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Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 SP Di VC USD XLD for Canon Digital SLR Cameras

by Tamron

List Price: CDN$ 499.99
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  • Best-in-Class Optical Performance
  • High resolution thru use of XLD glass
  • New USD (Ultra Silent Drive) motor for fast and quiet AF
  • VC anti-shake mechanism for steady shooting
  • Dual format Di design for use on fullframe and smaller sensor cameras
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Product Details

  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 10.2 x 10.2 cm ; 907 g
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 Kg
  • Item model number: A005E
  • ASIN: B003YH9DZ4
  • Date first available at Amazon.ca: May 23 2011
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,459 in Electronics (See Top 100 in Electronics)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Product Description

Product Description

This premium, state-of-the-art, telephoto zoom lens is the culmination of decades of outstanding innovation in ultra-long-range zoom optics by Tamron. It provides professional and enthusiast users of full-frame and APS-C format digital SLR cameras with the ultimate in image quality and handling in the telephoto zoom class. Built to exacting SP (Superior Performance) standards, it delivers ultra-high resolution across the image field at all focal lengths, along with the first-ever USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) for extraordinary auto-focusing speed and responsiveness. To assure razor sharp imaging when shooting handheld, the SP 70-300mm incorporates VC (Vibration Compensation), Tamron's exclusive low-friction tri-axial image stabilization system acclaimed for its unsurpassed anti-shake performance.

From the Manufacturer

In the pursuit to achieve the most outstanding image resolution in the 70-300mm class, Tamron’s Anniversary lens - the SP AF70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD - utilizes an advanced optical design that features an LD (Low Dispersion) and an XLD (Extra Low Dispersion) lens element made from specialized materials that prevent chromatic aberration. As a result, the SP AF70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD (Model A005) boasts sharper contrast and greater descriptive performance than all others in its class.

In addition, it is the first Tamron lens sporting a USD (Ultra Silent Drive), Tamron’s very own auto-focus drive mechanism This USD mechanism delivers fast, making it a perfect telephoto zoom choice for photographing sports, racing, or other fast-moving subjects. The lens also boasts Tamron’s proprietary VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization to assist in handheld photography, not only at long focal length ranges where blurring is common, but also under low-lit conditions, dramatically enhancing photographic freedom. This combination of best in class image resolution, Ultra Silent Drive and Vibration Compensation is a new achievement of Tamron technology culminating in the production of a premium 70-300mm lens.

Tamron SP AF60mm F/2 Di II
Get dynamic shots with Tamron's new 60th anniversary lens
Tamron SP AF 70-300mm Di VC USD Features

  • Best-in-Class Optical Performance
  • High resolution thru use of XLD glass
  • New USD (Ultra Silent Drive) motor for fast and quiet AF
  • VC anti-shake mechanism for steady shooting
  • SP class specifications
  • Dual format Di design for use on full-frame and smaller sensor cameras
  • 109-465mm equivalent focal length on APS-C cameras
Super Performance (SP) for Discriminating Shooters
Tamron SP (Super Performance) series is a line of ultra-high-performance lenses designed and manufactured to the exacting specifications demanded by professionals and others who require the highest possible image quality. In creating SP lenses Tamron’s optical designers put their foremost priority on achieving superior performance parameters - they are all designed to a higher standard with little regard for cost constraints. As a result, Tamron lenses bearing the SP designation feature impressive and innovative designs that have established an enviable reputation for excellence among those knowledgeable photographers that demand the very best.

A Full-Time Manual Focus Makes Fine Tuning Easy
Tamron SP AF60mm F/2 Di II
BBAR lens reduces reflection
All Tamron lenses have high auto focus precision and are designed to capture subjects easily and in almost any situation, yet sometimes a photographer wants to fine-tune and make adjustments on the fly. The integration of a full-time manual focus offers just that: instead of fumbling with switches, photographers can from auto-focus to manual-focus by simply adjusting the focus ring. This feature helps the lens produce impressive results even in telephoto situations where the depth of field is narrow.

Cleaner Crisper Images without Flare or Ghosting
The new BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) reduce the lens reflection and dispersion that cause ghosting and flare. The coating enhances light transmission in both the short and long wavelength ranges, ensuring excellent performance in all photographic conditions. Additionally, internal surface coatings are applied to cemented surfaces of all lens elements to deliver sharp, high-contrast images and flawless color re-production.

Vibration Compensation (VC) Mechanism-Making Telephoto & Low Light a New Medium
The actuator and algorithms, developed in-house at Tamron, provide the power that gives VC (Vibration Compensation) it's excellent tracking performance and smooth, stable viewfinder image. Tamron's VC mechanism provides a three-coil system, whereby the three driving coils activate the shake-compensating VC lens groups electromagnetically via three steel balls. The VC lens elements are held in place only by contact with the steel balls, achieving smooth movement with little friction, helping to eliminate the blur from camera shakes for clean shots night or indoors, or in macro and telephoto situations, hand held has never been this easy.

Tamron SP AF60mm F/2 Di II
VC on - VC off

Speed is Nothing if not Stable
Fast and accurate without so much as a whisper. The SP 70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD is the first to boast Tamron's new Ultra Silent Drive (USD). USD is Tamron's latest autofocus motor technology rotor, converting, converting ultrasonic waves into torque to quietly deliver a new level of focus precision and speed. Because it's still built on a rotor it's full time manual focus is as easy as ever-allowing the photographer smooth manual focusing without having to fumble with a switch. With advanced motor technology and newly developed software, Tamron's USD delivers a practical, precise, noiseless photographic experience at turbo speed. For those dynamic sports shots, moving vehicles, or fast moving subjects, there has never been a better option.

Tamron SP AF60mm F/2 Di II
Smooth manual focusing without having to fumble with a switch

Extra Low Dispersion (XLD) Lens
Extra Low Dispersion (XLD) lens elements made from specialized ultra-high-grade glass allow Tamron lens designers to achieve much greater control over chromatic aberration (color fringing) and magnification aberrations, the two major factors that inhibit image quality enhancement. In combination with LD elements, XLD elements are used to achieve sophisticated lenses that deliver the highest possible contrast, the finest detail, and superior imaging performance throughout the entire zoom range.

Full Frame Sensor for Ulitmate Versatility
The SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 DI VC USD is one of Tamron's Digitally Integrated (Di) designs. The Di series is the mark of Tamron lenses that are format-versatile since they can be used on Digital APS-C, full-frame and 35mm SLR cameras.

Tamron SP AF60mm F/2 Di II
Full Frame Digital SLR/35mm Film Camera

Tamron SP AF60mm F/2 Di II
APS-C Size Camera

Auto-focus/Manual-focus (AF/MF) Switch Mechanism on the Focus Ring
The ability to switch quickly between auto-focus (AF) and manual-focus (MF) is a great asset in many types of shooting, especially sports and nature photography. This is easily accomplished with Tamron’s ingenious AF/MF system. By simply sliding the focus ring back and forth between the two positions you can select either the AF or MF focusing position. In manual-focus mode Tamron lenses provide smooth, precise manual focusing by turning their wide, well-textured focusing rings.

Technical Specifications
  • Model: A005 ("A005E" seen on the lens is a generic optical lens design code and does not indicate mount compatibility)
  • Focal length: 70-300mm
  • Maximum aperture: F/4-5.6
  • Angle of view (diagonal): 34° 21'-8° 15’
  • Lens construction: 17 elements, 12 groups
  • Minimum focus distance: 59.1"
  • Maximum magnification ratio: 1:4 (at f = 300mm: MFD 1.5m)
  • Filter size (mm): Ø62mm
  • Length : 5.6"
  • Diameter: Ø3.2"
  • Weight : 27.0 oz.
  • No. of diaphragm blades: 9
  • Minimum aperture: F/32-45
  • Standard accessories: Flower Shaped Lens Hood

Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tenzin Gawa on Nov. 4 2012
Verified Purchase
Hi I brought this lense for my canon t2i it was great price and very good lense,I love it this lense
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nicckers on June 14 2014
Verified Purchase
I bought this for my trip to Australia. I didn't want to spend a lot on a lens just in-case it gets damaged. I was skeptical..I only shoot with L series Canons, but thought I would give it a try.

Its a super sharp lens
light weight and compact
Easy to travel with

Cons (and minor ones if anything)
There is a bit of vignetting when shot at 300 with the lens hood on, but nothing that lightroom can't remove.
Kind of noisy
the focal distance ring is backwards from a traditional Canon ( left being 70 mm turn to the right being 300 on a canon)

Over all , for the cost.. you can't beat it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By thefly on Nov. 28 2013
Verified Purchase
Replaces my Cannon EF-S 55-250, and have to say that this product is a vast improvement. The build quality is solid, the lense just feels great. The focus speed is amazing, and the image quality is amazing. Haven't found anything that I dislike about it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eva_Landry on Aug. 7 2013
Verified Purchase
bought it for my canon 7d for macro shots of bugs and love it, we see all the details very sharp. great purchase. would recommend to my friends.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 281 reviews
116 of 117 people found the following review helpful
Tamron's AF 70-300mm Di VC USD XLD beats Nikon, finally! Oct. 18 2010
By GloryGuide - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I've been considering the Nikon 70-300mm VR Lens Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED IF AF-S VR Zoom Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras for quite a while, but glad that Amazon had an issue recently and stopped selling it directly (not sure why).

