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Canon EF 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS USM lens review

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6L IS USM

Rating: ★★★★☆

I had owned this lens for nearly 2 years before replacing it for the professional L series 70-200mm IS lens.

In a nutshell the Canon 70-300 f4-5.6 IS USM lens is the next best thing to this lens. Better than any similar Tamron or Sigma alternatives at this focal range in terms of auto focus speed, image sharpness and overall quality.

The image stabilisation means that camera shake is minimised at slower shutter speeds and provides for up to 3 stops in this regard. In other words if you were shooting at say 300mm you would normally need a shutter speed of around 1/300th of a second to stop blur due to camera movement but with image stabilisation turned on you could shoot this at around 1/40th of a second and guarantee no blur due to camera movement. Of course blur due to subject motion could still be an issue!

There are 2 modes of stabilisation 1 and 2. 1 is for stationary positioning of the lens and 2 allows one to pan left to right or right to left to track some action.

Images are generally sharp until the focal length of around 250 to 300mm is reached. At this point the image is slightly soft. If you need tack sharp at these focal lengths then the lens you need one of these: the Canon EF 70-300mm f4-5.6 L IS USM Lens or the Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8 L IS II USM Lens or the Canon EF 70-200mm f4 L IS USM Lens. However all these lenses are MUCH more expensive.

Overall this lens is very highly recommended for the price.


  • 3 stops of image stabilisation.
  • Can be used on full frame and APSc sensor cameras
  • Good build quality.
  • 1:3.8 macro facility


  • $ stops of image stabilisation is possible with more expensive lenses
  • A bit too soft at 300mm if you need near perfection
  • Maximum aperture is f4 and is not constant but varies with focal length


Excellent value for money for the enthusiast but not quite up to the mark for a professional.

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