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Keywords: Canon EF Tele Zoom 35mm USM Tested


Registered: December 2010
Posts: 4
Canon EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM review by shiphorns
Review Date: 12/7/2010 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $300.00| Rating: 3 

Pros: None.
Cons: Extended on its own, terrible IQ at 300 end.

When I bought my first Canon SLR in 1998, the Elan IIe, I purchased the 28-105 f/3.5-4.5 USM, this 100-300, and a 50/1.8 prime. I took this kit around Europe, and the results I got from the 100-300 were poor, to say the least. I bought it to add range, but found that it only had usuable image quality at the 100mm range. Over about 150mm, I found the lens to have unusable lack of sharpness, poor contrast and terrible CA. Build quality was not great either, and the lens extended/retracted on its own if not held level. I had to put a fat elastic on the zoom control just to make it usable on my trip.

I sold this lens as soon as I got home, good riddance!

Registered: December 2008
Posts: 1
Canon EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM review by Derge
Review Date: 12/26/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $75.00| Rating: 7 

Pros: Silent, Affordable, Good Reach
Cons: Relatively slow aperture range, Loose zoom ring

There's more to a good picture than sharpness. Although I don't have any experience with other EF lenses in this range, for my own work I've found the EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM to be totally sufficient.

It's a long lens with a slow maximum aperture and no IS. Big deal! Bring a tripod. CA is well-controlled and distortion is non-existant. Out of the dozens of pictures I've taken with this lens wide open at 300mm, I haven't found any that lack the sharpness to be "usable". Critical focus at 300mm is much more important. Of course the proof is in the pudding, as they say:

The bottom line is: If you need to stop motion or shoot without a tripod, this lens probably isn't for you. If you can allow yourself to work within its limitations, I can think of few advantages the EF 300mm f/2.8 has that could justify the difference in price.

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 10
Canon EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM review by cvizler
Review Date: 1/8/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $300.00| Rating: 7 

Pros: Usable at the short end, relatively cheap used
Cons: Not really usable at 5.6/300 mm

Optical quality on 35 mm camera: Not bad at 100 mm, then the picture quality gradually deteriorates, at 300 mm it is hardly usable unless stopped down. It is quite cheap used, and you will be able to make good photos with it if you avoid 5.6/300 mm.

The build quality is not brilliant either, but it has fast and silent USM focusing, retouchable manually, very useful at photographing distant objects.

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 16
Canon EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM review by silverbluemx
Review Date: 1/4/2007 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 6 

Pros: Long focal range, light.
Cons: Not really sharp, poor build quality.

This lens can be useful if you need a long focal range, especially on a DSLR (160-480mm equiv).
However, I can't say I've been happy with it.
Build quality is poor (it is subject to lens creeping), and it lacks in contrast and sharpness, and sometimes you can't stop it down because of its long focal lenght and lack of IS.
For this price, the Sigma 70-300 may be a better alternative.

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 6
Canon EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM review by Xtian
Review Date: 12/25/2006 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $300.00| Rating: 7 

Pros: long focal length
Cons: everything else LOL

This was the first canon lens I bought waaaay back when I was in college... somewhere in the forgotten 90's. I was doing a lot of sports photography (soccer, football, baseball) and it was excellent for its purpose (newspaper publishing) but it really is showing it's age now.

I rarely use this lens now. It isn't useful indoors at all, with the apperture being so slow and with no IS it is impossible in low-light. And I do most of my shooting now indoors.

The one place this is decent would be outdoor wildlife. You might be able to get shots of birds and such that you just can't with anything under 300mm. But image quality is pretty sad. I'd recomment people get the EXCELLENT 70-200mm F4 L lens which doesn't cost THAT much more. With that lens you'll be able to use for candid shots outdoor and good in wildlife, and with the sharpness on the F4L, you can crop the images and probably will be better in quality than this 300mm.

BUT, if you really need 300mm at any cost (any cost being CHEAP) this is the only option available.