I noticed that this Tamron lens goes to f4 instead of f4.5 and has an Ultrasonic Drive (USD) for autofocus (AF) which is on par with Nikon and Canon technologies. I've also been watching eBay to see what kind of price I could pickup the Nikon for used or refurbished and found I could buy the Tamron for about the same price new(after $50 rebate) with a 6 year warranty. I'm not sure why, but there are a ton of the Nikon lenses being sold refurbished, which only have a one year warranty. There are several comments here on Amazon about reviewers getting a bad copy of the lens. So I figured I would take a chance on the Tamron lens, glad I did!

I started taking sports pictures at my son's football games and have been blown away by the speed of the USD. My camera is a Nikon D90 and taking photos at 4.5fps was easy with continuous AF.
I took some shots all the way out at 300mm and this lens produced very sharp results with great depth-of-field and Bokeh. This lens works with full frame FX and cropped frame DX cameras, so the zoom on my D90 is fantastic. Rarely did I have any results that weren't excellent.

The Tamron lens also has their XLD (extra low dispersion glass) that seems pretty evident in the sharpness and lack of chromatic aberration. This is Tamron's first lens to incorporate all of these high end technologies and I think they got it right.

Several of the shots I took were of kids running at high speed and I purposely slowed the shutter down to capture some of the motion in the images. Tamron's VC (vibration correction) performed stellar with my erratic panning and hand holding. I did a test with it off and the difference is dramatic. My other Nikon lenses with VR perform well, but the Tamron VC has got them beat for sure.

I love competion, because it makes everyone better. I'd say in this case, Tamron has finally put out a product that beats Nikon.
217 of 227 people found the following review helpful
Stunning! Image Quality on par with Canon 70-200mm F4 IS Nov. 21 2010
By Anton Huo - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase

* Great Price for all the professional features
* Image Quality on par with Canon L series


* Location of zoom and focus ring

I was lucky to get myself a copy of this one-shot wonder on Amazon. After I received it, I did some quick test. Since we are still under house arrest because of taking care of our newborn, I have yet to test this lens in the field to the fullest extent. The Tamron is a full frame lens and on a 1.6 cropped sensor, the focal length is converted 112-480mm. This lens is my second Tamron in my bag. My first Tamron lens was the SP 17-50mm F2.8. The 17-50mm lands a special spot in my heart not only because its stunning image quality along with a great pricing, but it's also my first professional lens and I have done tons of portfolio work with it. As of today, this lens is still my main workhorse and all the images you see here were taken with it.

What's in the box? It comes with the usual stuff that one would expect, front, rear cap, user's manual, etc. FYI, just like many third party brand, all Tamron lenses come with a lens hood. This one is no exception, it comes with large flower petal lens hood. No lens pouch included and no warranty card either. Tamron has moved from traditional mail-in warranty registration to online registration.

My initial response when I took it out of box - this is a sturdy, solid, well constructed lens inside a plastic barrel. Some may be disappointed because its plastic look and feel. But for me, I find this lens is made with quality material and the plastic finish does not bother me at all. No weather seal protection which I don't expect to see one at this price range. If you expected this lens to be light because of the plastic finish. Wrong! This lens weights 765g. How heavy is 765g? It is equivalent to 2 cans of 12oz soda. It is about the same as the Canon 70-200mm f4L IS and 130g more than its main competitor, the Canon 70-300mm IS. It is a great balance with my Canon 40D but a bit front heavy on my Rebel XT. Based on the weight, I believe Tamron's target audience for this lens is for photographers using professional or semi-professional bodies.

The barrel of the lens protruding out when changing the focal length. The front element does not rotate so this is a plus for the polarizer filter users. The rubber zoom ring is wide and handling is great. There is no zoom creep - the lens barrel does not sliding back and forth when the camera is tilted. The focusing ring is smaller than that of the zoom ring and it is less dampened than the zoom ring. A distance scale window is located near the lens mount. There are two switches on the lens, AF/MF and VC (vibration compensation). The location of the switch is on the left side near the lens mount and they can be easily accessed with your fingers without moving your hand away from the camera. Ergonomically, it meets my expectation except for the location of the zoom and focusing ring which will be discussed later.

