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Author Topic: EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS Review  (Read 13247 times)

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EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS Review
« on: December 28, 2010, 12:20:22 PM »
The Review Has Been Posted I took the new 70-300L on safari with me and really fell in love with the lens.

I tried to point out a few things that may annoy some people, most things were small issues.

Check out the review.

*Correction* I updated the review to let you know the Kenko Pro 300 DGX 1.4 teleconverter will work on the lens.

thanks jason

Another point of view Acclaimed photographer Eric Meola gives some brief thoughts on the new 70-300L as well.

Read it here

cr

« Last Edit: December 28, 2010, 04:21:34 PM by Canon Rumors »
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EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS Review
« on: December 28, 2010, 12:20:22 PM »

t2ilover

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Re: EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS Review
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2010, 12:33:20 PM »
I am a long-time reader of Canon Rumors, and just registered now so I could thank you for the review! Well done, this looks like a superb lens that gave you many great shots.

I am still leaning towards the 70-200 f/2.8L IS II just because of the aperture (aspiring photojournalist finding the limits of my 24-105L f/4), but it's great to know that this is a reliable option for general outdoor telephotography in adequate light. Thanks again for the review!

Flake

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Re: EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS Review
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2010, 01:23:46 PM »
I have to say it's a dissappointment that you didn't give the apertures used as shots like 'Yeah it's sharp' don't convince me that it is, but that could be because of the aperture.  It's so difficult to judge the quality of the lens on the 5D MkII because I usually check corners and borders, and again either detail isn't there or it's not in focus.

One of the biggest 'cons' of this lens is its slow speed, f/5.6 is as slow as it gets in a modern zoom and yet it's not mentioned.  At the present time in the Northern hemisphere, it's dark, even during the day.  When the  sun does shine I'm getting shutter speeds of just 1/50th sec at f/5.6 at Iso 400, you say that it's a lens which isn't suited to lowlight situations, but that can account for 4 - 5 months in the UK and I suspect many other Northern countries, so it's a lens which can be used for 6 - 7 months of the year, the rest of the time it's a paperweight!

Kenya is great for light, but most photographers aren't fortunate enough to be shooting in this light year round.

This lens is so expensive that it's third party rival is the excellent Sigma 120 - 300mm f/2.8 which allows 4 times as much light in ! then there's the 100 - 300mm f/4 again a great performer at 2/3 of the price, the 50 - 500mm OS is a similar price.

It's a shame that you didn't post images with the 70 - 200mm MkII perhaps with the 1.4TC to get to 300mm, yes it's a bit more expensive, but a much better performer and you can use it in low light.

While you were away Photozone posted their review, and it's not as good as people had hoped, certainly not value for the money.

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Re: EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS Review
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2010, 01:55:06 PM »
I have to say it's a dissappointment that you didn't give the apertures used as shots like 'Yeah it's sharp' don't convince me that it is, but that could be because of the aperture.  It's so difficult to judge the quality of the lens on the 5D MkII because I usually check corners and borders, and again either detail isn't there or it's not in focus.

One of the biggest 'cons' of this lens is its slow speed, f/5.6 is as slow as it gets in a modern zoom and yet it's not mentioned.  At the present time in the Northern hemisphere, it's dark, even during the day.  When the  sun does shine I'm getting shutter speeds of just 1/50th sec at f/5.6 at Iso 400, you say that it's a lens which isn't suited to lowlight situations, but that can account for 4 - 5 months in the UK and I suspect many other Northern countries, so it's a lens which can be used for 6 - 7 months of the year, the rest of the time it's a paperweight!

Kenya is great for light, but most photographers aren't fortunate enough to be shooting in this light year round.

This lens is so expensive that it's third party rival is the excellent Sigma 120 - 300mm f/2.8 which allows 4 times as much light in ! then there's the 100 - 300mm f/4 again a great performer at 2/3 of the price, the 50 - 500mm OS is a similar price.

It's a shame that you didn't post images with the 70 - 200mm MkII perhaps with the 1.4TC to get to 300mm, yes it's a bit more expensive, but a much better performer and you can use it in low light.

While you were away Photozone posted their review, and it's not as good as people had hoped, certainly not value for the money.

Hey thanks for the critique.

I don't do technical reviews, I lay that out at the start. They're pointless to me. The review is about the Canon EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS and it alone. There will be countless other sites comparing countless lens combinations. I'll leave the brick wall reviews to them. I'm trying to do hands on real world reviews.

The "f/5.6" isn't a con, that's like saying that 300mm is a con because it's not 400. It is what it is.

I'm in the northern hemisphere and it's pretty bright out right now. :) Maybe not in Sweden or something!

I disagree with the Photozone review, I found the 70-300L to be as every bit as sharp as the 70-200 f/4L IS.


Cheers
CR
« Last Edit: December 28, 2010, 01:56:54 PM by Canon Rumors »
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Canon 14-24

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Re: EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS Review
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2010, 02:03:07 PM »
One thing that turned me away from this lens compared to the 70-200 f4, is that the lens EXTENDS.  Any lens that extends I think is just prone to get some specks stuck and caught in between that could start giving a "grinding" kind of sound when shooting in slight wind/dust like near a beach or some dunes (had it happen to my 24-105 f4 lens).

Flake

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Re: EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS Review
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2010, 02:07:42 PM »
I take the point that it is what it is, but surely the slow speed is a drawback, so much as a faster lens is a plus, this is also the most expensive 300mm f/5.6 by quite some margin, at this price point I'd have expected something faster, and as has been suggested it might have been an f/4 all the way.

Obviously you have a lot more images that we don't have access to, but I'd like to see more 'real world' shots before I make up my mind.  How about some shots of outdoor sports, or winter wildlife?  That is probably what this lens is going to be used more for.

