Additional Information on Canon EF lenses
Version History on Canon EF 75-300mm Telephoto-Zoom lenses - Part VI
Canon 70-300mm f/4.0~5.6 IS USM MK II Telephoto Zoom lens

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Canon EF 70-300mm f/4~5.6 IS USM (MK II) Telephoto Zoom Lens Marketed: 2005, Discontinued: -

I wouldn't like to conclude the earlier discussed EF 70-300mm f/4.5~5.6 DO IS USM as a successor to the 1995's original IS zoom but rather as a new lens breed. The original Canon 75-300mm IS telephoto zoom may be very popular but one way of another of whether you like or don't, it is still being categorized as a consumer optical zoom mainly to serve amateurs It is hard to shrugged off the image after version after versions of lens update. Further, the like of Tamron and Sigma with their low dispersion glass-powered 75-300mm tele-zoom lenses have also posed a threat to both Canon's profit as well as image in ability to counter these with a better lens spec.
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4~5.6 IS MK II USM, 2005

You could have realized the the basic lens configuration in the design as well as well as the 13E/9G optical formula first used on the Version One was almost 10 years old. And amidst all these elements, Canon decided the time is right to give the decade-old popular zoom a throughout revamp in 2005.

Photo Credit: Canon Marketing

The good thing is, this lens was fully redesigned from ground up; inherits and expands on the exceptional feature of its highly acclaimed original successor EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM which or the fist time, enabling a shake-assist feature of an Image Stabilizer mechanism embodied inside a lens . When it was released in September 1995, the former has the distinction of being the world's first interchangeable lens for SLR cameras equipped with an Image Stabilizer and opens up plenty of photographic possibilities. However, although the lens has enjoyed rave reviews in its counter-shake capability for low ambient light; the optical performance has remained a neutral factor by many where Canon hopes to change user's perception in this area. IF solely based on spec sheet, this should excites a few eyes, other than some other internal and external control which has been improved upon, an UD lens element is used to enhance its appeal to critically image quality users. So basically, the design concept is to achieve a higher image quality than its predecessor; improved performance of a new generation of image stabilization of about three shutter speeds; better compatibility with digital SLR cameras, while at the same time, delivering a higher-speed AF and better usability.

Black moon rising .. by John Tucker
Black moon rising...

Credit: Image copyright 2006 John Tucker®™. John has an Online Portfolio on his own, exhibiting a series of excellent visual works of his at Pbase. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved.

The revised EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS MK II USM telephoto zoom lens, with a slightly wider starting focal length of 70mm instead of of the original 75mm, offers a marginally extended zoom range from a very usable focal lengths from wide-angle end, approaching a super-telephoto range and incorporates an Image Stabilizer mechanism that compensates for the equivalent of three shutter stops faster, increased from two f-stops first used in the MK I EF75-300mm lens. Besides, the optical system which comprises of 15 elements / 10 group which includes an UD lens in the seventh element which aims to minimize residual chromatic aberrations, achieving excellent quality images with higher resolution and contrast throughout the entire zoom range than its predecessor and, compared to the previous lens, the new version is supposedly to achieve a higher image quality with hallmark of a quality EF lens that exhibits high resolution and high contrast without any color bleeding on subject outlines. The lens coating, in particular, according to its creator, is optimized for use with digital SLR cameras as EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM has element shape and coating optimized for use with digital SLR cameras (Focal length translates to approx. 112-480mm equivalent in 35mm film format when fitted to cameras with APS-C size sensors.). As a result, it successfully realizes both good color balance and minimization of ghost and flare attributable to surface reflections from the digital imaging element. Other than these, the circular aperture of the lens provides attractive blur effects or out of focus blur via the 8 blades electromagnetic diaphragm. In addition, in the area of lens handling, Canon's Telephoto Zoom Lens EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS MK II USM features a zoom ring lock mechanism, which keeps the lens at the shortest focal length to prevent it from extending and hitting obstacles when attached to the camera and carried with a shoulder strap. With the current version of USM, the lens is also equipped with super responsive auto focus. The lens is expected to appeal to serious amateurs, nature and sports photographers looking to achieve outstanding results while shooting hand held or when handling photography in less favorable ambient light condition. The useful focal length from medium tele-range at 70mm, all the way to 300mm is ideally set for potentially all scopes of photography applications, other than those which have mentioned.

Canon Image Stabilizer
Image Stabilizer behind the anti-vibration technology.

The center stage of the Canon EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM zoom lens is its latest 3-stop Image Stabilizer (IS) mechanism which has even more outstanding camera shake reduction properties attributes from a newly-developed dedicated IS unit and an improved control algorithm. The IS is particularly useful on close-ups or at slow shutter speeds, in situations where a tripod camera cannot be used. The IS dramatically reduces image blur caused by camera shake.

