Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

Lens Reviews / Canon Lenses i Lab tested
70-300mm $599
average price
image of Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

Lab Test Results

  • Blur
  • Chromatic Aberration
  • Vignetting
  • Geometric Distortion
  • Blur
  • Chromatic Aberration
  • Vignetting
  • Geometric Distortion

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Buy the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

(From Canon lens literature) The EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM telephoto zoom lens has been developed to meet the high-performance standards that today's photographers demand. Improved Image Stabilizer Technology provides up to three stops of "shake" correction, and the "Mode 2" option stabilizes images while panning with a moving subject. Compared to the original Canon EF 75-300mm IS zoom lens, this telephoto lens has faster autofocus, and overall the lens is lighter and has a smaller diameter than the original. The zoom ring can be locked at the 70mm position, making this powerful lens easy to transport, too.

Test Notes

Every now and then, you really do get more than you pay for, and the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM is proof positive of this. When we ran this lens through its paces in our lab, we were flat-out astonished by the optical quality it delivered. Were it not for the largely plastic body construction, we'd say that Canon has mislabeled this lens: It really delivers L-glass performance. That plus a very effective image stabilization system make this an amazing bargain at its typical street prices of $600-650 US. (As of this writing in late September, 2006.)

On a sub-frame body (we tested it on an EOS-20D), it delivers excellent sharpness from corner to corner, across most of its focal length range. It softens slightly at 300mm and f/5.6, but stopping down to f/8 returns it to excellent sharpness. Softness due to diffraction limiting begins at about f/11 though, so its sweet spot is a little narrow at 300mm. Across the rest of its range though, it's simply outstanding.

Its other characteristics are very good also. Chromatic aberration is quite low shooting wide open, increasing moderately as you stop down. Geometric distortion is quite low, ranging from 0.23% barrel at 70mm to a maximum of 0.27% pincushion at 300mm. The inflection point (where geometric distortion passes through zero occurs) just under 100mm. Light falloff in the corners of the frame ("vignetting") is very low through out the full range of focal lengths and apertures. It hits a maximum of 0.13 EV at 300mm and f/5, but is never more than 1/10 EV anywhere else, and is unmeasurably low at most settings.

While we don't have any quantifiable way of testing image stabilization performance, Canon's prowess in this area is well known, and the IS on the 70-300mm seemed to work very well in our limited playing with it. If you haven't shot in limited lighting with an IS lens or camera body, you're really missing something - It's hard to overstate the difference IS makes when you're shooting hand-held under anything but bright daylight.

There really aren't any weak points to this lens optically, unless you count its rather slow maximum aperture range of f/4-f/5.6 against it. It does suffer in the build quality department though, with a rather plasticky feel and very lightweight construction. When you zoom out to 300mm, its front element projects a long ways out from the body, which could present a hazard from knocking it against things. Our sample also did show some zoom creep, so when carrying it around your neck, you'd be well advised to use its zoom lock to keep it from sliding out. The only other limitation we noticed was that its front element rotates when focusing, which would make it awkward to use with polarizers or graduated neutral density filters.

Bottom line, while it has a few minor limitations, and has rather small maximum apertures, the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM is one of the outstanding bargains of Canon's entire lens lineup.

Full-Frame Test Notes:

As surprised as we were by this lens' performance on the sub-frame EOS-20D, we were even more surprised by how well it did on the full-frame EOS-5D, at least in terms of sharpness. Despite the much larger sensor area it had to cover, sharpness was really excellent across the entire frame, at all apertures and focal lengths (although the slight softness wide open at 300mm was still quite apparent). Thanks no doubt to the 5D's larger pixels, chromatic aberration was actually lower at shorter focal lengths than on the 20D, but was noticeably higher at 135 and 200mm.

The 70-300mm had the most trouble on the full-frame body exactly where you'd most expect to see it, in light falloff (vignetting) and geometric distortion. The distortion curve was almost an exact duplicate of the one from the 20D, simply magnified. Maximum barrel distortion at 70mm rose to 0.57%, while maximum pincushion at 300mm increased to a very noticeable 0.73%. Vignetting also increased pretty dramatically, but was still less than that found on many lenses. The maximum light falloff was right around a half a stop at all focal lengths, decreasing to less than 1/4 EV when the aperture was stopped down one notch. All these defects can be corrected to a reasonable approximation in Adobe Photoshop CS2 with the Lens Correction filter. For a more complete correction, DxO Optics Pro supports this lens on a variety of Canon bodies, but unfortunately not on any pro models, such as the EOS-5D, 1Ds Mark II, 1D Mark II N, etc. (DxO does support the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM on pro bodies, but not the conventional non-DO model we tested here.)

