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Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM

ef400mmf_28l_1_
Review Date: May 25, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Unbelievable images at f2.8, fast and silent autofocus, built like a tank.
Cons:
Expensive as hell and a real chore to carry even short distances (heavy).

This is one of the nicest pieces of equipment (photography or otherwise) I have ever used. I rented this lens for Commissioning Week 2009 at the U.S. Naval Academy and it was worth every penny. The images it produced were simply stunning. Razor sharp images at f2.8, the quietest and fastest autofocus I've ever worked with and unbelievable build quality.

One complaint: This lens is an absolute beast to carry, even toted over your shoulder on a monopod (which is a must). Handheld is a near impossibility (at least for me). I found I was really glad to be finished shooting when I was using this lens. It was like "whew, glad to put that thing back in its case."

Also, you'll get a lot of attention from people at events with this lens. One lady told me she thought I had a missile launcher. If you're the shy type, be aware that you'll get a lot of questions. It's presence commands a lot of attention.

If I had the money, I wouldn't even flinch on this one. For now, I'll rent it as I need it.


 
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

ef100_400l_1_
Review Date: Apr 19, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,349.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Built like an Abrams tank, smooth push-pull action, excellent range, good sharpness up to about 300mm, and nice enough sharpness when stopped down past 300mm.
Cons:
There is no myth about "dust sucking." I take immaculate care of my camera and my image sensor is dirty after every outing with this lens, as is the mirror. A week's worth of work with my 24-70L produces no such problems with dust.

I bought this lens for use on the water with sailboat and general boating photography, along with some wildlife photography. Sailboat races, fishing, boating etc.

A few notes:

1. It's a big lens, and it's heavy - it should be.

2. I reccomend using this lens with a monopod on land for best results. Even with IS in proper mode and adequately fast shutter speeds, my arm fatigues holding this lens, and I get shaky. Just something to consider. A monopod makes things easier.

3. There is a definite learning curve to find out what settings to use on the camera given the conditions present and the capabilities of this lens. Once you master those, this lens gives stunning, sharp, saturated images - just what you'd expect from an "L" lens.

4. Once you get used to the push-pull, and the friction adjustment ring, you can get deadly accurate with the zoom.

5. The autofocus on mine searches a bit wide open, especially when targeting birds on a confusing background, but so do some of my other lenses.

All in all, if you plan on exclusively doing wildlife, get the 400mm prime (I find myself always using this lens wide open when taking wildlife shots, but needed the flexibility of a zoom, which, as we all know, has drawbacks.)

I haven't used this with the 1.4 or 2.0 x converters as others have, but plan on getting the 1.4.

Enjoy - best lens in this range for the money.


 
Bogen/Manfrotto 3021 Tripod Legs

product_83
Review Date: Mar 1, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $140.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: The M1 Tank of tripods - sturdy, strong, excellent construction, solid components.
Cons:
All the above comes at a price - it's a bit heavy. Make sure you have a sack or strap for it.

This is an excellent all-around tripod, although a little heavy - but it is built like a tank.

The construction is impeccable, all ot the components are beautiful and the operation is easy, and smooth.