USD and HD Video shooting

This lens is the first lens featuring Tamron's version of ultra sonic motor, USD (ultrasonic silent drive). Something worth mentioning is that Sony owns 11% of Tamron. Because of this, I was suspecting the USD is based on the same platform as Sony's SSM (Super Sonic Motor) technology. Per Tamron EU, they claimed the USD is "Tamron's very own ultrasonic auto-focus drive mechanism." Regardless who owns the technology, the focusing speed is amazing - silent and quick just like Canon's USM. How does it compare to Canon's USM? Honestly, I can't tell the differences after I did some side by side comparison.

If you are familiar with Tamron's past lens design pattern, you will notice that the focus path is reduced on the lenses with conventional focusing motor. The purpose is to increasing the focusing speed where the focusing ring only rotates 30 - 50 degrees. The increase of speed does come with a disadvantage which is that manual focusing becomes more difficult. On my Tamron 17-50mm, I don't even bother with using the manual focusing. When the focusing speed is increased by the implementation of the new USD, Tamron increases the focus path and now you can turn the focusing ring ~ 180 degree. This allows photographers to fine tune the focusing. I believe this is also a plus for shooting HD video with DSLR where photographer can smoothly switching the focus from one point of interest to another.

Image quality

Now the image quality from this lens. The main competitor here is the Canon 70-300mm IS. However, by the time writing his review, I no longer have the Canon with me. So I will compare it against one of sharpest consumer zoom lenses ever made, the Canon 70-200mm F4 IS. Both images were obtained with the same setting - 70mm, F4, 0.8 sec and ISO100 on tripod with IS off. Both images were taken with a Canon 40D.

Sample Image

100% Cropped

As you can see the Canon produce images with higher center sharpness and overall contrast. But the Tamron holds its ground pretty well. The IQ of from center of the image produced by the Canon is slightly better than that of the Tamron. When it comes to the corners, to my surprise, the Tamron starts to catch up with its competitor. Although the differences between the two are insignificant. The Canon is a $1200 lens, 3 times more than that of the Tamron. I will let you be the judge. see [...] for the sample images

Vibration compensation (VC)

This is the 4th Tamron lens that features the VC. Although the company just joins the market of optical image stabilization, it provides a stunning 4-stop stabilization. To activate the VC, just simply switch the VC from off to on. Unlike Canon IS, it does not have a mode 1 or mode 2 for panning. The VC has its own way to detects vertical or horizontal movement and makes proper adjustment for stabilizing images when shooting panning. Like Canon's IS, user's must turn off VC when using the lens on a tripod. Below are a few images taken with the Tamron. The slowest shutter speed I can get to with the VC is 1/30 second @ 300mm for a sharp image.

The Drawback

After a using this lens from a short trip to the local park. my biggest disappointment is the location of the zoom ring and focus ring. By comparing the Tamron and the Canon, you will notice that the Canon zoom ring is closer to the lens mount. Why is this important? It is important when you reverse-store your lens hood, you can still zoom the lens and leave the focus in AF, which leaves you a fully functional lens. The Tamron has a gigantic flower hood. Once I reversed it, it will cover the entire zoom ring and you can't zoom the lens at all. This means to zoom the lens, I have to either leave the hood in the forward position all the time or have it removed all the time.
Tamron 70-300mm SPii USD VC Di on Canon 40D

Lens hood blocking the zoom ring

The location of the focusing ring is at a bad location. If you look closely at the Canon L series lenses, you will notice that the focusing ring is always in front of the zoom ring. It is close to the lens mount and it makes balancing the camera difficult when manual focusing since both hands are too close to the camera and leaves the heavy front part of the lens without any support.


Friends asked me, what do I plan to do with this lens? Besides using it for travel, this will be my primary lens to replace the Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS for my studio work. Because of its narrow view angle, I am able to place my light extremely close to my subject to create the dramatic lighting that I like. This lens comes with all the features that I will need for my work. The VC will reduce blur and provide more sharp photos. The USD provides a fast and silent focus to ensure a moment is well captured. The full time manual not only makes this lens the best in its class but also a powerful tools when it comes to fine-tuning focus without changing metering.