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Re: EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS Review
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2010, 02:23:16 PM »
One thing that turned me away from this lens compared to the 70-200 f4, is that the lens EXTENDS.  Any lens that extends I think is just prone to get some specks stuck and caught in between that could start giving a "grinding" kind of sound when shooting in slight wind/dust like near a beach or some dunes (had it happen to my 24-105 f4 lens).

I beat it up pretty bad for 2 weeks and no issue with grinding or sticking.

I've started to rent them now, that'll be the true test. :)

I will say that grinding with the 24-105 is a common issue I've found with the rental lenses. The 70-300 does seem better sealed, time will tell.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2010, 02:29:31 PM by Canon Rumors »
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Re: EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS Review
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2010, 02:23:16 PM »

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Re: EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS Review
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2010, 02:24:30 PM »
I take the point that it is what it is, but surely the slow speed is a drawback, so much as a faster lens is a plus, this is also the most expensive 300mm f/5.6 by quite some margin, at this price point I'd have expected something faster, and as has been suggested it might have been an f/4 all the way.

Obviously you have a lot more images that we don't have access to, but I'd like to see more 'real world' shots before I make up my mind.  How about some shots of outdoor sports, or winter wildlife?  That is probably what this lens is going to be used more for.

The size of the lens is one of the big features, they can't make a 300mm f/4 lens that'll stand vertical in a backpack. That's a feature that will matter to SOME people.

I'll shoot soccer with it in the spring and I hope to get out to shoot winter owls sometime before the snow melts. I already know it'll perform great.

Cheers
CR
« Last Edit: December 28, 2010, 02:28:37 PM by Canon Rumors »
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ChadSorianoPhotoBlog

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Re: EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS Review
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2010, 04:06:14 PM »
Two quick questions about this lens.
First, did you end up only using the extreme end of the zoom range (300mm) most of the time? (and if you did, would you suggest just using the EF 300mm f/4 IS instead for a Safari like yours?)
Second and final question, did you shoot any Safari pictures with the EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II so I can compare the overall image quality?

Thanks!

mrprotocol

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Re: EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS Review
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2010, 04:47:06 PM »
What I want to know is, how the heck did you get all those lenses and bodies to Africa???  You seem to have brought too much stuff to lug it all as carry-on.  I'm vitally interested in this because I regard it as an unsolved problem in my own life.

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Re: EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS Review
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2010, 04:49:34 PM »
What I want to know is, how the heck did you get all those lenses and bodies to Africa???  You seem to have brought too much stuff to lug it all as carry-on.  I'm vitally interested in this because I regard it as an unsolved problem in my own life.

I got the following on carry-on.

1D Mark IV, 1D Mark III, 5D Mark II, 800mm, 70-300L, 70-200L 2.8 II, 35L, 16-35L II, 1.4x tc, 2x tc, 13" MBP, G12 and a few other things. :)

The Gura Gear Kiboko fits international carry-on regulations and you can fit almost anything in it. I flew KLM.

Cheers
CR
« Last Edit: December 28, 2010, 04:51:14 PM by Canon Rumors »
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Re: EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS Review
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2010, 04:50:47 PM »
Two quick questions about this lens.
First, did you end up only using the extreme end of the zoom range (300mm) most of the time? (and if you did, would you suggest just using the EF 300mm f/4 IS instead for a Safari like yours?)
Second and final question, did you shoot any Safari pictures with the EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II so I can compare the overall image quality?

Thanks!

I shot it at 70mm a lot, most of the landscape shots were at 70mm.

I took 4 pictures with the 70-200 f/2.8L IS II in the entire 2 weeks.

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traveller

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Re: EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS Review
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2010, 07:26:37 PM »
I disagree with all of you complaining about the lack of controlled testing.  There will be plenty of reviews that concentrate on these aspect out there on the web, we don't need another one.  Yes it is variable aperture, but then most of the 70-300/400 class are, if you need a fast lens then you obviously need to look elsewhere (and fork out even more!).  OK this lens is very well built and sharp, the difference between the 70-300 IS L and 70-200 F/4 IS L didn't seem that great to me.

My problem is the price: it is now the most expensive 70-300, making the Sony 70-300G seems like a bargain! Yes the 100-400 L is expensive too, but along with the 400 f/5.6L and the 300 f/4 L (+TC) it is the only way to get to 600mm equivalence without spending small-car money.  This lens is really just a posh version of the 70-300 USM for over three times the price.  I can't help thinking that Canon should have withheld the 'L' designation and given us an improved 70-300 USM. 

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Re: EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS Review
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2010, 07:26:37 PM »

foobar

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Re: EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS Review
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2010, 08:27:08 PM »
One of the biggest 'cons' of this lens is its slow speed, f/5.6 is as slow as it gets in a modern zoom and yet it's not mentioned.
It's right in the title of the review. ;)

While you were away Photozone posted their review, and it's not as good as people had hoped, certainly not value for the money.
Yeah, the FF results were slightly behind the high expectations. It shines on APS-C, though.

"The lens performs somewhat worse on a full format camera but we didn't find any significant downside within the APS-C scope ... apart from its very high pricing maybe. Therefore highly recommended here!"

But overall, there's not a single bad review of this lens out there. The only big complaint about it is the price.

and as has been suggested it might have been an f/4 all the way.
Speed, size, versatility.
Choose two.

kubelik

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Re: EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS Review
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2010, 09:52:49 PM »
amusingly enough, in another thread today we were just talking about which sites we like to go to for lens reviews and everybody was in agreement that we really enjoyed the gear reviews to date on CR but were itching for more.

in true holiday fashion, it appears that we got our gift pretty much immediately.  thanks for the review CR guy, and great images!  looks like you had an exciting time on safari.

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Re: EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS Review
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2010, 09:52:49 PM »