Another thing that comes with the camera is that at 300mm this thing is SO LONG that people will think you're cool even without a white lens. (well, the people being classified as people who don't know cameras) But we all know that SIZE doesn't matter... it's how well you use it... or... how good the glasses are lol.

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 6
Canon EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM review by tvoj
Review Date: 12/8/2006 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $290.00| Rating: 4 

Pros: Lightweight, an inexpensive way to get a long focal length zoom (160-480 eq. on a 1.6x crop)
Cons: Uninspiring detail, contrast, subject to flare, subject to zoom creep

I pull this lens out form time to time, but the results are so uninspiring I just can't recommend this lens.

It's a fairly slow lense, the price of the compact design.

Contrast & detail are disappointing.

Then again, I don't have much experience with long focal lengths, so my expectations might be unreasonable.

The lens will creep out towards 300mm if you tilt it. This can make you want for a third hand to hold it in pace, in some instances.

Registered: January 2006
Posts: 5
Canon EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM review by clark666
Review Date: 11/28/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 7 

Pros: light weight, inexpensive, sharp images
Cons: not very sharp at 300mm Does not work with ef 2x converter

I bought it because of the 100 to 200 image quality. It does photograph at 300mm but it isn't nearly as sharp at that length. I doesn't work with the Canon 2x converter because they won't physically fit together.

Registered: February 2006
Posts: 7
Canon EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM review by pj1974
Review Date: 10/20/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 7 

Pros: USM, zoom rangle, reasonable price, sharp enough
Cons: no IS , lacks some constrast

This is the 4th lens I own and compliments my existing lenses well. I initially bought my Canon 350D / XT with the kit lens (18-55mm), use the Canon 28-135mm lens as my walkaround lens, and also bought the Canon 50mm f1.8 lens too.

After half a year I wanted a zoom lens and ended up deciding on buying this lens. I've found it is a very handy telephoto zoom rangle of 100-300mm- I definitely wanted more than just a 200mm limit. This 100-300mm range is especially good on an APC DSLR with it's 1.6x "crop factor"; bringing zoom to a 35mm equivalent of 160-480mm.

I enjoy using this lens a lot. It's great to be able to zoom up on wildlife well, use for sports or to use for outdoor portraits (with a pleasing bokeh wide open). My copy of this lens is especially sharp (even wide open) between 100 and 240mm, and still quite good between 240-300mm.

I was toying up between this lens and the Canon 70-300mm IS or a Sigma 70-300mm lens. In the end I got this lens because the "portrait problem" of the 70-300mm Canon lens hadn't been resolved at that time (in the UK during May 2006, and Romania where I live doesn't cover Canon service) PLUS the 100-300mm lens was around half the price of the 70-300mm IS. IS would of course be very handy, but in many situations you can still get good handheld results without having IS if you know how.

For the performance and build quality I really think the Canon 100-300mm USM lens has a very reasonable price (I bought it for around £200). There were cheaper versions of Sigma telezoom lenses available (and there were cheaper Canon lenses I tried too, e.g. the 90-300mm Canon lens) but none of them had the USM which I really wanted and the "sturdier feel" that I like so much about this lens. (It basically has the same build quality of my 28-135mm lens, which I'm very very happy with!)

USM provides fast and accurate focussing (especially useful for sports or moving animals). Initially I was a bit worried if the lens' optical quality would be good enough, but in the end I'm happy enough with it. There is a bit of a lack of contrast and colour, but I find with some post processing (mainly a simple contrast & saturation adjustment) I can get really good results! That's one of the great benefits of digital photography!

It's great for my needs and by bumping up the ISO (to 800 or 1600) I can get good lower light photos handheld (and I can reduce the noise by software if needed). OR, if the situation is needed, I can get fantastic results using my tripod too. but I'm happy enough with this lens. It's size is great too, I have my camera, and all my 4 lenses in a small camera bag which I can take with me anytime I want.


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