Canon EF 100-300L 5.6

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by fusionrx, Nov 20, 2003.

  1. Saw a review on these lenses, very good, yet they seem to be
    exceedingly rare to find, bh Photo have none, nor do Adorama.

    Only place I saw was HelloCameras.com. Anyone ever dealt with them?
     
  2. Don't bother. I had one about a year ago and sold it. Optics were pretty good but it was too clunky, about two stops too slow, the AF drive was downright terrible (noisy, hunted, inaccurate) and the pump-zoom design made the lens unwieldy at >100mm. The whole rig would literally lurch in your hands when the AF motor was actuated. To make matters worse, the front element rotated to focus, making use of a polarizer a major PITA. I'm trying to think of even one application where the lens would be useful, but I can't. Evil Bay is probably your best bet on finding one if you persist. It's been discontinued for at least 2-3 years.

    Good luck.
     
  3. Please, do bother. I have to disagree with the last post. OPTICS, OPTICS, OPTICS !!!!! This lens does a great job from 5.6 on. There are plenty of uses for this lens. For those who can't afford a 300mm prime this one will do till you get the cash. The newer 75-300mm zooms are inferior in the optics department, especially at 300mm. I bought mine to shoot football and baseball for my son's sports teams. Every now and then I miss a shot due to slow autofocus, but the pics are outstanding. This lens does a great job with how it renders out-of-focus objects. I've used it at the zoo and came away with killer images of flowers to put in my portfolio. Lens handling is important, but how much do you want to compromise your images? This lens is not that bad to use. I see them used between $200-$250.
     
  4. A scan from a pee-wee game. Scan is decent, but the print is real nice.
    006ZiT-15395484.jpg
     
  5. Another scan.
    006Zid-15395684.jpg
     
  6. This is one great lens! Outstanding out of focus backgrounds. It is a little slow for some at f/5.6 but the gain in image quality over the current batch of xx-300 zooms makes up for it's short commings. It is slightly warm, and this is a great plus for my eye. Take a look at this shot of a Harris hawk, shot on Elite chrome 100 in marginal light at 300mm. This shot doesn't demonstrate the sharpness that the lens can produce, shot hand held, wide open at around 125th of a second.
    006Zkj-15396984.JPG
     
  7. If anyone has one and is willing to sell (for a reasonable price), I might be interested in it...
     
  8. Maybe it's my eyes or my monitor, but all three of those scans look soft even at that small size. As I mentioned, the optics are fine -- and probably better than comparably-priced lenses -- but the usability is an F-. If you can swing it, you're much better off, construction-wise AND optically, with a 70-200/4 plus 1.4 tc.
     
  9. A decent zoom in terms of optical quality but extremely poor AF performance. I could stomach poor AF if the MF ring wasn't so gritty and the viewfinder so dim due to the F5.6 max aperture. I found AF performance so frustrating I sold it only after a few months of use and bought the EF 100-300 USM. Yeah, it's a little softer at the long end but AF rips and, thus, I almost always got the shot. Currently, I use the EF 70-200 4L USM and found a happy combination of great optical quality, construction and performance.
     
  10. Finally someone else to chime in on this lens and its embarassing AF performance. Some have described the sound as a "garbage disposal". The last straw for me was when I was trying to photograph a rather large bird from about 30 yards away, and the sound of the lens trying to autofocus scared it off!

    BTW, thanks Puppy Face for your awesome equipment reviews. Those who haven't checked out all the reviews on his website are missing out.
     
  11. The photo of the Harris hawk was not presented to demonstrate the sharpness of the lens, as the shot was taken hand held, at 300mm and 125th of a second. The lens produces razor sharp images. There is no dispute. Anyone interested can read Bob Atkins review on this site. Nothing in the same price range can touch it in terms of optical performance.

    As for the auto focus, it's not the best, but as with most equipment, you have to use it for the appropriate purpose. If you are trying to use this lens for fast action, you will probably be disappointed. If you are doing landscapes, want the best optics, and want to spend under $350, this is the best option for a Canon body.
     
  12. I have both the 100-300 f/5.6L and the 70-200 f/4L. I really like the 100-300, but it
    definitely IS noisy and slow (both light- and speed-wise). It is superb optically,
    though. My biggest beef with it, besides the horribly slow AF, is the fact that there's
    no good way to use it on a tripod. At max extension, it is unwieldy. Bear in mind that
    this is part of Canon's first line of EF lenses, true '87 vintage tech.

    Some people claim that the push-pull zoom action is a 'dust-pump' but I have never
    had this issue. My sensor dust tends to accumulate during lens changes only.

    I would agree with the poster who said to get the 70-200 f/4L if possible. This is the
    lens that lives on my camera much of the time. However, if you are on a tight budget,
    get the 100-300 used.
     
  13. With aperture wide open at 300 mm, the EF 100-300L has noticeable vignetting. Despite this minor issue, the EF 100-300L is the best of the slow xx-300 zooms. Key to its performance is the use of flourite and low dispersion glass in the large front elements, where it is most effective. Cheap zoom lenses that claim APO performance use low dispersion glass in the small middle element, this is marketing hype.
     
