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Showing 1-10 of 548 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 706 reviews
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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on October 18, 2016
A great all-round zoom lens. Super sharp for outdoors/landscape. Autofocus is very quick as well. This lens even does a decent job shooting high speed sports action, providing there is enough bright sunlight to allow it to be used at wide open aperture.
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on April 10, 2013
Conventional wisdom holds that the more powerful a telephoto lens you mount on your camera, the more you may need a tripod for shake-free images. With patience and breath control many photographers have long been able take crisp handheld shots with lenses of focal lengths up to 400mm. That ability can now be extended to almost everyone through technology. The best modern DSLRS can produce crisp handheld images with short exposures at high ISO settings and, coupled with good image stabilization lenses, can effectively expand the focal length (or power, if you will) of lenses that can be used to advantage without a monopod or tripod.

Still, it remains the case that a great percentage of the distant images that most amateur or enthusiast photographers will want to capture can be taken with telephoto lenses that do not exceed 400mm. In that case, any lens that covers all or most of the range between 100mm and 400mm is a reasonable candidate to add to your photography kit. If you feel an unmet need to take frame-filling moonrises behind a ghostly oak tree on a remote ridge, you can get a dedicated 1000mm lens later on.

For a general purpose telephoto lens, this 70-300mm zoom can't be beat. In my experience the optics have produced crisp images at any focal length and at most aperture settings, though images taken with apertures at the middle of its range (f/11, for example) appear just slightly sharper than ones taken with a wide open lens.

Canon has thoughtfully included two different image stabilization modes for the benefit of individuals who use the lens in different ways. Mode 1 is for general purpose image stabilization when the camera is held still to capture a stationary field of view. Mode 2 is used for panning shots in which the photographer is following an item or individual in motion. This mode locks out attempts to correct for blur in the direction of camera motion. And you can of course lock out IS altogether if you are so inclined. Autofocus can also be locked out in case you are shooting nearby objects from a tripod and want to pick the exact focal point of the image field yourself. The word "macro" is printed on the lens, but that strikes me as a little aspirational. I would consider this lens a close-focusing zoom, as you can get fairly close-up images of smaller objects that are a little distance away. Minimum focusing distance is just under five feet, and at that distance the 300mm setting will let you fill the frame with an object about five inches wide. This could be a good lens to capture images of large winged insects and even hummingbirds, as those interesting subjects are notoriously intolerant of close approach by photographers. For true macro photography of flower details or smaller insects, you should mount a different lens.

At the other end of its zoom range, focal length in the 70-135 range is excellent for portrait photography or casual snapshots that isolate individuals or groups of two or three in large gatherings.

Build quality is excellent, options for use are rich, optical performance is excellent and the lens, though not tiny or light, is compact and manageable. Canon makes other, more expensive lenses with similar design features that might better satisfy the most critical photographers, but in light of the relatively low cost of this lens and its great flexibility, this has to be one of the best general purpose lenses that Canon manufactures.

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on July 10, 2012
My review is about the image quality you can expect from this lens - caution - I'm a lens addict and probably a pixel peeper.

Update 7/12: Check out the leaf photos comparing the non-L to the L version

I have used several of these lenses and currently own one non-L and one of the L series 70-300 lenses. Overall, the non-L will practically match the image quality of the L lens with the aperture one stop down. At 300mm f/8 it is just as sharp as the L version if you remove lateral chromatic aberration in software.

The noticeable image quality differences with the L version are:
1. The L has slightly more accurate & precise focusing
2. Image stabilization is perhaps 1/2-stop better on the L version at low shutter speeds < 1/60
3. The L version has no purple/red fringing due to the UD glass

Similarities with L version are:
1. The AF is very fast on both
2. Overall hand holdability is great (the L is heavier though)
3. Colors, sharpness and contrast in the center are practically similar when stopped down 1-stop
4. Distortion is very low at all focal lengths
5. Excellent flare-resistance (contributes to good contrast)

With this lens, I have noticed that the stopping down helps by covering up for inaccurate focus. It tends to front-focus by 1% or 2% of subject distance. What this means is at 300mm f/5.6 if you are shooting a bird that is 50 feet away the camera will focus ~ 6 to 12 inches in front of the bird where the DOF is only 18 inches. The bird will still look acceptably sharp but something else slightly in front of it will be tack sharp !!. This was true on more than one body (pls comment if you have also observed this).

