7 out of 10 points and not recommendedCheap, Very Sharp Images with Superb ColorsRough Bokeh, Noisy & Slow AF, Short (See Review)
Overall, the lens provides very good IQ - pics that are sharp and have very good colour - for quite a low price for the quality. It's actually a no-brainer that someone who shoots Canon should have this in their toolkit, especially as it provides an excellent intro to prime lens.reviewed November 4th, 2011 (purchased for $105)
This is not to say that the lens doesn't have its shortcomings. Its AF is rather slow and noisy (not that much of a problem in most situations, but it does limit the lens' versatility). It is also quite short, sometimes making it difficult to hold my camera (500D) steady; this is compounded by a rather wide focus ring.
Moreover, the lens produces a bokeh that can be rather rough and sometimes more pronounced than one could really want, although I can see how this could be used for artistic purposes.
8 out of 10 points and recommendedIQ; Sharpness; Color; Produces great bokeh.Barrel Distortion (mostly at short focal lengths); vignetting can be annoying; rotating focus ring; stupidly noisy IS; slow AF; almost too light.
Seeing how everyone reviewed the other version of the lens, I hope I haven't made a bad decision to get the II!reviewed November 8th, 2011 (purchased for $200)
So far, I'm very satisfied with the quality of the pics I have been able to take with this lens. Color is so much better than the kit lens, as is sharpness and overall image quality. Bokeh is also a lot easier on the eyes and much nicer.
I seem to run in problems with barrel distortion at shorter focal lengths, which is a pain since Aperture, my main RAW processing app, doesn't seem to have an option for correcting it. Thankfully, it has an option for devignetting, as this is also a recurring issue with the lens, although not as bad as distortion.
Like most lens in this price range, the focus ring rotates; combined with a physically long lens and relatively slow AF speed, this can make polarizing filters very hard to use.
Also, I've noticed the IS can be quite noisy, especially if the lens is moved significantly while holding down focus, for example when panning, which can cause problems and embarassment when used in quieter environments.
What is more, when using the lens hood, I find the lens is so light that it is easily caught by the wind, making it noticeably harder to handhold. It is almost too light even when there isn't any wind.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedSharpness; Build Quality; very quick AF; non-rotating front element; position of focus ring; all-around great IQ.Barrel Distortion (mostly at short focal lengths); vignetting can be annoying, relatively slow.
This is one sharp lens, with a very useful focal length range. Asking for any more would be quite greedy, but the only possible improvement with regards to focal length would be to have 1-2 more mm on the wide end to make it into the absolute city walkaround lens.reviewed January 6th, 2012 (purchased for $755)
It produces all-around great images in a very well-built package that, while not exactly rugged, could almost be called "classy". It feels very solid in your hands, yet is not very heavy at all.
Moreover, the AF is very quick and completely silent, doesn't make the front element rotate, and the all-time manual focus ring is located where it is easy to use.
However, the lens has to lose a point in IQ due to being seemingly very prone to distortion at the wider focal lengths, and to vignetting mostly at longer focal lengths (60mm+).
It is also not a very fast lens, thereby requiring the use of flash indoors (which I am without at the moment of this writing, but which I imagine might do wonders combined with this lens), or switching to a fast prime.
All in all, I'm very satisfied of my purchase of this lens.
(I should also note I bought this lens as an upgrade from my 18-55mm kit lens for use with a 550D).
8 out of 10 points and not recommendedLight & Small, Sharp, Good IQSlow and noisy AF, filter ring rotates, feels like a toy
Good as a kit lens, but I wouldn't buy it otherwise unless I had no other choice. I spent almost no time upgrading mine to a 15-85mm.reviewed September 16th, 2012
10 out of 10 points and recommendedLight, Very Sharp, Quick AF in a lot of situations, Perfect ReachAF can hunt quite a bit in some situations, somewhat small, short working distance for macro
This lens is simply awesome used as a short telephoto for portraits etc., whatever you would use a 100mm for on a FF. IMO, a much more interesting focal length than 50mm on a crop.reviewed September 16th, 2012 (purchased for $429)
This lens is superb, sharp even wide open, and embarassingly so if you stop it down for portraits, my main use for the lens.
Moreover, I find the AF to be quick in most situations when used at non-macro ranges; it will hunt quite a bit in situations where most other lenses would, but it takes longer to do so because of the increased range it's hunting in. As I see it, the AF is quick enough for most uses in normal situations.
As a nitpick issue, I'd say the lens is a tad short, making it difficult to hold with your left hand below the lens when shooting handheld, which is I find the most comfortable way to shoot (and I have relatively small hands).
Also, I found the working distance when doing macro to be somewhat short and not very comfortable. Mileage may vary!
In any case, I recommend this lens without hesitation for those who want to make use of the lens for its short telephoto focal length.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedSharp as hell, good contrast, hefty, quick and accurate AF, pleasing bokehA tad slow, comparatively heavy, sizeable, and somewhat expensive
This lens is simply awesome. It checks every box in the image quality department: it is sharp, has good contrast, essentially normal distortion for such a long zoom, and very little to no chromatic aberration (that I could notice on the shots I took so far). It is also hefty, making it easy enough to handle for handheld shots (I'm thinking of the 55-250 which, although it is light, also blows in the wind when it is strong enough). I'm not too worried with that happening with the 70-300L.reviewed January 5th, 2013 (purchased for $1,099)
Build quality is also seemingly excellent. Both the focus and zoom rings are smooth (the focus ring might be a tad too soft, but nothing bad), and the barrel extends normally. I haven't noticed any zoom creep so far, and the lens has got a lock anyway. The IS is seemingly very good in operation, but I hear it a bit when I begin to have trouble shooting handheld due to arm fatigue (I don't know how audible it would be when shooting video). Yes, this lens is heavier than what I'm used to!
From my still limited experience with the lens, the AF is quick and accurate.
All in all, I'd say this lens is very good and worth every penny it sells for that I hugely recommend to those who can afford the rather steep admission price. I'd also wish the lens would be a tad faster, but it is already expensive and heavy enough as it is!