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Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

 
Lens Reviews / Canon Lenses i Not yet tested
70-300mm $1,399
average price
image of Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

(From Canon lens literature) A superior performance, ultra-compact telephoto zoom lens with Canon's Image Stabilization. These Diffractive Optics elements are combined to reduce size and boost image quality. AF is super-fast and silent with a ring-type USM, and it focuses down to 4.6 feet – without rotating the front element. A new zoom lock button keeps the lens safe and secure when not in use or used at the wide angle.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM User Reviews

8.0/10 average of 14 reviews Build Quality 8.4/10 Image Quality 7.8/10
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (31 reviews)
    Lightweight, Size, Build Quality, AF Speed, FTM, Zoom Lock
    No weather seal

    I have purchased this lens to have something small and portable with me on my business travels.

    The IQ of this lens is really good on my 5D Mark II. I see some softness wide open at 300mm. But this can be avoided by raising a bit the ISO, which on a 5D2 is zero problem.

    The lens is fast focusing and it has FTM. Ring-Type USM!

    It is build very solid and gives a very good feeling. Like holding an L-Lens.

    The lens extends/retracts by itself due to the weight of the tubus. No issue once you get used to it.

    Zoom ring goes firmly but smooth.

    The price I paid for a MINT lens is very nice. If I had to buy a new one, I would buy the 70-300L as it features weather sealing. For second hand, no issue.

    I think it is a very underrated gem, at least for me on FF. I have no experience on crop.

    reviewed April 10th, 2012 (purchased for $550)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (6 reviews)
    great range, light weight, black, quick AF
    images at long range slightly soft

    I always carry this lens when travelling; often it is the only one I take. Although I have numerous L lens, I would keep this one above almost all others (actually HAVE kept it when realigning my lens collection and selling 60% ). You can't rate the small size and unobtrusive black color highly enough.

    I have zoo photos, family photos, soccer photos, etc all taken with this lens which are outstanding. It is true that sometimes the images taken closer to 300 are slightly soft, but with today's photo programs that is easily fixed. Highly recommend and I have used it for several years. Other lens I own: 24,105 L, 70-200 f4L, 35 f1.4, 135L, 200 f2.8L, etc.

    reviewed June 7th, 2008 (purchased for $1,100)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (9 reviews)
    resolution , lack of CA , lack of distortion , super fast AF,
    none

    my copy is EXTREMELY sharp , in fact , sharper than all my primes in this range.

    the DO Af is super fast , there is no CA .

    the color rendition is beautiful with this lens.

    highly recommended , considering its over all IQ and build quality and AF speed , this is the best tele zoom for handheld photography.

    I also have the EF70-200f4LIS and both are superb.

    But I perfer my DO for 2 reasons: 1 it is shorter .2 it is BLACK.

    reviewed December 8th, 2007 (purchased for $1,100)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (19 reviews)
    very compact, very well built , very fast AF, very effective IS , excellent range
    a bit prone to flare.

    a very unique and cool lens, love it very much replaced my moronic white lens that is too bold to get too much staring .

    I think this lens can capture real smiles of peole very naturally since it is very inconspicuous.

    it is very important to capture the real and natural facial expression exotic people , I was missing that because the white lens scares people a way .

    no matter how sharp the Ef70-200f4L IS is , it is too short and too obtrusive , I need this DO.

    I was 2 times arrested in burma because of the stupid white lens.

    UPDATE: this lens is the fastest AF-ing lens for sure , much faster than all my lenses , even faster than the EF-85 f1.8.

    Also, its IS is SUPER effective , much more powerful than the IS on my 17-55IS.

    Highly recommended.

    reviewed August 16th, 2007 (purchased for $1,200)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (5 reviews)
    Small, IS, focuses quickly and accurately, can be very sharp with some extra postprocessing
    Very prone to flare, needs extra processing to realize the sharpness, zoom creep

    I bought this lens after being dissatisfied with the size of the 70-200/F4L. This lens is much more usable than that lens, in my opinion.

