Wednesday, February 26, 2014
I had used my EOS 60D Canon for a couple years with the 18-250mm Sigma zoom lens, but I wanted to add a bit more wildlife capability. I also wanted to remain within handheld capability so as to not be dependent upon a tripod all the time. John West (See the right sidebar for his photography link. Check out his work.) suggested I go with a 400mm primary image stabilization (IS) lens, since I was shooting at maximum extension most of the time anyhow. Further, the lenses in a primary are such better quality than in a compound zoom lens, that if I needed to crop and magnify an image, I could do so without such great loss of resolution. I turned to John for advice since he does wildlife photography from a kayak, and would best understand the conditions I would be shooting under. He said the 400mm is the largest lens that should be attempted handheld, and that occasionally he will in fact use a tree limb or rock to steady the camera in a low-light, slower shutter situation. For the latter situation, I did add a monopod to reduce camera movement.
My approach, at least at the outset, will be to use the 400mm primary while in the canoe, and use the zoom while ashore where the need for greater framing flexibility should be expected. Since exchanging lenses introduces dirt, dust, etc. into the camera, I’d like to minimize lens changes as much as possible, especially in a saltwater environment.
I haven’t really gotten the chance to get out and use the new lens seriously yet, but had the chance to get a couple shots in the backyard when a hawk came in to visit the wild birds that Jean was feeding. Hawks are so close in their markings that I have trouble trying to distinguish species, but its markings do show that it is a juvenile.