Monday, 11 February 2008

Canon 70-200mm f4L Initial thoughts

Well, I weakened, and I bought one.

Not brand new - I got it off an internet auction site here in NZ (Trademe) - but it's close enough to mint condition. So now I have my own white(ish) 'L' lens. So what do I think of it?

Hey, it's Canon, it's white, and it an 'L' series lens. What's not to like! But seriously, take one look at the image of Emily on the left and you'll see what's not to like. This lens is 'sharp'. And I mean 'tack' sharp. Wide open at f4 her eyes are in blazingly crisp focus, while the rest of her softens out beautifully into a creamy background. Wow.

Not only that, but it's a joy to hold, focuses quicker than you can say 'snap', and is extremely well balanced on the 30D with grip attached. The supplied lens hood fits snuggly (at the moment), although I have heard that the plastic varieties loose their grip after a while. Time will tell on that.

It's a big lens, but it's not a 'really big' lens, if ya know what I mean. You'll definitely get noticed wielding this baby down at the local sports field on a Saturday morning, but you'll be able to carry it around comfortably most of the day and it won't need a tripod (or even a monopod with good light) to support it. I didn't go for the IS version, and only time will tell if I regret that decision or not. But hey, even if I do, I can always sell this lens down the track - probably for as much as I just spent - and upgrade to the IS version if I feel I simply have to.

Here's another of my girl that show's the lenses potential. It's a fantastic portrait lens, but I'm looking forward to taking it out on some sporting shoots as well so I can really get a feel for what it's capable of producing with the 30D. Some even claim that it is their favourite landscape lens, but I think I'll need a little more convincing on that?

And speaking of landscapes... I downloaded a new 'Picture Style' for my 30D off Canon's website last weekend and loaded it onto the camera. It's called 'Autumn Hues', and I've installed it in preparation for an Autumn shoot down to Arrowtown that I'm planning. Adding the style was very easy to do - once I'd found all the software updates on Canon's website and installed them on my iMac. Canon's site has all the information set out step-by-step, and you simply follow your nose. I'll be interested to see how it performs as opposed to the 'normal' or 'landscape' picture style settings. I suspect it's nothing you can't create yourself by boosting certain colours later on in Photoshop? But anything that can be achieved quickly 'in-camera' and not later on the computer gets my vote.

I've also bought 20 rolls of Fuji Velvia 100 for the Pentax 645, so I'll try them out with the Autumn colours on the trip as well. Should be magical.