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Canon Users: 300 2.8L Is USM Vs 500 4L Is USM

Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:18 pm

Hi guys!

I need your opinion!
Is the Canon EF 300 2.8L IS USM sharper than the EF 500 4L IS USM?
the reach of the 300 is way out of the 500 but the 300 has 2.8 (in which you could put 1.4 TC and have 420 f4).
If anyone have sample of both lenses, please show me.

Posts: 4586
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:26 am

RE: Canon Users: 300 2.8L Is USM Vs 500 4L Is USM

Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:15 am

I think the 300 is sharper, but a 500 will be sharper than a 300+ 1.4 Also the focus will be slower with a 1.4 attached,

But to be honest, I would say sharpness is your least concern with either of these lenses - both are uber-sharp, amongst the sharpest lenses Canon make - to differentiate them is really splitting hairs.

More signficant I think is the fstop difference and handling (due to size and weight) as well as the difference in focal length. I'd go for the one which best suits your needs, and don't worry about sharpness - both will be fine.

Incidentally, I would be very surprised if you could notice any difference in sharpness from a posted jpg - plus camera stability, atmospheric conditions etc. will have a much bigger impact on apparent sharpness than the lens optics. You'll need to go somewhere like DxO and look at lab results if the theoretical sharpness really matters to you.


Colin K. Work, Pixstel
Posts: 1788
Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2000 11:32 pm

RE: Canon Users: 300 2.8L Is USM Vs 500 4L Is USM

Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:08 am

I own a 300 f/2.8 and a 400 f/2.8. I've shot with both the 500 and 600 f/4s as well. I've never noticed any difference in sharpness between the four lenses. The 500 f/4 isn't as heavy as you might expect either.

The 300 suited me better as an every day lens--it comes along in my bag all the time. The 500 is more of a specialty lens. If you're only shooting planes and need the reach, get the 500. You can stick a 1.4 on it and get a fairly decent looking image at 700mm. If you're going to be shooting other stuff and need some portability, the 300 is an excellent choice.

It also depends on the camera you're shooting with. Both of them on a 5D MK III or 1DX will look really good. If you're using a MK IV, there might be some ghosting evident in bright sunlight with the 300 and 1.4x converter. It's an issue I've had recently with both the 300 and 400, and it really ruins an image. I'll be happy to email you some files, just PM me.

You can't go wrong with either one. If money wasn't an object, I'd go for a 300 f/2.8 and a 600 f/4.  

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