While it does show a few more foibles when attached to a full-frame body like the EOS-5D, the Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM is still an excellent bargain, particularly if you're willing to spend a little time in Photoshop tweaking its images.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM User Reviews

8.3/10 average of 39 review(s) Build Quality 7.2/10 Image Quality 8.5/10
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by db73961 (5 reviews)
    Fast focus, good image,
    not much

    Good lens, just wish it is f4.0 all the way.

    reviewed December 20th, 2012 (purchased for $550)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by usknair (1 reviews)
    Good quality picture,
    Built quality,

    Very good lens for that price, now i am using this lens for the last 10 days and i got some good picture

    reviewed November 17th, 2012 (purchased for $407)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by lagereek (1 reviews)
    sharpness, lightweight, great IS
    only built quality.

    I am an L lens freak, got almost all of them including 7 primes, etc.
    Well in this case dont listen to us L-lens freaks. This is really a hidden gem. The DO version is useless, the L-version is outstanding, for built quality.
    This IS USM version however is sharper then both the others, the IS although a bit slower works to perfection.

    with optics you normally get what you pay for, not this time, here you get three times the value. Its a real eyeopener.

    Only a few weeks back I shot en entire Land-Rover campign with this lens, now that says something.

    reviewed October 26th, 2012 (purchased for $550)
  • 7 out of 10 points and not recommended by grule (7 reviews)
    Good 70-300mm mlens
    Surpassed by newer, less expensive lenses

    Needs a replacement. Still a nice lens, but the Tamron 70-300 VC has passed it by.

    reviewed August 12th, 2011 (purchased for $400)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by Gothmoth (2 reviews)
    good IQ, price
    not much for the price

    good value. buy it. :)
    i fully agree with the SLRGear reviewer:

    "Every now and then, you really do get more than you pay for, and the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM is proof positive of this. When we ran this lens through its paces in our lab, we were flat-out astonished by the optical quality it delivered. Were it not for the largely plastic body construction, we'd say that Canon has mislabeled this lens: It really delivers L-glass performance"

    reviewed March 22nd, 2011 (purchased for $390)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by Sanjeed (5 reviews)
    1. Great IQ 2. Fast Autofocus 3. Easy to carry 4. Flexibility
    1. IS little noisy

    I agree with the main review that Canon mislabeled this lens as not being an “L”. It does deliver top notch performance when used for the purposes it is intended for. I can safely bet; it will make its L brother’s price tag look clownish when compared. There may be hairline difference in IQ that common viewers won’t be able to detect. Moreover, modern processors/editors can easily perform the slight refinements that some of its images might stand in need of. Well even images of highest level L glasses also need post processing/editing. I don’t see a better zoom lens at this price point.

    I used it on wildlife safari in Kenya and captured all the images nicely that I wanted to. It is little soft wide open at 300mm but when stopped down to f/8; you get highest quality images. The current copies are probably better than the initial ones as I don’t experience any zoom sloppiness when the camera is pointed downwards with the zoom level at 70mm i.e., it doesn’t extend automatically as claimed in many reviews.

    My conclusion is; any hobbyist wildlife shooter must have this lens in his/her arsenal. Once you own and test it; you won’t ever want to part with it.

    reviewed January 24th, 2011
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by cmm895 (6 reviews)
    price, IS, sharpness at f8 and above, weight
    sharpness below f8

    I bought this lens as a replacement to my Canon 75-300mm f4.5-5.6. I did a lot of reading of reviews of the Sigma 120-400 and the Canon 70-200mm (with and without IS) and ended up buying this lens. It might not be as sharp as the other lenses but I wanted a lens I could take hiking that didnt weigh too much on the off chance that I need a long telephoto. The sigma was heavy and the Canon 70-200mm wasnt all that long for taking shots of birds, so I decided on this lens. While I might not be as sharp as an L series lens, it produces high quality results, the autofocus can hunt around a little but is reliable and the IS is very useful. It may be pretty cheap in construction but if you treat it nicely it will give you good photos.

