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

Product Overview

Overall rating:

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

Star rating:


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


Price as reviewed:


Our verdict

Canon’s EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens doesn’t have the impressive numbers you would expect from a professional optic, especially in the aperture range, and its compact size has meant some of the sleek features such as internal zoom haven’t been possible.

However, this lens is small in stature and in price, and while you could buy a 70-200mm f/4 for less, by the time you added the 1.4x extender the price would be practically the same and the unit would be considerably larger.

Where this lens excels, though, is in the quality, holding its own against a lens considered to be one of the best in its day. For this reason, not only does this lens deserve its professional status but it is also a great buy.


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
Min Aperture:f/32-45
  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. Build and handling
  4. 4. Focusing and aperture
  5. 5. Image sharpness, quality and resolution
  6. 6. Our verdict
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