Sunday, March 14, 2010

Canon EF 70-300 lens sample photos

I've intended this blog to be more about images of Los Angeles; why not start with the results of shopping for a new DSLR and telephoto zoom lens? After reading many reviews I bought a Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens yesterday for my new Rebel T2i (also with EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM regular zoom).

Above is the Westwood Village Theater tower from a block away at 300mm, full-frame 18 MP (5184 x 3456 pixels) reduced to 800 px wide. Left is a 100% crop (click all photos for full 800 px wide or all big photos). AF locked quickly on the seagull (1/1000 second, F/8, ISO-200).

Here's the Santa Monica Pier from 3/4 mile north on Palisades Park at 300mm, and a 100% crop of the ferris wheel. Behind the wheel is the Manhattan Beach Pier and Redondo Beach, around six miles away, which explains the fuzziness (1/800 second, F/8, ISO-200).
I found sample images most useful to me, so I'd like to share some of mine so far. These are all original camera JPGs with no sharpening or other adjustments. Also, I used only the center spot for focusing in all cases.

Here's a group of plants at 300mm from about a hundred feet away, and a 100% crop of the succulent at lower-left (1/200 second, F/8, ISO-200).

My biggest question was whether this lens would be sharp enough - and others' concerns about non-ring USM and the extending, rotating lens barrel - compared with the more expensive, larger, but shorter-reach EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM. My answer is yes.

And this is a sample shot of the far side of the camera store at 300mm, with a 100% crop from below center showing readible text (1/25 second, F/8, ISO-1600). Image Stabilization worked well for this hand-held shot.

I think the biggest variable in the sharpness of my test photos is what part of the scene I lock focus on (as in the landscapes with a lot of depth). I'm still learning the camera and lens, but having a lot of fun with what 300mm can do.