During the pandemic lockdown, we’ve been heading out to the Finley Wildlife Refuge quite a bit to get out of the house and enjoy the birds. I previously rented the Nikon P1000 super zoom and visited the refuge. After returning that camera, I turned back to the Canon 80D I already own. I use a 70-200mm F4L for that camera but wanted something with a bit more reach to get the small birds and prehistoric herons. I ended up renting a Canon 300mm F4L IS and a 2x teleconverter.
Right off the bat, the teleconverter wasn’t really for me. I’ve seen some nice results posted online from other users but running around hand-held, I wasn’t able to get sharp results. It also disabled most of the 80D focus features and required going with manual focus in most cases. Here is probably my best shot with the 300mm and 2x converter:
This quick hand-held of Pepper also turned out well:
The ten day rental with both the 300mm and 2x converter, only cost $141 with a discount. I didn’t use the teleconverter for the rest of the rental but at that price I didn’t get too upset.
Here are the other shots I got that really turned out great. These are processed through Photoshop with mild RAW filter adjustments and some cropping:
My conclusion for this lens is that I want to buy it! The image stabilization is a little slow, but once used to it, the hand-held quality of these shots is awesome! It’s an older model at this point, debuting in 2015 I believe, and brand new it comes in around $1,100. While I’ve seen some used for about 60% of that on eBay, the rental I had was quite noisy and I’d want it brand new so I could care for it appropriately. I’ve been tempted by the similarly priced 400mm F4L, but it doesn’t have the stabilization. Cropping pictures from the 300 turned out to have very little loss of sharpness and detail, even on a crop body and hand-held.
If you’d like to try out a rental before buying, check out LensRental.com and this discount for first time users. They make it easy to rent through the website, and the shipping back is a breeze with everything included. I get a perk from you clicking that link but I also have had great experiences renting from them.