    The form factor is great. It's very small (though it grows when zooming). It uses 58mm filters, which are relatively inexpensive. It focuses fast and quietly.

    As I read about this lens on Luminous Landscape before I bought it, I was prepared to do some extra processing to ensure sharpness. Local contrast enhancement processing (via USM) does help a lot with perceived sharpness (and overall contrast). With that in mind, I've gotten some very nice, and very sharp images from this lens.

    And most importantly, it fits in my very small Lowepro PhotoRunner bag along with my 10-22, Sigma 18-125, and my filters and accessories. Although it's pretty heavy for its size, it's no problem to bring along. I always left the 70-200 at home because it was too big.

    One issue I did have with this lens: if you point it up, say to shoot a plan, the zoom creeps--more like falls--back. You have to hold the zoom ring to keep it from doing that.

    reviewed January 9th, 2007 (purchased for $1,125)
  • 5 out of 10 points and not recommended by (8 reviews)
    very small and light. IS is a plus. the 300mm focal length can be very useful sometimes.
    random results in sharpness and general image quality. Sugffers for diffraction, impossibile to use it against light.

    I kept this lens for nearly six months. I fould it impossible to predict what the result of a shot would be, due to the extreme tendency to internal flare and to very odd sharpness (it can be very good or horrible, depending on various factors). I personally think that the optical design mus have some problems). I wpould not recommend it, and personally I switched to a Sigma 700-200 2,8, that is a bulky but excellent lens.

    reviewed December 31st, 2006 (purchased for $1,100)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (6 reviews)
    small, black, inconspicuous, image quality
    average built, zoom action cheap, price too high

    Seems there are differences in image quality coming from this lens, but I think I'm lucky not to have to deal with image quality problems. Images say more than words, so I have posted some photos taken with this small and inconspicuous lens - which is also its strongest point - here:

    http://www.photo.net/photos/jim_rais

    My biggest issue is that the lens build quality is average and about the same level (or maybe worse) of - say - a midrange 28-135mm IS USM. There are wobblings all over its duo-cam plastic construction which gives a really cheap feeling to it. The zoom ring rotates heavily, especially when pointed straight right at an object and there's a resistance at the end of its longest end. I have to do this trick to make it easier: to zoom out, point the lens first downwards then rotate to the desired (longer) focal length. To zoom in (shorter focal length), point the camera/lens combination upwards followed by rotate action of the zoom ring. This "method" gives a smooth(er) zoom action result, but beware of doing it in a proper order, otherwise it might resulted in a heavier zoom action !

    Having been spoiled by the best build quality of buttery smooth metal-barrel lenses of Carl Zeiss for decades, I don't buy this cheapish feeling of this 70-300 DO lens. Especially at this price point, makes the lens price way out of proportion. Shame on you, Canon !

    So, recommended? Yes, with a but ..., that is if you can live with its shortcomings and the exorbitant high price. Otherwise look elsewhere.

    reviewed December 25th, 2006 (purchased for $1,445)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    compactness, range of telephoto, sturdiness, IS
    price, soft at 300 mm

    With an APS-C sensor, this lens covers 112 to 480 mm. At 300 mm (480 mm equivalent), it is a bit soft, but at other lengths, I've been very happy with sharpness and color. Its compactness makes it a great travel lens.

    It is sturdy. I dropped this from a park bench onto asphalt--about a 15-inch fall--and it needed no repair. I did have the included hood sheathing the lens at the time, and I'm sure that helped absorb the shock. I wonder how a lighter, more plastic lens might have fared.

    The zoom ring can be hard to turn. I use the push-pull method, and find that it works fine for me.

    reviewed December 10th, 2006 (purchased for $1,150)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (9 reviews)
    Extraordinarily convenient, black
    The DO "look"

    First off let me emphasize that even though I gave this lens a "yes" recommendation it is a qualified yes. Buy this lens only if you look at many (preferably hundreds) of images from this lens and decide for yourself if the "look" is for you.

