Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM
 

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM

This review covers


PAGE 2

» Image Quality «


PAGE 3

» Sample Pictures «

» Conclusion «

» Further Information «


Table of contents

Image Qualityhide all test shotsshow all test shots

Note: the test shots for each of the image quality tests can be compared directly amongst all tested lenses. Within the test box click on "Choose lens to compare with..." to add a lens to the comparison. Then use your mouse to hover over the lens thumbnails. If all those test shots are a little too overwhelming consider clicking on "hide all test shots" above this paragraph.

Sharpness / Resolution

The EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM's performance in regard to sharpness / resolution is simply outstanding. In fact it is so good that I doubt any camera available today can make use of all the resolution this lens has to offer. Even at the maximum aperture of f/2.8 the image is as sharp as can be from center to corner. As is expected the image is slightly less sharp when using the lens with an APS-C camera but even then it is still excellent.

-Test shots

Full FrameAPS-C    tested with 5D Mark II
Sharpness / Resolution

Distortion

The EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM does not show any relevant distortion.

-Test shots

Full FrameAPS-C    tested with 5D Mark II
Distortion
Aperture:
Irrelevant

Crop from top of image (downsized)

Crop from bottom of image (downsized)

Best case: the line between the black and white boxes is completely straight in both test shot crops

Color Errors Transverse Chromatic Aberrations

Though the EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM shows some color fringes towards the corners of the image they are hardly perceptible in actual photographs. The lens performs extremely well in this test.

-Test shots

Full FrameAPS-C    tested with 5D Mark II
Color Errors

Crop from lower image border
(in landscape orientation)

Color errors in focused parts of the image (upscaled)

 

Best case: no color fringes

Crop from left image border
(in landscape orientation)

Beauty of blurred image parts Bokeh and Axial CA

The EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM performs well in regard to the beauty of blurred image parts. The aperture consists of 8 blades and has an even and round shape from f/2.8 up to around f/8. Round aperture shapes are an important factor for making blurred image parts look smooth. At higher f-stops the EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM's aperture shape is somewhat angular but high f-stops are usually avoided in wildlife and sports photography. Out-of-focus parts of the image can show some color fringes at low f-stops but their intensity is quite acceptable and by f/11 they are gone.

-Test shots

Full FrameAPS-C    tested with 5D Mark II
Beauty of blurred image parts

The way blurred parts of the image look depends on several things such as focal length, aperture setting, aperture shape, distance to the background, distance between foreground and background as well as the texture and dynamic range of the background. With so many things to consider it's very difficult to compare different lenses. Moreover the beauty of blurred image parts is also a matter of personal taste.

In general blurred image parts should be as uniformly blurred as possible and ideally not show any artifacts. Out of the above mentioned criteria only the shape of the aperture cannot be influenced by the photographer and thus this test will show you the shape you are dealing with (left test image). To minimize artifacts there should be no bright line around the edge of the aperture shape. To get uniform blur the aperture should be as circular as possible (which depends on the number of aperture blades used and their individual shape). Furthermore there should be no color fringes in out-of-focus areas of the image (middle and right test shots).

Aperture Shape

Number of aperture blades:  8
Type: straight
Best case: circular and evenly bright

Color errors in out-of-focus areas of the image (upscaled)

before focal plane

behind focal plane

Crops from the center of the image
Best case: no color fringes in out-of-focus areas

Curvature of the focal plane Field Curvature

The focal plane of the EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM does not show any relevant curvature.

-Test shots

Full FrameAPS-C    tested with 5D Mark II
Curvature of the focal plane

Crop from the corner of the image
focused at the image corner

 

Best case:
no difference

Crop from the corner of the image
focused at the image center

Corner Shadow Vignetting

When used with a full frame camera the EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM shows just a tiny bit of corner shadow at maximum aperture. Nothing to be worried about and it naturally gets even better when using a slightly higher f-stop or when using it with an APS-C camera. Telephoto lenses usually do not express a lot of corner shadow and thus the EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM's good results in this test don't come as a surprise.

-Test shots

Full FrameAPS-C    tested with 5D Mark II
Corner Shadow

Crops (100%)

Corner

Center

Best case: no difference in brightness

Test shot (downsized)

Corner

Center

Best case: perfectly even brightness

Result-Chart

Best case: no color gradient

EV

0

-1

-2

-3

-4

-5

PAGE 1

Handling

PAGE 2

Image Quality

PAGE 3

Conclusion

 

top