Canon Image Stabilizer optical path illustration
The EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM features Canon's latest 3 f-stops IS, which is a full one-stop improvement over its predecessor (It also adopts the front focusing system by the first group and the parallel shift-lens image stabilizer system by the second group). The image stabilizer is activated within half a second after pressing the shutter button halfway, the responsive system allows shutter speeds up to three stops slower than would otherwise be possible, with no perceptible increase in image blur. Photographers normally shooting a 300mm frame handheld at 1/500s can obtain the equivalent result with a shutter speed of just 1/60s, vastly extending options in low light conditions. In practice, the Canon Gyro sensors detect unwanted vibrations, triggering the corresponding movement of a correcting lens group perpendicular to the optical axis. This alters the light path, returning the image to its correct position on the sensor or film plane. In addition to the basic function, the EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM provides 2-mode IS for shooting immobile subjects.

Credit: Illustration modified from an original Canon grapgh.

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4~5.6 IS MK II USM, 2005

Canon EF 70-300mm zoom IS rear view

Credit: Images courtesy of CanonEF.IT from Italy. Webisite URL: www.GELI.IT, . All images appeared herein are Copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.r.

Stabilizer Mode Control Switch
During shooting, Mode 1 stabilizes the image along both the horizontal and vertical axes. For shooting while panning to follow a moving subject, Mode 2 turns off correction in the panned direction and prevents the effect of dragging the subject back through the frame (I think this was first implemented on the Canon EF 300mm f/4.0L IS USM where the"IS Mode 2" helps to stabilize finder images at panning shots of moving subjects). IS switches off automatically when the camera is mounted on a tripod, thus preventing feedback loops between the IS sensor and stabilizer motor vibrations. Lastly, a newly developed dedicated IS unit and an improved control algorithm. The focus mode switch and IS switch are designed to prevent unintended switching during shooting or when being carried.

The Image Stabilizer mechanism first introduced back in 1995 was well received by users among serious amateur ranked users; but Canon also realized it potential to be deployed onto other higher end EF lenses, firstly to assist photographers to yield a higher success rate in their photography but also aimed to enhance their corporate branding as being the leader in race of optical technologies over other rivaling brands As of 2006, below are the list of Canon EF lenses that are equipped with this mechanism:

EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM - 3 f-stops
EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM- 3 f-stops
EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM - 3 f-stops
EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - 1.5-2 f-stops
EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM - 3 f-stops
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM - 3 f-stops
EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM- 2 f-stops
EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS MK II USM- 3 f-stops
  EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM - 3 f-stops
EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM - 2 f-stops
EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM - 2 f-stops
EF 300mm f/4L IS USM- 2 f-stops
EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM - 2 f-stops
EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM - 2 f-stops
EF 500mm f/4L IS USM - no info
EF 600mm f/4L IS USM - 2 f-stops

Main Control Area of Canon EF 70-300 IS Zoom
It is designed to deliver higher-speed AF The high-speed CPU and optimized AF algorithm contribute to much faster autofocusing than its predecessor while maintaining the same front focusing system and micro USM drive. The micro USM motor uses in the EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS MK II USM employs ultrasonic frequency vibrations to drive auto focus with unrivaled speed and near-silent operation. Good holding torque stops the lens with precision and accuracy, the instant it arrives at the correct focus point and without overshoot. The employment of this new generation USM is further aided with a high speed CPU and optimized AF algorithm which results in a significant increase of AF speed compared to that of its predecessor.

Lastly, the second version of the Canon EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS MK II USM employs an electro magnetic diaphragm (EMD) with a circular aperture. This helps create an attractive, even defocused background when isolating a subject at large apertures.

Zoom ring locking mechanism When carrying a camera on a neck strap with this lens attached, the weight of the lens system could cause the lens to extend, possibly damaging the lens if it hits something, Therefore, it has a locking zoom ring that keeps the lens at the wide angle (shortest overall length) when it is being carried. Sliding the zoom ring lock lever on the side of the lens locks the zoom ring position.

Although the innovative IS is practical, but most often, Image quality of the predecessor was often commented by Canon photographer, Canon has thus focused to enable comfort level for photographers in its image resolution performance with the version two. By optimizing Super Spectra lens coatings and lens element shaping, Canon has effectively in suppressing flare and ghosting more prone to occur with digital cameras due to reflection off the image sensor. By increasing light absorption, coatings reduce reflections off lens element surfaces to deliver crisp, undistorted images with natural colour balance. Focal length translates to 112-480mm equivalent in 35mm film format when fitted to EOS 20D and EOS 350D cameras. The EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS MK II USM includes distance metering information, providing compatibility with the E-TTL II flash system of late model cameras such as the EOS-1D Mark II N and EOS 5D . When used in conjunction with Canon’s range of EX Speedlite flash units, the lens passes distance information to the flash algorithm for markedly improved flash exposure metering.

