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Canon's Luxury line of multi-coated, heavy, expensive lenses will set you back many hundreds of pounds and even thousands. But what solution is there for enthusiasts or hobbyists on a budget? Well this low budget telephoto zoom lens provides an answer to that question. I've got a 300mm L lens but I've also got this great cheap and lightweight lens for everyday usage. Out and about when I want to travel light and also it has a good zoom range of 75mm (a good portrait range) to 300mm (great for sports and wildlife photography). Having a broad zoom range means carrying less lenses anyway. One thing about it being lightweight (only 480g) is the difficulty to stabilize your shots. If you've got a heavy item in your hands you get slightly reduced camera shake. At 300mm you really need a tripod as there is no in-built image stabilization (IS). A mono-pod would also be useful when out using this lens. Build quality feels very plastic, but at this price and wouldn't be expecting a huge block of metal. A little care and consideration and you can keep it in good condition. But it does feel slightly flimsy. It will mount any Canon EF camera but be-careful not to mix EF up with EF-S because it won't fit that range of Canon camera. To attach you simply twist on and line up the red dots. The quality of the images this lens produces is really very good for a lens below the cost of 500 pounds. The images are quite sharp and remain so through out from 75-300mm. There is slight vignetting and loss of sharpness toward the 300mm end but this can be corrected in software. If you keep the aperture at a least f/8 and beyond you can increase image quality sharpness drastically I found. There is a bit of focus hunting as the auto-focus seems to bit slightly out-dated and slow to focus, especially in low-light situations. I think you take pretty good images with this lens although if you are a serious photographer then eventually you will want to update to a 70-200mm L lens since they are superior quality and only a couple of hundred pounds more expensive.
I have read several positive reviews about the Canon 75-300mm USM III lens but I don't share other people's enthusiasm because it is not nearly as sharp as I would expect from a Canon lens. Of course, compared to the Canon L Series lenses, this is an incredibly inexpensive item and, in its defence, I do find that my Canon EOS 50D, with it's jam-packed 15mp APS-C sensor, is very difficult to marry up with a lense to get the most out of it (unless you are prepared to spend thousands). At the close end of the focal range, the picture is crisp and sharp but unfortunately this tails off quite noticeably as the lens is extended (as does the auto-focus accuracy) and I have even taken to focusing the lens manually when it is at full extent, using the camera's magnified live-view to ensure crisp results. It is also a little slow at the long end and, an anything but a sunny day, I have to compensate by boosting the ISO (which I am loathe to do). On the plus side, the lens feels well-built but is not so heavy that it needs its own tripod mount. The auto-focus is fast and quiet, and the adjustment rings feel solid - and I have not noticed any "creeping" of the extendable section while the camera is being carried around. I also find that the camera and lens feel quite balanced together. I have a feeling that this lens would be much better suited to a lower-resolution model (or a full-frame camera) than to the tiny pixels on my 50D - and, having reviewed a lot of photographic equipment, you could argue that I am much more fussy than the average man-in-the-street - but I would be tempted to look at the available alternatives before committing to buy.
