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Showing 1-10 of 536 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 693 reviews
on April 27, 2013
I needed a longer telezoom for a zoo photography class, and had narrowed options to this lens, the Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 SP Di VC USD, and the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM. I was strongly tempted by the prospect of owning L quality glass, especially at this price point, but really wanted IS (or VC as Tamron calls it); I didn't want to feel like I'd always need to carry my monopod/tripod with me, or that I *had* to use a large aperture to ensure a faster shutter speed. And, to be honest, 200mm maximum focal length won't cut it in most zoos, so I'd also need to invest in a teleconverter. Not to mention, once you factor in the cost of a good quality teleconverter, well, you may as well just look at the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM--and while I did seriously look at that lens and test it out, the price point is really beyond what I want and need.

That left me with this lens, and the Tamron. After pouring over dozens of review sites, I ended up ordering both. I just couldn't decide. This lens arrived first, and I'll admit--I was disappointed by the first shots. I generally shoot with primes (Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 and Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM), and this lens just seemed to lack that visual punch I'd gotten used to. Then the Tamron arrived, and unfortunately, it was a dud. Many technical reviews suggest that the Tamron can outperform this lens--if you get a good copy. But for whatever reason, quality control seems to be a real issue for the third party lens manufacturers. But time was of the essence, so I decided to put this Canon lens through its paces at my zoo photography class.

And boy, am I glad I did. I was pleasantly surprised--wowed, really--by what this lens could do when I gave it a real chance. So even though I wasn't thrilled with this lens at first impression--it certainly wasn't a case of love at first sight--it's become a keeper. It's probably not for everyone (there are many who argue the best option would have been to go with the 70-200 L + a teleconverter, or to suck it up and just get the 70-300 L), but it works for me.

***
After a month of use, I'll update this and add--I finally did a bit of pixel creeping comparing this lens to the 70-300 L that I tested out. The L seems to have a slightly better (more effective) IS system, but for my purposes I found it very difficult to distinguish between the image quality of the two lenses--even at the max focal length of 300mm. If I were a pro and intending to sell my photographs with the potential of blowing them up at a very massive scale, then the L would hands down be the better choice. But for me, and probably most people (your average consumer, prosumer, or serious amateur/hobbyist), this older version is an excellent lens. There's a reason many people, for years, called this the secret L--because it can really perform if you let it. I think that warrants adding the fifth star.
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on February 19, 2016
I purchased this Canon zoom lens with full knowledge that I was not buying the extraordinary pro-level picture quality that Canon provides in their L-model Pro-lens line, but to be very honest, I have been very pleasantly surprised that a lens that sells for less than half the price of a comparable Canon 70-300mm L-model zoom lens would have such good picture quality. Frankly, for those who may be considering the $200 Canon 75-300 zoom lens, I say forget that low cost alternative and just go for the Canon 70-300 IS USM zoomer instead. The picture quality I am seeing with this medium priced Canon 70-300mm IS USM zoom lens on my Canon 70D for landscape, wildlife, and auto-sports photography is very good indeed -- probably not quite L-model quality but still very good for advanced non-pro photography. There may be a very slight lose in picture quality when shooting at the full 300mm zoom setting, but if so it is definitely only a small amount. And so long as the photographer uses the lens like any other long zoom lens in terms of lens settings and is careful to shoot as much as possible at higher shutter speeds and uses higher f-stops and ISO settings when doing hand-held shooting (especially at the more extreme zoom levels), the lens provides very decent photo quality. The USM AF is plenty fast and accurate enough to allow the lens to be used for action-sports and photographing flying birds or running animals; and action sport photography is especially aided by the fine dual IS setting built into this lens that assists panning action sports photography. One other feature I really like in this lens is the ability to lock the lens-zoom so that when carrying the lens around on your camera it does not always droop down by going to the full zoom position as does the low-priced Canon 75-300mm zoom. I personally believe this lens is one of the better long-zoom lenses available in terms of what one gets for their money. If you have the bucks to buy the Canon pro-level L-model 70-300mm zoom I say definitely go for it, but if you're like most of us experienced but non-pro hobby photographers I believe this medium priced Canon 70-300mm USM IS zoom lens is the way to go -- and bang for the buck is why I gave this product a 5-star rating.
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on June 28, 2006
Just returned from a trip to Hawaii and had the opportunity to put this lens to the test. I was very pleased with the results. This is a powerful lens, yet it is relatively light weight and not burdensome to use. I was able to get some really amazing wild life shots of birds, zooming in from a distance with a hand held camera (Canon EOS 20D) and virtually every shot was a keeper. The IS feature allows you to quickly zoom and compose your shot and fire it off and the image quality is excellent with sharp focus. Usually a lens this size with this much power requires a firm grip and almost always a tripod - not so with this one. I shot in both portrait and landscape mode and I didn't see any problems with focus, clarity or sharpness. All the images were clean and razor sharp. If you are looking for a long lens with the ability to bring in a distant shot without having to use tripods and other equipment, I highly recommend this lens for your arsenal.
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on August 20, 2011
Hello!