    reviewed July 4th, 2010 (purchased for $500)
  • 6 out of 10 points and not recommended by jt354 (9 reviews)
    Cheap, light, IS
    IQ, build quality, filter thread rotates

    I tested this lens at a local camera store and was relatively unimpressed. The 70-300 IS is built like a toy, features "micro-motor" USM that is slower than a screw drive, and is soft through the 200-300mm range. Compared to the 70-200mm f/4L + 1.4x, the only benefits are cost and stabilization, which aren't trivial, but can't justify the lens' poor image quality.

    reviewed May 21st, 2010
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by TODZILLA (2 reviews)
    compact,light weight,sharp pictures at all focal lengths
    loose focus ring ,spins and extends out also no lens hood included

    using this lens on my 7d and getting great results! pictures look sharp with good detail and nice color! took pics of flying seagulls and got tack sharp images!100% crops look sharp ! lens is sharpest at the 70-210 range then get a little soft at overall lens and easy to carry all day. also takes good indoor low light hand held pics. i think the best 70-300mm mid grade lens on the market.should come with lens hood like sigmas,so i bought a good 3rd party lens hood for a quarter the price of the canon and im happy with it. my 7d registers the canon lenses to get the most out of each lens to try to compensate for weaknesses that each lens may have. so i can say that this lens works great with my 7d! very happy! with 1.6x crop censor takes me to 112-480 for great outdoor all around lens.until something better in the 70-300mm range comes along i will enjoy this lens! there is no 70-300mm L lens or i would own it!

    reviewed March 15th, 2010 (purchased for $520)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by MalteR (4 reviews)
    sharp, contrasty image from 70 - 250mm, light weight, good IS
    AF not so fast, decreased quality at 30mm

    After reading all former reviews, i felt a bit uncertain. Can it be true that one can only love or hate this lens? Because of a got offer from my dealer (and a forthcoming holiday trip), i did not hesitate and bought it.

    After all, this is a sharp, practicable and good working lens, being capable of producing astounishing photographies if handled right. It has a few limitations. I wouldn´t recommend it for action, sports or animal photography: The AF works quite well for common purposes, but fails if the object you are targeting moves fast.

    It´s also true that is is not the sharpest one wide open and at the tele end of the range. Stopped down to 6,3 and used at 100mm, i got results sharp enough for a wall printing (with my 5D/Mk II). Above 250mm, i detected problems with CA´s and unsharp areas, so it is a good idea to stop down to f 11.

    Beyond these limitations it is a great lens and became my favourite one for fast street shooting as well as for architecture and landscape photography from a safe distance. The IS works pretty well, and folks, don´t forget the price tag! It´s a true bargain if you don´t expect things that might be possible with a $1500 lens.

    reviewed January 4th, 2010 (purchased for $580)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by gert57 (2 reviews)
    price, IS, quality of image
    slow aperture on long end, slight play in barrel

    This lens is capable of good image quality. However, you have to do some work for it:
    1. On the long end the effect of IS is abt 2 stops: On an aps-c camera i need to use 1/160 sec at 300 mm.
    2. above 250 mm you can use f5,6 in the short and middle distance, to abt 20 metres. If you shoot farther away, use f8 for better results.
    3. take care attaching the lens hood. The instruction manual says that you can do it without holding the focus ring. I say HOLD the ring; you don't wrench the motor in this way.
    If you handle your lens this way it's capable of good to very good photographs. If you don't, you might think your lens is defective. It's not, your technique with the lens is.
    I have learned to use and therefore to love it.
    PS lens length is as marked on lens, not calculated for aps-c

    reviewed June 6th, 2009 (purchased for $580)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by clc (2 reviews)
    zoom range, reliable IS, light, good IQ
    not fast and sharp enough, no ring USM, slow AF, front element rotates

    As I was limited to budget I considered this lens in terms of price and zoom range. After first month I still love it.

    OK, there is no ring USM – so no FTM focus and slow AF, and the front element rotates / extends while focusing, contrast and sharpness could be better, it is definitely not a fast lens, BUT – IS works fine and give you a steady hand in low light conditions, IS has panning mode, sharpness is acceptable @f5,6 and good @f8, so do not wait a miracle form the lens @ night or indoors.

