Sorry by this specific question, but I'm pretty crazy here looking for a difference. I've got to buy a lens tomorrow (I leave my country in 2 days) I could see the difference between 55-250 and 70-300, and looking in my country's ebay site, I can found that there is a significant price difference between the Canon 70-300 IS and Canon 75-300 IIi USM Ultrasonic (the second one is half the price)

So... my questions are grouped because I think it them have relation:

1) What is the reason for the price difference?

I think it's because the second one doesn't have IS. Is that it?

2) Is the IS significant at 300mm with 4.0/5.6 ? Some sources said yes, while others said that it doesn't matter. :S Examples in similar images will be really preciated! I couldn't found them in google, I just found examples for L and not L

3) What is the difference between 70 and 75?

By the way, I found that they all have IS in wikipedia :S I really don't understand this. I've got a Rebel T3i.


I found finally a comparison: http://www.dpreview.com/products/compare/side-by-side?products=canon_75-300_4p0-5p6&products=canon_75-300_4p0-5p6_is

And a guy who buys both recommends (for the price) 55-250 IS and the 75-300 without IS. What is the better suggestion, since I can't afford the 70-300 IS right now?

UPDATE 2: The 55-250 lens is EF-S while other ones are EF. Should I take this into consideration?

  • 1
    This ground has already been covered at photo.stackexchange.com/questions/35171/… – Michael C May 17 '13 at 19:02
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    The EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 is not worth the trouble. It just isn't a very good lens. The EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 yields about the same optical quality as the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 but can only be used on a cropped sensor body. For anyone spending the money on a full frame body I would think one of the 70-200 L series would be a better fit than the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6. If you've got a cropped sensor body I'd highly recommend the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 unless you are planning to go full frame soon, in which case I'd recommend the EF 70-200mm f/4L for only a little more than the 70-300. Much better lens. – Michael C May 17 '13 at 19:08
  • Thanks a lot to everyone. I don't plan to sell my camera right now to get a full frame (someday, perhaps). Now I'm using this one to learn, is my (I don't know the phrase in english, but in spanish is:) "little horse to battle" – MacGyver May 20 '13 at 1:41

1) Yes, the price difference is because of image stabilization. It is not an unreasonable price difference for IS vs non-IS because of the cost and complexity added by the IS mechanism. The optics quality between the older 75-300 and the newer 70-300 is also significant.

2) Yes, it's hugely significant, particularly on the longer focal lengths. You can get away without the IS if you plan to always use a tripod as it isn't much help for a shot from a tripod, but for freehand shots or even monopod shots it makes a HUGE difference. As long as the subject isn't moving, IS effectively makes the lens several stops faster than it actually is. For example, on the f/4 end of the lens, it would be equivalent to having an f/2.8 lens because of how much longer you can keep the shutter open. Note that if the subject is moving, you can't use longer shutter times, so for moving subjects, it's less helpful, but still makes the shot steadier.

3) Just differences in design. I believe the 70-300 4-5.6 IS may be newer because the old 75-300 4-5.6 IS no longer appears on Canon's site or in the current EF line up books. I can see from wikipedia that there was an old 75-300 that was IS, but it is not the current model. Unless there is IS in the name, the lens does not have image stabilization.

Update: I'd personally recommend either the 55-250 IS or save up for the 70-300 IS. You should be able to find the 70-300 IS for around $500 or so with some shopping around. That's what I seem to remember getting mine for. The 70-300 is a great lens for the price. I don't have any hands on experience with the other two. Granted, I'm using the 70-300 on a full frame camera, so the 55-250 would be closer to the same purpose assuming you are working on an APS-C body.

  • excellent, you are an amazing teacher! You really helpme a lot today. I'm wonder now if buy the 55-250 EFs and sell everything in the upgrade or buy the 70-300. Decisions... Decisions... – MacGyver May 17 '13 at 5:12
  • The price difference is because the optics in the 75-300 are much lower grade than either of the other lenses. Just ask @dpollitt. – Michael C May 17 '13 at 18:58
  • For only about $200 more than the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS you can pick up an EF 70-200f/4L which is a much better lens optically, though without IS. – Michael C May 17 '13 at 19:11

In my opinion, the EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 lenses are some of the very few lenses in Canon's current lineup which should be avoided (the others are the unstabilized 18-55 lenses, because the price premium for the stabilized version is so small). As can be seen from this review, it's not a good lens; all that applies to both the USM and non-USM variants. You'll get better images by purchasing the EF-S 55-250 and cropping for the extra length if you really need it; the EF-S 55-250 is surprisingly good optically given the price. The only real downsides are the slow focusing, the rotating front element and the build quality, and those aren't critical for a lot of photographers.

Note that none of the above criticisms of the 75-300 lenses apply to the EF 70-300 lens, which is a fine lens - but that's why you pay more for it.

As for the difference between EF and EF-S lenses, see this question. The very quick summary: don't worry about it unless you're intending to upgrade to a full-frame camera, and given that you're looking at low-end lenses here, probably not even then.

  • Great insight on the 75-300s. Not terribly surprising at their price point. I'm pretty sure I've had sunglasses worth more than them. ;) – AJ Henderson May 17 '13 at 13:39

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