I'm sure as you read this review there may have been tears shed, hair pulled out, foreheads banged against hard surfaces, screams and curses uttered, more tears, frustration, and exhaustion only to realize that you're still contemplating between this lens and the 70-200L F/4 IS USM. The photography needs for many is like a bottomless pit, but it all comes down to the items that will ultimately compliment YOUR photography needs. Having said that, pay careful attention to the pros and cons of both lens to seek which best suites you. Hopefully this review can give you that last push to finally pull the trigger.

After buying a Canon 5D Mark II with a 24-70L lens, I realized that my needs for a lens with extensive reach was necessary during nature trips, graduation events, etc. Knowing that my next purchase of a telephoto lens usage was seldom as compared to my primary 24-70L lens, I was bit more frugal regarding $ value but image quality was still my utmost priority. I set out on a journey to a local photography store to borrow a 70-200 F/4 IS USM (~ $1250) and 70-300 F/4-5.6 ($500) which only costed me $40 :) Though they had my credit card on file incase of scratches or loss :(. Notice that my reviews are primarily focused on lenses with IS since my hands are not the steadiest.

After going to an airplane show and local mountain, I took many pictures of flying airplanes (little redundant but just to illustrate that they weren't inactive!) to landscape portraits. When I compared the pictures from both lens down to the pixel, I realized image quality was VERY VERY similar. Of course you'll have differences in terms of minor distortion, vignetting, resolution and chromatic aberrations from the 70-300 lens but it was so minor that you'll never notice it without zooming in. This is where the power of the "L" comes in, but only to an extent. Pictures printed up to 8x10 were fine, but any larger the minor flaws of the 70-300 became indisputable.

There are many claims that the AF on the 70-300 is rather poor especially on maximum 300 zoom--AF was able to capture almost all my airplane photos 7 out of 10 attempts whereas the 70-200 was right on the dot 10/10 which wasn't a big problem for me considering the image quality was still up to par. Also I must note that the 70-300 was able to retain a great amount of detail just like the 70-200. This is not a subjective con but rather raw proof that this lens can perform just as great! My only itch with the 70-300 is obviously the narrow aperture will perform poorly in low lit areas which inevitably increases ISO and slowing down shutter speed which may result in blur or "noise". Also please note that the 70-300 does NOT come with a lens hood whereas the 70-200 does. Weight is not a problem since they are both about ~ 1.5 lbs.

As I have mentioned before, it all comes down to YOUR needs, so:

BUY THE 70-300 F4-5.6 IS USM - if you don't mind the wide aperture F5.6 on far zoom which also means the majority of your pictures will be taken under well-lit areas, need the longer focal length range (which comes handy especially if your trying to catch a bird), MUCH less expensive which is by a non trivial margin from the 70-200 F/4 IS (~1200) and offers just as great image quality!

BUY THE 70-200 F4 IS USM - if need a constant aperture size at all focal lengths which can translates to faster shutter speeds/low ISO at long focal lengths, compatibility with 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters which can potentially extend your focal lengths to 400mm!, enlarging your pictures past 8x10 while retaining phenomenal image quality and detail, shooting sports needing faster reliable AF.

BUY THE 70-200 F2.8 IS USM (aka King of telephoto lens) - if your sick and tired of reading review after review and just want the best of the best, have at least $2400 to spare from your piggie bank (which is the same price as a Canon 5D Mark II body!), wedding photographer, basically same specs as 70-200 F4 except for F2.8.

Given my needs and my seldom usage of this "secondary" lens, I bought the 70-300 IS USM along with a B+W 58 multi-coated uv filter (a must!). I've been scolded at by some colleagues for placing this lens on a pro grade camera Canon 5D Mark II, but after performing many tests, the image quality of the 70-300 IMHO is just as good. Surprisingly, this was initially a recommendation from my photography professor at ucla.