    I personally like this lens because it has a great zoom range, it is not a “big flashy white” – L finish, so you could easily hide while you “paparazzi-ing” or “men-hunting” and it is light enough to put in the bag while hitchhiking.

    reviewed January 1st, 2009 (purchased for $509)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by qifanatic (1 reviews)
    Amazing image quality for price, Image Stabilisation
    Plastic 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.

    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.

    reviewed November 13th, 2008 (purchased for $640)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by bobrock (4 reviews)
    great lens. very good image quality and is

    I am not sure if i just got a great copy of this lens or if they are all this good. I read some of the other reviews and find myself wondering if they are talking about the same lens.
    I am not a professional photographer but really enjoy taking pictures and have studied it aggressively. this lens is amazing. It is not huge or heavy, it has wonderful sharpness and bokeh, it has IS, and it has a great range. Maybe it focuses a bit slow but i really like it and have used it for over a year.

    reviewed October 5th, 2008 (purchased for $550)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by Bold Eagle (4 reviews)
    Very sharp and contrasty. lightening fast AF and very effective IS

    I'm using this on a 30D. The lens is a Canon refurb, and is noticeably better than a new one I had two years ago. AF is very fast, even in low light, and the image quality is excellent. The IS works very well. The balance is much better on the 30D than on the XTi.

    Nothing to complain about, I'm very pleased.

    reviewed May 28th, 2008 (purchased for $499)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by twmagoo (4 reviews)
    weight, IS works really well, IQ
    Front turn to focus

    I am very pleased with this lens, IQ is really great. I'm not a professional but I am picky about what I like and dislike in my photos. So far, this lens has out performed my 70-300 ll lens. Although its not a L or DO type lens, it does a great job. For the cost, you will get a good lens with IS.

    reviewed April 5th, 2008 (purchased for $620)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by larsrc (5 reviews)
    Sharp, light, good IS, compact
    Cheap construction, extends a lot, rotating front element, extends during focus

    Optically, this lens is a lot of value for the money, both sharp and contrasty, and with really good IS - I can handhold it at 1/10s at 300mm with good results, and at 1/30 s the results are uniformly stable. The AF is quiet and reasonably fast, but not always accurate (on a 350D). The long extension makes it more compact when travelling, but can be a bother in use, especially since it extends just by changing focus distance. Build is cheap with some wobbling. This lens is obviously a compromise-everything-for-image-quality-and-IS design. Get it if you can't afford L glass yet or really need the extra 100mm over the 70-200 f/4 IS.

    This is decidedly a fun, shoot-from-the-hip lens that's on my camera a lot.

    reviewed February 15th, 2008 (purchased for $450)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by rendler (1 reviews)
    sharp, IS, bang for bucks
    no FTM, build quality, AF speeds

    I tested this and the 70-200L before making my purchase the main criteria I used was simply: handheld under fair to low lighting (which is where it’ll be spending most of it’s time). I got mostly blurred results with the L, not surprising. So that pretty much sealed it up for me as to which I got. Considering also the fact that the 70-200L is not vastly superior optically (most reviews floating around will confirm this).

    The lens is very sharp throughout it’s entire zoom range. Even at 300 it’s still reasonably decent, especially if you don’t open it up too much.

    When comparing the build quality against the L you know which one lags behind. But the extras you get in IS and +100mm at the long end make up for it. The buns might be a little soggy but the beef and the other stuff are still just as good… plus it has some extra beef!

    Finally you can't get away from the fact that these puppies start at f4 and go up a little more (on the 70-300). Ask yourself first: where are you going to be using it? If this lens the right tool for the right job then the search is over, highly recommended!

    reviewed February 11th, 2008
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by Sea Dragon Rex (5 reviews)
    Nice range, IS, sharp images
    Rotating front element

    I've had this lens for about 2 years and have used it with my XT and 40D. For the price it is pretty hard to beat. I purchased one of hte early lenses and had to send it back for retrofit because the lens would droop to 300mm when pointed down and there were complaints of soft images at the long end.

    Since the refit, the images are very nice. It is not a fast lens but the IS helps to compensate for shake. Build quality is okay but it is definitely not an L.

    The autofocus is fairly fast but not up to full USM standards. The biggest drawback is the rotating front element. You can't effectively use a circular polarizer with this lens.

    reviewed January 8th, 2008 (purchased for $523)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by owashi (4 reviews)
    Good value, useable right up to 300mm, IS
    a bit 'plasticky'

    I'm surprised by the previous 2 reviews. Are they talking about the same lens?

