Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM

This review covers


» Image Quality «


» Sample Pictures «

» Conclusion «

» Further Information «

Table of contents

Shot with the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM:

Cheetah in the Savute marshlands of Botsuana  (300mm / 480mm eff., f/2.8, 1/500s, ISO 200, APS-C)  © Gil De Sousa



EF 300mm
f/2.8L IS USM

The EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM is certainly one of Canon's flagship lenses. The combination of 300 mm focal length with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 is a popular choice for a good reason. Wildlife photography requires low f-stops for shooting in low light conditions (during dawn and dusk) and sports photography certainly needs the fast shutter speeds that can be achieved because of the huge amount of light the lens lets through. The EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM combines these specs with an outstanding image quality: the sharpness / resolution is so good that it likely outperforms any of today's camera sensors. Slight color fringes can occur in out-of-focus and in-focus parts of the image but they are minimal. Other image errors like curvature of the focal plane, distortion or corner shadow are not noticeable.

To get to this level of image quality a lot of high-end optical material is used in the EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM which is reflected in its sturdy size and weight. The lens is of excellent build quality and it's very rugged. It is sealed against dust and moisture and thus can be used in light rain. It is officially compatible with extenders and has additional features like the storing and recalling of focus presets. The autofocus system is quick and accurate. The image stabilizer does its job well and allows the use of shutter speeds 2 f-stops longer than regular.

The EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM has a high price tag but if you can afford it this lens will not disappoint.

-Did you like this review? Show your appreciation

Thanks for supporting LENSTESTS. See how you can help:
  • Go to our Facebook-Page and "Like" it
  • Next time you shop at (no matter for what) use this link to have Amazon pay a small comission to us. Of course you won't pay more  (Details)
Thank you very much for your support!

Further Information

Note: this lens has a successor - the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM


-Data table

NameCanon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM
Model year1999
Market price (Germany)?
Market price (USA)$ 6,000
CompatibilityCompatible with full frame cameras
Lens typePrime (fixed focal length)
Aperture range at shortest focal lengthf/2.8 to f/32
Aperture range at longest focal lengthn.a.
Model No.?
Number of aperture blades8
Aperture blades are circular?No
Has image stabilization?Yes
F-stop gain of image stabilizer2
Number of image stabilizer modes2
Allows manual override during autofocus?Yes
Has filter thread?No
Filter sizen.a.
Officially compatible with extenders?Yes
Has a metal lens mount?Yes
Weight90 oz
Diameter5 "
Length (mount surface to front end)10 "
Length - fully extended10 "
Length - fully extended with hood15 "
Shortest focal length300 mm
Longest focal lengthn.a.
Effective shortest focal length on cameras with APS-C sensor480 mm
Effective longest focal length on cameras with APS-C sensorn.a.
Minimum focus distance8.20 '
Maximum magnification0.13 x
Front element rotates when focusing?No
Front element rotates when zooming?n.a.
Extends when focusing?No
Extends when zooming?n.a.
Zoom lockable?n.a.
Number of AF ranges3
Number of AF presets1
Length of AF preset recall ring0.2 "
Sealed against dust and moisture?Yes
Seal requires filter to be present?Yes
Has AF stop switch?Yes
Has AF stop button?Yes
Has distance indicator?Yes
Distance information is in EXIF data?Yes
Uses drop-in type filters?Yes
Drop-in filter size52 mm
Length of zoom ringn.a.
Length of focus ring1.3 "
Number of lenses17
Number of optical groups13
Lens Hood
Weight8 oz
Maximum diameter6 "
Length6 "
Model No.ET-120
Lens Cap
Weight10 oz
Length0.6 "
Model No.E-145
Tripod Mount
Weight5 oz
Maximum diameter3.9 "
Model No.?
Case / Pouch
Weight89 oz
Model No.Lens Case 300



Image Quality