Friday, 27 September 2019

Thoughts on Equipment

For some time carrying my trusty canon camera equipment, especially my 500mm lens that I use for bird photography, has presented my with problems.  A chronic bad back has been a problem for some years and more recently heart problems and open heart surgery have increased the difficulty, but, of course, reaching the grand old age of 70 has nothing to do with it.  Over the last few years I have bought a couple of lightweight mirror-less Fuji bodies along with a couple of lenses which I love and now use for the majority of my photography.  I only use the canons for specific macro and bird photography, which I have to say is all of my wild life work.  A year ago, however, Fuji brought out a 100 - 400 lens with a dedicated 1.4 teleconverter which gives a maximum reach of 560 mm compared to the canon 500 plus 1.4 converter's 700 mm.  I would have to sacrifice some reach but it would be much lighter and more convenient to take away on holiday.  I rarely take the 500 away with me.  My macro lens would also have to be replaced but Fuji do an 80 mm macro which would do the job for flower photography.  The 100-400 also has very close focus which would make it an idea tool for insects.

I have had the opportunity to test the 100 - 400 as a friend has very kindly lent me her's for a couple of days.  I have tried it in the garden on static subjects and hand holding.  I deliberately used the lens with the converter and at 800 and 1600 ISO and at maximum zoom.  It performed exceptionally well. Yesterday I took it out to Cleethorpes boating Lake and down to the Fitties to try it out with some co-operative bird subjects.  I did use the tripod for this as I would have had to have done with the 500.  Again it performed exceptionally well.  There was some noise but I attribute that to the XT2 body and my canon 7D Mk 1 is noisy anyway.  The excellent noise reduction in Lightroom easily sorts that.  I have been told that focus tracking on birds in flight may not be as good as the canon but my hit rate with the canon 100-400 is not wonderful on flight subjects anyway; the 500 is good but impossible to hold for long.  With the more static subjects on the boating lake I found it quick and responsive.

I am smitten with this lens and am seriously considering trading in all of my canon gear and going over to Fuji.  I might aspire to the XT3 body as well.

Thanks to Di Seddon for the loan.

Below are my test shots.


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