    Vastly superior to the various other 70-300 consumer lenses in EF mounts. I use this as my 'walkabout' lens for bird photography. I take the 100-400 when I know I'm going to be taking a lots of pictures and I take this one when I'm not's so lightweight and small it can fit in my small camera bag easily.

    You can take perfectly acceptable pictures at 300mm at F8, the IS makes it possible to get sharp handheld pictures at this focal length even with shutter speeds under 1/50. The USM works well (though not as well as an L lens which I think has a different USM design).

    It's a great travel wildlife lens. Obviously you'll be cropping the images on your PC but I'm finding 50% crops make excellent prints. People worrying about the quality of 100% crops at 300mm should look for a much much more expensive lens than this.

    reviewed December 16th, 2007 (purchased for $580)
  • 4 out of 10 points and not recommended by zoomfreak (9 reviews)
    horrible lens ,slow AF, lots of CA, lack of contrast.

    just simply worst Canon tele lens , PERIOD.
    AF slowly and hunts like annoying bee behind your ear.

    It feels cheap , the front element rotates and the IS is not as effective as the one on my DO or f4LIS.

    I bought it in Bangkok and thought use it as back up to my DO and 70-200F4 LIs , but sold it as it was truly horrible lens.

    reviewed December 8th, 2007 (purchased for $450)
  • 3 out of 10 points and not recommended by DaveJDSP (7 reviews)
    light, small, reasonable price, unobtrusive
    horrible performance except at 100mm @ f11 and f16

    I just got this lens brand new a few days ago, and just finished testing it tonight. Its center performance is excellent at all focal lengths and apertures - slightly better than my 70-200 f2.8 L IS USM. And this 70-300 gives an acceptable full-frame image (for pro work) at 100mm @f11-16. But at all other focal lengths and apertures, this 70-300 is unacceptable with significant "smearing" in the corners, and especially on the left side of the image. I simply cannot use this lens for work. It is totally unacceptable. I am very disappointed that the performance of my copy of this lens is NOTHING like what I see on SLRgear's interactive test results!

    I just contacted Canon Tech Support to ask them if I should return it to the dealer, or send it in for repair.

    Update 11/27/2007:
    I chose to send the lens to Canon for service because they said "If you send it to us instead of exchanging it, you'll know that when you get it back that it will be right."
    It took about 10 days to get it back. Its performance after service is no better. I should have just exchanged it with the dealer where I bought it. I retested the lens with 2 different bodies and against 2 other lenses. My testing is good. The lens is bad. And Canon wasted 2 weeks of my time and jeopordized my ability to return it to the dealer in exchange for a good one. Canon has caused me to miss a shoot in Seattle. Canon sales shipped me a bad lens. And Canon service has totally let me down. If you feel brave enough to buy one of these things, TEST, TEST, TEST. And immediately exchange it with your dealer if it doesn't test out properly. Do NOT trust Canon service to make it right.

    Other observations:
    This lens is a little slower and louder in focusing than my 70-200 2.8L, but I bought it only for use in stock travel and landscape photography. All the controls work properly and smoothly and it feels like a good quality lens. I prefer that it is small and black and plastic and lightweight and somewhat invisible. I do not like the big, light gray "pro" lenses, as they are too big and heavy and call too much attention to themselves. And I have never needed to use my lenses as weapons to fight off wild animals!

    If I could get a copy of this lens with image quality as good as the one that SLRgear tested, it would be one of the world's great lenses. But, alas, the copy I got is only useful as a paperweight, and Canon sales and Canon service are doing nothing to make it right. The one year warranty is worthless.

    reviewed November 2nd, 2007 (purchased for $550)
  • 8 out of 10 points and not recommended by EF-S10-22 (19 reviews)
    sharp , cheap, good image quality
    slow AF , less effective IS comapred to the one on my DO and EF70-200f4LIS

    The IQ is one of the best among non-L lenses , though I prefer my DO since it produces more smooth color rendering .

    Too many people are just obsessed with 100percent crop sharpness that I call the tripod or lab sharpness not realife sharpness.

    I think the DO is a much better lens , faster , better build , better IS and much mcuh more reliable AF with full time manual.

