words and image source/photographer : Eksovichea Tito Hak

Not the smallest of zoom lenses although light (compared to the Defractive Optics (DO) version which is also much heavier despite being smaller and a little slower on the aperture front in starting out at f4.5, although the IS gives you a 2 to 3 stop advantage for image steadiness), but its certainly much smaller and lighter than its much costlier L lens counterpart of the same zoom range and aperture rating.

This is also the replacement for the 75-300m f4-5.6 IS USM EF zoom lens (released back in 1995, also when the first 5D was released) with the silver badge which was said to have quite poor sharpness towards the edges of the frame wide open.

I'm not sure why people keep saying this 70-300mm EF IS USM a heavy lens for others to say the the DO version is light, (unless there's some sort of other Canon photographer leet speak insider code that's relaying some sort of news that I'm not aware of). Although the DO version is certainly much lighter than the L version. In the literal sense of its physical properties the figures and results don't lie. Weight comparison just below compared with other 300mm capable EF tele lenses.

1.39 lb (630 g) - canon EF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6  Image Stabalisation USM

1.43 lb (650 g) - canon EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6  Image Stabalisation USM

1.58 lb (720 g) - Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6  Image Stabalisation USM DO (defractive optics)

2.31 lb (1.05KG)- Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6L Image Stabalisation USM

2.62 lb (1.19KG)- Canon EF 300mm f/4L Image Stabalisation USM

Image quality on this newer 70-300mm IS USM version is extremely crisp and sharp. I've not tested the L version of this lens, but its been claimed that optically this lens is like an L lens but without the same kinds of heavy weather sealed white cladding, and construction of the L version. The reason for this? This lens is said to use an UD element which is usually only reserved for use in L lenses. 

Image stabilisation works perfectly on this thing. I was able to get steady, crisp blur free hand held snaps even at the 300mm (480mm with a crop sensor) tele end within an indoor day lit setting on an overcast cloudy grey day with a reasonably fast shutter speed whilst set to around ISO 2000. 

On a less cloudy day with a little more natural light entering the room I was able to get a steady crisp snap at ISO 250 with an even faster shutter speed whilst indoors at f5.6 and IS active hand held. Obviously you'll be able to attain usably crisp sharp free of blur snaps at even slower shutter speed settings (as well as faster brighter snaps at faster shutter speeds) in broad daylight at much lower ISO's. (Especially if you mainly intend on using this out doors in daylight and you're somewhere in the world where it might always be sunny). But then again 70mm on a full frame sensor (giving you an equivalent viewing field of 112mm on a crop sensor) as a starting point at f4 is already quite a decent option to have on a none L lens.

One thing that could be annoying is that the filter thread rotates with focusing. Meaning that if you're using a circular polariser you'll have to set your focusing first to re-adjust your polariser after just before taking the snaps.

This is a much more recent digital iteration that gives extremely crisp and sharp images even on a crop sensor Canon dslr's despite being designed for full frame.

A lighter alternative to a zoom lens with lots of sharp optical reach for the travelling photographer that wants to keep a lighter backpack.

This lens is also included as part of Canon's 2013 Winter cash back offer, and combined with another Canon product in the offer you could save up to 200GBP with additional awarded bonus cash back.