EF 300 2.8L IS

300 2.8L IS on my Arca-Swiss B-1 and G1325 carbon Fiber legs

Courtesy of one very nice Canon guy at the EAA air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin who let me use his own 300 f/2.8L IS, I got my first taste of this lens in August 1999 before it and the other image stabilized super telephotos from Canon were released to the public.  Needless to say I was hooked.  In December of 1999 I purchased this lens to supplement my 70-200 2.8L which it ended up replacing as my main long lens for sports and wildlife.

This lens along with the 400 f/2.8L IS, 500 f/4L IS and the 600 f/4L IS are all redesigned with the addition of Image Stabilization.  They are very sought after lenses for wildlife and also for sports shooters.

This lens is made with lighter materials than the previous non-IS 300 2.8L.  This includes the body made of magnesium and a hood of carbon fiber that both knock a pound or two off.  Also new on the IS lenses are four focus stop buttons, which at any time during continuous AF you can pause the focus for some obstruction that could throw off focus (with CF-19 on either the EOS-1V or EOS-3 you can change the function of those buttons).

It is the sharpest lens I have.  And according to some tests, the sharpest 300mm lens ever.  It is also extremely sharp when using the EF 2X.

Image stabilization in this lens is very capable.  For testing purposes I shot some images at extremely slow shutter speeds such as 1/15 and 1/20 handheld and came away with nothing but sharp shots.  

The tripod collar is removable for those times when handholding.  That is a nice touch because it reduces weight and makes it more comfortable to handhold.

I actually use this lens mostly on my Gitzo and I leave IS on because it will dampen those very small vibrations if they occur.  This can be done because Canon added the ability to use this lens and the other new IS super telephotos when using a tripod.  When shooting birds in flight I'll loosen the Ball head and follow the birds because this lens has two IS modes of which mode 2 is for panning and following birds and mode 1 is general IS.


Switch panel on the 300 2.8L IS

With the STABILIZER MODE switch you can switch from MODE 1 which is general image stabilization for stationary subjects or MODE 2 which is for panning in any direction.  This is useful for birds in flight or fast racing action.  If you leave it in MODE 2 and you are not panning the lens will automatically revert back to MODE 1 even though the switch is in MODE 2.

One stupid thing about this lens is the lens case that it comes with.  It is big, plastic and bulky.  Also, on the front it says Canon 300mm Lens.  Does that invite thieves?  Hmmmm...