I hope this helps! Good luck!
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on October 14, 2013
This is my second purchase of this lens (after a thief snagged my Canon T3i with this lens attached in a car break-in). I consider this essential equipment for my camera to replace the kit lens sold without IS. I use it specifically to shoot wildlife - especially for birding - and my hands are no longer steady enough for consistent clean shots at the highest zoom. the IS/USM makes all the difference.
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The Canon EF 70-300 mm F/4-5.6 IS USM lens is a great consumer grade lens for air show shots from along the flight line or for moderate distant shots with a nice bokeh effect while being a lightweight lens as compared to the much heftier Sigma 150-500. This lens is ideal for around a zoo or typical animal park, as well. The attached images are all SOOC with NO editing and NO cropping to demonstrate this lens on a Canon T4i. The images were taken at the 2016 Spirit of St. Louis Air Show held in St. Louis Missouri on Sunday May 15, 2016.
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on August 24, 2016
My EF 70-300 f4-5.6 IS USM lens came in yesterday afternoon. Tha packaging was first rate (nice job Amazon!).

I took the lens out at lunch today and shot some scenes. Very please. The AF is very fast and IS is fantastic at all focal lengths. If you are getting bad pictures with this lens you need reevaluate you photo technique, or consider you got a lemon. About the only negative I can come up with is that it isn't an L lens, but at 1/3 the price it is a steal! Get one!

This currently being use on my Rebel SL1. Oh! I just thought of a negative. It does not come with a lens hood.
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on November 1, 2016
...but this is an exception. Amazingly sharp images of airplanes landing 5 miles away (handheld!!!), and images of the moon taken with a Canon T6s that are sharper than some Nikon D750 users post (due to the crop factor too). Experts will have this lens at 3.5-4. Which means that I, the "enthusiastic amateur" would give it a 3. Not this time. This lens is a solid 5, the sharpest zoom I've tested under all conditions with a cost lower than $2,000. That says a LOT!
This lens bridges the gap between the medium and the L lenses that Canon makes. And it's not flat either (how did they manage that... a zoom with decent depth rendition at that price...).
Attached the original pic, and one "magnification from the computer screen". Obviously the copies I have in my hands are far sharper. This was a shot directly to JPG in the camera (no raw), with a Canon T6s, default settings, no editing, just a tripod, 1/640 speed, f/9, 400 ISO.
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on February 27, 2009
I have owned this lens for 11 months now and I highly recommend it. Its my most used lens and I have taken some really nice photos with it. Here is my take....

It handles well on my rebel xti. There is ample space on the barrel to rest it on my left hand and get a nice weight balance, and still turn the big grippy zoom ring. The zoom ring is easy to turn but not loose. Although the focus ring turns during auto-focus its out of reach from my hand. You can reach the IS switches easily by feel without looking. You have to press them a bit to get them to move, but it is impossible to accidently switch them. The AF/MF switch is hard to get to, but I don't MF that much anyway. The build quality is solid and typical of a canon mid-range/non-L lens.

AF is fast and accurate. It does have a habit of hunting at 300mm if focus is way off to start with. All other focal lengths are fine. AF noise is very quiet but not silent like my EF 17-40L.

The Image stabilization (IS) is excellent!!! If you have good handholding technique you can get blur free (or close enough) still photos to 1/30th second at any focal length. If your hand holding technique is sloppy IS won't help as much. IS really adds to the versatility of this lens.

The image quality is great. The images are sharp at any focal length. (I mostly shoot around F4-5.6). The bokeh (quality of the blur) is very smooth, and better than my 50mm 1.8 which can be a bit "nervous" at times. Colors and contrast are good.

I am glad I bought this lens instead of the EF 70-200 F4 L non-IS. The L has better build, and (the consensus is) better image quality. But I have never thought, "Dang, I wish this lens was sharper or was built better". But I have thought "Boy, I'm so glad I have image stabilization right now" and "I'm glad my lense is less conspicous than the larger white L lense". I really think that the image quality differences will not be noticed by most people, and can easily be swamped by technique.
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on May 11, 2007
I have used a different brand 70-300mm zoom before which worked well, but it was noisy and slow to focus. The Canon 70-300mm is absolutely silent and extremely fast in focusing, and produces absolutely outstanding photos. So good in fact, that I have posted a few of the images under this lens for you to judge yourself. Photos that I took at the Atlanta Zoo, under all types of lighting conditions. The lens produced incredible photos. All were hand-held shots, most of which were at the full 300mm range. And the IS is incredible. I had one photo which was taken in the shade and I was shooting with aperture priority and wide open. I did not realize how well the IS stabilized my photo till I looked at the exif data on my Flickr site - the shutter speed was 1/10th of a second, hand-held, and at 275mm. What more can you say about a lens, to obtain sharp photos like that. This lens is an absolute winner for me! For a sharp, fast, quiet lens with a tremendous zoom range, this is the next lens you want to buy!
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