I used to use the Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS for my studio work and its 1500g of weight shows little mercy on my shoulder and neck after hours of shooting. In addition, the 2.8 is way overkill for a control environment shoot where I usually work between f5.6 to f11 @ 1/250s. The Tamron has everything I need and nothing I don't. Not to mentioned the price is only $399 (with Tamron $50 rebate, ends 12/31). I can now leave the 70-200mm for shooting weddings and events.

The draw back of this lens is the location of the focusing and zoom rings. The focusing ring location is no ideal for shooting with manual focus. The zoom ring will be blocked by the lens hood when it is stored in reverse position. For this price, I am not complaining, at least not for my studio work where I rarely use lens hood. I can see this becoming a problem when using in the field where I have to remove my lens hood first in order to zoom. A few seconds wasted may lose a chance to capture something amazing.

How does this lens affect Tamron as a company? This lens is not only a milestone in the history of the company, but also a gateway to the next level of lens manufacturing. For the longest time, the company mainly focus in the consumer market due to the lack of optical image stabilization and ultrasonic focus motor. With the recent development of USD and VC, I can see these being implemented into their fast lenses like the 70-200mm and 28-75mm - the two key lenses for professional photography. A 28-75mm f2.8 with VC USD would be a nice addition to the full-frame collection, where Canon has yet stabilized their 24-70mm 2.8L. Bottom line is, great products along with competitive price and a 6-year warranty will attract many semi-professional and pros to switch or use it as their backup.

111 of 115 people found the following review helpful
Get this over the Nikon 70-300mm Oct. 23 2010
By S Capo - Published on Amazon.com
I use this product as an addition to my Nikon 18-105mm lens. Some people may consider the 18-200mm a better option because you don't need to carry around two lenses. The optical quality of the Tamron is better from 200-300mm (I don't own the 18-200mm, but have seen samples and MTF charts).

Compared to the Nikon 70-300mm, the Tamron starts at f/4 vs f/4.5. Images are sharp and full of contrast using the Standard picture control on my Nikon D90 (and even more so with the Vivid PC). Backgrounds are nicely defocused at longer focal lengths providing pleasant bokeh. The VC mechanism makes some noise when starting up but is very effective in reducing shake in lower light or max telephoto pictures. Tamron is building up a reputation of quality with their Super Performance (SP) series lenses. The lens has full time manual focus override (just grab the focus ring) and NO zoom creep when holding the lens downward.

Fully extended with the hood, this lens is large. I don't mind. It looks similar to a 70-200 but lighter in weight. The build quality is excellent, this feels like a "pro" grade lens.

I would highly recommend this lens for DX (105-450mm equivalent) or FX users. The front element is flat (not recessed) so either use the hood or a filter.

I have emailed Tamron customer support with the following message about autofocus issues:
"The lens and the camera (Nikon D90) are both set for AF yet the motor does not start to autofocus. When switching the lens to manual focus it will work fine. The AF was working one moment and then suddenly stopped and will no longer focus. I have checked the contacts on the lens and inspected the lens mount."

I am awaiting response and will keep you updated on the progress.

I have only deducted one star from this review because when AF is working properly, the lens is great. Just purchase it keeping in mind this issue.

I received the lens on November 30 in brand new condition. The autofocus was fixed and the lens was cleaned and calibrated. I'm really impressed with Tamron's customer support.
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Excellent lens for the price, easliy beats it's Canon counterpart Oct. 18 2011
By N. Hegde - Published on Amazon.com
This is the best budget telephoto lens your money can buy. Prior to buying this lens I had the Canon 70-300 IS USM lens on my Canon 40D. It was pretty good on a 40D. However the Canon 7D sensor exposed the limitations of the Canon 70-300 IS glass. It was then that I stumbled on this little gem of a lens. This lens not only beats its Canon counterpart on the price point but also in terms of Image Quality.

The lens is sharp at almost all focal lengths and apertures. It is sharp even at 300 mm. The second thing that impressed me was its Image Stabilization (IS). It's IS is simply phenomenal. With the Canon 70-300 IS I was able to get decently sharp images at 1/30 s at 250 mm, after this the images would be blurry. However with this lens, you feel that the stabilization just locks the image. I was able to get images with acceptable sharpness even at 1/8 s at 300mm. The bokeh is also amazing. The distortion and chromatic aberration also seems to be minimal. I have uploaded a couple of images in the sample image gallery to show the strength of this lens. I haven't tested it's the Auto focus speed. However going by other user experiences, this doesn't seem to be a problem.

