Tag Archives: Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM

Re-Visiting Featherdale Wildlife Park

Early this year, we took a trip to Featherdale Wildlife Park for the first time, and photographed a number of animals and birds.

Having recently bought a new Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and a new Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM, I was keen to head back to Featherdale Wildlife Park to shoot with my new gear, and hopefully capture a pleasing image or two.

Normally I would take my Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM for a photoshoot involving wildlife, but I specifically wanted to shoot with my new 200mm lens, so I took that, plus my Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM and both the 1.4x and 2x tele-converters.

Throughout the half-day visit, I mostly shot with new 200mm lens, and occasionally used my 300mm lens.  I wanted to shoot wide-open and isolate my subjects from their mostly busy backgrounds.

We headed out on an extremely cold morning, and were amongst the first visitors to the park on that day.

Having photographed penguins there before, I naturally wanted to photograph them again.  Here is the stand-out image from the many penguin images I captured:

Profile of a Little Penguin

Profile of a Little Penguin

These creatures can be very difficult to photograph, as they constantly scurry around and often stand in front of annoying backgrounds.  Not so in this case, as I was able to isolate this penguin against his sandy surroundings.

As can be seen in this image, the Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM is very sharp, and produces very pleasing background blur.  Had the penguin been higher and further away from the background, the background blur would have been even creamier.

We had some warm morning light during our visit, and whilst wandering amongst the bird section, I spotted this white-browed woodswallow perched in the warmth of the sun.

White-Browed Woodswallow

White-Browed Woodswallow

Unfortunately the woodswallow is enclosed in a cage, and even when shooting wide-open at f/2 within close proximity to the cage, it was not possible to obliterate the pattern of the cage against the background.

Despite this annoyance, the lens has again shown itself to be a tack-sharp performer, capable of easily isolating a subject.

Earlier during the visit, I spotted a kookaburra sunning himself in a narrow sliver of sunlight on a branch.

Catching Some Rays

Catching Some Rays

For this image, needing more reach to fill the frame, I used my Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM and 1.4x tele-converter.  I have not used that lens for quite a while now, so it was good to give it another run.

It was an enjoyable — albeit cold — morning, and using my new gear was certainly enjoyable too.

Given the capabilties of the Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM, I am very much looking forward to using it in the near future for some portraiture.


My New Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM

This is my new Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM.

My New Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM

My New Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM

This is a lens I first tried in 2008.  It took nine years before I decided to buy one, and it is my third Canon EF super telephoto lens, joining its bigger brothers, the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM and the Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM.

There is a bit of a story behind this lens.  I was meant to have it much sooner, except the lens which was dispatched from Canon Australia to my supplier disappeared. Canon had only one more in stock, which was no longer available by the time it was discovered that my lens vanished.

Consequently, a new lens needed to be ordered from Japan, which delayed the acqusition time.  Finally, it arrived, and here it is.

This year has seen some major gear changes in my lineup, with the Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM being the latest.  It replaced my long-serving Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM.

In this image, the big 200mm prime is mounted on my new Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, which is also a very recent acquisition.

A 200mm lens like this is not just an ordinary 200mm lens — at f/2, it is the fastest 200mm lens currently available for Canon EOS cameras.  Nikon also has a 200mm f/2 prime in its lineup.

At f/2, the bokeh is incredible, and I bought it to shoot it wide-open; to capture the unique look this lens produces.

I am looking forward to exploiting its capabilities.

Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM Coming Soon

In my last post, I related my thoughts about buying a Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM to replace my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM.

Today, I officially set the wheels in motion to achieve this objective.

After recently being in contact with the manager of the store from which I prefer to buy, I visited the store today and paid a deposit on the lens.

The good news is that Canon Australia has two in the warehouse, that mine has already been ordered by the retailer, and that it should be available to pick up this week.


I am looking forward to exploiting the capabilities of this lens to the fullest, and it will bring my lens lineup to the state I desire: all primes in the widest apertures currently available.

Naturally, this means that my long-serving (over ten years now) and excellent Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM will be departing, but being in near-mint condition, I am sure it will very quickly find a new home and serve a new owner for years to come.

The Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM will be a very welcome addition to my super-telephoto lens lineup, joining its big brothers, the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM and the Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM.

In terms of gear acquisition and de-acqusition, 2017 has been a rather dramatic year, with two new lenses purchased, three long-serving lenses sold, an entire collection of filters sold, and a new set of filters acquired.

I think it is time for a rest.

Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM – Almost

Last week I had an opportunity to purchase a second-hand Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM at a very cheap price.

The big 500 is a lens I have long wanted, and it is an ideal lens and focal length for wildlife photography.

I decided to have a look at it, and I spent a fair bit of time with it.

It works fine, but it is not in the greatest condition.

A portion of the AF switch had been snapped off, which exposed the inside of the barrel — at least, the section below the switch panel.  That was concerning to me, as water could easily ingress the barrel.

Also, the front rim was in quite bad shape. It had copped a lot of bumps into hard objects.

I was told that it belonged to a paparazzo who used it on a motorbike.

Clearly it had collided with poles, walls, cars, the bike itself and heaven knows what else.

Despite a few paint scratches, the hood was in great shape.  I would expect that if it had been used much, it would have been well and truly trashed; I suspect it did not spend much time on the lens.

Even for the very cheap price I was offered, it was a risky and uncomfortable situation, and the lens would need to be serviced by Canon to address the damage, which could have been an expensive exercise.

The lens was in good condition relative to how it had been used; but a condition not good enough for my comfort level.

I decided not to proceed.

The following day, I began to think about the Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM.  I tried that lens at PMA Australia in 2008 when it was new.  It is a stunning lens, and having recently shot a few times with the long-discontinued and rare Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM, I would be very happy with a fast (faster than f/2.8) 200mm lens.

When I conducted some critical analysis, the truth is that I do not need a 500mm lens, as I can already achieve the 560mm focal length at f/4 by attaching my Canon Extender EF 1.4x II to my Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM.

What the 500mm prime has in its favour is lighter weight (enormously beneficial when travelling: 3.87kg vs. 5.37kg), and a sharper, native focal length of 500mm.  Having said that, of the three longest focal lengths I had in Kenya, 400mm was used most, followed by 800mm and 560mm.

What I cannot currently achieve is  f/2) at 200mm.  It has been a dream of mine for a number of years to replace my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM with a Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM, as not only would the latter give me a brighter aperture at the 200mm focal length and a stunningly sharp lens, but it would switch me to a 100% prime lens rig.  I am a fan of fast primes, and presently I only have one zoom — one of the finest zoom lenses Canon has produced, incidentally.

I have asked my regular supplier (who has always given me good deals) for a price on a Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM.  If I can land a good price, I might just finally do this, and turn another lens replacement dream into a reality.

Farewell, Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM

Today I sold my Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM lens.

For a month or two, I had been thinking of offloading it, and once or twice previously, I had entertained the thought of selling it.

I was recently put into contact with someone who might be interested in it, and today the buyer collected it.

According to my lens utilisation statistics, it was my least used lens apart from my one-month-old Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM.

Looking at my images, I have only shot 10 images with it in the last five years. Two images per year is not much, and I only published a total of 36 images during the time I owned it.

I am just not a macro shooter at all, and I find macro photography too frustrating for my liking.

It is a stunning lens and is in near-mint condition, but it just is not the kind of lens I use much or really need (despite having owned it for over nine years), so it is better for it to be in the possession of someone who will exploit its capabilities.

I will use the money from its sale to fund my NiSi 150mm filter system.

My original intention was to replace the lens with a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM, but as nice as that lens is (I inspected one), it makes no sense at this point in time.

If I ever want a macro lens in the future, I’ll go and pick one up; but for now, the lack of a macro lens in my rig is not a hindrance.

With this most recent sale and last month’s replacement of my Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM with a Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM, that amounts to two lenses gone from my lineup in less than two months!

I have optimised my lens lineup in several ways, and I am content with what is now in my rig.

I would still like to replace my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM with a Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM, but for the foreseeable future, that notion will remain confined to the realm of wishful thinking.

