I’m not sure how it happened, although it’s possible 2-for-1 margarita night at Taco Mamacitos is related. Somehow, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens ended up at my door. Having lusted after this lens since its release, the combination of that second margarita and the best price I’ve seen caused me to click a button I shouldn’t have clicked.
Having taken an online workshop by Zack Arias in which he repeatedly admonishes budding photographers not to spend money on equipment until getting to know the equipment we already have intimately, you would think I would have more self control. Zack recommends shooting with a new lens for 6 months and only that lens until you can see the world through that lens and know exactly what you’re going to get (and not get). He has a valid point that until you know every bit of capability you can eek out of a lens, you really don’t need to buy another one. In my defense, it’s been more then 6 months since I added a lens to my bag.
Having spent the money, I decide I should apply the second half of Zack’s advice and get to know my new lens intimately. Since it overlaps with my 100-400mm lens, I figure doing some comparison is a good idea.
Walking over to my favorite park, I head down to the ridge between the wetland and a creek. Since I want to see how the extra light helps out, I shoot with a wide open aperture with both lenses. The 100-400mm lens is a f/4.5-5.6, which is annoying since the maximum aperture changes as you zoom. But, the extra 200-400mm is sure nice.
A bird I thought was an Eastern Phoebe poses for me for a bit–I am unsure of what kind of bird it actually is. I snap a few shots with the new lens. I switch lenses and take some comparison shots. I switch back and get some shots of a Song Sparrow in the creek. I switch lenses and try with the 100-400mm. I switch back and shoot some more. I catch a cardinal posed in the sun. Then, on the way out of the park, I manage to spot an Eastern Bluebird who won’t quite step into the sun for me, but lets me get many shots with the new lens.
I shoot both lenses wide open and hand held. I find that most of my shots with the 100-400mm missed the focus. I’m not sure if I was waving around the lens too much when focusing or whata, but it’s hard to see direct comparisons because so many shots were so completely off. The 70-200mm focused much faster in all cases, which might explain why I had an easier time focusing on my subject.
All in all, when I look at the images from the new lens, there is something about them I just like better. Maybe it’s because I’m still trying to justify the purchase?