Canon launches updated 70-300mm f/4-5.6 II lens with Nano USM and an interesting new LCD info display


posted Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at 11:00 PM EST


11 years ago, Canon launched its EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM zoom lens. It's had a good run, but today its successor is here in the form of the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM zoom. There's quite a bit of new tech in the followup, including an interesting new built-in LCD panel on which to preview some lens-related information.

The new EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM lens boasts an updated optical formula with 17 elements in 12 groups, two more apiece than in the previous variant. Among these 17 elements is one ultra-low dispersion element, just as in the previous lens. There's also a new nine-bladed circular aperture, in place of the earlier lens' eight-bladed aperture.


Size and weight have both grown just slightly, with the new optic sporting a 3.2-inch diameter, 5.7-inch length and a weight of 25.0 ounces. That's an increase of 0.2 inches in diameter, 0.1 inch in length and 2.8 ounces in weight.

The updated 70-300mm II lens is Canon's second optic to feature NANO USM autofocus drive technology, after the 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens which launched last February. As in that optic, the NANO USM tech is intended to provide the speed of a USM motor for still imaging, coupled with the smooth and near-silent focus adjustment of an STM motor for video capture.


The feature which will probably get the most attention, however, is the lens' new LCD status display. This can show several key pieces of information on the lens itself, rather than the attached camera body. At a glance, you'll be able to see the current focal length, focusing distance and the degree of camera shake being corrected.

The Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM lens also features both a four-stop image stabilizer function, and a full-time manual focus design which allows the user to adjust focus even while in autofocus mode.

Priced at US$550, some $100 more than current list pricing for the previous version of the lens, the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM zoom is expected to go on sale from November 2016 in the US market.