Stopping down extends the DOF and compensates for the focus error. In my experience, the focus is dead-on for about 30% of the shots and within the DOF for ~95% of the shots. Very rarely will it completely miss.

The L version focuses dead-on about 90% of the time & within DOF 99% of the times.

If your camera allows AF microadjust, my 60d does not :(, that might be worth experimenting with.

Overall, getting this instead of the L saves money if you remember to stop down and to take maybe 2-3 rapid shots to get the best focus.

For ~$1000 more, the L will give you near unconditional image quality and let your mind focus (pun intended) on the composition instead of the gear.
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This lens for me is for shooting wildlife, nature scenes and sporting events like football and basketball games. Inside of the box you will find the Canon lens, the lens CD disk and the Canon warranty card. Make sure that the lens number on the Canon warranty card matches the one on your new lens.

One of the first things that you will notice is that the lens has a lock on it to lock it closed and protect it. Make sure that you lock the lens when carrying it or storing it in your camera bag. The lens has an USM focusing motor and the focus can be set to automatic or manual modes. It also features image stabilizer feature that can be turned on or off. I like that the stabilizer buttons are recessed so they cannot be easily switched by accident.

The stabilizer system can be set in Mode 1 or in Mode 2. Mode 1 is dual axis stabilization and it is good for shooting stationary objects. Mode 2 is single axis stabilization and it is more suited for photographing (panning to shoot) a moving object. The image stabilization on this lens is excellent and it dramatically improves your long range photography. Slight motions in the camera can affect you photograph quality and this feature is what is required to improve your photography. This feature is what makes this lens worth the money.

The lens is quite long when fully extended and you have to be careful that nobody runs into the lens at a sporting event for example. Make sure that you retract and lock the lens when you are not using it. I also purchased a lens cover to reduce light glare on the lens and I recommend that you get one especially if you shoot a lot of outdoor photographs. I included some images of the lens cover in my attached video. If you think the lens is long, then you should see it with a lens cover! I reverse the cover for added protection when the camera is not in use and I am just carrying it.

I am very happy with this lens and the quality of the photographs that it takes. The focus has been clear and fast and the image stabilization is excellent. I recommend this lens as it has been an excellent addition to my Canon 7D camera. I rate it at 5 stars.
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For a Canon USM IS at this price point, I was expecting a tad more "silky smoothness" from this lens. It was missing.

I'm known for my short, to-the-point reviews, so here it is:

- The lens provides tack sharp images through nearly the whole tele range. Great. BUT....
- for a USM, it is quite noisy during AF. I found this annoying from the get go.
- with every USM lens I own, there is a continuous MF ring that allows for adjustments. This ring is locked into the AF. I found this a little strange.
- the front element ROTATES while focusing. For a USM, I have NEVER seen this. So forget about polarizing filters.
- the IS was not as quiet as I'm used to, and had a constant clicking sound, as though something was loose inside. Again, I expected far less noise. This occurred on either level 1 or 2 of the IS.

