Canon EF 100-300 USM Lens Review

Canon EF100-300mm f-4.5-5.6 USM Lens

From previous posts you will see that I am in the process of deciding which telephoto lens to purchase for my Canon EOS 5D Mark III (5D3). In the meant time whilst I decide and allow time for the necessary funds to accumulate I have borrowed back my older Canon EF 100-300 f4.5-5.6 USM lens from my father who doesn’t use it much so I will use it in the meantime. I was always impressed with this now discontinued lens when it was my only telephoto and I was keen to see how it performs with the 5D3. It was evident that in use the lens focused quickly and the smooth action of the zoom from 100 to 300 was pleasing too. I had forgotten what it was like to use a true telephoto lens as I had been using various mirror-less compact system cameras with standard focal length ranges.

I decided to use the lens with the 5D3 during my lunch break today (Friday), fortunately it was a lot warmer (less cold?) than the previous week. I went around to the same position as last week as there are a lot of bird activity in the area. There are a lot of Mute Swans around and they had decided to leave the water and walk around the bank, whilst getting in position for this shot I gave the swan as much room as possible and kept my distance:


Some of the swans decided to have a mid-day nap:

I noticed that a large number of Mallard ducks had decided to have a mid-day snooze too:

Some of the ducks were very close together; however for the following picture I had to merge two photographs together using Photoshop. I could have probably got the same shot “in camera” if I could have used a greater depth of field and a tripod (as the shutter speed would be too low):

I also noticed a familiar goose that I have photographed before swimming around:

If you look at either of these posts you will see the same goose who at the time was on the river bank near Burger King at the time:

  • Swan Nest Update 4, here.
  • Swan Nest Update 3, here.

The goose was swimming around and scaring other ducks and geese away before it swam over to the island in the middle of the Brayford.

There were also the small colony of Muscovy Ducks and the following duck was in the water splashing around, I managed to get this shot of him:

Finally, there were a number of swans in the water and I wanted to see what it would be like to get a picture where I wouldn’t need to crop, so I took this photo:

What happened next was truly serendipitous, another swan came up and they went through a courtship ritual. I took the following sequence of shots:




This last shot of the same pair was taken a few minutes later on my way back to the office, I tried to capture a video but they stopped just as I hit record 😦


So how did the lens perform? In a word “excellent!”; I am very pleased with the handling and the quality of the photographs. Not having to crop as much as normal was a revelation too.

I only have 3 negative things to say:

  1. The lens has no image stabilisation (IS) and this did hinder the ability to get camera-shake free photographs some of the time, I am not very stable with a long lens. Use of a monopod or tripod should help this.
  2. Lens flare was present in some of the photographs, so I need a lens hood – one from Amazon has now been ordered.
  3. Finally, an annoyance – the zoom mechanism of the lens is a bit loose so it can creep if pointed downwards sometimes.

But these are only minor issues and the positives clearly outweigh them. Waiting for the new telephoto lens won’t be so bad after all.


One thought on “Canon EF 100-300 USM Lens Review

  1. Pingback: Brayford Wharf in February | Chris Bennett's Photo Blog

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