    So I returned it and got the DO and EF70-200f4L IS , well both of them are much more expensive than this lens , but they are worth the money at least I think so.

    reviewed September 11th, 2007 (purchased for $560)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by matesa (2 reviews)
    Sharp to 250 mm
    Weak at 135 mm

    A nice surprise from a middle price lens from Canon. Tested against a 28-135 mm Canon up to 135 mm, it was vastly superior at 70 and 100 mm and VG overall. A weakness around 135 mm and then sharp again to 250 mm @f8. My sample exhibit a very sharp 200 mm @ f11. On a 1.6x Canon 20D it offers a real 400 mm zoom (250 mm).
    Use it @ f5.6 or 8 up to 150 mm and @ f 8-11 above.
    Stabilizer works well also on the tripod.
    VG contrast, good color.
    Satisfied overall.

    reviewed March 22nd, 2007 (purchased for $575)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by thf (8 reviews)
    excellent optics (sharp), IS, fairly lightweight
    lens hood not included, front element rotates

    I have been using Canon EF 75-300 III for some time, waiting for 70-300 IS USM to come back on sale (it's been withdrawn from the market due to an issue with vertical shots). 70-300 IS USM finally sorted all issues I had with the old lens: sharpness is excellent, CA is so much better controlled, there's no zoom creep (although zoom is not silky smooth either). IS works miracles in low light. It's a fantastic feature of this lens! The lens gets a bit softer at 300mm but compared to 75-300 there's nothing to worry about. Auto focus speed is ok, slower at longer end when used at very low light (better and quieter than the 75-300 non-USM).

    Lens hood is sold separately and is rather expensive - come on Canon, you can do better! It's also big when compared to lens hood for 75-300 III. I can't put the the lens with the hood on into my Lowe Pro Off Trail II lens pouch (this was possible with the old lens+hood), I have to take it off and place in main camera compartment. On the other hand it's easier to take lens cap off with the hood on.

    Generally: excellent optics, IS, fair build quality, not heavy nor big. Travel lens I have been waiting for!

    reviewed January 14th, 2007 (purchased for $720)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by John H Maw (15 reviews)
    Image quality, images stabilisation, good price
    Wish it were smaller

    I considered getting the DO lens, but went for this instead. The decision is between small size on one hand and better image quality (strange out of focus highlights on the DO lens) on the other. Add to that the fact this lens is about half the price of the DO and it seemed an easy decision. This lens is also a little lighter. I had one of the early ones with the sharpness problem at the 300mm end when held in portrait format. Canon fixed this very quickly and the lens is now one that I would use without any worry about its performance. Even wide open the centre sharpness is very good, and not bad at the edges (full frame). Best to keep it a bit under 300 if you need to use it wide though. Image stabilisation works very well, on or off a tripod.

    reviewed January 14th, 2007
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by anrieff (5 reviews)
    IQ, range, IS, bokeh, price
    USM noisier than expected, build quality

    Before buying this lens I had a big time deciding between this one and the 70-200 4L. When I finally got it two months ago, I felt I made the right decision. This lens is exceptionally sharp and its IQ did not match anything seen by me! As they claim (here and at other sites), 70-200 4L might be sharper, but as a non-pro, I think that extra sharpness wouldn't be really needed. Moreover, it does not justify the lack of IS on the 70-200, not counting the extra 100mm.

    The optical quality requires no extra comment. Sharp, contrast, colors are perfect. No noticeable vignetting or CA. Barrel distortion is noticed if you trace something @ 70mm, but not noticeable on photos. The softness at 300mm is not a problem, as long as you stay at f/8.0

    Out-of-focus areas are just beautiful, very nice.

    A bit surprized by the USM - a bit noisier than expected, not absolutely silent. It is very accurate, though.

    The build quality does not impress, but is OK. The lens feels very solid in your hands, but overall, a little plasticky. Specifically the zoom lock - it feels fragile. Good news is, you probably wouldn't need it - my copy doesn't show the zoom creep mentioned in the review. I guess it is newer revision.

    The lens is well designed, too. Looks like a pro (besides not L) with all that switches, etc. Of course, it draws quite a bit of attention, but probably less than the 70-200 (especially, if you set up a tripod, which you'll probably need for the latter).

    All in all, a great lens with L-glass optical quality. And at this price, it is a steal.

