Canon EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III USM – What do you think of this lens? – Ask J.D.
EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III USM – $180.00 What do you think of this lens? I would like it for taking photos of wildlife and sports mostly. I am also wondering about quality of any other brand of lenses that will fit my camera. I have a canon EOS rebel xsi.
JD answers: (condensed version)
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III USM
+FOR THE PRICE, this lens can’t be beat for wildlife photography and sports on bright sunny days. For indoor sports, or sports on cloudy days, it may be hard to get good photos without motion blur (due to slow shutter speeds) or noise (due to having to bump up the ISO). Of course Canon makes even better lenses but they are CONSIDERABLY more expensive 🙁
One more lens manufacturer to consider, Tamron
-I only add one other lens to consider (as no others even came close at that price range IMHO) the Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro Zoom:
Here are image samples from the Tamron lens series… and I highlight this lens because #1 it can focus closer than the Canon (this could be great for flower/plant/insects photography -or- even for using this as a portrait lens to give you some distance from your subject*) #2 it has a SIX year warranty vs the Canon’s one year
*longer focal lengths can be very flattering as they tend to make people look slimmer and getting back further sometimes put people at ease [i.e. not having the camera right in their face ;-)]
year warranty. Often times when you look at a professional swimsuit photoshoot the photographers will be using large fast 300mm lens and shooting quite a ways back from the models!
The only drawback I know of for the Tamron is that it *may* not focus as quickly as the Canon’s USM, so I do not know how its sports performance would be.
IMHO Sigma does not make a lens as the Canon or the Tamron…
To stay in this price range, and if autofocus speed performance is very important to you, go for the Canon, If you want close focus capabilities in addition to good overall performance, then consider the Tamron.
Expanded answer with more info (warning, it gets a little verbose!)
Whew, you picked a tough question here Ali!
For the price the Canon will be a great introductory lens to wildlife and some sports photography. You should really enjoy the versatile zoom range that can get you up close and personal! There really is no other manufacturer (Sigma, Tamron, etc.) that makes a significantly better lens at this price point*. Canon makes better lenses but they are MUCH more expensive.
*NOTE: Tamron does make an interesting lens, the Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro Zoom Lens…
Image samples from the Tamron lens series…
I highlight this lens because #1 it can focus closer than the Canon, this could be great for insects or even using this as a portrait lens #2 it has a SIX year warranty vs the Canon’s 1 year warranty
The only drawback I know of is that it *may* not focus as quickly as the Canon’s USM focusing…
Now, back to the Canon…
+On one hand: for the price, the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III USM offers impressive zoom range and nice fast & accurate (USM) focusing capabilities.
-On the other hand: it is a bit slow (F5.6) at its max zoom range (300mm) and it lacks image stabilization (IS). Since it isn’t going to be letting in much light at those long zoom ranges, this means it will be difficult to use a fast shutter speed and shake is going to be an issue at those slow shutter speeds. Finally, it is not a super-sharp lens… BUT not many telephoto lenses are at that price. Also, it is probably very capable of taking images that will look great when resized for the web or printed at 8×10 or smaller sizes.
=Conclusion about the Canon EF 75-300mm:
For general wildlife this would be a great lens. Often birds/deer and other critters will stay relatively still and let you get a good shot at relatively slow shutter speeds.
For sports it should do a good job on BRIGHT days outdoors because there will be plenty of light and you your shutter speeds will be fast.
Sports in an indoor setting or on cloudy days could cause some problems unless you’re willing to bump the ISO up quite a ways (and then images will likely be a bit noisy).
The real deciding factor here is price:
For a signficant step up in features/performance (like a F4 max aperature or image stabilized model) the price JUMPS to double or even 10x as much! So, all things considered this lens really is a good deal for the price 🙂
Here are a few more links with additional info on Canon telephoto lenses: