By Harm Poelman
9 Jan 2011
When i first spotted it at the camerastore it didn't realy look interesting, it looked mainly old and "well used", it wasn't untill i removed the lens hood that i noticed the bright red ring surrounding the bussines end of the lens. That is when i realised i had stumbled on a rare piece of equipment.
I was amazed at the clarity of the image, and at 140 euro it didn't take long for me to decide to buy it!
This lens performs very well outside, It is sharp from 100mm all the way up to 300mm, I haven't seen any distortion. My camera has an APS size sensor so i didn't see any vignetting. Indoors you will need to push the ISO up quite a bit to get sharp images, indeed it is not the "brightest" lens out there. But with a bit of editing afterwards i do not realy care about a bit of grain. The lens tends to hunt a bit in low light conditions.
The lens has a macro signature, wich i find a bit misleading, it's closest focussing distance is 1,4 meter, wich apparently means a .25 life size magnification (see the butterfly and flower pictures below). The lens being of a push-pull design, with no way to lock the lens in place (although i did consider using elastic band, i didn't try it yet), it doesn't lend itself well to be mounted on a tripod.
The lens performs very well in portrait and urban shooting, the push pull design is perfect here allowing you to change very rapid from "wide" to zoomed all the way in. colour and contrast are realy good, and there is hardly any colour fringing that i notice.
Wildlife shooting is good too, although the Arc Form Drive is very noisy and not as fast as USM, so do not expect to be too close to birds or wildlife without sending them flying of in wich case they might be a bit harder to track, but i do not think it a big problem at a maximum of 300mm. I actualy managed to shoot birds in flight as long as you roughly know where they are.
Overall i was amazed with this lens, i am sure there are better lenses out there (EF 100-400 3.5-5.6L IS maybe or the 100-200 F2.8) but they are nowhere as affordable as this one!