    Some sample photos:

    reviewed January 11th, 2007 (purchased for $800)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by sviatoslav (3 reviews)
    IS, long 300mm reach, excellent image quality!
    none for the price

    The superb image quality, long 70-300mm reach and image stabilization combine to make a fantastic lens. Add to that its reasonable price (roughly $550 new) and light weight it is also a nice travel lens.

    For me (like many others) the decision came down to this lens or one from the 70-200 L range. Personally, I can't hold a lens steady over 100mm without IS consistently so it's a no-brainer. You might get better image quality from the f2 or f4 L IS lenses but at double or triple the cost.. and I don't know about you but I get nervous thinking about traveling with a white lens! It's attention I don't need.

    If you want near-L-quality images with IS at half (or a third) of the cost then get this lens, you won't regret it.

    reviewed January 9th, 2007 (purchased for $499)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by Lee Jay (16 reviews)
    Good optics, excellent IS, good range, low price
    No FTM, rotating barrel and MF ring

    Good lens. If you don't need speed or ultra-fast focusing, I'd chose this over either of the f4Ls.

    reviewed January 7th, 2007 (purchased for $560)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by DimLight (7 reviews)
    good focal length, IS, image quality
    a bit wobbly when extended, front element rotates, hood is hard to find and pricey

    I bought this lens to replace a cheap 55-200 F/4.5-5.6 II. Optically the difference is abysmal, more than one would think from the price alone. Shots immediately became vivid, sharp and full of contrast.

    From 70 to 200 mm this lens delivers very good images, sharp and pleasant. For some months I used it as my primary lens: everything I could fit into a 70mm frame turned out just WAY better than anything I could achieve with my 18-55 kit lens. When I purchased my 24-105 F/4L I tested this lens against it (in the 70-100mm range) and found that the difference is barely noticeable.

    It becomes a little soft from 200 to 300mm, but it is still very usable.

    Bokeh is pleasant, and since on a 1.6 crop sensor it becomes an impressive110-480 equivalent, it enables you to shoot portraits and candids from a distance.

    Image stabilization is extraordinarily useful from about 150mm onwards. It is very difficult to do without it once you get used to it. Focusing is fast, albeit not as fast as lenses with ring USM, and quite accurate.

    Its construction quality could be better, however. The front element feels a bit loose, although pictures do not seem to suffer from that. It extends A LOT when zooming and one has to pay attention not to hit things with the barrel or the front lens. Also, fully extended it looks ugly and definitely not a professional lens. But I can live with it, as I am no professional user.

    Its F/4-5.6 aperture also speaks of non-professional lens, but I find it very good for "prosumer" usage. You can even shoot nightly sport events, although you won't win any photo prize with the results.

    All in all, this is probably the best 300mm zoom you can get for this price, and is probably better than sone more expensive ones. If you really need a pro lens, and are prepared to pay the price, then look at the "white" 'L' tele and super-tele zooms. Otherwise you won't be disappointed by this much cheaper 70-300 IS.

    reviewed January 4th, 2007 (purchased for $600)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by llbeanie1 (17 reviews)

    images a little soft at long end

    reviewed January 1st, 2007
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by bnel (1 reviews)
    non yet

    just got this lens so this a first impression.Images are way better then my previous lens(Tamron 70-300 4-5.6) Focus is much faster,and Image Stablization is great

    reviewed December 29th, 2006 (purchased for $550)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by logogogue (10 reviews)
    wide focal range, IS, light weight
    no inner focusing, slow, optically could be better, no lens hood

    A decent lens that has a nice wide focal length. The 300mm range is quite excellent to have around and I have been able to take some amazing close up shots of wild life. Because the zoom and focus ring extends way out you will have to be aware of your surroundings though. I have found extreme lengths with wide aperatures to produce soft images. Nothing bad but enough where it distracts me when I try to print larger 11x17 prints. It is a tad slow so any shots not taken in good light will be ruined if there is any kind of movement to it. For the cost, it should come with a lens hood.

    reviewed December 27th, 2006 (purchased for $650)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by JStiffey (5 reviews)
    Weight size speed
    mediocre sharpness

    I found this lens to be a bit on the "cheap" side.
    The feel of the lens is very "pro-sumer" grade with lots of plastic.

    The image sharpness was not what I expected of an Image Stabilized lens.
    At the far ends of the focal range it seemed to get soft in the corners.
    I also felt the focus was slow on the 20D.
    Fast moving subjects seemed to be hard to track with this lens.

