A Tale of Two Teles

Or: another boring lens test post.

A few moments of sunshine have been granted here, so I took advantage of it. The main purpose was to compare the Canon EF 75-300mm zoom to the Canon EF-S 55-250mm zoom. The results were … interesting.

I’m going to spare you the innumerable shots made under various experimental conditions and get down to a few that demonstrate the differences. Keep in mind the EF-S lens has image stabilization, thus to make things “fair” I had the ISO at 400 so the shutter speed could be quick (1/500 and 1/750) and the aperture stopped down a bit (f9.5 and f8.0) to give maximum advantage to both lenses. As usual these are 640×427 crops of the full-size images.

The first two are taken at 75mm and approximately 75mm as this is the minimum focal length of the longer zoom.

75-300mm EF lens.
55-250mm EF-S lens.

This is a very difficult one to call! I think I see a slight edge in the 75-300mm in fact.

The next pair are at 250mm and approximately 250mm – the maximum of the shorter range zoom.

55-250mm EF-S lens.
75-300mm EF lens.

Here the prize goes to the 55-250mm EF-S as there is noticeably better detail in the bark. It is still a very close thing, and in normal size presentation the difference isn’t noticeable. What is noticeable in each photo is that the colour rendition and contrast is the same between both lenses.

Now, would a brand-new edition of the EF 75-300mm lens be better? Maybe, but I doubt it as I don’t see any defects in the glass itself. Certainly a new one would operate more smoothly, but it would also cost 5X as much. I suppose the $600+ version with IS would be better, but … I think I’ll save that money towards a replacement to the super-zoom Nikon. I really only bought this lens so I’d have a long zoom for the Canon 5D if/when I manage to obtain one (the EF-S lenses don’t work right on full-size sensors).

The bottom line with any lens is: can you take a good picture with it? Let’s see:

A raven under power. (300mm)
Icy sun. (75mm)

The answer appears to be “yes”.

Otherwise I have to report no progress on The Plan as of yet.