous drive mode. The lens kept up, and did a great job at that:
300mm, f/5.6, ISO-200, 1/1250s:
Continued in post #2...