BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Dawn M. Dorland
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/30/2009
 

Any Canon users have 70-300 IS ?


I am considering buying the Canon 70-300 F4-5.6 IS USM lens to replace my 75-300 non-IS. I shoot a lot of wildlife/birds/animals, so I dont really use a tripod for a lot of the shots. I desperatly need an IS tele lens for sharper images. I dont think I am far along in my photography skills enough to splurge on the lens I really want, the EF 100-400L IS. I shoot with a Canon 50D. Has anyone used the 70-300 lens, any opinions?


To love this question, log in above
10/5/2010 7:14:19 AM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
Contact Carlton
Carlton's Gallery
carltonwardphoto.com
 
 
BetterPhoto.com Editor's Pick   cmzoo 0056
cmzoo 0056
f/7.1, 1/400, ISO400, 400mm
© Carlton Ward
carltonwardphoto.com
Canon EOS 40D Digi...
 
 
Hi Dawn,
Splurge for the 100-400. It was one of the 1st L lenses I bought 5+ years ago and its still one of my very favorites.
Its mounted on may 5D Mk II right now as I have been trying to capture a large black bear that has moved into the forest across the street from me but he is a night-time kinda bear so though I have seen him a few times, I need to catch him in the daytime :)
Here is a pic with my 100-400mm lens.
Cheers,
Carlton


To love this comment, log in above
10/5/2010 1:01:43 PM

 
Christopher Budny
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/3/2005
chrisbudny.com
  Hi Dawn; I have the 70-300 IS. It is generally my least-favorite lens, and the only time I find I'm really thrilled with the output is when I tripod it. Otherwise, even with IS, it tends (for me) to produce softer-than-I-want images.
If you check out my regular gallery, the first page has 5 shots of monkeys on it, scattered around---they were all captured with the 70-300, but all using tripod, remote shutter release, and mirror-lockup.
If you could find someone to lend you one / rent one for a day or two, you could see if you have better luck going hand-held, with the IS... Compared to my other lenses (such as the 100mm macro, my fav, or the 17-85IS) I just haven't been nearly as pleased with it.
One footnote, however, is that I've found over the years, I'm generally not much of a telephoto shooter anyway... so that may have something to do with my opinion; as you're a regular telephoto shooter, it sounds, perhaps it would serve you better.
All that said, if you want to make me an offer, I'd certainly consider selling my (barely-used) 70-300, if I haven't totally thrown a wrench in the works!


To love this comment, log in above
10/6/2010 4:21:33 PM

 
Sam Britt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/11/2006
  I had the Canon 70-300 F4-5.6 IS USM lens & I wasn't very happy with it. I bought it to use handheld to shoot birds, butterflies, etc. It was considerably heavier than my non IS 75-300 lens. Since I have a hand problem, I found it too heavy to use handheld. If you plan on using a tripod or you don't have any hand problems, it may be OK for you. It just wasn't a good fit for me.


To love this comment, log in above
10/7/2010 9:37:06 PM

 
doug Nelson   Read a review at http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/200-canon-ef-70-300mm-f4-56-usm-is-test-report--review

I have a Pentax consumer-level lens of 55-300. Its performance is about on a level with the review above. I get my best results at extreme high light levels outdoors, at f8, and at high enough ISO's to keep the shutter really fast. At lesser light levels, I should be using a tripod. At the Canon's 500+ price, it's no bargain. If I were a Canon shooter, the 80-200 f4 L (non-IS) is the real bargain.


To love this comment, log in above
10/8/2010 11:42:51 AM

 
Frank J. Iulianelli   I have the Canon 70-300 IS USM and love it. I shoot with the 50D also and have found this lense to be fast and "tack sharp" for sports and wild life. The IS works very well and produces great photos.


To love this comment, log in above
10/13/2010 5:31:30 AM

 
Bojan Bencic
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/29/2005
Contact Bojan
Bojan's Gallery
  I have it and love it, too. IS works great for handheld shots.
If you can afford an L series lens - go with it. If not, 70-300 IS will do just great.
Best way to find out would be to borrow one from someone and try it out for yourself.

Cheers,

Bojan


To love this comment, log in above
10/13/2010 6:13:35 AM

 
Peter K. Burian
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/8/2004
  I have tested many lenses and the EF 70-300mm IS lens is fine, but not superb.

This is not relevant to you but the Nikon version is much better.

Canon also makes an L (professional) version now, and it's likely to be fabulous ... but expensive.

See http://www.dpreview.com/news/1008/10082617canon70mm300mm.asp

Peter


To love this comment, log in above
10/27/2010 4:59:16 PM

 
Dawn M. Dorland
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/30/2009
  Thanks everyone for your comments. I am still debating on which lens to get. I would love the 100-400 L, but dont know if I am at a point where I feel talented enough to buy that lens. Maybe for Christmas ?????