    Overall a decent lens if you can't afford the "great white" lenses, but if you can spring for the extra money then I would shy away from this lens.

    reviewed December 9th, 2006
  • 5 out of 10 points and recommended by kirehe (9 reviews)
    Sharp at 300mm only at f/8.0

    Canon's updated IS lens. I was disappointed with my 2 copies - none was sharp enough at 300mm. Needed to be stopped down to f/8.0. Pretty slow focusing too compared to those with internal USM motors.

    I ended up returning it for the sharper 70-200 f/4.0.

    reviewed December 5th, 2006 (purchased for $550)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by shutter_man (1 reviews)
    Sharp and clear, easy to carry (folds up nicely and low weight)
    A bit slow to focus on, "Long Nose" - care not to bang it - tends to open up.

    The effective range of 112-480 mm -> means that it is used for about 1/12 of the time. BUT --> sharp, excellent AF accuracy, very nice color and contrast, even in very difficult situations.
    Excellent Portrait and kids!
    My only real issue with this lens - is the rotating front element... hard to use Pol-Filter

    Sharp, Accurate, Can handle high dynamic range images - while keeping color and contrast. Long reach on 20D, Very nice colors.
    Rotating front Element ! I like it - and carry it even when not using it :-)

    PS: The original lens I got - was one of the first shipment - with the problem of Portrait-Landscape. All praise to Canon for replacing it! Take care if second hand!

    reviewed December 4th, 2006 (purchased for $1,060)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by smallypauly (3 reviews)
    excellent image quality for the money, great zoom range
    flimsy feel to the build quality, rotating front element

    I love this lens. Despite the slightly flimsy feel to the lens (quite a bit of wobble to the barrel when extended) it produces great results. The IS works really well and with a 300mm equivalent to 480mm full frame on my EOS20D it has great pulling power.

    reviewed November 15th, 2006 (purchased for $720)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by David Hay (8 reviews)
    Sharp, lightweight, excellent image stabiliser.
    Rotating front cell.

    This is the fourth Canon 70/75-300 lens I have owned and is the best by some margin. All the rest were good from 70/75 to 200 but were less sharp at 300mm. This lens beats my much more expensive 70-300 DO IS lens at 300mm by a substantial amount, producing sharp detailed photos without the hazy look of the DO lens. My 70-300 IS was one of the first batch and suffered considerably from the 'portrait problem'. After spending rather too much time with a Canon repairer, it returned transformed. No zoom creep, no soft tops and bottoms of vertical shots from 200-300mm. The image stabiliser is as good as the DO lens. It also balances better on a 20D than the heavier DO lens.

    reviewed November 7th, 2006 (purchased for $723)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by fanzler (3 reviews)

    What I'd like to say, this glass isn't comparable to a 70-200. It is a 70-300. It is black. It extends and rotates frontwise. But obviously there is something in it (magic, for example) which prevents hitting it with objects. One simply does not use it as a club. :) It is a very nice lens. The images are not as sharp as they would be when using a prime. But it is not a prime. The IS is a great invention. I should tell you that you must not look in the cul-de-sac of the free trade of aperture versus shutter time. It never existed. So this lens can't be used as a fast lens. IS may enable you 3 stops but it does enable you one or two with sharp results (you do not stretch your weight to the nominal strength of the rope either). The 300 end is soft a bit, it is something of an emergency tool - but it is generous to nice female faces.

    reviewed October 1st, 2006
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by snapper (6 reviews)
    sharp from 70 to 300mm, also with 1.4x TamronSP TC, 3+stop I.S. ability, accurate focus, price
    long, less mech stable when extended, no FTM focus, color/contrast slightly weak, 5 feet closest focus

    I find this lens useful as a LONG walkaround... I want to shoot flowers, birds and faces. a good compliment to the 17-85 - but better image quality. VERY clean images no real issues except speed - f5.6 @ 300mm. The focus system at the front is shakey.. and seems a bit flimsy. This is a lens to get in the habit of manually retracting focus and locking it when walking/moving is long and wants to get 'hit' by things. Just needs a little attention to that because of less robust mech design. BUT it gets flowers, and faces so very nice.. seems to need a SLIGHT boost in saturation - but NOT sharpening (70-300mm). The only way-to-go in this range... you really will love I.S. - to grab the far shots - with at least 3 stops of stabilization.

    reviewed November 18th, 2005 (purchased for $490)