Canon EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III Impressions

dandelion

Dandelion

I was given an old Canon film camera last week and in the bag was an EF mount 75-300mm lens. Being a cheap zoom I wasn’t expecting much from it, but after a play around for an hour or so I really quite like it so I thought I’d give a little mini review. 

I stuck it on the front of my 500D which turns it into a 120-480mm equivalent – you really do get some massive reach with a crop sensor combination! At f/4.0-5.6 the lens is slow and also has no form of image stabilization so I couldn’t recommend it as a lens for all occasions, but today outside in the sunshine it did a great job at keeping me entertained.

You’d be forgiven for thinking the above dandelion picture was taken with a super-fast prime lens. But actually, racked out at 270mm (430mm equivalent) you get some really nice shallow depth of field even at f/5.6! If you like shooting outdoor portraits and you’re on a budget this is a good option.

The autofocus isn’t bad at all, it didn’t have too much trouble tracking the pigeons. Obviously it’s nowhere near as rapid as the ring USM lenses but it’s nowhere near the price either. It does have a bit of colour fringing and it vignettes even on the crop camera so I imagine it’s a lot worse on a full frame body.

The construction is in line with other kit lenses – plastic not-so-fantastic, but at least they are light. It has a 58mm thread size which is the same as the 18-55mm kit lens if you have filters for one of those already in your camera bag.

Would I buy one of these from new? Perhaps not. But if I was looking for a cheap lens to compliment an 18-55mm kit then I would definitely have a look for one of these in the second hand section. Without a flash it will be next to useless indoors in my opinion, but in good outdoor light it does a good job. It’s not the sharpest tool in the box, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing if you’re shooting portraits – which is my recommended use for this lens.

pigeon

Pigeon

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5 Comments

Filed under Craft, Equipment

5 responses to “Canon EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III Impressions

  1. The Jagged Man

    I have a question for you and I not sure you can help but here it goes: Do you have any experience with medium format film cameras? If so what make and model would you recommend. I have a Minolta X-370 manual focus 35mm film camera I love but want to try my hand at landscape pictures and some portrait work in the medium film format.
    Thanks ahead of time for any response and I love the shot of the pigeon!

  2. Hi, Jagged Man. Unfortunately, no, I know less about medium format cameras than I do about 35mm film cameras – which is not a lot! I’ve taken an interest in this old Canon to learn more about film and expand my knowledge a bit. I’ve seen some old Pentax and Mamiya examples in camera shops at tempting prices but I honestly couldn’t give a useful recommendation.

    Personally, I would try searching for a specialist medium format film forum on the internet and ask some questions. Those enthusiasts will really have their finger on the pulse and will be able to give you much better recommendations than I ever could.

    Happy hunting and make sure you share your results!

  3. Oh and regarding the pigeon, thanks! People treat them like vermin which I always think is a bit unfair!

  4. The Jagged Man

    Thanks for the advice and the follow up. Until I get a medium format camera I will continue to shot in 35mm when I can afford it and post when I can.
    As far as the pigeon goes squirrels in our area get the same lack of respect. I think they are adorable and fun to watch. I just posted some pictures I took a day ago of a young squirrel out on his rounds. I believe though squirrels are easier to photograph than pigeons. Squirrels are quite the posers!

  5. Same, I think squirrels are great!

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