Canon EF 300 F2.8 IS USM II for wildlife

AdamBotond

EOS M6 Mark II
Mar 31, 2016
81
7
Hi all,
It seems that I'm having a rare chance to obtain a mint condition second hand copy of this great lens at a very reasonable price. I'm not a full time pro by any means, however I spend the majority of my free time with wildlife photography. I'm more into mammals, especially deers, foxes, I'm not a birder though. I have been using a 6D and a 400 5.6 for that purpose, which really worked out for me over the years. I am planning an upgrade mainly, because most of my wildlife photography takes place in low light situations. It would also be nice to get more separation between the subject and the background. My idea would be using this lens mostly with a 1.4 extender as 300 on FF is too short even for big mammals, which is 1 stop gain over the recent combo. However, I would still have option to go 600 F5.6 with an 2x extender and 2.8 at bare 300 would be awsome, as well.
Aside from price, do you guys consider 300 F2.8 IS USM II+ extenders a reasonable upgrade in terms of IQ, bokeh, etc over the recent 400 5.6? I would love to have some inputs of 300 II owners.

Thanks for reading!

Adam
 

Kerry B

EOS RP
Feb 21, 2013
225
0
62
Plymouth, United Kingdom
Adam

There are a number of threads on this very subject. To reiterate the 300ii is a fabulous lens and probably one of Canons sharpest. Use on its own or with both mkiii extenders you have a very versatile lens. Performance with extenders is brilliant, practically no difference with the 1.4 attached and outstanding with the 2x extender. This is my lens of choice for wildlife, weight is really no issue and performance out of this world.
 

FEBS

Action Photography
CR Pro
Kerry B said:
Adam

There are a number of threads on this very subject. To reiterate the 300ii is a fabulous lens and probably one of Canons sharpest. Use on its own or with both mkiii extenders you have a very versatile lens. Performance with extenders is brilliant, practically no difference with the 1.4 attached and outstanding with the 2x extender. This is my lens of choice for wildlife, weight is really no issue and performance out of this world.


I can only agree on this remark for FF. APS-C and 2x extender on this lens never really satisfied me.
 

kaihp

EOS R
CR Pro
Mar 19, 2012
883
41
FEBS said:
I can only agree on this remark for FF. APS-C and 2x extender on this lens never really satisfied me.

I haven't used the 300mm II + 2x TC Mk III on an APS-C, but the combo works beautifully on the 5D3 and 1DX. I guess that the 6D focus system will probably be the weakest link in that setup. Since I've never used a 400/5.6L I cannot comment on the IQ etc, except to link to TDP. From the crops, it looks like you'll get an improvement in the center, but not quite the same IQ in the corners.

One of the very attractive points (for me) is the hand-holdability and size of the 300 with either extender.
 

fegari

EOS 90D
Apr 8, 2012
129
0
500px.com
I have it. with the 1.4x you do not see frankly any optical performance drop. You'll see a bit slower AF and obviously the drop in 1 stop of light as it becomes a 420 F/4.

I'm mostly a birder so got a 500 f/4 as well cause the 300 got short most of the time (well, pretty much always) but I still use it when shooting from a hide.

For the animals you shoot it will work fine and at close range at 2.8 is unbeatable in how it renders, out of this world. It IS the sharpest Canon lens

Don't know the rest of your set up but if you can afford a 5DS-R, maybe selling some of your unused equipment you basically get two cameras in one, obviously the FF when you don't crop and a 7D equivalent for those animals maybe a bit far away. You can crop so much the 5DSR that for those subjects where the 300 with extender is still a bit short youcan crop to so much you basically have a 800mm after the crop and still get 20 a Mpx image


Examples of shots at close range with the 300 2.8 (I think I was about 3 meters away, colors, bokeh atec as taken with the camera)
https://500px.com/photo/157891983/l-y-n-x-by-fegari-

https://500px.com/photo/129793009/last-one-by-fegari-
 

JPAZ

If only I knew what I was doing.....
CR Pro
Sep 8, 2012
1,073
209
kaihp said:
One of the very attractive points (for me) is the hand-holdability and size of the 300 with either extender.

+1

Although not a lightweight, the 300 f/2.8 by itself, with a 1.4xTC or a 2xTC on a 5diii (for example) is very capable with hand-holding. This gives a lot of versatility. I am very fortunate to have the 300 and it is hard not to get a big smile on my face every time I use it. Alternatively, the 100-400 mkii is fabulous but not as fast.
 
Aug 22, 2014
2
0
FWIW, I have a 300 f2.8 IS version 1, and I use it with the 2xTCIII a lot. No complaints on sharpness or AF speed (yeah, it's a bit slower than the naked lens, but its's still pretty darned fast).
 

Jack Douglas

CR for the Humour
Apr 10, 2013
6,800
2,342
Alberta, Canada
For portability going to 600mm this has been a great lens for me, used primarily with the 6D for over two years. 300 X2 is a bit slow but you can overcome that by pre-focusing to roughly the expected distance. If you lose focus it will hunt and then it is slow to the point of being a pain (birds in flight). For wildlife this is the lens unless you need/want zoom. Buy it!

Jack
 

AdamBotond

EOS M6 Mark II
Mar 31, 2016
81
7
Thank you for all comments, they are much appreciated!

