Canon EF 300mm f/4 USM L IS - Review / Test Report - Analysis
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 06:49


As expected for a fix-focal lens the level of distortion is negligible (0.205%):

The chart above has a real-world size of about 120x80cm. Possibly things may get a little worse with extreme close-ups.


Vignetting is almost a non-issue with the lens - at least on a 1.6x DSLR. Wide-open vignetting doesn't exceed ~0.3 f-stops in the naked lens which is already on the verge of being negligible. One stop down vignetting is basically non-existent. When combined with the Canon EF 1.4x II tele converter the problem is even less pronounced.

MTF (resolution)

Update 02/22/2006: Markus Stamm was so kind to provide a second sample of the EF 300mm f/4 USM L IS for testing. Interestingly the new sample performed significantly better with excellent quality straight from wide-open aperture. The performance peak is reached one stop down with only an insignificant decrease towards f/8. Combined with the EF 1.4x II there's a slight but visible drop in resolution but the center remains in very-good territory followed by still good+ borders. Subjectively (not measured) the combination also seems to suffer from a loss of contrast.

The characteristic of the 2nd sample seems more in line to what you can expect from a lens in this price class. However, this second sample was serviced TWICE before reaching its current condition.

Below is a simplified summary of the formal findings. The chart shows line widths per picture height (LW/PH) which can be taken as a measure for sharpness. If you want to know more about the MTF50 figures you may check out the corresponding Imatest Explanations

Chromatic Aberrations (CAs)

The CAs (color shadows at harsh contrast transitions) are well below disturbing limits both regarding the naked lens as well as for the teleconverter combination.

Other Characteristics

The lens is capable to produce a very fine bokeh but flare in contra light is a weak point which can't be surprising regarding the large number of elements in this lens.