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BIRDS AS ART BULLETIN #5

NOTES FROM DOWN UNDER ON THE CANON 300MM IS LENS


> Hi Fellow Photographers,
>
> Things at Bosque had been so good that I decided to stay an additional two
> days. ( A mistake--cold north winds have put a damper on things
> photography-wise.) On Thursday morning past, a thick fog and cold temps
> left Bosque shrouded in silver frost, with every twig, branch, bush, leaf,
> and blade of grass looking like polished pewter. Yours truly had the
> pleasure of photographing a golden coyote who posed in the silver world just
> outside my car window. Friday afternoon's south breeze found sandhill after
> sandhill flying right down the lens' barrel and landing on a road just above
> our position with wings outstretched. Whew, it was breathtaking.
>
> Seems that in my enthusiasm for the new IS telephotos that I neglected to
> mention many important features. Here are excerpts from a recent e-mail:
>
> >>Dear Arthur
> > >
> > >Glad to hear you like the new lenses.
>
> I love my 600 IS more each time that I get new images back.
> > >
> > >I'm a Canon Professional Services (CPS) member AUS98346. I shoot natural
> > >history and increasingly more and more birdlife.
>
> Yeah, birds are nice.
>
> I exhibit annually in Australia. >I just bought the 300/2.8 IS and am
> happy to contribute some feedback to
> > >your audience.
> > >
> Thank you.
>
> > >I use to lug a 400/2.8 around which nearly killed me at 6.3kg. This was
> > >actually Canon's heaviest lens at the time, even heavier than your 600/4
> by
> > >300grams. Travelling with it internationally was always a little awkward
> > >but it was a brilliant lens otherwise. I have made many exhibition
> prints
> > >with a 1.4 extender attached at 1/60th of a second no problem with this
> > >lens.
> > >
> > >Beware of Pre-Production Models
> > >
> > >Everyone needs to be aware that the pre-production models did have a
> couple
> > >of gremlins, which is why they are called pre-production and not released
> > >to the public. Some of these exhibited audible stabilizer noise when in
> > >use; too stiff manual focussing; software aberations and stiff tripod
> > >collar movement on the 600/4.
>
> I have heard that the problems with the stiff tripod collars can be
> repaired. I'll need to check on it when I get home.
> > >
> > >Canon Australia sent their pre-prod models back to Japan with this
> > >feedback.
>
> Ditto from the US.
> > >
> > >I can assure you that the production models are all close to perfect!
> I've
> > >tested them all and now own one. They work in super fast silent
> operation,
> > >the AF and MF is just excellent. I do still agree that the tripod collar
> > >on the 600 is not as silky smooth as the others but I certainly didn't
> need
> > >to use both hands.
>
> Lifting the lens from the front makes rotating the lens barrel easier and
> reduces stress on both the camera body and lens mounts.
> > >
> > >I also note your EOS3's metering was off. This was experienced in
> > >Australia too with a few first-off-the-production line units. It's a
> > >simple software change which Canon do for free if you were one of the few
> > >eager beavers who got stuck with one of these units.
>
> It was a large problem (here in the U.S.) which at times Canon acknowledged
> and at times denied......
>
> > >
> > >A Load Off
> > >
> > >The new 300 IS would have to be the best 300 ever made by anyone to date.
> > >Lightest in its class at only 2.5kg; shortest focussing at only 2.5m; the
> > >tripod collar comes OFF for even lighter weight;
>
> A great feature that I didn;t know about; I always advise my folks to remove
> the triod colllars when hand-holding the intermeidate telephotos.
>
> extremely water and dust >proofed by using rubber seals everywhere
> including the mount; improved >weight balance distribution over previous
> models; fastest AF ever;
>
> You are right--the initial focus acquisition with the 600 IS/2X TC is indeed
> amazing.
>
> and >resolution and contrast correction that is scary even with both
> extenders.
> > >Very sexy indeed.
> > >
> > >Greatest Versatility and Economy
> > >
> > >The 300 has always been very versatile but with the IS addition and the
> use
> > >of dedicated 1.4 and 2x extenders the versatility is now quite
> incredible.
> > >Not only do you get the best 300 available but I now also own a very
> light
> > >420/4 and 600/5.6. All of which are handholdable for flight shots
>
> Gee, a hand-holdable 600--I need to borrow one of those!
>
> and
> > >great for travel. Because you gain 2 stops with IS the above combos are
> > >even faster than this in real terms.
>
> Try some Fuji Provia F pushed one stop at EI 200 or two stops at EI 320 and
> you'll gain yet another stop or two (and be amazed at the sharpness, fine
> grain, and accurate, neutral colors of RDP III).
>
> > >
> > >All serious Nikon shooters should see these lenses physically stop any
> > >movement before their own eyes and be amazed. It really does work. My
