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Author Topic: Canon 300 f/4 IS  (Read 4715 times)
Dr. Gary
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« on: February 27, 2006, 04:43:16 PM »
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I have a Canon 300 f/4 lens that is very sharp. I was fallowing the photozone reviews of the optical quality of this lens vs. the IS version, a totally re-designed lens. The non-IS version was a tad sharper. They did a retest and the IS version did now test sharper. Does anyone know what the current status is on tne IS lens? Has it been improved?

dr.gary
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Ray
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2006, 08:02:25 PM »
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If you look at the abysmal Photodo result for this lens, no doubt tested a few years ago, you'd have to believe that either the current lens has been improved or there is a serious quality control issue.
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benInMA
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2006, 08:27:11 PM »
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I have a 300/4 IS.  I bought in 2004.  Don't know if that would be a "new" one or not.

I've never been unhappy with it.  The color and contrast has always impressed me.

I don't shoot test targets and to be honest I shoot a lot of stuff with it that doesn't come out sharp.  I use it a lot for motion blur and panning shots of race cars, motorcycles, etc..

I have enough trouble stabilizing it on a tripod that I don't worry about if it's sharp enough.

Not real sharp but I like this, I'm not even sure this was on a tripod.  The IS erases any thoughts of wanting the non-IS version.

This would be on a 10D so it's only the center.. but I bought it for use on film originally, I can't really say I've ever had any issues with the corners.

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benInMA
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2006, 08:32:24 PM »
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Here's a better one.. this one's from my 5D, and it's super sharp.

I guess I shot a bunch of pictures with it a week or two ago in NH, I haven't gone through them yet.

I had some trouble getting it to work on my tripod in high wind.  I have Bogen/Manfrotto 3001 legs and their 322RC2 "grip" ballhead.  It's supposed to support 11lbs but it can't really handle my 5D + 300 f/4IS.  It's ok if the camera is fairly level and it's not windy, otherwise it's tough.

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Dr. Gary
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2006, 09:52:33 PM »
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If you look at the abysmal Photodo result for this lens, no doubt tested a few years ago, you'd have to believe that either the current lens has been improved or there is a serious quality control issue.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=59172\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I saw that review and always assumed that I lucked out with the older non IS version. The current review I quoted above also initially had the same complaint as Photodo but the new one they tested was markedly better. That is what prompted this post.

drgary
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benInMA
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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2006, 10:38:11 PM »
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One thing is for sure this lens is WAY to expensive to put up with quality control problems.
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Ray
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« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2006, 07:57:22 AM »
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Ben,
The trouble with photographs such as yours purporting to demonstrate lens quality, however appealing they may be, is that they simply cannot provide any meaningful information as to the comparative quality of the lens. And really this is what lens quality is all about. Any lens can only be described as good, or superb in relation to other lenses which are not (as) good or superb. These are entirely relative terms.

I've read a few reports testing the quality of the 300/4 IS that seem inconsistent, but no explanation for this inconsistency. It seems rather odd to me.
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benInMA
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« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2006, 09:00:52 AM »
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The thing is are you going to sit in your house and shoot lens tests and worry if someone else has a sharper lens then you or are you going to get out and shoot some pictures?

The whole reason I signed up on this forum is the proprietor seems to be one of the sole people on the internet NOT espousing a measurbator stance on photography.

I don't put much stock in internet lens tests from people who are essentially anonymous.  There is so much venom about brand A vs. brand B I don't even always know if I can trust the pictures are actually from the gear mentioned in the article.

If you're that worried rent them and try them yourself.  Figure out if there is a difference and what print size you would need to use to see any difference.  It is not worth reading internet reviews and worrying about which review is correct.

All the hard numbers and graphs posted on review sites have to come back to one guy taking the pictures with human error, and then either assessing the pictures visually to generate the numbers, or scanning them and running them through a computer, introducing a whole extra level of error and variance, especially since 2 sites may not even use the same technique.   There is no control or scientific backing to help us know who is actually qualified to be doing these tests.

I considered this seeming variance and paranoia over IS before purchasing my lens.

