magnus_'s reviews

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    awesome, unbelievable, stunning image quality. great case.
    awkward hood attachment. MFA likely necessary but no mention in manual.

    Until recently my main telephoto lens was a very old (1994) 300mm f/4L non-IS, partnered with my 7D for shooting wildlife especially birds. Results have always been extremely impressive, meaning I’d take a picture, look at the camera viewing screen and think, “not bad”. Then download onto computer, and “wow”. Sharpness and IQ amazing.
    Then I was able to afford a brand new 300mm f/2.8L. I took it out into the field and I couldn’t have been more disappointed. Every shot, including literal “sitting ducks” 10 metres away, were significantly out of focus even at 1/3000th second. I couldn’t believe it, having read all the raving about it here and elsewhere.
    So I did a little research and read about Micro Focus Adjustment (MFA) and that it seems to be actually required for any high quality lens. I followed the procedures, found optimum focus at a setting of +9, and FINALLY I understand what all the fuss is about.
    Now in the field I look at the back of the camera and think, like before, “not bad”. I download the images, and simply cannot believe the images. Even the most mundane subjects leap off the screen with the colour, sharpness and contrast. Quite incredible.

    I do have two slight problems:
    1. There is no mention in the lens or camera manual of the very high likelihood that focus adjustment will be actually essential, when many forums seem to indicate that is the case. After this experience, I calibrated all my other lenses too, and found I was able to improve almost every one. Interestingly, the only one that required no adjustment was my old 1994 300mm f/4 mentioned above.
    2. The lens hood is a real pain to attach and detach, maybe I’ll get the knack in time. Introducing it to the front of the lens, it jams very easily and you have to be VERY careful not to touch the glass when attaching it in reversed mode (i.e. to get it back into its case).

    reviewed June 25th, 2010 (purchased for $5,250)