Just wanted to let people know that I ordered an off-brand tripod collar last month for the Canon 70-300 mm f4-5.6 L IS zoom, and it has worked out quite well. The color is a bit more off-white than the lens (I guess it's ecru or maybe a light country gravy -- is that a color?) but for only $30 (I see it's now up to $43 but still) I don't mind the slight color mismatch as I don't think it will affect image sharpness :-)
Pictured above is the collar on my Canon 70-300 mm f4-5.6 L IS zoom with the new tripod collar and mounted on my Canon 1D Mark IV. The whole rig is on my new Induro BHL2 ballhead and Induro CT313 tripod. The lens has the LensCoat protective cover on it but that's simply to protect the lens while I'm out in the forest; I swear it's not an attempt to conceal that light country gravy-colored tripod collar!
I had a chance to compare the off-brand collar with the official Canon collar (currently back-ordered at B&H, they're tough to find) recently and apart from the slight color difference, there really isn't much to distinguish the two. The off-brand collar seems to be just as well-built, and the rotating motion just as smooth. It remains to be seen if the off-brand tripod collar will stand the test of time but I don't see any reason at this point why it wouldn't.
This is the tripod collar I bought.
I've always been a bit wary of E-bay, but I had great service with prompt shipping to the US and no hassle whatsoever. At time of purchase, I believe the shipper claimed arrival within two weeks, and that's exactly how it went. Shipping costs were around $10, and the item arrived well-packed and in perfect shape. FYI, I have no relationship with and receive no commission from this seller. I know a lot of people out there are looking for a cheaper and easier to find alternative to the Canon tripod collar for this lens, and I simply wanted to share with you the nice solution I've found.
In the end, I'm happy that I saved around $150 on an accessory that really should have been included with the lens and certainly needn't set one back nearly $200! With that savings you can pretty much pay for a very good polarizing filter for the 70-300 plus a cable release for landscapes or you can pay for most of a ThinkTank Sling-o-Matic 30 bag for when you want to travel light or head out into the woods for a day of landscape, plant, and lizard photography.
Please drop me a line as a comment below and tell me what you think of this mini-review.