The general consensus if you spend enough time looking at this information is:

- Both IS and non-IS versions are excellent based on all tests
- The non-IS may have a slight advantage (degree of excellence)
- In real world situations the IS version will allow you to bring home more keepers
- Both f/4 versions are going to be slightly worse then the f/2.8 version

It's kind of a moot point anyway, if you want a new in box Canon 300/4 you are probably stuck getting the IS version as that's all they make anymore.

One last thing... Photozone declared this lens to have a quality control problem after testing 2 USED copies.   If you think 2 copies is a good enough sample size to declare the lens to have a quality control or variance problem that's your issue.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2006, 09:37:26 AM by benInMA » Logged
Ray
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« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2006, 08:53:21 PM »
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The thing is are you going to sit in your house and shoot lens tests and worry if someone else has a sharper lens then you or are you going to get out and shoot some pictures?


Ben,
Now I see where you are coming from   . You think that having a sharp lens is all about keeping up with the Jones'. Let me put you straight. I'm not the slightest bit worried that someone else might have a sharper lens than I have. But I am concerned (not worried, however) that I make the appropriate and best choice from my own collection of lenses for the particular shot that I'm making at any given moment, and to make this choice I need to know the performance of my lenses, the performance of my zooms at different focal lengths and apertures and the performance of my longest lens in relation to the 5D and 20D, just in case I find myself in a situation where I need a longer lens than I own for a particular shot, a not uncommon situation.

As for sitting in my house taking test shots as opposed to getting out and shooting pictures in the field, you are way off the mark. During the past 5 years or so that I've been using digital cameras, I've taken around 30,000 shots in total, around Australia, in Italy, Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. Of those 30,000 shots, fewer than 1,000 would have been taken for the purpose of lens comparisons.

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The whole reason I signed up on this forum is the proprietor seems to be one of the sole people on the internet NOT espousing a measurbator stance on photography.


I can't help wondering, Ben, (if that's your name) if you have ever read any of the proprietor's reviews on equipment and software. If you had, you would find a lot of detailed comparisons of lenses showing magnified crops of brick walls to demonstrate the superior resolving power of one lens compared with another.

The term 'measurbator' is a derogatory term that I find is usually used by people who are technologically illiterate. The only way you can get away from measuring in photography is to shoot in fully automatic mode and hand your flash card to a lab or retail shop for processing.

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I don't put much stock in internet lens tests from people who are essentially anonymous.


So what exactly does BenInMa stand for?
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macgyver
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« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2006, 10:45:04 PM »
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The thing is are you going to sit in your house and shoot lens tests and worry if someone else has a sharper lens then you or are you going to get out and shoot some pictures?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=59197\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Right now I am worried that my 70-200 IS has either focus issues or something is off with the optics.  At times at certain lengths it does not seem to be as well focusing or as sharp as it was when I got it a few months ago.  Consequently, as soon as I have an avalible opportunity I will be sending it to Canon service to get checked out.  Maybe nothing is wrong, mabye something is.

My concerns for my lens come not from any desire to have the sharpest lens on the block or from any sort of comparison to others photos or equipment.  I want to know and make sure that I am getting the absolute most that I can get from my $1700 USD investment.  That is a rather considerable amount of money for me and if something is wrong with it I would like to get it repaired at as little cost as possible to me while it is still in warranty.
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benInMA
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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2006, 08:55:00 AM »
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Well I have "broken" a few lenses and it's always been damn obvious, I wouldn't have needed to do a "test" to tell.  The differences between good and bad were much larger then what I ever see in the sample variations in internet tests.  (E.x. 50mm lens being as soft at f/8 as it was at f/1.Cool

Bottom line is I can't trust 99% of what I see on the internet, especially when it comes to tests which have assigned quantifiable #s based on analyzing a picture.

Michaels tests are a little easier for me to trust, as he posts the original images and just writes about his feelings about the two.  Since the images he is basing his opinion on are right there in the article we can all look at them and make our own decisions.  He also doesn't assign numbers, which eliminates the need to worry about accuracy and margins of error.