These are all minor points, but when taken collectively resulted in me returning the lens for a refund. Again, for $550+ I was expecting a little more than what this lens was providing.
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on September 14, 2017
This lens has been around many years and probably owned by many others due to its price and zoom range. But, I regret this purchase because it performance just could not be satisfied for todays technology. If you use it on tripod all the time, it maybe OK for you. However, IS on this 70-300 zoom lens just not good enough to hold by hand shooting 300mm subjects with good results. The IQ without tripod just not sharp enough for me at 300mm FL. And, 70mm size IQ on this is known just OK(not great). I also had to redo FMA often for this lens on my 6D to keep it in focus. Canon has new line of 70-300mm and should put this one on their obsolete list. Well, what I get on IQ and IS are what I paid for. Well, I am going to skip 70-300L and straight to 100-400L.
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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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on April 1, 2013
I was all set to shell out $1500 for the L version of this lens. Then I read a number of reviews, including one from a very respected professional reviewer who said (paraphrasing) "If you do not have an infinite budget for lenses and you are in the market for a Canon lens in this focal length range, then this is the lens for you." And he was right. The glass quality is far above most lenses in the S series and approaches the quality of an L lens, but at 1/3 the price. It's very important to understand that we are not talking "build" here--we are talking image quality. The build of this plastic body lens does not compare to that of a top-quality metal body L lens. However, after putting this lens through its paces for a couple weeks, I am more than satisfied with my choice and so glad I did not toss away good money for what is essentially a "prestige" version of this lens. I was a professional photographer for more than a quarter century and after a decade break I recently decided to reestablish my business (on a budget) with new Canon cameras and lenses. I chose the D60 with 24-105L lens as the foundation for my equipment. I love that crop-sensor cameras use only the center of the lens, increasing sharpness and reducing problems that inevitably occur at the outer edges. Thus, the 70-300IS is perfect for 1.6 crop-sensor cameras like the D60, where the effective focal length is 112-480mm. As mentioned in many reviews, the sharpness of this lens at 300mm is acceptable but not superb. I have not tried the L equivalent, but reviewers are saying much the same thing about its sharpness at maximum extension, and I'm not surprised. I noted that my copy of this lens is slightly off-focus at 300mm, and sharpness can be improved by both manual focusing and use of a tripod--kinda logical if you think about it. I would guess that the L lens sharpness would improve with the same adjustments. So....bottom line.....great lens. Beautiful contrast and sharpness up to 200mm with superb stabilization. Above 200mm, use a tripod and manual focus for best sharpness. And of course, if you have the $ and need the best, buy a 70-300L.
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on March 16, 2012
UPDATE: 7/19/2012 : I continue to be amazed by this lens. It now sells for under $400, WOW. Steal of the century for a Canon 70-300 zoom with IS. Just love the sharpness and quality feel of this lens. It is relatively light and easily hand held. Functions smoothly and can take extremely good pictures indoors under normal lighting conditions.
I have been trying to justify buying the f/2.8 - 70-200 IS II L version but just cannot justify paying 5.5x the cost for that lens. That lens also weighs a ton and would really be too heavy to carry around attached to my camera body.
I compared my photos of ducks taken with the EF 70-300 IS lens with some professional shoots of ducks with the EF 70-200 IS - 2.8 L II and just cannot justify buying it. It is better in low light but these lenses are really used for outdoor daytime shooting. BTW, My lens also shoots great night-time photos of lighted buildings and streets and even the Moon. This is just a great all around lens.
On a cropped sensor frame body this lens has a wonderful review from Photozone. On a full frame body the testing is less amazing but still pretty darn good. But most lenses do worse on full frame camera bodies.
Will be keeping this lens as my main go to lens. I also have the Canon EF 1.8 II and for $115 bucks it is fantastic. Actually has a better write-up than the 1.4. But when I compare the 70-300 with it, no comparison in quality build and overall picture taking versatility. F/ I.8 prime is better in low light and therefore use it indoors for taking portrait pictures. It is fantastic.
If you need a very good 70-300 IS zoom for a DSLR Canon body, this is it!

3/16/2012 Initial Post Below:
Works great. Lens is everything you need in a 70-300mm Format. Great on 1.6 cropped sensor cameras just check Photozone review. This lens does everything well. Zoom, autofocus and IS work very well. Clarity is top notch. This lens would be a steal at twice the cost.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens for Canon EOS SLR Cameras (Camera)
Just got it today. Researched this lens, and others, for many weeks. I read all the reviews by consumers and "experts" and determined that this lens had the least "negative" reviews in its class. This lens may not be a Canon L lens but at around 1 thousand dollars less it is a steal. I tested this lens on my Canon T3i at all zoom points both indoors and out. The "IS" works great and is pretty quiet. The "IS" function switch has two positions, "1" is for shooting still objects and "2" is for panning moving objects. The autofocus is spot on indoors under normal room lighting conditions. The autofocus is also pretty quiet. This lens far exceeded my expectations. This lens is relatively light for this type focal length yet it feels well built. It functions smoothly and is just a pleasure to use. The zoom lock switch is a nice feature. The 200mm & 300mm zoom points were sharp when shooting outdoors at buildings and trees. Some of the bad reviews I read about the 300mm zoom point being soft is not valid. The bricks and mortar lines on buildings were straight and detail was great. The tree branches were sharp as well as the pigeons on them and on the building ledges. I live in downtown Manhattan and face, Freedom Tower, it is still being built and I can see the cranes and steel frame of the building as well as the other buildings being built. The lens has no problem in taking spot on shots of the downtown area.
I also bought this lens because it can be used on both full frame and cropped frame Canon cameras. This EF lens is made in Japan and not China.
I will provide future updates as to whether its durability under normal use is up to par. Based on what I have already seen, this is "ounce for ounce" and "dollar for dollar" one of the best 70-300 IS USM Lenses around.