PMA Australia, 2011

As many photographers are aware, this weekend, PMA Australia is being held at the Exhibition Centre in Darling Harbour, Sydney.

We went yesterday.  I hadn’t visited PMA since the Brisbane show in 2008, and before that the 2006 show in Sydney, which was then called Photo Imaging World.

There was a lot happening at the show.  As well as all the usual product and service displays, there were talks, numerous photographic exhibitions, and the judging of the APPAs (Australian Professional Photography Awards).

We arrived a little after 10am, when the show opened.

On the gear front, I didn’t look at much, as I am not in the market for anything.  However, I did look at a few Canon L-series lenses.

I took the opportunity to look at the Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM, which was about one of the only super-teles I had not seen or used.

Afterwards I had a play with the Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L.  A friend of mine owns this lens, and I had used it once, but we were chasing light and I didn’t have much time to play with the lens, as I was more interested in getting the shot.  It’s a lens I would find useful for my interior and exterior photography, but it’s definitely in the ‘want’ category rather than the ‘need’ category.

I also took the opportunity to look again at the Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM, which I first inspected at PMA 2008 in Brisbane.  It’s a superb lens, but again, not a need, and at $6K or so, it’s good to not need it.

Lastly, I looked at the new, and not-yet-available Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM.  While its predecessor is unquestionably a stunning lens, on par with its 300mm cousin, what floored me the most was the weight — or the lack thereof.

The original 400/2.8L IS weighs 5,370g, which is too much for hand-holdability.  The mark II weighs an incredible 3,850g, which is a significant reduction in weight and for me, makes it quite hand-holdable.  It’s similar to the 500/4 in weight, but the objective element is closer to the camera, so the rig is not as noticeably front-heavy.

One thing I did buy on the day was a Think Tank Hydrophobia 70-200 Rain Cover.  We happened across the L&P stand and when I saw this, I seized it.  For a long time I have been needing a splash guard for my seascape photography.  I have taken a few hits from big splashes and waves in my time, and have even lost a camera to the power of the ocean.  Thus, I needed adequate protection for my gear.  The rain cover is an excellent unit, and will accommodate a 70-200mm lens.  While I don’t use mine for seascaping, it’s good to have the capability.

One of the events we wanted to attend was the judging of the APPAs.  During an Easter weekend in the Hunter Valley this year, we met Canberra-based landscape photographer Chris Morrison and his wife, and had planned to meet up with them at PMA.  Chris had several images in the APPAs, and to his and our delight, one of his images won a gold award.  There was a lot of judging taking place, and some very good images on display.  Unfortunately with three judging booths and a rapid pace, there is too much happening to absorb in a single session.

Throughout the day, I met up with a few people I know, and ran into a few other familiar faces  I also took the opportunity to meet William Long, who is an active campaigner for photographic freedom and photographers’ rights.

At 2pm we attended a talk by Darran Leal on travel photography.  Darran runs a company specialising in photographic tours, and the company is the only licensed travel agency in Australia which designs and operates photographic tours.  We’re considering taking one of his tours, as he travels to destinations most people would never see, let alone photograph, and the tours are designed with photography in mind rather than tourism.

Later in the day I also took the opportunity to chat to Ken Duncan and see how things are going with his rally against the bureaucratic rules and laws eroding people’s rights to photograph in iconic Australian locations such as Uluru, Sydney Harbour and Bondi Beach.  Last August, Ken held a public rally in Campbell’s Cove to raise awareness of the issue.  Ken told me that there has been some traction, and that positive legislative changes are close at hand.  After speaking with Ken, we headed to the Arts Freedom Australia stand and picked up a couple of “I’m a photographer, not a criminal” tee-shirts.  We spent a while chatting to one of the AFA reps about issues and experiences.

All in all, it was a full day with lots happening.  While I looked at a few items I’m not planning to purchase (and as an aside, it’s a very good position in which to be, when gear is not the limiting factor in one’s photography), there was more value to be found in talks, exhibitions, the judging of the APPAs and meeting and greeting.  I did come home with a much-needed item that had been on my list for a while, as well as making a contribution to an organisation whose aim is to protect my photographic freedoms.