Geoff shoots with a new lens!
So I got a new lens, I haven’t got a new lens for a looong time. It’s a telephoto zoom, and in the spirit of getting a new telephoto zoom in the UK, and it’s Christmas time, here’s some pictures of birds and squirrels in a local park….wow. (St James park for anyone who’s wondering)
It’s a Canon 70-300mm f4-5.6L, which I do believe is the most expensive 70-300mm zoom on the market. Perhaps I should tell you how I came to this decision.
My wife and I are planning a trip to Africa in the future, which hopefully will involve lots of pictures of Lions and Cheetahs and other
more boring awesome animals, which will require a decent length of lens. For years I’ve had my heart set on the Canon 100-400L which is an old but very well respected lens. All the forums and whatnot that I’d read had insured that “you need at least 400mm on safari”. I even bought a second hand one from a dealer a few months ago which proved to be faulty and I had to return it. Owning it for a week showed me two things: one, it was heavy (I already kinda knew this). Two, it was big and long (that’s what she said) which would’ve required a whole new set of camera bags. Ultimately I realised that unless I was intending to use it, it would stay at home, which is quite a waste of an £1100 lens.
I’d read a few out there comments from people that you really didn’t need that long a lens most of the time and that most of their shots were made around the 200mm mark and under. So I went back to the drawing board, still not discounting the 100-400mm. I thought about a Canon 70-200mm with a 2x teleconverter. The 70-200mm f4is has always been another lens I’d love, but an f4 with a teleconverter doesn’t seem wise. The Canon 2.8is version costs near £2k and is the same size(ish) as the 100-400, not an option. The Sigma equivalent is supposed to be brilliant and is half the price, but still, big, heavy, and the idea of a teleconverter gets more and more unappealing the more I think about it!
That left me in 70-300 territory, the best of both worlds, so to speak. I’d considered the Tamron SP 70-300mm VC USD which is regarded as pretty good, light, small, blah, blah, blah. But screw it, I’m fussy. The I read this review, and a few others like it. Suddenly my mind was made up, a lens I hadn’t even considered (I think I thought I was way more expensive than it really was) was now in my shopping basket.
Sure, it’s still pretty sizable, but it will fit in your average size camera bag (ie, my bag), which means it will leave the house and be used. It’s not a fixed aperture like the 70-200s, but I don’t think I really care. It’s new,it’s really sharp, the IS works brilliantly and it’s weather sealed, now all I need is £150 for a f**king tripod collar!
PS, I just went to the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum and a good portion of shots were actually taken with standard zooms, ie. 24-70, a good deal more on 70-200 (bear in mind on full frame cameras, mines a crop sensor). Only a fraction, mostly of birds, were anything longer, and I’m talking 500-600mm territory, which would require a mortgage and a porter to buy and use.