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Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens Review

The Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM is a very popular lens for wildlife and sports photographers. This telephoto prime lens has a very fast f/2.8 aperture with image stabilization making it great when the light level goes down. This lens is able to be used on both full frame and APS-C bodies. When used on an APS-C body it yields an equivalent field of view as a 480mm lens on a full frame camera.

This lens is quite a bit larger, heavier and costs significantly more than it’s f/4 sibling, but that is the price you pay for allowing twice as much light. Due to it’s more specialized nature and price, this is a lens that won’t find it’s way into many typical photographers kits. However, it can be rented somewhat reasonably from BorrowLenses.  Show up at your next kids soccer game with this bad boy and ever other photographer will be jealous.  🙂

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II USM

 

Pricing*

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM - $6099.00

*Pricing from Manufacturer's website - Current selling price may be different.

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Image quality

Image quality is nothing short of excellent, but that is to be expected from a lens that costs over $6,000! This lens is one of Canon’s best performing lenses in terms of image quality.

Vignetting

Wide open at f/2.8 this lens does vignette quite a bit, but when you look at the design, focal length and the overall diameter it is not hard to see why. To get this lens to not vignette at all would require it to be significantly larger in diameter and cost a LOT more. As such Canon elected to compromise here to keep the size relatively small and the price in check. Vignetting is easily corrected in post, especially if you use the Canon DPP software or Lightroom.

Distortion

Telephoto lenses tend to show a degree of pincusion distortion and the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II USM is not exception. However, distortion is also easy to correct in post, even if you shoot in JPG.

Build Quality

This lens is built like a tank. We have one at the store available to rent and while it looks pretty rough, it is purely cosmetic. The paint is scratched and chipping around the lens, but the actual lens body and glass is damage free. The lens includes a durable hard case that looks like a small suitcase and the lens rests in fitted inserts keeping it solidly in place when it is not in use.

What I Like

  • Image Quality
  • Autofocus Performance

What I Don't Like

  • Size
  • Price
  • I don’t own one. 🙂

The Bottom Line

This is one of those lenses that if you a) Need it and b) Can afford it, then I highly recommend you get it! If you do, be prepared for the size and weight, not to mention the Mac and Cheese you will be eating for the next several years to help offset the cost. This lens is practically legendary in sports and wildlife circles. They don’t come up on the used market very often and when they do they don’t save you more than a few hundred bucks vs buying it new.

Sample Images

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Overall User Rating

4.97 out of 5

based on 108 user reviews online.

: 97% (105)
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Specs

Focal Length 300 mm
Max Aperture f/2.8
Minimum Aperture f/22
Minimum Focus distance 79.2 inches
Maximum Magnification 0.18x
Number of Elements 16
Number of Groups 12
Aperture Blade Design Rounded
Number of Aperture Blades 9
Filter Size 52 mm
Diameter 5 in.
Length 9.8 in.
Weight 5.17 lbs.
Lens Mount Construction Metal
Tripod Collar Included
Weather Sealed Yes
Distance Scale Yes - No Hyper Focal Markings
Image Stabilization Yes
Lens Shade Included

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