New-to-me lens

I bought a used Canon EF 75-300mm lens. New this lens retails at $329 plus tax. I paid $50 plus shipping. About 1/5 the cost, which makes it a bargain. But is it any good? I got to try it out briefly on Tuesday, before the weather turned against me. Unfortunately the day became excessively windy as the front moved in, which together with everything else I had to do curtailed my testing. Anyway here are the initial results.

First of all, it’s used. The barrel is a bit sloppy from wear and the zoom action isn’t smooth. Neither is bad enough to be objectionable to me, especially not at the price. The focus is fast enough and for the most part accurate. I managed to confuse it a few times as it couldn’t sort out what to fix on if the scene was too complex (like lots of branches) or if the subject was not a major portion of the picture (as with a raven in a large amount of sky). So how is the sharpness?

Marley’s empty head.
Hair of the dog.

The dog’s head is shot at 75mm (120mm equivalent due to the crop factor of the sensor). The 100% section of the full image (second photo) is pretty sharp. I’d rate it very good, in fact.

Jet in the sky.
Delta Airlines.

The airplane is shot at 300mm (480mm effectively). The 100% segment of the full image is pretty fuzzy. There are contributing factors like a lot of atmosphere to look through and the plane being in motion (although at that distance it didn’t appear to be). There is no image stabilization on this lens, which might have helped as the shot was hand-held. Nevertheless I can’t rate the long focal length results high. Good, but not very good. The Nikon would have done better using its super-zoom capacity and IS (I know, because I’ve shot the same sort of picture with it). In theory the extra MP of the Canon should allow better ‘digital zooming’, but it just isn’t there. Physics gets in the way of the hypothetical possibilities.

The colour rendition is very good. The contrast is slightly low. These factors hold true over the whole focal range, from what I’ve seen so far.

The Dead of Winter.
There is a raven there.

Needless to say I have not finished testing this lens. I’ve hardly begun, in fact.

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