- Zoom Telephoto
- Built-In Image Stabilizer
- For Digital or Film SLR Cameras
- Fast USM Autofocus
- 1 UD (Ultra-Low Dispersion) Element
- Circular Aperture Diaphragm
- Accepts 58mm Filters
- Zoom Ring Lock
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.
The performance of the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 USM IS came as a total surprise. Unlike its predecessor the lens is capable to produce a very high performance throughout the zoom range without the significant drop in quality at 300mm typical for most consumer grade lenses in this range.
The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM Lens is a very good choice for better image quality in this general focal length range (lose 30mm on the wide end, gain 100mm on the long end). Although not as noticebly better for sharpness as the 70-200 f/4 is, the 100-400 is still a better lens (optically and mechanically) in my opinion. It is considerably larger, heavier and more expensive.
The Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS Lens is in an interesting position in Canon’s lineup – sharing the basic optical specs of the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens. Although it is 1.5″ shorter, the DO actually weighs 5.4 oz more and costs significantly more. The DO is better built and has Ring USM, but is not impressive to me optically.
I prefer the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens over the 55-250, but my personal preference in this price range is for the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L USM Lens over the 70-300. There are a lot of happy Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens owners out there, so as always, you need to make the decision for yourself.
The 75-300 III (which is optically similar to the old 75-300/4-5.6 IS) sells for around $160 and used 75-300 IS lenses on Ebay are selling for around $400 So the new lens is now $400 more than the nearest non-IS model, and maybe about $200 more than a used EF75-300IS, but it’s optically significantly better, has faster focus and has 3-stop Image stabilization. For me it’s definitely worth $570.
If you want an Image Stabilized telephoto zoom, your only other alternatives are the much more expensive EF 70-300/4-5.6DO IS and EF 100-400/4.5-5.6L IS USM. The former will cost you around $1150 and the latter will cost you $1400, so in comparison you could look at the new 70-300IS lens as being pretty cheap! The 100-400IS is larger and heavier and, being white, a lot more conspicuous. The DO lens is good and it has a true ring USM motor and full time manual focus, but some users report optical issues related to the use of diffractive optics and it costs significantly more (almost double).
For me the new EF70-300/4-5.6 IS fits the bill as an ideal “walking around” lens for nature, travel and sports photographers. It’s small enough and light enough to carry around as part of a kit (it would pair well with an EF-S 17-85/3.5-5.6 USM) and the image quality and stabilization are improved enough over the old lens to justify its additional cost. It’s a lens that I currently carry with me most of the time and I’m very happy with it.