Summary: I went with this lens because of the size. I could not be more pleased. The 4.5 f-stop is not far off from the 4.0 equivalent. The DO (Defractive Opticts) to provide a more compact lens does make a huge difference in portability. I tend to hike in narrow areas and I have a small "sling" camera bag that barley fits 3 lenses. Perfect for a wide range of photography. I currently carry the 18-85 stock lens, the 70-300mm lens, and 50mm prime lens. All are fantastic together.
Quality product, light weight, small in size,and very sharp hand held pic's
1 April 2012
Summary: I really love this lens. You can buy Canon 70-300mm lens from $200.to $2000. or more and none are close to the features and sharpness of this lens.In fairness I would say a two grand lens would be as sharp if you don't mind carrying a ton of weight and bulk.That brings me to the DO zoom/macro lens which is compact and easily manageable.It could be a "walk around lens" due to the focusing as close as 54".
Conclusion: I have used this lens for over 3 years and I have found that the Canon 70-300mm DO IS lens to be real work horse in photographing historical and battle reenactments and on my travels. I can use the short end to set up the scene and the 300mm for close in and detail pictures. I bought this lens as a step up from the 100-300mm USM and have been extremely pleased with the results.
Conclusion: This lens is for someone who... ...doesn't need L quality ...can afford up to $1000 ...wants a small lens for travel and/or candids . My wife and I call this the spy lens. We do a lot of traveling, and only take carry-ons so size does matter. More importantly (as others have said), people get uncomfortable when you point a huge lens at them. I get great candids with both this and my 85mm 1.8 without subjects realizing they're being shot.
Excerpt: I tried this lens at different lengths while photographing my heatpump at about 30' away. I was impressed at how I could read the label on the unit. The size 10 font was extremely crisp at 300mm. I have not used this lens long so I cannot really say overall how well it will work, but I have to say that I was impressed. I suspect that they have tightened up on their manufacturing process.
Pros: Crisp, Fast / accurate auto-focus, Lightweight, Small
I'm pleased with this lens, great image quality, small size
Uncle J, Amazon
9 November 2011
Summary: I got this lens (used) for a good price here in Amazon, after returning the 70-300L which was an attention hogging brick that was way too heavy to carry around. I was a little worried because people complained about it being soft and not as sharp as other zoom lenses of lesser price. After chasing my dog around and shooting some great shots of flying birds I'm convinced that I made the right choice.