On June 1st, Rita and I were married 40 years. We agreed, "No Gifts!" And you know that the man who follows an agreement like that is terminally goofy, and certainly not married forty years. So I gave her a couple of gee-gaws of the sparkling AND toy flavors. Well, that of course allowed me to play the guilt card which can be expensive to purchase but gosh it's fun to play. Unfortunately she cheated me out of any opportunity when recently she surprised me by paying for a new Canon 70-300mm which I'd been borrowing from my friend Steve (he's the guy I've pictured at the helm of a sailboat... remember?)
Now of course I wanted the thing, but since I had access to Steve's generosity, well I really didn't need it (as if we 'need' any of this stuff, right?). But not to worry, I have not returned the red, white and black Canon box (s) filled with lens, lens shade and soft pouch carrying case. Yeah, I did spring for the polarizing filter but hey, a man's gotta do.... And instead of working on ImageFiction images, I've used my spare time to diddle with the new thing.
(1) I am a wide-angle man. That's the way the world looks to me. So of course I have no desire of any sort for a zoom lens that's an effective 450mm when it's fully cranked out.
(2) The thing's got two image stabilizer mechanisms built in. Which only reinforces the problems that guy like me who has a phobia about using tripods will have with this thing.
(3) I carry my stuff in an old canvas army ammunition bag. It's inobtrusive so it doesn't attract attention when I'm in candid-photog mode, plus it doesn't screech out to bad guys.... "STEAL THIS!" Which means there is just enough room inside for my camera, some sponge padding, an additional lens and the cards/cleaners/filters/blowers and a tiny plastic poncho which let me work light. This 70-300mm lens weighs about as much as my 40D and when I carry it, there's no room left in the bag for my camera.
But ... but.... OMG is it S H A R P ! And full of contrast throughout most of its apertures and focal length (s). And the image stabilizers work. I can hand hold it at 1/30 cranked full out! Yeah, that's 1/30 of a second at an effective 35mm focal length of 450mm!!!!!! I even got decent results at 1/15th! WHOA!
Now I'm sure a lot of you are wondering, "Ted, given the post processing soup which you pour over your images, why do you care about razor sharpness?" BECAUSE I CAN! And because I want everything I can get in my virgin image, I don't want to compromise an idea or feeling any more than I have to with equipment limitations.
So... as you can see from the street portrait of a woman at The Mushroom Festival (more on that later) I've posted up above.... There was a lot to work with. How much? Well, here's the virgin image straight from my FlashCard, you be the judge. BTW, notice that she was in FULL sunlight on a late summer afternoon. Note that even in the virgin image that neither the shadows nor the highlights are blocked or blown.