Canon adds advanced features to budget 70-300mm telephoto lens

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Hands too shaky? Canon’s latest DSLR lens will let you know. That’s because its new 70-300mm lens includes an information display.

The Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 IS II USM will replace the existing EF 70-300mm, introduced way back in 2005. The new version II uses a small LCD to display shooting information, including “shake amount” as well as the focusing distance and focal length. A button toggles between the different info.

While it’s unclear just how the lens measures shake, users will benefit from an enhanced image stabilization system. The new system is rated to steady shots at up to four stops, while its predecessor was rated at only three.

The telephoto zoom is also quieter than the previous version, now well over a decade old, thanks to what Canon is calls its Nano USM (Ultrasonic Motor) technology – similar tech as the one used in the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM. According to the company, the upgrade allows for near-silent focusing, which is a nice perk when shooting video. Canon achieves this by merging both a ring ultrasonic motor and a stepping motor to achieve both quiet and fast performance. Full-time manual focus also allows users to focus manually while in autofocus mode by turning the lens ring. Unlike the 18-135mm, however, this lens is not compatible with the Power Zoom Adapter PZ-E1 for electrical zooming.

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“To help photographers that are striving to create the most amazing pictures and videos possible, Canon is dedicated to developing the best tools to help them with their goal,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, Canon U.S.A. president and COO, in a statement. “Having this new EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 IS II USM  lens in a photographer’s camera bag will surely help them achieve their creative vision.”

The zoom lens weighs about 25 ounces. It’s constructed from 17 different elements, including a low dispersion element that helps reduce chromatic aberration.

While the lens packs in a few new features, it’s also designed to be affordable, using an f/4.5-5.6 maximum aperture. The lens will price for $550, and it’s expected out next month.

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