New Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS Zoom Lens

2010 Photokina Canon Featured Lenses News Uncategorized

New Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6L IS Zoom LensCanon announced a batch of new DSLR gear on Wednesday, including the new EOS 60D digital SLR and a new L-grade compact super zoom, the EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM. There are lots of 70-300mm zoom lenses on the market but most are consumer zooms with an emphasis on price over quality. A compact, packable, pro-quality Canon 70-300mm superzoom lens should appeal to professional travel photographers, outdoor photographers and photojournalists.

Of the four new lenses Canon just announced, I think the new 70-300mm L zoom offers the most for me, an outdoor photographer. Size is one of the key factors as the 70-300mm focal length exists for portability and versatility – otherwise we’d all be shooting with huge prime lenses. At 5.6 inches (14.2 cm) long and 3 inches (7.6 cm) wide, the new Canon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6L IS zoom is about half the length and approximately the same girth as the 70-200 f/2.8L. That’s bigger than consumer 70-300mm lenses, but remember – this is an L lens so it has a better build, better optics and it’s weather sealed. It also has Canon’s latest image stabilization so you can shoot up to four stops slower without blur from camera shake. It would be nice if the aperture were f/3.5 instead of f/4.5 but I’m sure Canon made that decision to keep the lens smaller. That is more than one stop, though.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Zoom Lens

Working pros who need a (relatively) compact, lightweight pro-quality super-telephoto should be excited about this lens. As an action sports photographer who routinely carries serious camera gear into the backcountry, I’d love to try the new 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6L IS lens. Any way I can lighten the load without compromising quality too much is a big deal for me. And the 300mm focal length is great for all kinds of outdoor photography, including wildlife, landscape and ski photos – one of my addictions.

Projected price on the new Canon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6L IS zoom lens is $1500 and it should be in stores around the end of October – just in time for the beginning of ski season!

Official Canon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6L IS Lens Press Release >>

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About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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  • Joel says:

    I’m glad I read this, I failed to notice it had IS. The pretty slow speed on this was initially a turn-off, I just thought it was a glorified cheap 70-300, but throw in the L build etc and I think this will be a very solid lens. Lookin’ forward to your hands-on review!

  • Photo-John says:

    Yeah Joel. I agree that faster would be nicer. But if it was faster, it would be bigger and then it would be a completely different animal. The image stabilization will compensate for the slower aperture, although it won’t help you get faster shutter speeds of drop out the background like a faster aperture would. But as a size/weight compromise, I think it’s a fair one. And I ‘ve actually used similar lenses enough to know that this will work pretty well – for what I do, anyway.

    Thanks for the comment!

  • Quazi Ahmed Hussain says:

    What a great news. I always look forward to such news with deep thirst and excitement. Even without testing it; I can guarantee this would be one great optic for hobbyists like me. I was planning to get one of the great 70-200mm but now the new 70-300mm L is my instant choice and forgo the 70-200mm L. Only I wish it was around $ 1K.

  • PAul says:

    I think I might still have room for this in my bag.
    Not alongside the new 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II but replacing it and the 300mm f/2.8 L IS on international flights.
    After all there is only so much you can cram into hand luggage!

    Lighter than the 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM which I was considering as a single lens for travel.
    The 28-300 is faster at f/3.5, 77mm filter, and of course with larger diameter glass, heavier.

    I have a feeling that it may not be internal zoom, internal focus. Which would be less useful in wet weather, like the 100-400 L where I’ve already had a bad experience with fogging it totally. I assume like the 24-70 L it’ll be a non-rotating front element.

    But even the spec sheet at doesn’t say.
    Except for a single length dimension, instead of a range for zoom, which isn’t certain that it’s internal.
    CPN technical info says max dimensions, implying it may extend.

    And it looks like I need to buy a different CPL filter diameter too, about time I had more than one.

  • Quazi Ahmed Hussain says:

    I’m sure this is going to be one hell of a great daylight wildlife lens.

  • Quazi Ahmed Hussain says:

    BTW, the widest aperture is f/4 not f/4.5

  • TODZILLA says:


  • Rob says:

    I’m wondering how this will do in low light and shooting indoors? Obviously, the IS will give you a few stops when shooting without a tripod or monopod. Would it work in a darkened conference hall when shooting people on stage? They wouldn’t be moving much. Mostly sitting or standing at the podium.

  • marshall says:

    Anyone know what the aperture at 200mm is?

  • Ben Yee says:

    This lens will extend slightly by 1 3/4\ (45mm) even with internal zoom and focusing and have an aperture of f/4.0( 70-103mm), f/4.5 (104-154mm), f/5.0 (155-228mm) and f/5.6 ( 229-300mm). With a dimension of 89 x 143mm it is shorter than my 70 -200mm L IS USM 4.0 at 76 x 172mm and although some 38% heavier, I would be more than happy to carry the 70-300 instead of the 70-200 when I travel overseas as I will have 50% more reach. The good news is that they share the same filter size and the new lens design will provide for four stops image stability instead of two, maybe a monopod for travel will do! Can’t wait for this beauty to be available locally as I will be on a trip to China in late October. Well done Canon.

  • John F (in Indonesia) says:

    Just curious: I already have the EF 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 IS DO…. besides being f4 instead of f4.5 (a positive, but a fairly negligible one), being painted white (who cares, so neither positive nor negative), and being larger and heavier (both negatives)…..can someone please tell me why I would want to buy this one?

  • John F (in Indonesia) says:

    Before all the angry replies flood in, if this one had been available 3 or 4 years ago, I probably would’ve bought it instead of the DO one. The question is: If I already have the DO one (which cost about the same at the time I bought it), is there any real advantage in buying the new one?

  • Quazi Ahmed Hussain says:

    I was xtremely xcited about this lens. However, the price tag forces me to rethink. I already have EF 400mm f/5.6L i.e., 100mm more reach at same aperture with prime quality for 200 dollar less.

    So, what to do for the mid-range? Contemplating EF 70-200 f/2.8 L non-IS and use it with 1.4x extender. How is the idea?

  • Steve says:

    I just got this lens yesterday and took it for a test drive today. I’ve been using L lenses all my life, and THIS one blew me away with the image quality! If you’re looking for awesome IQ and reach, this is a must have.

  • yo mama says:

    actually the apparture is 4 and not 4.5……\

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