Canon 70-300mm IS, my impressions.
I wanted a telephoto zoom lens to go along my 400mm/5.6 L and 7D. I didn’t want to spend too much because my goal is to buy a 70-300mm IS L or wait to see if Pentax would come out with the 135-400mm WR that was on the roadmap. It’s a lens that will be used in vacation or when i don’t need or want to carry my 400mm lens. I read many reviews and user opinions before i finally bought one when a store here in Canada was selling brand new ones for 420$ . I could also have bought the 70-200mm/4 L as it was 600$ (i already own a TC-1.4XII), but i wanted to have a lens with IS.
The built quality is cheaper than my 400mm/5.6L and all my Pentax lenses (i don’t own cheap lenses for my Pentax cameras). I was aware of this before buying it, so not a problem. The focusing ring is not the best i’ve used and MF with LV is manageable at best.
Male Green Frog in the morning light.
Canon 7D with 70-300mm IS, 21mm Ext. tube, at 300mm, ISO 250, 1/320 sec. at f/11, tripod.
100% crop of the shot above with PP in Photoshop and sharpening applied (amount around 95 and radius at 1). You can see some CA in the highlights.
One of the reason i bought that lens was to photograph frogs which would need the use of Extension tubes on some occasions. At 300mm with extension tubes the sharpness is quite good , not as good as a Macro lens but good enough for publishing photos in a magazine. At shorter focal length the IQ is quite good, but with extension tubes and zoomed out from 200mm to 300mm the set-up is not very rigid and is prone to vibration so you need a solid tripod, i also use LV to focus and 2 second delay with a remote release.
7D with 70-300mm IS with 65mm of Ext. tubes, at 190mm, ISO 320, at f/10, tripod, remote release.
I’m lucky to have a young Cottontail Rabbit that likes to live in my backyard and he have a favorite spot just in front of a black spruce where it’s well hidden from predators. He’s now quite accustomed to see us in the backyard and i can get close to him with my camera and he even sleep when i’m close to him!
Here it is looking at me, below are crops from that shot, i was also trying Spot AF.
Canon 7D, at 300mm, 1/250 sec. at f/6.3, ISO 800, tripod, RAW.
Zoomed to 100% with no PP and no NR.
With some PP, sharpening in PS7 (Amount 89, Radius 1.0).
From what i’ve shot with that lens up to now it reflects what i’ve read on some reviews and user reviews, it’s quite good up to 200mm when stopped down 1 stop, at 300mm IQ drops but by stopping down to f/7.1 IQ is relatively good, not up to a prime lens.
This shot was taken near the minimum focusing distance of the lens using LV at 10X magnification.
7D with 70-300mm IS at 170mm, ISO 500, 1/25 sec. at f/6.3, tripod and Polariser filter.
This is a 100% crop of the previous shot.
A shot taken at “normal” distance, more standard use of the lens.
7D, lens set at 90mm, ISO 100, 1/50 sec. at f/10, tripod.
Sure it’s not as sharp as a prime lens at longer focal lengths but when stopped down it can produce very good photos until i can buy the 70-300mm IS L ! I’m now getting to know that lens and use it more often for photographing frogs and it’s doing very well. For the price i paid it’s a good value even if the built quality could be better especially the focusing ring that could have a better feeling. I wish that Canon would give at least the lens hood with their lenses like Pentax do.
UPDATE, 7D and 400mm/5.6L survived to water damage!
Yesterday my 7D was not working, so i left it on my kitchen table (i have air conditioning in my house)and tonight when i came from work i looked at it and the VF has virtually no more fog, so i put a battery in it and it worked !!! I put a CF card and took some shots … WOW!
I don’t know how long it will work but i have more hope now.
So i put the battery and CF card that were in the camera when they fell in the water to test them, here are the test shots and a short video:
Crops of test shots with my 7D and 400mm/5.6L:
Saving a Camera and lens damaged by water
I’m the kind of photographer who tend to broke is photo equipment, call it bad luck or i’m goofy but it happened to me on some occasion over the last 25 years. But i outdone myself this time, i dropped my 3 months old Canon 7D and 400mm/5.6L in the water 😦
I was photographing frogs and just put my 7D with 400mm/5.6 L and with an Extension tube on my tripod, i put my camera bag on the ground and saw my kit falling in the pond , i quickly grabbed my lens by the hood but the ext. tube unlocked from the lens and my 7D did fall back in the water and was now fully vulnerable and making bubbles 😦
The first thing i did was to turn the camera OFF, remove the battery and CF card. I was about at a 10 minutes drive from my home, so i was able to put my camera and lens quickly in plastic bags with silical gel. I went to my local camera store and they said that Canon wouldn’t repair them because of the water. After that i got help from forum members (DPReview and Nature Photographer Network) that suggested rice, so i put rice also and transferred the lens and camera in separate plastic containers. I also removed the back cover on my 7D and unscrewed the lens mount on my 400mm lens to help air circulation.
I changed the rice everyday, and after over 48 hours i decided to try my 400mm lens which looked dry (no more water in the scale distance window), it didn’t get deeper than the scale distance window in the water. To my surprise the AF worked like a new lens, i tested it on a Canon XS, here is one of my first test shots:
This is a 100% crop from a shot taken in JPEG on a Canon XS.
After testing it i put it back in the container with rice to be sure that any remaining humidity would be eliminated. I didn’t touched my 7D for a full week, the top LCD was half filled with water, it took 3 days to completely dry out, even after 5 days there was still water droplets in the VF.
Well tonight i looked at my camera and the VF is now fogged, so i decided to try a battery in the camera (in fact 3) ….. well nothing happened. I declare my 7D officially dead 😦
I’m now waiting news from my insurance tomorrow, after that even if they don’t pay i will have to buy another 7D. At least i saved my lens, the camera took too much water to survive.
Hope that my post will help others save their equipment if it ever happens.
I found some tips here a couple of days later: