Yesterday I got my new Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L II IS USM, after selling my old Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L lens. This successor is lightweight, weighing approximately 13% less than its predecessor, yet offers faster operation, improved image stabilization and superior optics. Incorporating a newly developed Fluorine coating that keeps soiling, smears and fingerprints to a minimum. It has a third Image Stabilization mode (Mode 3) that activates IS only when the shutter button is fully pressed, and giving the equivalent effect of a shutter speed four stops faster. I had just about an hour free time in between my busy hospital practice to test this lens on my Canon EOS 5D Mark III. So this is not going to be an extensive review but a mere test drive. I also tried my hand shooting some closeup using this lens along with my Canon EF 1.4x III Extender.
Here are my initial impressions. It is faster in focusing ability as compared to the older lens. I cannot compare sharpness as I have not yet calibrated this lens. I usually do the calibration and micro focus adjustment as shown in this excellent article at Northlight Images by Keith Cooper. Here are my impression during initial testing. Lens feels much lighter even though it is only 200gam lighter than its predecessor. Now the combined weight of this lens and extender will be equal to the older lens. It feels more solidly built and weight seems much well balanced than the earlier model.
I love the new lens cap of the Version 2. I used to hate the old Canon leather lens caps. I had adapted plastic 120mm Tupperware lid as lens cap for my earlier lens. The entire lens hood is no longer covered, but the padded nylon cover which can easily be removed by pulling the Velcro tab. The cap can also be attached directly to the lens without the hood being there. The lens cap has a padded-but-hard back to protect the front lens element. auto focus USM is now noiseless and operates seamlessly and feels very smooth and balanced.
The new hood has the rubber where hood screws in so there is no more paint chipping in this area, which was my major gripe in the earlier model. The new IS with four stop advantage is supposed to wonders in the field. But I am yet to test it out. I’ll write an extended review once I’m able to confirm all these finding. The image quality nevertheless is stunning. Seems color reproduction and contrast are better than the last. The new coatings will help protect the glass elements. Unfortunately time I chose to take this photos was bad. It was afternoon and it was raining and I was getting a partially brightly lit and partially cloudy areas all over my garden. Hoping to spend few weekends to fully test this lens.
These closeup pictures were shot using Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L II IS USM with Canon EF 1.4x III Extender. All the photographs are cropped from the original. I will after extensive testing will review this lens in detail. Overall with whatever I tested in the short time I felt that it is just a beautiful lens. This lens seems to improves on every aspect of the original Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM model and may be the best Canon lens produced yet.