The 75-300mm lenses are often seen as stock lenses and are considered low-quality and old, considering most of them (Canon, Nikon, and Sony) came out before 2000. Nevertheless, they are packed with various features all inside compact and lightweight bodies that have more potential than you can imagine.
In our view, the lens gives you the perfect focal length to shoot in almost any situation. Moreover, its reputation for producing low-quality images doesn’t stand if you know the aperture sweet spot.
However, what really makes a 75-300mm lens the best budget telephoto zoom lens, and is there any catch? Keep reading to find out where they shine.
Why Do Photographers Need a 75-300mm Lens?
The 75-300mm lens has many exciting features. Here’s a list of factors that make this lens worth its bucks:
Most of us aren’t readily available to spend half of our paycheck on a costly lens, e.g., a Canon L lens or Sigma art lens, and that’s where the 75-300mm comes into play. The lens pis a great stepping stone for photography enthusiasts to diversify their photography without breaking the bank.
Wide Focal Length
If you’re interested in diving into wildlife photography or sports photography, a good quality telephoto zoom like the 75-300m can help you capture most subjects from a significant distance.
The 70mm helps you isolate your subject while not entirely eliminating the presence of the background. You can use a minimum focal length to take:
- Street shots
- Architectural shots
- Half-body or full-body portraits
While at 300mm, you’re able to shoot wildlife and sports. The 300mm focal range also produces decent bokeh, eliminating any distractions in the background.
The zoom range is also handy to shoot moving subjects in the street or the stadium, and a maximum aperture of f4 allows ample light in the picture while shooting at higher shutter speeds.
Like most telephoto zoom lenses in the market, especially the ones in this price bracket, you lose image clarity when shooting with a maxed-out aperture.
The 75-300mm, however, does a fair job of maintaining clarity and reducing fringing in the corners while at maximum aperture and focal length. While it does lose some details in the middle of the image, there’s nothing that can’t be fixed by reducing the aperture a bit.
If you reduce the aperture to f8 or f11, you’ll be able to extract more detailed photos and almost reduce fringing and purple/green hues to none. A few more tweaks in photoshop and lightroom and your image will be good to go.
Unfortunately, image stabilization isn’t so common in lenses found in the same price bracket. The drawback? If you don’t have a dead stable hand, you’ll have a hard time capturing crisp shots at the maximum focal length.
Plus, without image stabilization, videography is nearly impossible if you don’t own an expensive gimbal to keep your camera steady.
However, fortunately, for Canon users, the 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM is equipped with image stabilization.
This makes the lens great for handheld shots and sports photography where the subject is constantly moving from place to place.
What Is a 75-300mm Lens Good For?
The 75-300mm focal length is suitable for many scenarios and photography genres.
But before we understand what is a 75-300mm lens good for, it’s imperative to understand its focal range to get a grasp of why it shines in certain situations.
Understanding the Focal Length of 75-300mm
The 4x telephoto zoom lens has a minimum focal length of 75mm and a maximum length of 300mm. What this means is that you’re able to shoot fairly wide-angle photos along with extremely zoomed-in photos. It gives you a lot of flexibility to zoom in and out for easy composition, which is a blessing for beginners.
You’re also limited to outdoor photography since 70mm isn’t wide enough to shoot and capture the whole scene in an indoor setting. In our opinion, anything greater than 50mm doesn’t fare well to capture moments in confined, indoor spaces.
With these things in mind, it’s time to discuss where this vast focal range comes into play, and where the 75-300mm perform best.
Is a 75-300mm Lens Good for Portraits?
Yes, it is OK for portrait photography but not ideal. An ideal portrait lens like 85mm f/1.8 has a much wider aperture to blur out the distracting background and create beautiful bokeh.
It is also significantly sharper than a 75-300mm lens because it has lesser moving parts inside for zooming that cause diffraction.
In comparison, a 75-300mm lens has much smaller apertures, which is not enough to create creamy bokeh even at 300mm.
But its biggest advantage is focal length flexibility, which is ideal for outdoor portrait photography because it provides you with great working distance.
More importantly, it overlaps the sweet focal lengths when it comes to portrait photography – 85mm, 105mm, and 135mm. Unlike wide-angle lenses that distort faces and make them look unnatural, telephoto lenses with these focal lengths can flatter your subjects and make them appealing.
Is a 75-300mm Lens Good for Weddings?
Wedding photography often requires you to work in lowlight conditions and confined indoor spaces. You’ll need two lenses: a wide-angle lens and a telephoto zoom lens.
Unfortunately, the 75-300mm doesn’t offer a wide field of view which can cause you to struggle while taking pictures indoors. More so if you max out the aperture to let in more light to avoid a grainy-looking photo.
To combat this, you can always reduce your shutter speed but that isn’t recommended for weddings since you’ll end up missing precious moments while your camera is still processing the image.
You can, however, use the 75-300mm for outdoor wedding photography. Additionally, you’ll still need a wide angle (preferably with an f/2.8 aperture) lens for group and couple portraits.
Is a 75-300mm Lens Good for Astrophotography?
Deep space photography with the optical telephoto zoom lens isn’t a piece of cake. However, with a sturdy tripod and some tweaks to the in-camera settings, you can definitely get a decent shot.
You’ll need a couple of tries to find the sweet spot with the aperture, focal range, and manual focus of your lens. Setting the aperture around f/6 and the focal length between 100-150mm has done the trick for some people.
The lens of the Canon version also doesn’t have the best-quality focus ring, so it’s recommended to tape down the barrel of the lens once you’ve got the starry night in focus. The taping-down trick will prevent you from accidentally knocking the camera’s focus out of its position.
All in all, the budget lens does a fair job when it comes to shooting starry skies. However, it’s not the ideal choice if you’re a professional astrophotographer. If you want to get professional shots with a telephoto lens, you’d be better off with something like a 135mm prime.
Is a 75-300mm Lens Good for Wildlife Photography?
The 75-300mm performs well in shooting isolated subjects from a safe distance. The lightweight and relatively small build of the lens also helps out if you’re staking out your subject for a long time to get the perfect shot.
The 4x zoom range allows you to pan in and out of the shot, get a closeup or maybe soak in the moment.
While the lens is mostly plastic, the metal mount does fare well in the outdoors and chips into the “light-weight” advantage.
Apart from the positives, you will have to deal with a lower shutter speed which can often result in you missing some perfect moments while your camera processed the first image.
Nevertheless, with a 4x telephoto zoom and an f/4-5.6 maximum aperture in this price bracket, dealing with a slower shutter speed doesn’t seem that bad.
Is a 75-300mm Lens Good for Sports Photography?
The lightweight design, image stabilization, and compact structure featuring a focal length of 300mm provide the basis for decent sports shots with the 75-300mm lens.
Plus, with the lightweight build of the lens, you won’t feel fatigued moving your camera around the whole day.
However, the 75-300mm doesn’t offer the best exposure times and can fall behind when it comes to “freezing the action”. With that said, it’s still an amazing option for amateur sports photography outdoors.
Although, if you’re looking to shoot professionally, we’d recommend something like the 70-200mm f/2.8. The maximum aperture is great at removing distractions from the background and making your subject pop out during the game!
For Canon users, you can also take a look at our list of the best Canon sports lenses if you’re on a budget.
The 75-300mm steals the show with its economical price and variety of uses. Providing ample focal range and a decent maximum aperture to work with, it stands as a great lens for hobbyists and beginners.