    What is meant by the "DO look"? Essentially two qualities: (1) out focus areas have a strange non-smoothness to them, and out of focus light sources can have concentric rings around them, and (2) low local contrast and low overall image contrast making for very flat images and somewhat powdery highlights.

    So why would anyone buy this lens, especially for the >$1000 price tag? One word:
    CONVENIENCE

    This is the only 300mm lens, and the only 70-300mm lens, that is short enough to fit in a small bag. I use this on a 5D (whose high acutance ability helps counteract some of the DO look) as a walk around lens.

    While it is not a fast lens the IS does make handholding possible is low light.

    AF is fast.

    As with other users I have found the short end of this lens to be optically superior to the 300mm end.

    The black color and small size mean that you can use this in a crowd and not be too noticeable. Have any of you tried to carry a white 300mm lens (with hood) around, and noticed how people look at you?

    Bokeh lovers tend to go apoplectic over this lens. This is one lens that would be very interesting to see how it performs on this site's test bench.

    Key to getting the most out of this lens is processing raw files with higher contrast settings, and sharpening with local contrast enhancement in mind.

    PS: on the zoom ring difficulties, all you have to do is learn to tilt the camera but a bit (say 10 degrees.) Tilt camera down to zoom out, tilt camera up to zoom in, and the zooming becomes much easier.

    reviewed November 19th, 2006
  • 7 out of 10 points and not recommended by (8 reviews)
    Short, excellent image stabiliser, almost no chromatic aberration .
    Heavy, expensive, hazy reproduction at full aperture at 300mm.

    It seemed like the ideal travel lens for me but the image quality at 300 mm let it down. White subjects had a hazy fringe and ring shaped flare patterns were produced by the DO optics. The out of focus areas had a 'broken' quality.

    Image stabilisation was very impressive with a steady viewfinder image rather than a floating one. Af was fast and accurate.

    The zoom control was too far back and too heavy. With the lens pointing down it zoomed easily, almost too easily, but zoomimg back was very difficult with a heavy, sticky control. Most users learned to zoom it by pushing/pulling the end of the lens rather than using the zoom ring.

    I sold mine and bought the 70-300 IS instead.

    reviewed November 7th, 2006 (purchased for $1,900)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    Physical size, range of zoom

    For any travel, the physical size of this lens is so much better than any of the white lenses. It is very solid, though a bit heavy, and I have had excellent results across the full zoom range. Using raw format and sharpening in Photoshop or Lightroom, my 8 by 10 prints are ready for display.

    reviewed February 12th, 2006 (purchased for $1,100)
  • 6 out of 10 points and not recommended by (1 reviews)
    Size and weight
    Soft images

    The size and weight is perfect but the images are very soft and lack contrast compared to L lenses. The price is too high for the quality offered. The zoom ring needs be be smoother too.

    reviewed October 25th, 2005
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    excellent IS, good size and weight, full time manual focus, hood included
    high price, soft from 200-300mm, zoom ring not smooth enough

    Pros: excellent IS, good size and weight, full time manual focus, hood included

    Cons: high price, soft from 200-300mm, zoom ring not smooth enough

    Overall, this is an excellent walk around lens and it's superb image stabilization makes it very usable also in low light conditions despite being only F4.5-5.6.
    The zoom lock funktion is very practical but unfortunately, the zoom ring is not operating smooth enough.
    Image quality could be better for a lens at this price (soft images especially between 200-300mm).

    reviewed October 21st, 2005 (purchased for $1,200)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    Small, light great range good performance
    Price

    This is the lens I use most of the time when I am travelling. The range and weight and size are unbeatable. The photos need some sharpening but if photos are not sharp then it is mostly my fault. I was cocerned about the optical performance on a FF like the 5D but I do not see much difference compared to the 20D.I had a problem with the 2 front parts of the zoom coming badly loose, but it was fixed under warranty by Canon. Overall a clear keeper for me.

    reviewed October 20th, 2005 (purchased for $1,150)