To love this comment, log in above
10/27/2010 5:09:34 PM

 
Peter K. Burian
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/8/2004
  Well, if you often photograph birds and animals, that would be an ideal lens.

Peter


To love this comment, log in above
10/27/2010 5:17:58 PM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
Contact Carlton
Carlton's Gallery
carltonwardphoto.com
 
 
 
Hi Dawn,
Buy the 100-400, set it to f/7.1 with whatever ISO & shutter speed works for the exposure and with the background 10 ft behind your subject and discover that your talent level just got better :)
This one was taken a few days ago.
Cheers,
Carlton


To love this comment, log in above
10/28/2010 2:36:39 PM

 
Dawn M. Dorland
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/30/2009
  Ok guys.... looks like the 100-400L is going to win. Especially now that I want to do some of the bird photography tours that are so numerous in my area (Florida.) Got to have a bigger tele for those tours. Great shot Carlton, looks like I could reach out and pet that McCaw :)


To love this comment, log in above
10/28/2010 6:01:34 PM

 
Dustin B. Todd
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/1/2010
  I have been looking at the same change in lens, but I have instead opted for the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM with an attached EF 2x Extender. It's more expensive, but provides for FAR greater flexibility, and having that f/2.8 is unbelieveable. Even with the extender, you will still get the same f/5.6 at 400mm, so all your AF points will work. What I dislike about the 100-400 is the size, the awkward push-pull zoom, and the way the zoom acts as a massive vaccum making the danger of dust much higher.
All personal preference I suppose, but I thought I would throw it out there as an option. You might be very suprised how the f/2.8 will improve your photography.


To love this comment, log in above
11/7/2010 9:02:54 PM

 
Peter K. Burian
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/8/2004
  I agree with Dustin now that he mentions the 70-200mm f/2.8 with the 2x teleconverter.

OR with the 1.4x teleconverter!

But teleconverters are expensive and if someone usually needs very long focal lengths, the 100-400mm lens would probably make a lot of sense.

Peter


To love this comment, log in above
11/8/2010 6:53:40 AM

 
Lynn R. Powers   Hi Dawn,

I have had both the 100-400L and the 70-200 f2.8L nonIS. Using a 20D, about the same size and weight as your 50D, and found both of them very awkward to hand hold. The 70-200 because of the weight of all that glass up front and the 100-400L because at the 400mm setting the front is so far out in front of the camera that it is difficult and tiring to hand hold. When mounted on a tripod there is no problem and they do balance a lot better when mounted on a 1D or 1Ds series camera.

I now have a 40D and a 70-200mmf4L IS and often use a 1.4x II teleconverter.
You can purchase the 1.4X II used thru KEH for $279 which is about 50% cheaper than the new 1.4X TC III. With this setup it is much lighter and better balanced for hand holding but a tripod,or monopod, is still recommended for ALL shooting. Another alternative is the 300mm f4 IS. It will balance nicely with the 50D also.


Lynn


To love this comment, log in above
11/8/2010 9:58:03 AM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
Contact Carlton
Carlton's Gallery
carltonwardphoto.com
 
 
BetterPhoto.com Editor's Pick   Kitty at Cougar Mountain Zoo
Kitty at Cougar Mountain Zoo
f/7.1, 1/320, ISO640, 400mm - Canon 100-400mm lens
© Carlton Ward
carltonwardphoto.com
Canon EOS 5D Mark ...
 
 
The Canon 70-200 f/2.8 with IS is $2000, the 2.8 non-IS version is $1300 and then add another $300 for the 1.4 extender... This doesn't make sense to me when you can buy the 100-400 with IS for $1700.
You may also check out Sigma's 120-400mm OS lens - it runs about $900 and the reviews on Amazon & B&H have been good.
I own the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS and the 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS and they weigh about the same. I use my 70-200 a lot for portrait work but my 100-400 is always mounted when I am going to the Zoo, hikes & out amongst nature. The push-pull doesn't bother me at all and having used mine for over 5 years, it is still sharp and I dont have the dust problems that many people complain about and when I do see a speck of dust, I easily blow it off with a Giotto blower.
My 100-400 has been used on my 20D, 40D, 1DS and my current 5D Mk II. Here is another shot of a tiger taken through a fence a couple of weeks ago. The focus easily bypasses the fence between us and captures the kitty pretty well :)
Cheers,
Carlton


To love this comment, log in above
11/8/2010 11:24:03 PM

 
Log in to respond or ask your own question.