Moderately better image and other benefits

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Scott Larson Veteran Member • Posts: 6,912
Moderately better image and other benefits

I decided it was time to upgrade my field sports lenses. Someone wanted to sell me a used 400mm f2.8 but I didn't have much use for it. 400mm is awkward to use for volleyball and pretty much impossible to use in basketball, so I decided to upgrade my heavily used 300mm f2.8 to the Mark II version. It looked like it would have better resolution so it would work better with a 1.4X teleconverter. If you want to know about that, just skip to the photos below.

It's noticeably lighter. That surprised me since the specs aren't that much different. This will be nice because I pick up and put down my 300mm lens about thirty times in every basketball game. The switches for AF and AF distance are now near the lens mount, apparently to make them less likely to be changed in transport. You would be amazed at how many photographers have gaffer's tape over these switches. The bumpy saved-focus ring feels like it moves a little easier but it's still a ring and I still hate using it. Why isn't this function on a button? The tripod mount is thicker. I've never heard of the old ones breaking but thanks anyway.

The case is larger than the previous one. It has feet on the side so it can sit vertically and it has tabs for a carrying strap (included). It also comes with a very comfortable and padded strap for the lens, but the strap doesn't have any disconnect clips so there's no way to quickly take it off. Thanks, Canon, but there's no way I'm putting a strap on a lens that I can't take off quickly.

The lens cap is a great improvement. Instead of the sack-like leather thing that you tie onto the end of the lens, you now have a slip cover much like the one you get from LensCoat, except it has a Velcro strap that locks around the tightening knob on the lens hood so it definitely will not fall off. It's so much simpler than the old one.

The AF motor is much less noticeable. The motor in the old lens would give a slight torque movement but I feel almost nothing when this one focuses.

OK, here's a comparison of the old 300mm and the new 300mm, both with the 1.4X Mark III teleconverter and shot wide open. I even dusted off the old 1D Mark IV to make it fair.

First, the old lens:

And the new lens.

Of course it's not a perfect comparison because of the subject distance, but it does show that it's better yet far from perfectly sharp. Oh well, you can't expect it to look like a real 420mm f4 lens, right?

 Scott Larson's gear list:Scott Larson's gear list
Canon EOS-1D Mark III Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Canon EOS-1D X +17 more
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM
Telephoto prime lens • Canon EF • 4411B002
Announced: Aug 26, 2010
Scott Larson's score
4.0
Average community score
4.3
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Canon EOS-1D Mark IV
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