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Author Topic: Please help me decide between the EF 300 f/4 L and the EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 L  (Read 3740 times)

HeavenHell

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I'm looking for a new lens that will give me a bit more reach than my EF 70-200mm f/4 L for photographing wildlife (i.e. ducks, squirrels, etc.).  I've excluded the 100-400mm L as I don't like the push pull and the 400 mm f5.6 due to it's lack of IS.  I can't afford any of the faster L telephotos or those with longer reach.

EF 300mm f/4L advantages
* faster lens 4.0 vs 5.6 at 300mm
* compatible w/ Canon extenders
* slightly better sharpness at 300 mm?

EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L advantages
* $80 cheaper $1269 vs $1349
* more versatile (range of focal lengths)
* more compact (travel friendly)

Did I miss anything.  I appreciate any and all opinions/comments.  Thanks!
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Please help me decide between the EF 300 f/4 L and the EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 L
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2012, 01:57:29 PM »
I'd get the 300/4 and a 1.4xIII.  For birds/wildlife, generally the longer the lens, the better.  How much time did you spend using the 100-400mm to decide you don't like the push-pull?  I think it's very convenient, actually (and I have it on two lenses).  For birds in flight, the 400/5.6 is the best choice, but for general birds/wildlife shooting, I think the 100-400mm is the optimal lens (short of a supertele prime).
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sagittariansrock

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Re: Please help me decide between the EF 300 f/4 L and the EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 L
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2012, 02:31:29 PM »
I'd get the 300/4 and a 1.4xIII.  For birds/wildlife, generally the longer the lens, the better.  How much time did you spend using the 100-400mm to decide you don't like the push-pull?  I think it's very convenient, actually (and I have it on two lenses).  For birds in flight, the 400/5.6 is the best choice, but for general birds/wildlife shooting, I think the 100-400mm is the optimal lens (short of a supertele prime).


Are you saying the 400/5.6 is better than the 100-400@400/5.6 because of sharpness or because of AF speed (or both)?
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Re: Please help me decide between the EF 300 f/4 L and the EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 L
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2012, 02:33:42 PM »
Ultimately depends on how long you want to get to.  300 is not that much longer than 200.  Have you considered a 1.4x to go with your 70-200 to get close to 300ish instead?  The 70-300L is a great 1 telephoto lens option, but you already have a light 70-200L so I think the 70-300L's value is greatly diminished for you.

But if you're trying to maximize your reach, then the 300 f/4 is really your only option.  420mm at f/5.6 and 600 at f/8 once the firmware update for the 5DIII is out.  If you're willing to carry 2 telephotos at the same time, then the 70-200 + 300 f/4 + 1.4x makes a lot of sense.

HeavenHell

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Re: Please help me decide between the EF 300 f/4 L and the EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 L
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2012, 02:51:00 PM »
Truthfully, I just played around with my sister's 100-400 for a few days.  It would probably grow on me over time.

I'm pretty good at sneaking up on animals and I'm planning to use the lens primarily on my 7D, so the 300 prime would give me 480 w/o extender and 672 w/ a 1.4.  Light is sometimes a factor when I'm in the woods.  I don't recall what aperature is available on the 100-400 at 300mm.
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sagittariansrock

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Re: Please help me decide between the EF 300 f/4 L and the EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 L
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2012, 02:57:28 PM »
I don't recall what aperature is available on the 100-400 at 300mm.

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Cory

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Re: Please help me decide between the EF 300 f/4 L and the EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 L
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2012, 03:46:15 PM »
I wonder between these two as well to complement my 200 2.8 (crop sensor) for field sports/events.
Leaning towards the zoom.

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Re: Please help me decide between the EF 300 f/4 L and the EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 L
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2012, 03:46:15 PM »

sdsr

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Re: Please help me decide between the EF 300 f/4 L and the EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 L
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2012, 03:54:50 PM »
I'm looking for a new lens that will give me a bit more reach than my EF 70-200mm f/4 L for photographing wildlife (i.e. ducks, squirrels, etc.).  I've excluded the 100-400mm L as I don't like the push pull and the 400 mm f5.6 due to it's lack of IS.  I can't afford any of the faster L telephotos or those with longer reach.

EF 300mm f/4L advantages
* faster lens 4.0 vs 5.6 at 300mm
* compatible w/ Canon extenders
* slightly better sharpness at 300 mm?

EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L advantages
* $80 cheaper $1269 vs $1349
* more versatile (range of focal lengths)
* more compact (travel friendly)

Did I miss anything.  I appreciate any and all opinions/comments.  Thanks!

