Title: The Pulley Location: Heybridge Basin Camera: Canon EOS 7D / 50mm EF f/1.4 USM Notes: After making my Face Down Tuesday shot this afternoon, I managed a brief walk around the boatyard at Heybridge Basin before the drizzle drove me back to the car. This pulley was attached to one of the old Thames Barges which is currently in dock for maintenance at the Basin.
You may recall that I had been contemplating a change from my Canon 70-20mm EF f/4 L USM lens a few months ago. It’s main failings for me were insufficient focal length at the long end to justify carrying it around with my 24-105mm EF f/4 L IS USM and lack of Image Stabilisation which was a hindrance in low light situations.
Since then I’ve been thinking hard about a suitable alternative. Recently Canon’s 70-300mm EF f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM caught my attention. So a couple of weeks ago I decided to invest. I purchased a second hand model from Camera World in the West End, who also took my 70-200mm lens in part exchange, which helped my wallet somewhat!
I had not previously heard of the DO series – it contains a Diffractive Optical element that, according to Canon, “delivers compact size, low weight and superb image quality”. Sounds great! The DO is designated by the green band around the front of the lens.
I have used it a few times since buying on 11th June. The weather has been rather appalling or I would have taken it out more!
I photographed Utopia during a dingy evening out at Heybridge Basin with the GNPC folks. The IS in the low light was a great help! This one nearly made it for Day #1627.
Yesterday I managed to cram in two photoshoots. I made these during the first, a family visit to RHS Hyde Hall:
I loved the soft background bokeh and clarity of the main details in both images.
During the evening I went to Maldon for another outing with the GNPC members. There was a Morris side practicing on the quay who proved to be fruitful photographic material:
The long focal length really helped to isolate them from their background and meant that I wasn’t trampled underfoot (or clog) to get the shot I wanted.
The evening light was very pleasant. I made this shot of the Thames Barge coming back to port with an evening excursion.
So, my first impressions are very positive. The size and weight of the lens is great (a mere 100mm long and 720g). The Image Stabilisation seems to work well, and I have no worries with the low-light performance. Certainly if I’m going anywhere and don’t want to lug the 100-4oomm zoom about with me, this makes a great alternative.
It’s been over 3 years since I bought my Canon 24-105mm EF f/4 L IS USM lens. In that time, I’ve still kept hold of the 17-85mm EF-S f/3.5-4.5 USM it replaced, but I haven’t used the wider lens very much compared to the 24-105, which is my everyday lens and gives better image quality.
However, recently I’ve been craving a wider angle of view so had done some investigation on the options for wide/ultra-wide on the EOS 7D cropped sensor body. The wise money said Sigma 10-20 EF f/4-5.6 (which is cheaper but slower) or Canon’s own 10-22mm EF-S f/3.5-4.5 USM [right].
I vowed a while back not to buy any 3rd-party lenses (after a disappointing flirt with a Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lens about 5 years ago). But I also vowed not to buy any EF-S lenses if I could help it – for future-proofing if I ever do get a full frame DSLR. What to do?
In the end, I figured that it will be some time (if ever) that I get the opportunity of a full frame body, so the Canon EF-S won out. Having read reviews and borrowed a friend’s lens for a few days to play with, I was convinced this was the right option. It arrived this morning! So I was eager to get out and about to give it a proper test run. I started off at Paper Mill Lock and then headed to Maldon for some early evening shots as the sun was setting, but I got there just in time to make a few shots.
From this brief outing, I’m pretty impressed with the lens. The trick is to get some interesting foreground to act as a lead-in for the rest of the picture, otherwise everything just looks too far away. But it’s equally at home shooting distance or close ups. My favourite from the shoot made it as Day #1310.