Canon EF 70–300 f/4–5.6L IS USM

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The new Canon EF 70–300 f/4–5.6L IS USM zoom is an image-stabilized 'L'-series zoom designed to deliver sharp imagery over a broad zoom range in a carry-on, baggage-friendly package.


The Canon EF 70–300mm f/4–5.6L IS USM lens is expected to be available toward the end of October, 2010, for an approximate retail price of $1,500. Featuring 2 Ultra-Low Dispersion (UD) glass  elements to keep chromatic aberration under control, and an internal floating focusing mechanism to maintain uniform sharpness and image quality throughout the zoom range, Canon's EF 70–300 f/4–5.6L IS USM is a good choice for Canon shooters who need sharp imagery with maximum optical flexibility in a space-saving package. The EF 70–300 f/4–5.6L IS USM focuses down to 3.9 feet (1.2m) and accepts 67mm screw-in filters. Weighing a relatively light 2.31 lb (1050g) it might be a mite hefty to to carry around in your pocket, but with a compact length of only 5.6" (143mm) there's little excuse for not packing it into the smallest of camera bags.

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 I guess this will delay any replacement for the 100-400. I think I might rather have this one!

Can it take the Canon telextenders? I'll search the Canon announcement to see if I can find that, unless you have it handy.

How does this lens compare to Canon's 70-300mm DO lens?

Good, but a new 100-400 will be better.

I eagerly await the reviews of this. I am interested in a high quality good range travel lens that is not as heavy as the 28-300 mm L. This might fit the bill. The main advantage would be weight - I would use it to replace my 70-200 f/2.8 L IS and the 100-400 L zoom on my travels. I would lose some reach at the long end, and give up some light at the short end, but carrying those two heavy lenses can get tiresome! On the other hand, I could always get the more lightweight 70-200 f/4 L IS to shave some weight and give up on the f/2.8.

As always, it's hard to choose! 

The basic specification is similar to the non-'L' EF 70–300 f/4–5.6 IS USM -- though the new one is a bit larger, heavier, has 2 LD elements and focuses closer (1.0'/.3m).

That said, the non-'L' is no longer on the front page of Canon's website so I assume this 'L' version will replace it.  The suggested list on the new lens is US$1500.00.  The current B&H price for the non-'L' is US$529.  That's quite a premium for the 'L' though the MTF indicates clearly superior performance at 'Wide' setting.  The difference at 'Telephoto' should be more subtle.

I'm glad I already have my non-'L'!  It's a fine performer!

Nice looking lens. I would have bought it a couple years ago when I got the 70-300 IS. But at this size, weight, and cost, I'd rather carry around a 70-200 2.8 IS and a 1.4x teleconvertor. That would give me a lot more useful range at 2.8, and about 300mm-ish at f4. Granted that would cost a bit more.

If the price were that one, around $1,500, this would be very bad to a lens with this kind of aperture. This lens could  be only popular with a price around $1,100.

I agree with a prior commentator - a refreshed 100-400 (maybe with a constant F:4) would be appreciated. My 1999 of the 100-400 version is pretty beat up and ***** a refresh. For motorsports (my world), 300MM won't do it these days.

Well, I'm waiting for Canon 70-200 f4L IS USM at the moment I think it's best choice quality/price.

Regards from Spain

I was really expecting a 100-400 replacement the current one, was introduced quite a long time ago, new technology could make it a much better bet.  the 70-300 does not have the reach I need for birding....

Any word on when it'll step down from f/4?  If this were f/4 from 70-200 then 5.6 from 201 to 300 I think a lot of people would get it and the price, but if it steps down around 100 it makes less sense.  I just hope to see it priced around $1k with the street price drop and maybe rebates in the spring?

 I have the word from the Canon reps on line.  The new L Series 70-300 will not be compatible with any of the extenders, either the II or III series.

For me this represents a great solution for times when I am traveling in a group or via controlled transportation (such as a boat drip down a river). I traveled in Costa Rica with the 70-200 F4 and of course the quality was excellent, but I found it a bit short when trying to frame animals and birds along the shore. I think that even 300mm at the long end would have been a big advantage.

I also think that having the 70mm short end is better than 100. Having 70mm instead of 100mm at the short end makes for a more seamless match-up with my 16-35, and introduces the possibility of a two lens system. I also feel that having a reasonabl close focusing distance is a big advantage. With out the approximately 1.2m focusing distance of my 70-200, I would never have been able to capture the rather dramatic face to tooth portrait i got of a kaman who swam to within 2m of out row-boat.

Another point to consider is the recent announcement (or was it a rumor) that Canon has developed a 120MP sensor in the "H" format. Depending on the dynamic range that such a sensor might be able to deliver, there is the prospect that more portrait and scenic photographers will gravitate toward this format. This means that a 70-300 mm lens would adopt an effective range of 91-390 mm. (Essentially the same range as the 100-400 now delivers in full frame format.)

After checking Canon Japan website, the suggested prices in Japanese yen are:

1. EF70-300mm F4.5-5.6L IS USM -- JPY$158,000

2. EF100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS USM -- JPY$260,000

3. EF70-200mm F2.8L IS USM -- JPY$280,000

4. EF70-200mm F2.8L IS II USM -- JPY$300,000

Just for your reference, $1500 is way too high.