I bought this lens to add to the Canon 400D with 18-55mm lens that I purchased last year. I found the 18-55 a bit limited to snapshot type photos and wanted a lens that could add more to my very limited repotoire. The lens itself is well constructed and its appearance obviously matches the camera perfectly. The lens gives the appearance of being heavy, this is not the case, for its size it is quite light and well balanced even on full zoom. The motor used for Auto Focus is smooth, quick enough for my needs and not noisy. I now use the lens the majority of the time since it compliments the full range of shooting programmes that are available on the 400D. Portraits are crystal clear with the depth of field sufficient to make the subject stand out ,quite a professional job for someone with very little experience. Close ups are also very clear, because of a lack of experience I sometimes find the camera is focussing on adjacent objects, whilst I know this can be overcome by setting the camera correctly, I easily overcome this by switching to Manual Focus. The lens is well priced at just over £200 compared to IS versions and is also ideal for sports , wild life and nature. Although perhaps not enough zoom for birdwatchers . The rating below show great battery life, this lens does not have a battery , I cannot remove the rating I gave in error
This lens was the first one I bought for my Canon 350D almost three years ago. It has a wide focal length range covering portrait to fairly long telephoto and is extremely well priced. The lens is well constructed, and despite being inexpensive, does not look cheap. It is, however, quite light, and for such a long lens, balances well on the small Canon cameras. There are textured grips to adjust both for focal length and manual focus. These work smoothly and lightly, but the requirement to turn the lens body to the left to increase the focal length does not feel natural to me. There is no collar fitted to connect to a tripod, but the lens is light enough not to require one. One of the best features of the lens is 'USM', or "Ultrasonic Motor", this gives the Canon a quiet autofocus mechanism (much quiter than other non-Canon lenses I own), but I must admit to being a little disappointed with the autofocus speed. It's reasonably quick, but not as quick as I'd hoped for. The front element also rotates as it changes focus. This makes use of a polarizer more problematic. The lens accepts 58mm filters (a protective UV filter element might be a good idea as the front element is quite close to the end of the lens body and therefore quite vulnerable). The lens has reasonable macro capabilities and can focus as close as 4.9ft away from a subject. This, at the longer focal lengths, allows for frame filling pictures of flowers or insects for example. Optically, the lens is a bit of a mixed bag. Chromatic aberration (colour fringing) is reasonably well controlled, only becoming noticeable in high contrast areas away from the centre of the image. Distortion is also negligible and contrast is good. Where the lens does not excel, is in its sharpness. Lower down the focal length range (75-150mm) the lens is reasonably sharp. Sharpness drops off quite a bit once the long end of the range is reached. This gives quite a soft image when viewed at 100%. It is sharp enough to take acceptable 8x10" pictures, however. If the lens is stopped down to f/8, the sharpness is improved a little. Overall, this is a competent, usable lens for the price. Those looking for the last word in sharpness will have to look elsewhere (and pay a lot more), however.
Canon have developed the EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 USM telephoto zoom lens to meet their usual high-performance standards. The lens is marketed at those who require a lightweight lens that is ideal for sports, portraiture and animals. In other words: close up stuff or stuff that moves quickly. With such a lens you can also take advantage of a telephoto effect whereby a photographic image can appear compressed or have excellent background blur. The lens is suitable for all cameras that have are adaptable with the Canon EF mounting. This is a very lightweight compact zoom even though it appears a lot heavier. This is probably due to the lightweight plastics they use nowadays. The lens feels good to use in the hand and has a nice grip to it. I have read some magazine reviews who have criticised this lens in terms of its build quality but I have found it quite sufficient and do not have any complaints. What counts for me is whether it can take quality pictures and meets the all the criteria for telephoto image capture. In this department I am more than satisfied. Like all long telephoto lenses you'll still need steady hands if you're going to try and snap shots without a tripod. In fact, for long range shots I think it is essential to use a tripod with this lens, although you might get away with medium range shots. Despite its size, I would still regard this as a highly portable lens which is facilitated by the option of locking the zoom ring at the 75mm position, the lens can then easily be carried about on location. One of the drawbacks of using large telephoto lenses is that you tend to need lower shutter speeds in comparison to that of a normal lens in the same lighting conditions. However, even when I have taken a number of shots with the zoom set at 300mm and with a shutter speed of 1/60, I have still obtained to get some very sharp photos. However, it cannot be denied that stopping down a relatively slow lens means a lot of light is necessary or a flash will be required for handheld photos. One area where I have been most satisfied is in macro-photography. Here the lens seems to perform very well and I have taken some sharp close-up images with plenty of grainy and textured detail. I think this lens is fine for all types of users both professional and amateur alike. I would also recommend this as a quality travel lens, especially for those who are accustomed to hauling round the old heavier metallic lenses. This lens should make those long haul trips feel a lot lighter without sacrificing too much in terms of picture quality. It should be emphasised however, that this is far from being the best 300mm telephoto zoom on the market. There are better lenses out there but if you long for that extra little bit of detail in your photographs, you'll have to pay a lot more. Price at Jessop's is a reasonable £239.99 Technical Details: Minimum Aperture: 32-45 Diagonal Angle of View: 32 degrees - 11'-8 degrees Lens Aperture: F/4.0-5.6 Focal Length: 75 mm - 300 mm Optical Zoom: 4 x Min Focus Range: 1.5 m Focus Adjustment: Automatic, manual Lens Construction: 9 group(s) / 13 element(s) Special Functions: Tele, zoom Filter Size: 58 mm Length: 12.2 cm Weight: 480 g