As for 5DS (R), it is a charming rig, I'm just not sure it is the ideal for high iso use, which I do a lot. Granted, as long as there's enough light, details of 5DsR with a 300 F2.8 II is unbeatable. 5D III, the upcoming 5D IV, or even a second hand 1DX would probably be more appealing for my needs, though. I must admit that my recent 6D has not really let me down yet, mammals are not as erratic creatures as birds are and as acient as 6D's AF system might be, it is definitely trustworthy. I never have focusing issues as long as I keep the AF point on subject.

I think I will go for the 300 II and if I fail to get it, I will also consider 300 I.
 

bholliman

EOS R
Dec 6, 2012
1,473
0
USA
www.flickr.com
Last year I decided to buy a 300 f/2.8 II instead of longer lens when I was looking to expand my photography to include some wildlife and birds. With a 1.4x and 2.0x III extender, I essentially have a 300 f/2.8, 420 f/4 and 600 f/5.6 rolled into one. Its relatively easy to hand hold and the IQ is incredible. I used mine with extension tubes for flower and plant photography as well as for distant subjects. Awesome lens!

fegari said:
I have it. with the 1.4x you do not see frankly any optical performance drop. You'll see a bit slower AF and obviously the drop in 1 stop of light as it becomes a 420 F/4.
...
Don't know the rest of your set up but if you can afford a 5DS-R, maybe selling some of your unused equipment you basically get two cameras in one, obviously the FF when you don't crop and a 7D equivalent for those animals maybe a bit far away. You can crop so much the 5DSR that for those subjects where the 300 with extender is still a bit short you can crop to so much you basically have a 800mm after the crop and still get 20 a Mpx image

+1 I used my 300 f/2.8 II with both my 6D and 5DsR and get great results with both. I generally prefer the 5DsR due to the resolution/crop ability and superior AF capability. I love my 6D, but only use it in single shot. It works well for stationary or slow moving wildlife in poor light. If I go out at dawn or dusk I normally use the 6D until the light is pretty decent and then switch to the 5DsR. After 9+ months, I still find the resolution of the 5DsR files incredible! I do a massive crop and still end up with some very nice, sharp pictures large enough for web publication. I find the 5DsR does well in all but the poorest light. The ISO 3200 and 6400 images are noisy, but I can clean it up pretty easily with Nik define2.
 

edoorn

EOS RP
Apr 1, 2016
354
329
well, this thread convinced me to do a bit of browsing online and I got a good deal on a 300 2.8 II too ;D

the reports I read here are very hopeful.
 

Plainsman

EOS 90D
Oct 26, 2012
193
0
Kerry B said:
Adam

There are a number of threads on this very subject. To reiterate the 300ii is a fabulous lens and probably one of Canons sharpest. Use on its own or with both mkiii extenders you have a very versatile lens. Performance with extenders is brilliant, practically no difference with the 1.4 attached and outstanding with the 2x extender. This is my lens of choice for wildlife, weight is really no issue and performance out of this world.

"...weight is really no issue..."

Wow!! At 2.4kg - nearly 5.5lb - it really is an issue.

Now if Mr Canon could bring us a new 300/4 at half the weight - to match say the sharpness of the Zuiko 300/4 IS PRO that would be something really handy.
 

fegari

EOS 90D
Apr 8, 2012
129
0
500px.com
To clarify a misconception, the 5DSR has better or worst case scenario equal high ISO performance than a 5D3. Also much better handling of the shadows and better noise characteristics. I've had them both and a lot of reviews on the topic. Really, for static or slow subjects nothing beats that camera imho

AdamBotond said:
Thank you for all comments, they are much appreciated!

As for 5DS (R), it is a charming rig, I'm just not sure it is the ideal for high iso use, which I do a lot. Granted, as long as there's enough light, details of 5DsR with a 300 F2.8 II is unbeatable. 5D III, the upcoming 5D IV, or even a second hand 1DX would probably be more appealing for my needs, though. I must admit that my recent 6D has not really let me down yet, mammals are not as erratic creatures as birds are and as acient as 6D's AF system might be, it is definitely trustworthy. I never have focusing issues as long as I keep the AF point on subject.

I think I will go for the 300 II and if I fail to get it, I will also consider 300 I.
 

j-nord

Derp
Feb 16, 2016
467
4
Colorado
Plainsman said:
Kerry B said:
Adam

There are a number of threads on this very subject. To reiterate the 300ii is a fabulous lens and probably one of Canons sharpest. Use on its own or with both mkiii extenders you have a very versatile lens. Performance with extenders is brilliant, practically no difference with the 1.4 attached and outstanding with the 2x extender. This is my lens of choice for wildlife, weight is really no issue and performance out of this world.

"...weight is really no issue..."

Wow!! At 2.4kg - nearly 5.5lb - it really is an issue.

Now if Mr Canon could bring us a new 300/4 at half the weight - to match say the sharpness of the Zuiko 300/4 IS PRO that would be something really handy.

For the big whites, it's pretty small and light. Better glass comes at a size, weight, and price penalty. I agree a refreshed 300/4 has it's place in the lineup still but I think it's unlikely to happen soon since the 100-400ii offers a 300/5. Rather see a 500/5.6 IS.
 

iaind

EOS RP
Jul 25, 2011
353
0
64
300 with mk3 extenders ok hand held.

Have shot 600f4is with 2xmk3 extender with 1d4 on tripod for acceptable results (1560mm)