The only problem I noticed was the placement of the zoom ring of the lens and the focus ring. This is little bit of a problem because, if you have the hood attached backwards when you are not using it then you can't zoom the lens. Also since the the focus ring is placed pretty close to the resting position of your hand while holding the camera and lens, there is a chance that you might unknowingly hold the focus ring during the AF process which can result in out of focus images. However, if you remember not to hold the focus ring then this is only a minor annoyance.

I ended up paying about $350 after the rebate. For this price, this is the best lens you can get in this category. For some one who has a limited budget and for whom photography is just a hobby not a profession the value that his lens presents is hard to beat.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Nice Lens May 5 2011
By Casch - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I sell my work through stock photo sites. Recreationaly, I walk a lot and always have my camera with me. Wanting a lighter lens than my L lenses that I use for work I thought I'd give this a try. Try as I might I just can't give this one a five star rating. Don't get me wrong its a good lens but here is the review and why.

First Impression:
I opened up the lens and was pleased with the build quality. No its not on par with Canon's L lenses but it is tight, made with quality (if plastic) materials, and controls are smooth and well damped. There is no lens creep when pointed down. While good sized it is not overly heavy (it is a 300mm so its not like your normal lens) but has nice heft. A tripod foot would have been nice. The lens extends when zoomed so it gets considerably longer at 300mm a concession to it price I'm sure. I bought a UV filter so I installed it right away. Incidentally the front element doesn't rotate so polarizing and special effect filters are easily used. Since it was night time no shooting till the next day.

Shooting my first memory card was mixed. The ergonomics of this lens were all wrong. When I wanted to focus I was on the zoom ring and vice versa. When zooming it was backward from my other lenses. I am a creature of habit and I don't know if I can get used to this. Well I got through the first session and went in to see the results. How disappointing. 1 out of 3 were excellent the others were unusable. The reason... out of focus. I thought I got a lemon but the ones that were in focus were very impressive but I can't use a lens that is inconsistent. Setting it up on a tripod and turning off the VC (stabilization) I thought I would do some controlled test shots at about 30 feet. All of them were spot on and very impressive. Only thing I noticed was they were about 1/3 stop too dark but this isn't bad as it controls the highlights better and many shoot this way all the time. So what went wrong with my initial photos. I thought maybe that it was the VC so I turned it back on and removed it from the tripod and took some more shots being very careful and checking the auto focus with every shot. Then I noticed it would snap to focus (quickly I might add) and I would bump it ever so slightly out of focus with the full time manual focus. I don't have that problem with my other lenses because my hand rests on the zoom ring naturally and with this lens my hand is on the focus ring. Sounds like a simple solution and it is but you have to consciously think about it with every shot. GET THAT HAND OFF OF THE FOCUS RING. Problem solved.... but I still forget.

OK now the facts of how the lens performed
Lens sharpness: I thought was very good 70mm to good 300mm and this comparing to my outstanding Canon 300mm f4 L. I really was pleasantly surprised here.
Auto-focus: After the trial and error (read above) Spot On, quiet and OK fast. The full time manual is nice too if I can get used to where the focus ring is. Hunts a little in low light.
VC Stabilization: Very good but slightly noisy at start up and shutting off. Does it give me 4 stops I don't know but 300mm at 1/100 sec is really good. Not sure I would trust it beyond that.
Metering accuracy: About 1/3 stop too dark. In many cases this is good as it keeps highlights from being blown.
CAs: None worth noting but about a pixel on the 50d @ 300mm
LoCA: Present and annoying in highlights. Bokeh highlights look busy. When bokeh doesn't have highlights bokeh is smooth and nice.
Contrast: Very nice. Most economy zooms fail here. Not so this one. Contrast is very good even at 300mm.
Ergonomics: SUCK and if you think this doesn't matter THINK AGAIN.
Build Quality: Good to very good.
Image Quality: Very good at short focal lengths and good even at 300mm wide open.

Conclusion: This is a quality built lens. It has many Pro features such as full time manual focus that is useable with nicely damped focus ring. The VC is up to all standards and very nice to use as is the new almost silent USD type focus. The Image quality is as good as lenses costing double and this is not an exaggeration. While I am going to keep this lens I probably will always be hampered with the slow handling because of the mentioned ergonomics. It is a nice range of focal lengths and light enough to carry on long hikes without being obtrusive. This was my main purpose. The zoom I used to carry out weighed this lens by almost 700 grams (35-350 Canon L). For the size, weight reduction, image quality, and low price the value of this lens is fantastic. I will always be a Canon L lens fanatic for work. Nothing beats them but they are heavy. For recreational photos its nice to carry something less but still get good quality shots. This lens does that.

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