The Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 is one of the best budget level zoom lenses that Canon has on the market. The 70-300 is widely sought after due to its weight, zoom range, size and image stabilization (IS). The image stabilization in this lens is phenomenal.
Canon states that this lens is “designed to be handheld at a shutter speed up to 3 f-stops slower than a non-stabilized lens at the same focal length.” Image stabilization has two modes. Mode one is used for shooting stationary objects. Mode two is used for photographing a moving subject. I personally keep my IS on mode two at all times. You never know when a moving subject might be the subject of your photograph.
The Ultra Sonic Motor, or USM, is very fast and quiet while autofocusing. The lens can be used in fulltime autofocus mode as well as manual focus. Manual focus can be used by flipping a switch on the side of the lens.
Bokeh on this lens is incredible. At 300mm, the background is nice and blurred, which gives your subject definition. At 70mm, bokeh is colorful and circular, almost “dreamy” like. This is due to the lenses focal length, which compresses the background the closer you get to 300mm.
Color reproduction is excellent. In my opinion, reds, greens and blues really “pop” with this lens. Other colors are slightly deeper than what your eye can see. The only issue that I have with this lens is barrel distortion. This is common for most zoom lenses. However, distortion seems to be a little more exaggerated with this lens. Images become bulged out at 70mm, and sucked in at 300mm. Distortion can be fixed in Photoshop, with distortion starting to dissipate past 100mm.
Falloff on this lens is very minimal. You will notice darkened corners at f/5.6. Apertures past f/5.6 have no fallout.
Sharpness on this lens is absolutely outstanding. Subjects are so sharp that they almost look Photoshopped into the photo.
Overall, I would highly recommend this lens. It is perfect for a walkaround zoom lens and great for portraits.