Glen Goffin Photography

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 USM IS II ... Hold Still You!!!

Ok, I violated my own rule and now I'm wondering if I am going to have to kick my own butt.  After weeks of research into the best telephoto lens to use for weddings, it came down to the prime 135mm f/2.0 or the brand new 70-200mm f/2.8 USM IS II zoom which just got released this month.  I've always been a "prime-guy" for a lot of reasons so this would be a violation of my "prime-cipals".

On my way down to New York Camera on Saturday, I made a deal with myself.  If they have the 70-200mm in stock, knowing how popular and hard it is to get, I'm going to get it.  When the salesman returned with a box and a smile - I looked down and somehow my credit card had mysteriously appeared in my hand.  The rest is a blur.

Fast forward - now I have this lens and it is BEAUTIFUL!!  No doubt.  But it is LOOONNNGGG!  No, really.  I mean it physically extends out a long long way from the body.  Wow.  It is exquisitely crafted in metal and has an almost mystical feel.  I love holding it.  Well, except for one thing.  It is stinkin' HEAVY!!  Maybe I'm spoiled by my 85mm (which I thought was heavy at the time).  Dunno.  Maybe this is what separates the pros from the amateurs - shoulder strength.

In an effort to tame this beast, I've begun research into the best way to hold it.  I am typically a natural light photog so I generally run slightly longer exposures.   And weddings don't typically afford the opportunity to let you rest the lens on anything.  The IS (image stabilization) is killer on this lens but not quite enough for me unless I can find a way to hold this bazooka still.  If not ... well ... anyone looking to buy an ever so slightly used 70-200mm USM IS II??

So ... here are some tips I've uncovered for holding a telephoto lens.

Boxer stance
I read a comment from "neonzu" that I found interesting.
I find shooting left-eye-to-the-viewfinder allows me to comfortably assume a stable “boxer” stance i.e. left foot forward,left elbow in to my left side where there’s less movement from breathing, and hand on the zoom ring when appropriate (especially when panning on a subject that’s moving closer or farther).

Joe McNally - "Da Grip"
Joe illustrates his version of the "boxer stance" with a twist or two.  My problem is that I'm a right-eye dominant shooter.  Hmmm.  Maybe it's time to change?

Advice from a Rifle Sniper
I also found some advice from a rifle expert (Costas) where he points to some sniper primers:

So really, none of this is new.  But now that I actually have to wield this hairy beast, these tips suddenly take on a whole new importance!  Thanks to Joe McNally and everyone.   You may have saved my butt from my own boot ... hmmm ... or else I'll realize I was right all along.  Stick to primes.  More later.

PS - if you're curious to see some example pics from the big gun, here are some quick shots in the back yard.  No post processing on these samples so you can see what it does.  All of these are at f/2.8 at varying focal lengths. The image at the top is also one. Perhaps I'll do an informal review, or at least some impressions of this lens. We'll see.


1 comment:

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