Canon EF300mm f/2.8L IS USM review – Straight from the top drawer

By David Newton - Wednesday January 16 2013

Lens Review
Introduction | Canon EF300mm f/2.8L IS USM lens performance | Canon EF300mm f/2.8L IS USM versus competition | Conclusion
Canon EF300mm f/2.8L IS USM review – Straight from the top drawer

Launched in July 1999, the Canon EF300mm f/2.8L IS USM lens has been one of the most popular super telephoto lenses in the Canon range for wildlife and sports photographers alike. As expected for a super telephoto lens with a constant f/2.8 aperture and an Image Stabilizer, it is right at the top of the tree in terms of cost. But does the performance match the price? DxOMark presents the results, including a comparison of the Canon with the Pentax smc DA Star 300mm f/ 4 ED (IF) SDM, a lens also recently tested in our laboratories.

Marking the entry point into Canon’s Super telephoto lenses, the EF300mm f/2.8L IS USM has always been referenced by Canon as their fastest focusing lens and offering the best image quality available at this focal length. Now replaced by a newer version, this test allows us to see just how good this lens is and also what improvements Canon have made in the intervening 12 years. Despite the weight of this lens, the inclusion of a 2-stop Image Stabilizer has made it a portable, and crucially, hand-holdable lens suitable to a wide range of uses. When attached to an APS-C camera the equivalent focal length is 480mm giving even more reach for distant or timid wildlife subjects.