I like to think that the reason I was able to get this lens is because I’ve got the gift of the gab and can sell ice to a Bedouin (or something like that), but ultimately it was my constant nagging that finally drove Jules to allow me to buy the lens and before she could change her mind eBay had another happy customer. First impressions were that it was bloody heavy, and in the constant penis-measuring contest that is photography, I thought I had won.
It takes some getting used to, and the minute you start moving towards 500mm you need all the help you can get to keep it stable – hand-held isn’t really an option. It also needs a lot of light, and I often find myself setting the ISO to 400 to take a photo that isn’t blurry without being too dark. Fortunately my mom was kind enough to make me a beanbag for it and this has made a huge difference.
It’s by no means anywhere near as sharp as the white jobs that Canon make, but then no amount of nagging would allow me to even look at one lest I get tempted.
Heading back to SA for a friend’s wedding in March I had the opportunity to try it out in the Pilanesburg. That’s when you realise that you can’t always win the contest – some are showers and some are growers and nobody can compete with an 800mm prime lens – bastard!
Here are a few pics taken with it
Elephant before he charged us
Deer in Richmond Park
Parakeets in London?
Neither of us has a very good track record when it comes to cameras. We originally bought a cheap Polaroid digital for when we went to Egypt to do our diving course. I dropped this in Dahab and something bad happened causing the camera to become too hot to hold. Fortunately we managed to save the memory card and all our photo’s of the pyramids.
I then saved up and got a Canon EOS 350d. This was superb until my folks visited us in London and my mom thought it would be a good idea to leave the camera on a train at Waterloo and age 20 years in the process. Fortunately somebody handed the camera in at the station and we got it back. Disaster averted until a couple of weeks later when I decided to climb onto a rubbish bin to get the perfect shot in Devon only to wipe out and turn my lens into an artist’s impression. Several weeks and a new lens later our flat in London was burgled and ownership of the SLR and Jules’ point and click was transferred to somebody else. This was where we learned the difference between the British and South African police. Somebody arrived the next day to take fingerprints and we received a call offering us counselling to help us get over the “trauma of our loss”. We’re still waiting for the SAP to come to take fingerprints from when my family was burgled in South Africa when I was 12.
The camera saga wasn’t over because a couple of weeks ago Jules went to a concert in Hyde Park and decided to get skwank and leave her camera there.
So as of today our camera gear is:
Canon 18 – 55mm efs lens
Canon 90 – 300mm ef zoom lens (cheap lens but absolutely pathetic)
Canon 50mm prime lens
Canon 430 EX ii speedlite
Homemade wire remote (not worth making your own because you can get a wireless remote for the same price off Amazon)
Canon IXUS 117 HS
Apart from hoping to fluke a cheap 5D on ebay, my lens wishlist would bankrupt most countries.
My birthday is coming up and I would be happy with any of the following (I’m not fussed if it’s a combined birthday/Christmas present if anybody is feeling generous)
- Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM
- Sigma 50 – 500mm (Bigma)
- Sigma 150 – 500mm
Thanks to a groupon deal we’re doing a photography course next weekend, so hopefully when the time comes to capture a pride of lions playing tiddlywinks with a leopard in the Masai Mara we’ll be prepared and deliver award-winning pics.