> > >feeling is that a lot of Nikon folk don't want to see this. I can only
> > >empathise with them.
>
> Me too.
> > >
> > >Advantages with IS include the possibility of using monopods instead of
> > >tripods where once this was impossible. IS just increases the
> versatility
> > >of these lenses - period. Panning is also improved ten fold now by using
> > >IS mode 2 allowing you to use even slower shutter speeds to really blur
> > >those backgrounds into beautiful muted swashes of colour while keeping
> the
> > >subject tack sharp.
> > >
> > >Combining IS with the Pellicle Mirror!
> > >
> > >This is my theory where Canon will go next. Think about it. A body with
> a
> > >pellicle mirror allows lightning fast film advance at 10fps currently,
> and
> > >you get to see the moment of exposure, including seeing your fill flash -
> > >great. The only real downside is the 2/3 of a stop loss of light BUT
> this
> > >is now insignificant because with IS you've just gained at least 2 stops.
> > >
> > >I'd like to see Canon bring out a new EOS1nRS with all the latest EOS 3
> > >technology.
>
> I never liked the RS as the viewdfinder is so dark when compared to the EOS
> 3. In addition, my understanding is that the 10 fps does not funtion with
> AI Servo. Chuck Westfall, can you cofirm this??
> > >
> > >Battery Life
> > >
> > >The only negative with IS I have noticed is that you get through
> batteries
> > >a little more quickly if you use the IS all the time.
> > >
> I've been getting about 30+ rolls in the cold here at Bosque with each
> rechargeable battery. And that is while using AF and IS virtually all the
> time.
>
> > >Mechanical Manual Focus
> > >
> > >Yes I agree this is the way to go (thanks must go to Nikon AFS lenses on
> > >this one, along with the focus stop buttons). The focus ring is quite
> > >positive in feel compared to the electronic versions but I actually find
> it
> > >is nicer to work in the field, especially if you are wearing gloves and
> are
> > >very excited. It was too easy to focus too quickly past your subject
> with
> > >the electronic version if you were all hyper at nailing that
> > >once-in-a-lifetime image.
>
> Been there, done that.
> > >
> > >I also wonder if this positive feel may in fact loosen up a bit with use
> > >Arthur?
>
> I rarely manual focus on anything anymore.
> > >
> > >Improved Ergonomics
> > >
> > >Don't forget the other improvements with the IS versions. Many
> placements
> > >of controls etc have been moved and improved. The focus grips are wider
> > >and more tactile; the tripod collar knobs have been moved higher up on
> the
> > >barrel;
>
> This is a nice touch.
>
> the vertical placement on the control panel of functions is in
> > >better priority eg the top control is the focus range selection then you
> > >drop down to the AF/M control, then the IS control, then the pre-set
> > >controls.
>
> I wish that the IS switch had a lock. A gremlin keeps turning mine off.
>
> Notice also that the pre-set return ring is now placed just in
> > >front of the focus ring not behind it. This makes for quicker reaction
> > >times by the user.
>
> I rarely if ever use focus perset.
> > >
> > >The Flourite Advantage
> > >
> > >Optically these new IS lenses are even better than previously which is
> > >saying something! This is important when you use extenders a lot. Canon
> > >is the only way to shoot flourite glass. Nikon doesn't have it. The
> color
> > >fidelity is unmatched in my opinion.
> > >
> > >The results I've been getting with the 300/2.8 with the 1.4 or 2 x
> extender
> > >have been amazing. I now have complete confidence in tele extenders with
> > >these new lenses. IS technology is the future whether you think so or
> not.
> > >The benefits are tangible. We (photographers) just need a little time to
> > >make the most creative use of that technology. This is a great era to be
> a
> > >photographer, so embrace it or you'll be left behind.
> > >
> > >Configuring you Kit
> > >
> > >I tossed up going for a 500 or 300 but in the end went with the 300 due
> to
> > >its now increased versatility and of course significant cost saving. I
> > >couldn't justify having both right now and I thought that when I can
> afford
> > >it, it would be a better kit to have the 300 and the 600 instead of the
> 500
> > >alone or having the 500 and 600 together.
> > >
> > >It is always going to be easier to hand hold and/or pan more freely with
> a
> > >300 and extenders than with the 500. The minimimm focusing distance is
> another
> > >advantage of the 300 + extender combo. The image quality is right on
> also.
> > >I don't believe the 500 is any better in this area.
> > >
> > >Obviously for really long stuff you can't beat the 600 + extenders. My
> > >ideal kit would include it definitely.
> > >
> > >Well, that's it. Thanks for your time Arthur. Hope you had a blast at
> > >Bosque!
>
> I did, and thanks for your feedback.
>
> > >PAUL HUNTLEY

Listing of Archived Bulletins



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