A few observations that may or may not make a difference.  First, depending on what you shoot, I doubt the difference in sharpness between the 70-300 and 300 is noticeable most of the time.  Second, the speed advantage of the prime might be outweighed by the superb IS in the 70-300L (simply as a piece of machinery the 70-300L is pretty wonderful).  Third, it seems a bit odd to have both a 70-200 and a 70-300, given the considerable overlap - it may make sense to buy the 70-300 and sell the 70-200.  Fourth, you could reduce the overlap by reconsidering the 100-400 (the push-pull mechanism may grow on you; I rather liked it when I rented one a few weeks ago) or reduce it even further by stepping outside Canon and considering the reincarnated Bigma (i.e., the OS version of their 50-500mm), though it is rather big and heavy.  I've attached a photo of a hawk I spotted one lunch hour while wandering around Independence Mall in Philadelphia last week; hand-held, at 500mm (probably its least sharp focal length) (tweaked a bit in lightroom and cropped a bit as well).

ajt36

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Re: Please help me decide between the EF 300 f/4 L and the EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 L
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2012, 04:23:57 PM »
I have both lenses.

I would lean towards the 70-300mm.  It is a pretty amazing lens.  The IS is truly astounding and the sharpness is pretty amazing, especially at 300mm and wide-open.  I haven't really noticed a sharpness difference between either one.  They seem about the same.

If you don't think you would use a 1.4x and would be more inclined to want a compact "all around" lens to go everywhere, the 70-300 is the way to go, IMO.  The 300mm gives you the option of 420 with the 1.4x, but my copy seems to have a lot of distortion with a 1.4x, so I don't even use it all that much with the 1.4x.  The IS is not the latest generation, and while it is not bad, it is pretty clearly out-classed by the 70-300.
I have Canon cameras.

pj1974

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Re: Please help me decide between the EF 300 f/4 L and the EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 L
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2012, 04:33:52 PM »
My advice: sell both your Canon 70-200mm f/4 L AND your Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 - and buy the Canon 70-300mm L f/4-5.6.  The Canon 70-300mm L's sharpness at 300mm wide open is truly great (at least my copy and 2 other copies I've used are) - and I doubt even pixel peepers will tell much difference with that and the 300mm f/4 prime.

Also, the awesome 4 stop IS and fast, accurate USM focussing on the 70-300mm L, combined with it being a flexible zoom (I have needed to use less than 300mm at times - yes, even for BIF!) can not be under-stated (or under-estimated). Personally I don't like the 100-400mm's push-pull design, and the additional weight is a negative for me (I prefer ultimate portability).

Having a 1.4x on the 300mm f/4 prime does give you more reach, but AF and image quality do degrade - noticeably. On the 7D, I've had hundreds of well-praised shots with my 70-300mm L... it just does the job so well! Hope you get a good outcome.

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HeavenHell

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Re: Please help me decide between the EF 300 f/4 L and the EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 L
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2012, 05:48:32 PM »
Oh I see B&H dropped their price on the EF300 mm f/4 L from 1,349 to 1,181.99 today.  I think someone might be trying to tell me something.
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alan_k

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Re: Please help me decide between the EF 300 f/4 L and the EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 L
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2012, 01:59:56 AM »
I'll echo that the 70-300L is phenomenal. I'd love something longer and faster for wildlife, but I haven't won the lottery yet. I'm not convinced I'd do a lot better with any of the similar level lenses (100-400, 400/5.6, 300/4 +1.4tc) compared to cropping a bit more from the 70-300L. I haven't tried any of these though-just my suspicion.

As has been mentioned, it's pretty redundant with the 70-200/4.
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Re: Please help me decide between the EF 300 f/4 L and the EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 L
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2012, 10:47:01 AM »
I love my 300 F/4. I used it in New Zealand for Albatross and Dolphins on the 50D. Sharpness is great.
It can never be long enough though. You don't need a zoom for wildlife. You will use the 300mm setting all the time.

Get the 300 F/4 !
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Re: Please help me decide between the EF 300 f/4 L and the EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 L
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2012, 10:47:01 AM »

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Re: Please help me decide between the EF 300 f/4 L and the EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 L
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2012, 04:56:13 PM »
I really enjoyed using the 300mm f4L. It has quick accurate focusing and is very sharp. The 1.4xII (not III) is a perfect companion with it. I purchased both items used for less than the cost of the 300 new.

Go for the prime, you will not be disappointed

johnf3f

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Re: Please help me decide between the EF 300 f/4 L and the EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 L
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2012, 08:51:20 PM »
I really enjoyed using the 300mm f4L. It has quick accurate focusing and is very sharp. The 1.4xII (not III) is a perfect companion with it. I purchased both items used for less than the cost of the 300 new.

Go for the prime, you will not be disappointed

+1 on the 300 F4 L IS. IQ ia significantly better than the 100-400 (I had a good example). The 300 takes the 1.4 extender very well. It can also (in good light) produce passable images with the Canon 2 x Mk3 extender but you may have to resort to live view focus.

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Re: Please help me decide between the EF 300 f/4 L and the EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 L
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2012, 08:51:20 PM »