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Customer Review

689 of 702 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Could be better, but works well within its price range, December 19, 2005
This review is from: Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras (Electronics)
After reading several online reviews of the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM lens, I had nearly talked myself out of even looking at one. However, thanks to a local Canon demonstration, I was able to play with several lenses, the 75-300mm f/4-5.6 among them. I got to try it out alongside the IS version (which costs just under 3x as much), the non-USM version, and some of their L-series professional lenses.

That said, I found there to be less difference among the directly-comparable lenses (the non-USM, USM, and IS versions) than I'd have thought. On the test shots I took using a Canon Digital Rebel XT, I didn't find full-zoom telephoto shots to be appreciably softer in the non-IS version reviewed herein, nor were the images overly soft for my liking period.

The USM focusing didn't seem to make as much of a difference as I'd expected over the non-USM model, either. Focusing was still relatively slow (as other reviewers have pointed out), although once an initial focus has been made, adjustments aren't too slow unless changing to a subject substantially nearer or farther away. HOWEVER, the AF engine did make a number of "mistakes" when using this lens that it did not using the IS lens (or, of course, the L-series glass); more than once I had to either switch to manual focus or try multiple times to get the right focus "lock." Furthermore, the USM model doesn't get you internal focus, either, like with higher-end lenses, so the end still rotates during focusing, which can be problematic with a circular polarizer or other filters.

Overall, I'd say that you "get what you pay for"; this is a very inexpensive lens, and it shows in some areas. But it's not nearly as bad as some would make it out to be. I tried it out both on several indoors shots under less-than-ideal lighting conditions and was pleased in most respects, and outdoors, I got very good results on even moving subjects.


-- Cost; at under $200, you would be hard-pressed to find a lens with the same reach with even half-decent optics.


-- Slow focus

-- Autofocus seems to confuse somewhat easily over the IS model

-- The USM version is still not an internally-focusing model, and thus the end of the lens will still rotate (and can affect filters, etc.)

I'd recommend the IS version if you have the extra funds, but if you are on a budget and just can't wait, I saw less of a difference than others have between the two. Of course, the real step up would be to a comparable piece of glass in the L series, but with it comes a real step up in price, too.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 24, 2008 1:06:02 PM PDT
Nice Review! If you're looking for internal focus and have a slightly higher budget, the Canon 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 provides an intermediate step between this lens and the the 70-300mm with image stabilization, and is priced in between the two (but closer to this one at least at current pricing.)

Posted on May 5, 2008 10:54:28 AM PDT
EAJ says:
I agree; a very helpful review. And thank *you*, Nathan, for the recommendation -- I've put that lens on my list.

Posted on Jul 11, 2008 6:49:52 AM PDT
Joel B. Reed says:
Very helpful review. I find myself in the same dilemma over cost vs IS USM features.

Posted on Jul 8, 2010 11:00:31 PM PDT
Hank HB says:
Looking at the posted pictures...they look no better than those taken from a Canon SX10IS point and shoot camera...which has a 600mm (35mm equiv. zoom)...maybe the pictures are ruined by Amazon uploads but these results are disappointing for DSLR cameras with this lens.

Posted on Sep 3, 2010 6:38:40 PM PDT
SusieQ says:
I thought this lens was for film cameras? My book says it's incompatible with Canon's digitals...

Posted on Nov 6, 2011 6:23:38 PM PST
saguaro says:
thank you for the insightful and informative review. i went into this lens search ignorant of even the definition of USM, much less the relavence in use or price vs "what i am paying for". reviews like this save people a lot of time and confusion and in this case, money. so thank you, again. i hope you've reviewed whatever i look to purchase next. LOL

Posted on Nov 13, 2012 1:38:06 PM PST
I know so little about these lenses that I appreciate any help I can get. I am interested in taking pictures of sporting events and a slow lens does not seem to be in my interest. I have the EOS Rebel XT which is several years old and it came with an EF-S 18-55 lens. Pictures are great but I want to get closer pictures at sporting events, i.e. childrens soccor, and horse jumping events.

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2013 10:50:21 AM PDT
Kathryn says:
I own it and it works fine with my Canon Xti 400D

Posted on Feb 6, 2014 4:40:30 PM PST
C. Jarecki says:
I have the original 75-300mm lens and the III version, which I just bought. I have many lenses and digital cameras, shot professionally for over 35 years....and these are not bad lenses. The newer version has less fringing and is a tad sharper. Probably due to better coatings etc. I would recommend this lens to anyone, particularly for walk around or travel photography. Weight, large range and low cost are the main factors here. FYI my other lenses contain many Canon L series glass. They are more robust, but much heavier and bulky. Perhaps the complaints regarding this lens has more to do with the users than the lens, IMHO. Buy it, you will not be out a lot of money and will be pleased with the results.
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