|In game photograph|
One pleasant surprise as I trudged through my beginner track with my entry level Nissan March was the photo feature. I clicked on it after one of my races just to take a peak and it quickly became this awesome toy that totally captured my attention. You can select your aperture, shutter speed, focus point and even use AEL. Being able to pause a replay video and choose your angle, even in front of a speeding car is pretty awesome. If you have the opportunity to play with this game and this feature, and you love photography, it will likely obsess you as much as it has me.
But this post isn't really about that, so sorry for my diversion. It's more about an awesome lens I had the opportunity to borrow from Canon as part of the Test Drive benefit of being a Platinum CPS member.
The Canon 200mm f2 lens is ..... well.....awesome. And I mean that in a purely caveman kind of way. As soon as it arrived in a (huge) box, I knew I was in for a bicep killing experience. Weighing in at 2.54 kg and being 12.7 x 20.8 centimetres in size (without the lens hood) it looks, feels and demands attention and respect. The 70-200 2.8 looks small in comparison.
Then lens aperture ranges from f2 to 32 and shooting wide open with the prime isn't an issue where sharpness is king and focus is accurate. There is a slot for drop in filters easily accessible by the lens mount as well as buttons for Autofocus, a focus distance limiter and IS mode selector. For having a huge lens element, it also focuses really fast and snappy even on my less that stellar focusing 5D Mark II. Trying it on a 7D was a treat as well giving a focal length of around 320mm.
The image stabilizer works well, and it has too, as hand holding this beast for any period of time induces arm shake, at least for me, though I admit to being rather weak armed. The 'Set' button you see there is really handy for sports shooters as you can pre-focus on an area of action (the goalie at hockey for instance) and then carry on shooting the game. Once a play happens in your area of pre-focus you simply twist that metal white dimpled ring you see on the left of the above photo and the lens instantly snaps into focus where you set it. A super handy feature, though I will say that my cold fingers at a hockey game had a hard time manipulating the narrow metal ring.
|Hand held shot at ISO 3200 f2 1/160th of a second|
|5DmkII at f2, ISO 200 1/200th of a second, that's me on the left, photo by Greg Howard|
|ISO 800 f4 at 1/400th of a second, my rental Nissan Versa|
|1/100th of a second at f2 ISO 100. Want to check out a great photographer?,Check out my good friend Spencer|
|Another great friend, and brilliant photographer using her large format camera, Check out Gloria. This one shot at ISO 400 at f2 and 1/400th of a second|
I did manage to take a few photos with the lens of things other than my friends while on the walk. All hand held despite having a tripod on hand.
|ISO 800 f2 1/200 of a second|
|f2 ISO 800 1/400th of a second|
|f2 ISO 2500 1/500th of a second with a 5D mk II|
I put the camera on a monopod for shooting hockey using the tripod collar around the lens. This absorbed all the weight and allowed for easy use without tiring. I did use it with a Canon 7D as well (but they were children's hockey photos so I won't post them), and it was really nice, balanced (the 7D had a battery grip, while my 5D does not) and snappy.
I'd say that if you make a good part of your living from shooting indoor sports (enough to justify a $6000 outlay of cash) or if you are a seriously wealthy amateur that enjoys indoor sports photography, then this lens is a must have for you. For me, as primarily a wedding and portrait photographer it just doesn't make sense to buy this piece of equipment. The weight would stop me from using it at weddings, and size would be ridiculous in the context of trying to get a portrait client to relax in front of a camera.
I can't find too much to fault in this lens. I know I've talked about the size and weight, but that simply won't factor in for people that need this lens for their work. It's sharp, its fast, it produces excellent image quality and it's frankly really desirable in a 'size matters' kind of way. When you show up to a hockey game or basketball game with a lens like this, you get noticed, and you will get treated seriously. And if you do shoot wide open and nail focus, it's going to be beautiful. I'd really like to try the lens on a 1DmkIV which I think would be an ideal camera for it.
Thanks for dropping by the blog. If you own this lens or plan on buying it, congratulations. I officially have lens envy.