  14. Dan,

    One cautionary about buying. Canon made the EF 100-300 f/5.6 in both an "L" and non "L." The non L was discontinued many years before the L version. Just be sure to get the L version if you decide to go for it. Good optics on the L - I picked it up new at B&H about three years ago for $330 (just so you know what they used to go for. For years before that they'd been $500-$600 new at B&H).
     
  15. What's the point to posting a handheld shot with a lens taken with way too low a shutter speed and in "marginal light"? There is none. That was *my* point.

    While everyone is on the optics bandwagon - and mind you no one, including myself, has disagreed that the *lens* has sharp optics - I should note as well that it does exhibit significant to severe pincushion distortion at all focal lengths. As another posted pointed out, it also vignettes pretty badly wide open. If you think you're going to get the optical equivalent of a 70-200/f4 or 2.8 or 100-400 IS with this lens, forget about it. Yes, it has good optics *for the price* but don't expect too much.

    With respect to the usability of the lens for particular purposes, I didn't find mine useful for landscape either. Here's why: Fully extended to 300mm, the lens is far too long for its (lack of) structural rigidity and thus extremely unstable even on a tripod. It desperately needs a tripod collar (which was not made by Canon and might cost you half the price of the lens to have made by Kirk or someone else) to balance it. Using the 100-300 at 200-300mm on my EOS 5, with Arca Swiss B1 head on a Bogen 3021 tripod, and with the dedicated RRS plate on my camera, I was not able to sufficiently dampen vibration to shoot exposures longer than 1 second. If you're shooting slow chromes with the lens at about f/8 and a polarizer or ND filters in fading light, you're in trouble there. Hence, the lens, IMO, is not useful for action shots (AF sucks, aperture too slow) as a travel lens (too slow), for portraiture (f/5.6!) or lanscape. I even tried it with a 500D for macro - FORGET IT! Too much vibration at high magnifications. In short, this lens could do nothing right in my book.

    Anyway, I've had it with this pointless debate. Yes, the lens has good optics. Yes, the lens has severe shortcomings in usability that you'd better consider seriously before buying. FWIW, I bought mine from B&H for about $270, and sold it on Ebay for quite a bit more.

    If you're going to spend the cash, don't say I didn't warn you.
     
  16. God forbid anyone ever disagrees with other contributors here. If you do you may get slamed on a public forum. Well, so be it.

    I regularly shoot this lens on a tripod without any difficulty, regardless of exposure length. Lock the mirror up and vibration is not a problem at all. The lack of a tripod collar has never prevented me from successfully getting the shot. Nor has it resulted in the lens/camera combination being unstable. I use a Bogen 3021 with a 3047 head.

    In regards to filter usage, and difficulty with a dark view finder? I never stack filters, so it has never been a problem either, and even if I did, with the scene composed and focused first, adding filters shouldn't get in the way. I guess it depends on the degree of thought and effort one wants to put into their craft. I see no reason the objections others have presented to this lens should prevent anyone from getting good results.
     
  17. So far, we've covered the drawbacks to this fine lens (100-300L). To me, its optical performance-to-weight ratio is unparalleled. I find the 70-200 F4L to have insufficient reach, and the 100-400L too heavy.

    The 100-300L is a great travel lens; hand held photography at 300mm is no problem with ISO 400 print film.
     
  18. I've thought long and hard about upgrading this to one of the 70-200L lenses. Haven't bothered because the f/4 version: weighs more, is larger, add a 1.4x TC and that weight/volume goes up further, only one stop faster out to 200, beyond that no speed advantage, costs more, overlaps more with the 28-135, dumb 67mm filter size.

    I'd love the 70-200/2.8L IS and this is likely my next lens purchase, but then I'll still likely keep the 100-300/5.6L for travel/backpacking again because it is light and small with excellent optics. The price differential might also be a concern for many.

    I only use this as a landscape lens though, for sports, candids, low-light wildlife (dawn/dusk) and portraits it's definately too slow. That's where for now I use my 100/2.8 macro if I have it with me. For landscapes the rotating front element is my only real concern. I'm always tripod mounted and always use MLU (habit) so the concerns of others don't bother me. The AF is slow and somewhat noisy but the landscape isn't going anywhere in a hurry. But the rotating front element makes the use of hard stop ND grads a nuisance. Polarizers are a bit of a nuisance, but just focus first, then rotate the polarizer. A few degrees off with a polarizer is rarely as noticeable as a few degrees off with a hard stop ND grad.
     
  19. Looking a the two lenses in question, the 100-300, when focused to infinity and
    zoomed to 100 mm (all the way out), is slightly shorter than the 70-200 f/4L. When
    the older lens is zoomed to 135, it's already longer. When zoomed to 300 and
    focused on 'macro' the lens is really long! The 70-200 doesn't change size during
    zooming or focusing.

    When backpacking, I wear my camera (with op-tech webbing chest harness) along
    with my gigantic backpack jammed full of a normal load + 22 pounds of photo gear.
    I don't bring the 100-300. Why? It's too fragile, it focuses too slow, and with almost
    the same coverage with a teleconverter on my 70-200, with arguably better optics (w/
    o a TC at least) it's the only thing I am leaving at home anymore (other than the EOS
    1nHS).

    I am looking forward to getting ahold of the 300 f/4L IS pretty soon, and I expect I
    will sell the 100-300. It still travels with me (just not into the backcountry), and if you
    aren't into spending four figures on a lens it serves well.
     

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