UPDATE: 3/17/2012 - Night time shooting off my terrace was great. Using a tripod I set my Canon T3i manually to ISO 200 @ 1 second shutter speed with "IS" off. Pictures of lit up buildings in downtown Manhattan came out sharp and no flaring noticed at all focal lengths. Then I took the T3i indoors under normal incandescent lighting and used ISO 400 or 800, depending on zoom lengths, @ 1/10th second shutter speed with "IS" off & no flash. Pictures again just came out great at all focal zoom points. This is just a wonderful lens. Very happy with it.
Will update about durability as time moves on.

UPDATE: 3/19/2012 - Today I extensively tested the "IS" feature. I was able to consistently hand hold this lens at 1/10th , 1/20th and 1/30th second shutter speed at all zoom focal lengths. You indeed need a steady hand and body to do this but the tripod will always give you a slightly sharper picture w/o using "IS". Hand held, with the onboard flash, the pictures of course come out sharp. I have no complaints at all about the "IS".

UPDATE: 3/20/2012 - Today I extensively tested "Autofocus". Under normal indoor lighting the auto focus works fine at all zoom points. The auto focus, under conditions where your eyes find it hard to identify the color of objects, starts to bug it out. This however is very normal with any auto focus system on any lens. The system just cannot detect properly the bounce back from an object that does not reflect enough light for the sensor to determine proper distance. If you switch to manual focus and focus on a point your eyes can resolve, you can then snap the shot. Based on 4 days of shooting under outdoor daylight conditions, both sunny & cloudy, the auto focus was accurate. At night, outdoors, I was able to focus on lit up buildings w/o problem. Get this, I was able to use auto focus to take a picture of a single star in a blackened sky. When I looked at it on my LCD I could not believe it. The star looked the same as when I saw it with my own two eyes. I did this by placing the red dot of the central autofocus square directly over the star. It is really fantastic!
I will update my post when I have further information to report.

UPDATE: 3/21/2012: I have been mostly operating my T3i manually with this long zoom lens as well as other shorter focal length lenses that I have. I find that you can achieve a more life like rendition of the subject that you are photographing in the manual mode. Once you know the lens you are using the easier it is to approximate what settings are best. I look to photograph the subject as the human eye sees it and not as the auto-program thinks you should see it. The T3i, and other DSLR cameras, tend to overexpose the subject by using a higher ISO than necessary. I rather lower shutter speed than raise ISO on none moving subjects. Indoors I look to maintain a 400 to 800 ISO tops. If you cannot maintain this level of ISO, use a flash. When indoors I want the picture to look indoors. If it is night, I want the picture to look as if it is night. I use flash indoors only if I cannot achieve a picture that falls under an ISO of 800. That is my philosophy on taking real life like looking pictures. This lens operates very well manually and it takes great pictures indoors and outdoors.

UPDATE: 3/22/2012: I have come to the conclusion that faster & more accurate autofocus can be achieved under poorer lighting conditions when you use only the central autofocus square sensor. Just internally shut down the other peripheral sensors and choose the central red sensor. Then put the red sensor dot on the main subject or object that you want to shoot and the lens will have an easier time focusing. It works for me with this lens, and others, when you shoot under poor lighting conditions. It especially works well when the camera is focusing when using long zoom at 200 & 300mm.
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