Good try, but...
I bought this lens for a shoot in Morocco as a supplement telephoto zoom. Performance was decent from 100mm to about 190mm hand held in good light. Even still I got a fair amount of soft edges. Performance above 190mm was pretty rubbish (again, hand held in good light) and approaching 300mm without a tripod produced very few useable images. I didn't shoot much with a tripod but it seemed to produce decent images when mounted. Just not practical as a walk about lens. Needs IS desperately! One other annoying thing is the lens creep. Sold upon return from the shoot. This is a good lens for someone who is just starting out or doesn't make prints, the price is fair for the quality of the lens, just not useful for my purposes.
June 22, 2012
Good all-around tele-zoom
I purchased this lens in January 2004 and have used it regularly to shoot thousands of photos. The build quality of this lens is a step above the entry-level 70-300mm lenses. Nearly eight years later, it remains in perfect operating condition and has never had a mechanical failure. I purchased it for the ultra fast and accurate ring-type USM. This feature has never disappointed me.
My only complaint with the design is lens creep (i.e. gravity pulls the zoom out to 300mm anytime the front of the lens is angled downward). This design flaw is mostly a nuisance, but seems inexcusable from a company like Canon.
Of course the lens is slow with a maximum aperture of f/4.5-5.6, but that is what you get in this price range. During bright daylight, this lens is usably good all the way out to 300mm and outstanding at shorter focal ranges (100-200mm); the colors are vibrant, excellent contrast, and sharp.
I will finally be replacing this lens in the coming months, not because it is old or falling apart, but because I’ve been shooting a lot of weddings lately and I need something capable of better low ambient light performance (i.e. something a lot more expensive). Otherwise, this is a lens that seems like it could keep clicking along for another eight years.
October 18, 2011
Not all it could be
Borrowed this lens to take on a hike because it is light and easy to hand-hold. This lens seem ideally suited for taking available-light portraits with soft backgrounds but if you want tack-sharpness, you maybe disappointed. Construction felt flimsy and never felt sure image was in focus.
April 19, 2011
easy to use, light, extremely fast. Very sharp images. What more can be said. I purchased this lens yearssssssss ago and I'm still completely satisified with it.
October 22, 2009