July 05, 2015, 05:32:47 AM

Author Topic: Review - Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS  (Read 2561 times)

Act444

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Re: Review - Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2015, 06:50:25 PM »
One of 3 lenses I've used extensively on both crop and FF (the others being the 24-105 and 70-200 2.8 II). Its relative compactness is a plus, and it has strong performance where it matters most (300mm f/5.6). OTOH, the 70mm end can be a bit weak, particularly on crop.

On FF it's a decent general telephoto lens, mainly for outdoor events. With the hood removed, it offers a decent amount of reach without being too overbearing which makes it work well for candids (people). And the sharpness is on a very high level, so no complaints there. The only issue is the f/5.6 at the long end limits its use to mainly outdoors/daytime shooting, which in turn limits versatility. The IS system is pretty good, so if you're shooting still subjects this can be overcome to an extent...but AF accuracy still takes a hit in the dark.

On a crop sensor...I think this is actually where this lens really shines. Despite weaker performance at 70mm wider than 5.6, it offers tremendous reach ability in a very small, relatively lightweight package. In fact, this is what I currently use for animal photography, although 300 is still too short for most birds (looking at a 400/500 for that, perhaps with TCs).

I was going to sell this lens to trade in for the new 100-400 when it was announced, but since I didn't need the money right away I decided to hang on to it for the time being. Glad I did. I think this is Canon's smallest 'white lens' - not sure why they made it a white one to be honest, I'd have preferred if they left it black. I suppose they had to differentiate from the non-L version, but the 24-105s co-exist both in black...shrug...
« Last Edit: July 02, 2015, 07:07:28 PM by Act444 »

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Re: Review - Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2015, 06:50:25 PM »

cycleraw

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Re: Review - Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS
« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2015, 10:55:11 PM »
As always Dustin has done a great review but my experience with the 70-300 L wasn't great and I ended up selling it.  Image quality was outstanding but I found the AF speed very disappointing.  I have owned the 70-200 2.8L II for few years and have recently purchased the 100-400 4.5-5.6L II and find that the AF speed and accuracy on both of those lenses much better than the 70-300 L.  If someone is considering the 70-300 L for wildlife I would strongly recommend the 100-400 L II over it for the greater reach, AF speed and IS.
1D MK IV, 5D MK III, 70-200 f2.8L IS II, 100 f2.8L Macro, 24-105 f4L, 17-40 f4L,  100-400 f4.5-5.6L II, Sig 50 1.4 Art, Sig 150-600 Sport, Samyang 14mm f2.8, X1.4 III, X2 III, 3 600ex-rt, st-er-rt

fragilesi

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Re: Review - Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS
« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2015, 07:58:34 AM »
As always Dustin has done a great review but my experience with the 70-300 L wasn't great and I ended up selling it.  Image quality was outstanding but I found the AF speed very disappointing.  I have owned the 70-200 2.8L II for few years and have recently purchased the 100-400 4.5-5.6L II and find that the AF speed and accuracy on both of those lenses much better than the 70-300 L.  If someone is considering the 70-300 L for wildlife I would strongly recommend the 100-400 L II over it for the greater reach, AF speed and IS.

That's interesting you've had that experience,  I use it to shoot birds in flight and find the AF pretty damn good.  At the moment I'd really like to get the 100-400 II but am determined not to have to sacrifice the 70-300 because it's so compact to use.  For me this seems to make tracking that much easier and long sessions out with it a breeze.  Maybe I'm just being too greedy . . . if the AF really is that much better on the 100-400 II then maybe my good friend will have to be sacrificed.   I sense a rental coming on early next year.

But it would be done with a heavy heart . . . lovely lens in my opinion.

cycleraw

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Re: Review - Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS
« Reply #18 on: July 03, 2015, 09:38:01 PM »
fragilesi, good plan renting the 100-400 4.5-5.6L II.  I bet you won't be disappointed or maybe you will because my guess is you'll be selling the 70-300.
1D MK IV, 5D MK III, 70-200 f2.8L IS II, 100 f2.8L Macro, 24-105 f4L, 17-40 f4L,  100-400 f4.5-5.6L II, Sig 50 1.4 Art, Sig 150-600 Sport, Samyang 14mm f2.8, X1.4 III, X2 III, 3 600ex-rt, st-er-rt

Patak

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Re: Review - Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2015, 09:35:29 AM »
The AF speed on my 70-300L is exceptionally good. Likely the best of all my lenses. the only issue i had is that the focus ring is not as tight as on my other canon lenses. it has some room. I brought it to Canon and they said it is normal. The image quality is very good and you can easily carry it for the prolonged periods of time.
5DMkIII x 2 - 35 f2 IS - 40 f2.8 - 100 f2.8 IS - 135 f2 - 16-35 f4 IS - 24-70 II - 70-300L

Ripley

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Re: Review - Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS
« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2015, 09:47:18 AM »
After I sold my 70-200 f2.8 ii, I passed on the 70-300L and picked up the 70-200 F4 IS - better wide open optics and a constant aperture across the focal range won out over 100mm of extra reach.
5Diii | 24-70L ii | 35 Art | 50 Art | 70-200L f4 IS

TWI by Dustin Abbott

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Re: Did he do this review in 2011? Why are you posting it now?
« Reply #21 on: July 04, 2015, 08:29:44 PM »
The reviewer at one point writes: "The following point is purely conjecture on my part. I can’t call it fact yet……
2011 is the year the 100-400 gets replaced from every indication I’ve received."