A small group of revised system accessories for the EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM include a lens hood ET-65B and the lens pouch LP1222. Although less significant, but to keep up with awareness on environmental issue, the lens features only environmentally friendly lead-free glass. The EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM is also in compliance with Canon's own standard to cover the RoHS directive articles.

Side view of Canon EF 70-300 IS USM zoom
Personally, this lens possesses every element a Canon photographer wishes for in the original IS zoom (except for the FTM feature during AF due to use of a Micro USM). But it took Canon a decade to revise up to meet expectation from users of original version and - but all these changeshave a price to pay for. A recent quick price-find on web indicates retailing between a range of USD620-00 to USD800-00 (new). If you use comparison of used, 75/300 IS USM (Original version) which sometimes surfaced at Ebay BUY-IT-NOW category as a indicative, the upgrade sounds reasonable. However, along with the many EF wide-tele lenses, tele-zoom is one of the most "congested" area in numbers, varieties and price category. Basically, unless you are knowledgeable enough with what you intend to invest into, the confusion may lead to wrong investment. But one thing is for sure, this IS zoom is a better buy than the approx. USD1,200-00 70/300 DO IS USM equivalent which comes with a slower start-up aperture of f/4.5...but with a little extra features to offer.

Technical Specification for Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS MK II USM Telephoto Zoom lens: -

Type: - Autofocus lens type with manual focusing mechanism and IS stabilization control
Focal Length: Variable focal length from 70-300mm
Focus Adjustment:- Autofocus ; single zoom ring with manual focusing ring design
Manual Focusing:- possible via AF/M switch; full time manual focusing possible during AF
Zoom Adjustment
:- via zoom ring rotating type; indicative zoom settings: 70mm, 100mm, 135mm, 200mm, 300mm

Lens extension of Canon EF 75-300mm f/4~5.6 IS MK II USM telephoto zoom
Closest Focusing Distance:- 1.5m (4.9ft) at all zoom focal length; Maximum Magnification:- 0.26X @300mm; MACRO setting indicated
Drive System:- Micro USM, FTM may not be possible; Distance Scales: YES

Credit: Images courtesy of CanonEF.IT from Italy. Webisite URL: www.GELI.IT, . All images appeared herein are Copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.r.

Angle of View:- 29° to 6° 50', 19° 30' to 4° 35', 34° to 8° 15''; Aperture range:- f/4.0 - f/32/f45
Number of Diaphragm Blades: - 7 blades; Minimum Aperture: - f/32~f/45 (standard version); f/22~f/45 (USM version)

Filter rotation: yes; Image stabilizer: 3-stops control via switches
Filter Attachment Size
:- 58mm front mounting;
Lens construction:- 15 Elements in 10 Groups; one UD glass element used
Extenders: Usable but not advisable.
Others: - Extension Tube EF25 (II)
0.39x to 0.09x ; EF12:- 0.32x to 0.04x
76.5 x 142.8mm; Weight:- 630g

MTF for EF 70-300mm f/4~5.6 IS USM TELEphoto zoom Optical Contruction of Canon EF 70-300mm IS USM TELEPHOTO ZOOM

Canon ET 65B lens hood

Canon LP 1222 Soft case

Accessories:- Lens hood: ET-65B; Soft case: LP1222 Gelatin Holder III: III: Compatible (max. of 2 hoods can be used); Holder IV:IV: Compatible (max. of 3 hoods can be used); Other Canon general filters and macro accessories such as Gelatin Filter Holder Adapter IV 58; Gelatin Filter Holder Hood III/IV, Lens Dust Cap E Rear Cap; EF Adapter, an optional EF Adapter fits onto the XL1S allowing use of Canon EOS EF lenses for still imaging, Lens Cap E-58U etc.

current version

Depth of Field (DOF) chart for wide and tele setting for Canon 70-300mm f/4~5.6 IS MKII USM Telephoto Zoom lens

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Side view of a Canon EF 75-300mm f/4~5.6 IS MK II USM telephoto zoom
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Canon EF 75-300mm f/4~5.6 (1991) | EF 75-300mm f/4~5.6 USM (1992) | EF 75-300mm f/4~5.6 II (1995) | EF 75-300mm f/4~5.6 II USM (1995) | EF 75-300mm f/4~5.6 II IS USM | EF 75-300mm f/4~5.6 III (1999) | EF 75-300mm f/4~5.6 III USM (1999) | Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5~5.6 DO IS USM (2004) | Canon EF 70-300mm f/4~5.6 IS USM (MK II) (2005)

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