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Customer Review

686 of 756 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buy the "IS" version instead, August 30, 2001
This review is from: Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras (Electronics)
If you're looking at this lens, you're more demanding than the average Joe who takes photos and have high expectations. This lens is not blazingly fast (f/5.6 at 300mm), and to reliably freeze camera shake, you're going to need a 1/500 sec shutter speed, which means that with ISO 100 film, you only can lose one stop of illumination under "Sunny 16" conditions before you have to decide comprimise somewhere to get your shot.
Consequently, shots into the shade, or conducted under the warmer and softer lighting conditions of the morning/evening will inevitably drive you to the comprimise of a high ISO grainy film or the bulk of a tripod to make up for this lens's lack of optical speed. If you always shoot in full noon sunshine, you'll be okay.
Even though its a great tool, most people don't like to carry a tripod, so the solution is to either accept grain in enlargements, not take certain photos, spend more money to go to a faster lens, or some combination of the above. I'll say it again: the most cost-effective alternative is to use a tripod. The next cost-effective alternative is Canon's "IS" (Image Stabilization) lens technology. There are two contenders in this focal length, the 75-300mm IS and the 100-400mm IS. The former is nearly a duplicate of this lens.... The latter is a 3 lb pro lens.... Of these two, the 75-300mm IS is the bargain.
I started with this lens and after just a few test rolls, returned it and got the 75-300mm IS. The IS technology reliably affords an additional effective two stops of speed, although it cannot be used to freeze subject motion as the shutter will normally also do. But it makes the use of high quality films, such as Fuji Velvia (ISO 50), Kodachrome 64 and even Ekta (Kodak Royal Gold) ISO 25 feasible. -hh
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 14, 2006 11:33:06 AM PDT
Peter II says:
Okay, you are just freakin' awesome! I don't know too much about cameras and lenses, but as a result of this review, I'm going with what you suggested. Thank you so much for taking the time to give your input!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2007 8:41:36 AM PDT
As a quick update since I wrote this review, the 75-300 IS lens has been superceded by a 70-300 IS, which is an improvement.

There's also a "70-300 DO IS" which is another step up, but it costs around $1200. In my opinion, if you're willing to spend this much for a lens, you'll probably going to defer to one of the white Canon "L" lenses, such as the 70-200 f/4, 70-200 f/4 IS, 70-200 f/2.8, 70-200 f2.8 IS or 100-400 IS.

In general, these lenses are all fairly heavy and fairly expensive and what's best for you depends on how much weight you're willing to carry and how much money you're willing to spend, which will depend on what you're going to use it for.

-hh

Posted on Jul 3, 2008 5:51:51 AM PDT
SammyG says:
Thank you so much for your analysis of this lens. I also don't have much camera experience, but your explanation really helped me figure out what lens I should buy.

Posted on Dec 9, 2008 10:36:00 AM PST
Colm Flynn says:
Thanks for a cracking review. This is obviously an older design of lens. Does anyone know how it performs with digital cameras?

Posted on Dec 13, 2008 7:24:13 AM PST
NH_explorer says:
You mention that you'd need 1/500 to freeze camera shake, but the commonly accepted shutter speed needed to stop camera shake is the inverse of the focal length. So for this lens at 300mm you would need 1/300, however if have a steadier hand you can easily get away with lower speeds.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2009 2:37:35 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 6, 2009 2:40:29 PM PDT
The reason why I said 1/500 is because back in 2001, most consumer Canon SLRs didn't offer 1/300sec exposure settings: the settings were typically 1/250 and then the next step up was 1/500. While I agree that someone with steady hands could get away with 1/250, it didn't meet the "1 over" rule cleanly enough, so I opted to be conservative.

On a related subject, I happened to recently read an Editor's comment in one of the photo magazines that was discussing this "1/focal" rule of thumb as it relates to modern dSLR's with "crop" sensors (1.6x for Canon, such as the Rebel and the 50D). In a nutshell, the Editor's comment was that the rule of thumb just happened to mathmatically work out for 35mm, so it still applies "as is" without applying the "35mm equivalent" crop-multiplier...

In other words, using 300mm --> 1/300sec ... was OK
No need to use: (300mm*1.6) = 480mm/equiv --> 1/480sec

My thoughts on this are somewhat cynical, but since both 1/300 and 1/480 both round up to 1/500, I don't believe that it will necessarily make all that much of a difference, particularly when we remember that this is only a rule of thumb for a *minimum*. Afterall, exceeding the minimum will always improve your yield by reducing the number of shots lost due to hand shake.

-hh

Posted on Apr 16, 2010 9:23:39 PM PDT
Arturo says:
This review, dated August 30, 2001, is still relevant and valuable even though the films mentioned are passe - - the principles are valid and the analysis casts the decisiron about what lens to purchase, into sharper perspective than I have found elsewhere..

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 16, 2016 5:20:28 PM PDT
Testy68 says:
but on a crop sensor 300 becomes 480, which is why they said 500 to eliminate camera shake.
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