I am hearing rumblings of a Canon 70-300mm replacement lens coming for Photokina later this month (September 20-25) . The rumors that are currently circulating indicate the lens will be a little larger and heavier than the current 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, will feature Canon’s newest Nano USM focusing motor and a digital distance scale. I am intrigued by the digital distance scale as this is a feature that we have seen on some of the newer Zeiss lenses. I would love to see this feature incorporated as long as it can provide more accurate distances than the traditional analog scales, and especially if it finds it’s way into wide angle lenses, indicate Depth of Field scales. This has always been a challenge for zoom lenses, but with a digital display, this could be done.
Autofocus performance on the existing model is something I would really like to see Canon address in this lens. The Micro USM focusing motor is a bit dated and needs to be replaced with better, newer technology and Nano USM would fit the bill quite nicely. I hardly ever override my autofocus, but having a focus ring that turns during AF operations is a bit of a minor annoyance.
Additionally, since the new lens is expected to be larger, I would like to see this come in with a 67mm filter thread to match up to the 18-135mm and 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS lenses. This would give Canon APS-C users a fantastic 3-lens solution from 10mm (16mm full frame equivalent) to 300mm (480mm equivalent) that all use the same filter size. Especially with the awesome Canon EOS 80D Body.
Image quality could also use some help, especially since the Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 USM VC, which is less expensive than the Canon, edged out the Canon in my own side-by-side comparison. However, Canon has to be careful here that they don’t hurt the EF 70-300mm f/4.-5.6L IS USM Pro grade lens. If they match the image quality of the “L”, it would be hard to justify the price difference for just the red ring, build quality, and the included lens hood and lens case. However, I have not heard any speculation on pricing for this lens, but I would be surprised if Canon came in over $700. The 70-300mm lens is very popular option due to it’s size and price. Between Tamron and Sigma, they do have some good competition in this segment as well which will help to hold the price down a bit, but being a Canon branded lens, they can afford to command a bit of a premium over the 3rd party options.
I am pretty excited about this lens, and hope it comes to fruition sooner rather than later. My old Ef 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM lens is starting to really show it’s age and as I am getting older, image stabilization is become more and more critical for me.