Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Lens - Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS II

It took me 7 years of work to afford this on my debt-free approach. Now I finally have one of my dream lenses! This is the Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS II lens, the workhorse of Canon wedding and portrait photographers worldwide.

For years I shot with a Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 lens for my telephoto needs. It's a nice lens and produces really sweet images, but with no stabilization, I am glued to a monopod at speeds under 1/200 sec, which is pretty much always at a wedding.

This new lens is known for the ability to stabilize hand-held images at 4 or so stops below normal. For a 200mm lens, the recommended minimum hand-held speed would be 1/200 sec (basically the max focal length expressed as a fraction of a second). Four stops slower is: 1/100 (1 stop), 1/50 (2 stops), 1/25 (3 stops) and finally 1/12th for four stops. So does this mean I may be able to get good sharp hand held images at 1/25 sec or slower with a 70-200 lens? Today I tried to answer that question.

I did a bit of playing this evening in a darkish house. Here are some test images:

My faithful mutt indoors under "daylight florescent". This is at 1/20 second, ISO 1600, f/2.8 exposure parameters about what I might expect in a church or reception hall. I'm happy with the sharpness around the eyes, and the autofocus was very fast.

My fake apple still life was 1/30 second at ISO1600 and f/2.8. The depth of field is nice and shallow here - note the sharpness at the front of the basket and the focus falloff as you move to the back.
Once again, Emma is zoning and I caught her close eye in sharp focus. 1/50th at f/2.8 and ISO1600. 

I'm quite happy with the low-light capabilities of this lens. At higher ISO and wide open aperture, I have acceptable sharpness at speeds as low as 1/20th of a second!

I had to wander around outdoors for a couple of images as well:

Philosophical dog under shady skies. 1/800 at f/2.8 and ISO200. Great sharpness on the canine, and good blur of the garage about 15 feet behind her.

The obligatory summer flower shot. This is a "macro" shot taken with a 70-200 lens! This lens can focus as close as 1.25 meters (about 4 feet). This was taken at 1/60 at f/10 and ISO200. Not super sharp, but nice background blur and decent detail on the flower guts.

I'll be doing some more experimentation with this lens over the holiday weekend (with real people), but I know that I'll be getting some great shots this year with this lens!

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