Feedback on Canon EF 70-300 IS f/4-5.6?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by sothoth, Feb 12, 2007.

  1. sothoth

    sothoth TPF Noob!

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    Anyone have this lens? I'm feeling a little stuck on which 70-300ish lens to get. Sigma and Tamron have 70-300 f/4-5.6 lenses available, both for sub $200 on Amazon. The nice thing about the Canon is the IS.

    I don't think I'm willing to splurge for the f/2.8 Sigma, f/4 or f/2.8 Canon (with or without IS), or f/2.8 Tamron versions that are close to $1000, this zoom range just isn't important enough for the stuff I do to justify the cost.

    But... before I buy a "budget" zoom I was hoping to get feedback from anyone who has tried it. It's in the $500-$600 range, so I'd need to feel like there was a clear advantage to it over the budget lenses.

    Any feedback is appreciated.
     
  2. JTHphoto

    JTHphoto TPF Noob!

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    i think canon still makes a similar range zoom without the IS and USM for around $200... i've had my 75-300 for about 10 years, but I have never used any tamron or sigma equipment, so I can't really offer you any comparison between the two. The 75-300 loses a lot of its sharpness at the 300 end, but with a little unsharp mask in PS you can get results like these... [thread=38191]Meerkats[/thread] and [thread=45353]Hawk[/thread]. Obviously nothing like the results that Ray or some of the other great wildlife photogs get, but it's still fun. you can always upgrade if you're not satisfied with the results of the cheaper ones. if money isn't really a big issue just get as much as you can afford, although i'd recommend renting or borrowing the ones that you are interested in and trying them out before making your purchase.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I have the Canon 75-300 F4-5.6 III USM (as well as an old Vivitar 100-300). The Canon is pretty good but yes, it's soft at 300mm. A friend of mine has the IS version and he really likes it. Is it worth the extra $300-$400 for the IS...that's hard to say. It depends on your shooting style and what you like to shoot. If you shoot sports or fast moving subjects...then save your money for a 70-200 F2.8. If you shoot more static stuff, which may include wildlife...then you will really love the IS. I sure would use my 75-300 a lot more if I had the IS version.
     
  4. MPowerM3

    MPowerM3 TPF Noob!

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    If your really interested in buying one, please pm me, I know of a friend selling one for 300 dollars. I really wanted it for myself, but dont have the money right now to afford it, so i'll pass it along to you if you want!!
     
  5. sothoth

    sothoth TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the pictures. Those are quite respectable for the price of the lens. By the way, where were the Meerkats? In an animal park? Those things are so serious about their jobs, it's funny to watch them. Someday I'll go to Africa to take pictures of them myself. :)
     
  6. sothoth

    sothoth TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, I know what you're saying. But my wife might divorce me if I dropped $1000 on a lens. So there are other considerations I have to think over. I mean, if I'm so frustrated due to a lack of [bleeeeep] then its hard to imagine it being worth it. :)

    I'm kidding of course, but only to a degree. I'm just not a serious enough photographer to get the f/2.8 for that price.
     
  7. sothoth

    sothoth TPF Noob!

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    Maybe I'm not looking in the right place, but the closest I can see on their web site is a 70-200 f/4 that's on amazon for around $550. They also have a f/4-5.6 IS for about $20 more. I'd get the latter if I were forced to chose now. If I'm wrong can you post a link of the right lens?
     
  8. mrcoons

    mrcoons TPF Noob!

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    OK, so you spend $571 (lens & hood) at B&H for the Canon Zoom Telephoto EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS and you have a pretty good daylight lens. On a football field (only place I've tried mine) at night it's slow to focus (and our field is pretty well lit). And at 300mm it's soft, I agree.

    The Sigma 80-400mm OS is a little faster focusing under the aforementioned conditions (I have this lens too) but it's $1000 at B&H if they had one, which they don't. (No one does.) Does take great pictures if you have enough light. But it's a heavy brute.

    Until I was able to afford my Canon Zoom Telephoto EF 70-200mm f/2.8L ($1100 at B&H) I moved closer to the field with my Sigma 80-400 and shot RAW so I could tweak the exposure, if I needed to. So you might have decent success doing the same with the Canon 70-300.

    Or pick up a short zoom that f/2.8 or lower and shoot from the sidelines. Like the Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8 lens. I had one of these and it worked very well for me.
     
  9. cloose

    cloose TPF Noob!

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    The Canon 75-300 (USM or non) is soft at 200-300mm. It is also very inexpensive.

    The Tamron 70-300 is sharper than the Canon 75-300 at a comparable cost, but suffers by having very LOUD focusing.

    The Canon 70-300 IS USM lens is FAR superior to the above. (It better be, it is 2-3X as much $) It is sharp all the way to 300mm, and is regarded by some to be a "hidden L" lens.

    The IS lens is worth it if you are after the best IQ possible from a lens of this focal length, and have the $$.
     
  10. Jeremy Z

    Jeremy Z No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A lot of people are saying these lenses are soft at 300mm, but I question whether you would even notice it with the type of photography you do. For example, how is it rated in PopPhoto's SQF chart? A+ up to 5x7 and A up to 8x10. That's good enough for amateur work, and good enough to blow the doors off of anyone with a point & shoot.

    I would probably lean toward the IS one that someone mentioned being for sale. A clean, used one.

    But consider whether you will be doing more action, or more stationary telephoto work. For more stationary stuff, the IS will help a lot. For action, it may not help much. I believe the IS built into the Canon lenses has a mode that allows panning, so it only stabilizes the up-down axis. Not sure about that; maybe a Canon shooter can confirm this?

    From how you phrased this originally, telephoto isn't even the type of work you like to do regularly. Buy the sigma or something. Also, please don't forget Tokina. Their high end stuff is a cut above Tamron & Sigma, IMO. I think they have a 70-200 f/2.8 for around $500 new.
     
  11. sothoth

    sothoth TPF Noob!

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    It'll mostly be stationary. We're travelling to Alaska this summer and I'd like to have the option of using tele for shooting the wildlife and scenery.

    I think I should get the IS, esp after hearing all the great feedback.

    Tokina has a 24-200 f/3.5-5.6 and a 80-400 f/4.5-5.6. I have a tokina MF lens for my old Pentax, and love it. I'm always reluctant to get a lens that goes from tele to wide, I just don't think they're as good as tele to low-tele wrt sharpness. I'll look into prices for the 80-400, but the only drawback seems to be the lack of IS.

    And thanks to everyone for all the awesome feedback, it's greatly appreciated.
     
  12. JTHphoto

    JTHphoto TPF Noob!

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    This is the lens that I'm referring too... the same one that Big Mike has... Mine is actually an older version (probably 10-12 years older) without the USM.

    It is only $179 at B&H --> 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III USM @ B&H

    And yes, the Meerkat photos were taken at the Wildlife World Zoo here in Phoenix.
     

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