Besides, checking the lens structure, it should not be used with any Canon TC.

 Can i ask you guys..  Should i buy the canon 70-300 / 4-5.6 is usm or the new one with the same specs except the L series? The Difference is $1000 (and color) LOL  I basically take photos of my kids and sports (football and basketball) at this point in  my life.  

Anonymous wrote:

 Can i ask you guys..  Should i buy the canon 70-300 / 4-5.6 is usm or the new one with the same specs except the L series? The Difference is $1000 (and color) LOL  I basically take photos of my kids and sports (football and basketball) at this point in  my life.  

Having owned the Non "L" 70-300 for two years (and many thousands of photograghs), I see no reason to spend the extra ~1k for your intended use. While I do expect the "L" to perform slightly better in specific situations, IE wide open, closer focus and perhaps attain focus slightly faster (speculation), the Non "L" is a fine performer capable of providing you with print quality images. I feel the saved ~1k could be better spent, for example, on  a 60D, 24-105L series or another upgrade which offers a more "realised" performance gain.

I was excited about this new lens until I found out that it wiil not work w/ my 1.4x II.  Looking to move up from my non-IS 70-200 f/4,which has been great, but I want IS...

Now I'm not sure what to do.  The 70-200 f/4 IS is $1200.  Should I go w/ that instead knowing it will work w/ my 1.4x II and give me 280mm??  I just don't see the big advantage in 20mm more for an extra $300. 

Decisions, decisions...

Until the new lens is rigorously tested and compared with the other options and how it does with the 1.4x TCIII, we can only evaluate the 'possible' options depending on what situations we normally would need this lens. L-glass lenses like this lens are pretty much designed specifically for the 5D and beyond full-frame bodies. It will be a very nice lens for the 7D, 60D, and Rebel bodies, of course, but I expect Canon will sell as many to owners of the full-frame sensor bodies as all others combined.

Any upgrade to the old 100-400 mm f4-5.6L IS USM will probably list for $2400+ as the new 70-200 mm f2.8L IS USM does. That means we can also consider picking up the discontinued versions at good prices, probably less than what the 70-300 mm f4-5.6L IS USM will be listed for and maybe enough less to also pick up a 1.4xTCII.

 For event photography, f2.8 and faster is pretty important, not just for low light noise issues, but for speed in focusing in low light. For event videography, like the wedding I did last weekend, the 70-200 mm f2.8L IS USM is great to work with over the f4 version primarily because it's easier to 'see' what I'm focusing on with that wider aperture, even though the actual footage was being captured at f/5.6. And during part of the event in the evening, outdoors, using very fast primes is critical, so again, the faster the lens, the easier it is to work in natural lighting situations.

Until I see how sharp this lens is, compared to, say, the slightly longer but lighter 70-200 mm f4L IS USM, I won't know how it might fit in to my preferred travel photography workflow where I basically take two bodies and two lenses (17-40 mm f/4L and 70-200mm f/4L). I usually wind up packing a 50mm f/1.4 and a 1.4x TC as well. If I were to replace the 70-200 with this 70-300, I'd need the TC less often. (for me, the 7D/60D/550D body acts like a 1.6xTC and works with EVERY lens I own). The compactness is also attractive as is the newer IS.

Critical is how it performs on a 5D and better body.

This is gonna be Canon's best L telezoom lens.  Compare with all the others in L telezoom class - it's easy to identify the differences.  It's most versatile.  Just wish it was little faster like f/2.8 - 4 or couple of 100 bucks cheaper !

Any test results of this vs the 70-200 F4 or 2.8 version?

I am anixous to see how this lens performs in  terms of IQ. If it can equal the IQ quality of the 70-2004 F version, then I say it's worth well getting it.

Anonymous wrote:

Any test results of this vs the 70-200 F4 or 2.8 version?

I am anixous to see how this lens performs in  terms of IQ. If it can equal the IQ quality of the 70-2004 F version, then I say it's worth well getting it.

You can bet it won't.

Any update about when it will be released?   I read a couple of places that when it was announced in August 2010, it was expected out in "late October", but it's mid November now.  

 Conflicting reports from Canon.  An e-mail from Canon says that the 2X extender will NOT work with this lens, period.  Subsequently I called Canon on their 1-800-OKCANON number and was told that the 2X WOULD WORK on the 70-300 L IS USM but I would lose the autofocus.

So whom do I believe ?

Please help someone................

Any solid information about U.S. availability dates? 

Are all the new Canon 70-300 L lenses painted "light gray".

I was a little suprised when I opened the package from Adorama and my new Lens was not a white color but a light gray. On the Adorama spec. sheet page (as well as the  B&H spec sheet) it states "The gleaming white lens, with removable tripod collar,.......". What is going on here????????

A long time Canon user.

Hi,

would like to know, does this lens go together with a Canon Converter 2 x III, ??????

thanks for your information.

No, this lens is not compatible with any of the Canon Tele-extenders.