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Author Topic: Is the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Lens a good choice?  (Read 3756 times)
dgardn
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« on: March 05, 2013, 05:22:40 PM »
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I'm looking to upgrade from my old Canon 70-200 f/4L (non IS) to either the EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Lens or the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM. Is there a good reason NOT to go for the 300? It will probably be a bit less sharp, but I'd sure love to have the extra reach. Would the tradeoff in sharpness be a deal breaker? I do have a newer 2x extender I could use on the 200, but that would probably be even less sharp. Thoughts?

Thanks,
David G
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tony@tonyhowell.co.uk
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2013, 12:56:33 PM »
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Here's a review - looks good and it's on my shortlist when Canon make a hi-res camera body!

http://www.guyedwardes.com/articles.php
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stever
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2013, 01:11:57 PM »
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at  300 mm i found the 70-300 be a bit sharper than the 70-200 f4 IS +1.4xiii.  at 200 mm the 70-200 (no extender) is a bit sharper.  however i like the balance and zoom of the 70 - 200 a lot better - and that's what i kept even though the lens plus extender cost a bit more.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2013, 02:31:06 PM »
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Legendary photographer Eric Meola has a rather favorable impression of the lens:

http://ericmeola.blogspot.com/2010/12/canons-new-70-300mm-l-lens.html
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Slobodan

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Josef Isayo
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2013, 03:02:42 PM »
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All the current Canon high end zooms, 24-70L II, 70-200L II, 70-200L IS F/4L, and 70-300L have A+ level optics and AF.
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2013, 03:03:44 PM »
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The Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 OS is worth a look as well.
Optically an excellent lens.
The one drawback is weight - I have shot handheld with this lens but it is better on a robust tripod.

Tony Jay
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dgardn
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2013, 04:23:42 PM »
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Thanks for the reply's. This is helping. While I am now leaning towards the 70-300, I am also wondering if my 2x tele extender (v2) will auto focus with the 70-200mm f/4-5.6L IS on my 6D? I know it doesn't on my current 70-200 non IS. Anyone know?
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duane_bolland
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2013, 04:36:29 PM »
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AF depends on light--the more the better.  Until recently AF wasn't possible at less than f/5.6.  The 2X TC removes two stops of light so the 70-300 becomes effectively f/11 at the long end.  I really doubt that will auto-focus.
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capital
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« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2013, 05:59:27 PM »
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Thanks for the reply's. This is helping. While I am now leaning towards the 70-300, I am also wondering if my 2x tele extender (v2) will auto focus with the 70-200mm f/4-5.6L IS on my 6D? I know it doesn't on my current 70-200 non IS. Anyone know?

From The Digital Picture review:

Quote
The Canon 70-300 L is officially NOT compatible with Canon extenders. This is the only Canon L zoom lens with a widest focal length of 70mm or longer that is not compatible with Canon extenders (as of review time). I've tried mounting Canon extenders to the 70-300 L - and they do not fit. The rear 70-300 L lens element physically hits the front element of the extender.

Then, in a major firmware update announcement for the Canon EOS 1D X, Canon included the 70-300 L and Canon EF 1.4x III Extender combo on a compatibility list.

Intrigued, I did more experimenting. What I learned is that the 70-300 L's rear element retracts into the lens far enough that, at about 250mm, there is enough clearance for Canon extenders to mount.

The available with-1.4x focal length range is about 350-420mm and 500-600mm with the 2x installed. Zooming out wider than the 250mm-or-so zoom ring mark results in a physical bump inside the lens. I'm guessing that it is the rubber around the edge of the extender element contacts the rear 70-300 L lens element or its barrel. I do not recommend mounting this combination due to potential damage the to lens.

I of course felt the need to try out these unsupported combinations. My solution to the damage risk issue was to Gaffer Tape the lens zoom ring to lock it at the 300mm mark while using extenders.

Mounting a 1.4x or 2x extender behind any lens reduces its aperture range by 1 or 2 stops respectively. At review time, only Canon 1-Series bodies can autofocus when using the very-dark f/8 max aperture the 70-300 L lens and 1.4x extender combination yields. Tested 1D X and 1Ds III bodies autofocused this combination.

No bodies can AF with the even-darker f/11 max aperture the 70-300 L and 2x combo yields. While it tries, the tested 1Ds III body cannot lock focus with this combination.

The interesting part of this story starts with the fact that the Canon Extenders do not report their presence when mounted behind the 70-300 L. The reported max aperture incorrectly remains f/5.6.
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dgardn
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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2013, 07:20:17 PM »
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Thanks Capitol for the info and link to the review. Most strongly leaning toward the 70-300 now.

David G
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David Sutton
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« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2013, 07:27:55 PM »
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Since buying the 70-300 I haven't touched the 70-200 F4IS. Must get round to selling it.
The extra reach is great. The 70-200 was my sharpest lens, and the 70-300 is no less sharp at 200 mm, though perhaps slightly less contrast. Hard to say, you really have to pixel-peep.
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Leszek Piotrowski
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« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2013, 07:55:51 PM »
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I took a Canon EF 70-300 mm and a 24-105 mm L glass when visiting family in Australia, for 3 months. To my surprise, 85% of the time the lens I used on day trips etc. was the 70-300 mm. This gave me the reach I wanted and with good technique, (mine is wanting more than I care to admit,...) the lens is sharp.

Leszek
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