Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM review

May 7, 2011

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Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM

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Can a compact, professional-standard, mid-range zoom lens costing £1,200 really deliver? Mat Gallagher discovers that there’s more to life than an f/2.8 optic

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Telephoto lenses are a topic of conversation among photographers perplexed by the range of options and wide disparity of costs. Lenses with equal focal lengths that differ in price by more than £1,000 are not unusual, and although we may baulk at the cost we know the more expensive models offer superior sharpness, focusing and depth of field.

Canon’s lens range is already extensive and includes two 70-300mm models: the f/4-5.6 IS USM and f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM optics.

The new Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM is one of the company’s professional L-series models, in traditional off-white with the distinctive red ring around the front.

It sits alongside the EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM as a reasonably priced middle-ground optic, giving full-frame users a nice extra stretch from their standard zoom and APS-C users quite a powerful zoom with an equivalent focal length of 112-480mm.

This 70-300mm lens is certainly a better option than the 70-200mm f/4 models, and costs nearly £1,000 less than the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM. However, the deciding factor will ultimately be the quality.

  • Filter size: 67mm
  • Construction: 19 elements in 14 groups
  • Focus Markings: Yes (window)
  • Diaphragm Blades: 8
  • Stabilisation: Yes (4 stops)
  • Focal Length: 70-300mm
  • Max diameter x length: 89x143mm
  • Weight: 1,050g
  • RRP: £1,600
  • Min Aperture: f/32-45

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