1) I had the 70-300 IS L lens, and I agree it is a wonderful lens.

2) Comparisons to the original 100-400 IS L lens are not the most useful comparisons, (allthough that was the only choice in 2011).  The comparison should be between the 70-300 and the 100-400 IS L Mk II which shares most of the best attributes of the 70-300 (other than weight).

3) None of my photographer friends who shoot wildlife would think of using a full-frame camera and a 70-300mm lens.  It will work for very large animals up close or habitat shots.  Folks wanting wildlife photos -- he was on safari in Africa -- would be much happier with a 7D MkII and the 100-400 IS L Mk II.

4) Going with the 100-400mm Mk II + the Canon 7D Mk II and a 1.4X TC III along will come much closer to eliminating the need to take a huge, heavy and expensive telephoto prime.

I think you got the reviews mixed up.  There is an earlier review (excellent) from Craig that was long before the new 100-400L II was released.  The new review (by Dustin) that covers the lens with the 100-400L II in mind.
6D x 2 | 70D | EOS-M w/22mm f/2 + 18-55 STM + Rokinon 12MM F/2 + EF Adapter| Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 | Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC | 35mm f/2 IS | 40mm f/2.8 | Zeiss 50 | 100L | 135L | 70-300L ---VINTAGE-- SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5, Super Tak 35mm f/3.5, SMC Tak 55mm f/1.8, SMC Tak 50mm f/1.4 | Helios 44-2

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Re: Did he do this review in 2011? Why are you posting it now?
« Reply #21 on: July 04, 2015, 08:29:44 PM »

TWI by Dustin Abbott

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Re: Review - Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS
« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2015, 08:33:04 PM »
As always Dustin has done a great review but my experience with the 70-300 L wasn't great and I ended up selling it.  Image quality was outstanding but I found the AF speed very disappointing.  I have owned the 70-200 2.8L II for few years and have recently purchased the 100-400 4.5-5.6L II and find that the AF speed and accuracy on both of those lenses much better than the 70-300 L.  If someone is considering the 70-300 L for wildlife I would strongly recommend the 100-400 L II over it for the greater reach, AF speed and IS.

You must have had a defective copy of the 70-300L.  The new 100-400L II's AF is as good, but not better (it actually hunts more in lower light, in my experience).  My copy of the 70-300L is as fast as any lens that I've used that I can think of...and I've used a LOT of lenses.

The 100-400L II is a fabulous lens, however, and I am personally torn over whether or not I should sell my 70-300L in order to have it.  There's too much overlap between the two lenses, although I'd love to have both (the 70-300L for travel and landscape use, the 100-400L II for wildlife).
6D x 2 | 70D | EOS-M w/22mm f/2 + 18-55 STM + Rokinon 12MM F/2 + EF Adapter| Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 | Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC | 35mm f/2 IS | 40mm f/2.8 | Zeiss 50 | 100L | 135L | 70-300L ---VINTAGE-- SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5, Super Tak 35mm f/3.5, SMC Tak 55mm f/1.8, SMC Tak 50mm f/1.4 | Helios 44-2

TWI by Dustin Abbott

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Re: Review - Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS
« Reply #23 on: July 04, 2015, 08:35:56 PM »
After I sold my 70-200 f2.8 ii, I passed on the 70-300L and picked up the 70-200 F4 IS - better wide open optics and a constant aperture across the focal range won out over 100mm of extra reach.

Interesting.  I did the opposite.  The 70-200 f/4L IS is an excellent lens, but I traded it for the 70-300L and never regretted it.
6D x 2 | 70D | EOS-M w/22mm f/2 + 18-55 STM + Rokinon 12MM F/2 + EF Adapter| Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 | Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC | 35mm f/2 IS | 40mm f/2.8 | Zeiss 50 | 100L | 135L | 70-300L ---VINTAGE-- SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5, Super Tak 35mm f/3.5, SMC Tak 55mm f/1.8, SMC Tak 50mm f/1.4 | Helios 44-2

Sarpedon

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Re: Review - Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS
« Reply #24 on: Today at 01:25:07 AM »
Hey Dustin,

Great review, as always. I'm on the cusp of buying this lens, but one thing keeps bothering me. I use the Eg-S screen in my 6D for my fast primes and love it, even indoors, but I absolutely hate the idea of having to take it out if I'm switching lenses (I know, I'm lazy). I remember you saying you used the EG-S screen. Have you every used the 70-300 L with the screen installed? I'm going to Iceland in December, and I want a telephoto zoom for landscapes. I'd use the 70-300 outdoors in daylight and never past sunset, so I was wondering if you think I could get away with leaving the darker focusing screen in for those shooting conditions.

I'll probably buy the lens anyway, but I was curious. Thanks!

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Re: Review - Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS
« Reply #24 on: Today at 01:25:07 AM »