9 out of 10 points and recommendedAmazing image quality for price, Image StabilisationPlastic feel
I bought this lens as one of two to replace a Sigma 28-200mm F3.5-5.6 Macro Aspherical that had reached a depressingly early end to its working life. I don't have a specialism so my desire was to buy two lenses both of superior quality. This was the lens I chose to cover the higher focal lengths.reviewed November 13th, 2008 (purchased for $640)
In the six months I have owned it the lens has performed exceptionally. The contrast in image quality has amazed me. The difference in photos taken with this lens compared to my sigma are noticeable at first glance.
The budget that I had for this lens gave me a fairly clear choice between this and the Canon 70-200mm F4L USM which are very similarly priced. Some people would naturally choose the L series lens but I have found that the IS has allowed me to stop down to enjoy the "sweet spot" of the 70-300mm even in fairly low light. That's allowed me to enjoy comparable or even better image quality especially at the 200mm end. The extra 100mm focal length is also very useful.
This lens is an ideal upgrade from the traditional second lenses like the 18-200mm options that are themselves used to replace the 18-55mm kit lens. However, it may not be up to the standards of professionals. If you've got the budget the 70-200mm F4L IS USM or 70-200mm F2.8L (IS) USM will produce better results than this lens, otherwise, this is the best you're going to get.
*A note about the price, I bought this lens in the UK for £320 in July 08 when the exchange rate was about $2 to the pound. Now the dollar is under $1.50 to the pound so at current exchange rates the price is closer to $470.