If you look at the reviews of these various 300mm lenses for example you will see that they are all well into the "excellent" category.   You should not be able to see differences very easily at all and they're going to be extremely subjective.   They have basically no distortion, no vignetting, and no corner issues.   The differences in say the Photozone test should not even be easy to see.  When the tests methods are unknown and you don't know how well they controlled or what the level of error is, and it's based on sample sizes of 1 or 2 items it gets real hard to put faith in them.

I just don't see the point in debating so massively or worrying so much about the tests, as even if you decide based on the internet tests you could still get a bad sample, or the lens could work perfectly and you just decide it doesn't have the right look for your pictures.

My name is from being in Massachusetts.   I am a technical person, that's why I'm so skeptical of the psuedo-science babbled on so many photography websites.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2006, 09:15:08 AM by benInMA » Logged
raul
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« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2006, 01:37:28 PM »
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Any insights on how this lens (f/4 IS) compares with the 2.8 IS, optically?

Raul.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2006, 01:39:11 PM by raul » Logged

Ray
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« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2006, 08:42:47 PM »
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Well I have "broken" a few lenses and it's always been damn obvious, I wouldn't have needed to do a "test" to tell.  The differences between good and bad were much larger then what I ever see in the sample variations in internet tests.  (E.x. 50mm lens being as soft at f/8 as it was at f/1.Cool


If the lens is obviously broken then there's no need to carry out a series of tests to determine if it's broken, Ben. We're not completely silly here, you know. However, if you perhaps dropped a lens and it seemed to be still okay but you are not sure, you might want to do a few controlled tests to confirm this.

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Bottom line is I can't trust 99% of what I see on the internet, especially when it comes to tests which have assigned quantifiable #s based on analyzing a picture.


Nor can I, but I don't ascribe a number to the quantity I can't trust because that would be imprecise. The reason I don't trust many of the lens tests I see on the net is because it's often clear the people carrying out the tests are (1) not using best practices, ie. tripod, remote release, MLU, consistent focussing and exposure, (2) not using RAW mode with consistent conversion settings and no sharpening, (3) presenting the images in highly compressed jpeg form instead of minimally compressed jpeg form (ie., maximum quality).

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Michaels tests are a little easier for me to trust, as he posts the original images and just writes about his feelings about the two.  Since the images he is basing his opinion on are right there in the article we can all look at them and make our own decisions.  He also doesn't assign numbers, which eliminates the need to worry about accuracy and margins of error.


You're not making much sense, Ben. The results of most of Michael's equipment tests are based on hard, visual evidence rather than feelings. Numbers are something you can't get away from whether it's a number describing an f stop, a shutter speed, an ISO setting or a lens focal length. Some of Michael's tests are replete with numbers; his DXO Analyzer tests of the Canon 28-300 and 70-300 DO for example.

The only equipment reviews by Michael I see on this site that are based primarily on feelings and impressions are the field reports and the like where Michael has not tested the equipment under controlled conditions, such as the tilt & shift Hartblei Super Rotator, for example.

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I just don't see the point in debating so massively or worrying so much about the tests, as even if you decide based on the internet tests you could still get a bad sample, or the lens could work perfectly and you just decide it doesn't have the right look for your pictures.


No need to worry at all. If you are concerned about getting the biggest resolution bang for your buck, then test the lens yourself before buying, or better still, find a store with a 'no questions asked' return policy in the event you are not satisfied. You can then test the lens more thoroughly than would be possible in the store and return it a week later if you think it's below par.
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benInMA
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« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2006, 08:35:37 AM »
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I was speaking more of reviews like this one:

17-40 vs. 16-35

Those are the kind I can put the most trust in personally.
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akclimber
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« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2006, 07:24:20 PM »
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I have a Canon 300 f/4 lens that is very sharp. I was fallowing the photozone reviews of the optical quality of this lens vs. the IS version, a totally re-designed lens. The non-IS version was a tad sharper. They did a retest and the IS version did now test sharper. Does anyone know what the current status is on tne IS lens? Has it been improved?

dr.gary
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=59165\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I have a fairly old 300 f/4 IS.  It's been thru hell and back.  It's even had the IS unit replaced.  It's very, very sharp.  It rivals my 500 f/4 IS.

Cheers!
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