Brayford Wharf – Testing the new 70-200 lens

Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS II USM
Yesterday lunch time I braved the very cold weather and decided to take some photographs during my lunch break. This was the first time that I would manage to try out my new Canon EF 70-200 f2.8 L IS II USM Lens (I think that includes as all of the acronyms).

I had been reading the DP Review forums that morning (before work) and though this was usually a futile exercise I did find a post in the Canon Lens forum about using a suitably high shutter speed and that any BIF (Birds In Flight) shots should be using at a bare minimum 1/500 second preferably higher (1/1000 to 1/2000 second). It had never occurred to me that if I could shoot at this speed I might achieve some better shots. So when I arrived at the place I usually take pictures that lunch time I set the 5D3 to Shutter Priority (Tv on the mode dial) and set the shutter speed to 1/1250 second, I took a couple of test shots and dialled in 2/3 stop of exposure compensation to combat the underexposure. The camera set the aperture wide open at f2.8 for most of the shots, but this did occasionally stop-down to f/3.5; the ISO however never went above 640.

The first shot of the lunch break was this swan streching its wings, most of them were in focus and relatively sharp, but this is my favourite of the sequence:

Next was this black-headed gull who was trying to eat some weed:

Oops he dropped it:

My main reason for the lunch-time shoot were BIF shots, such as this Black-Headed Gull:

Another gull in flight back dropped by a Mute Swan

This swan decided to follow me around the outside (hoping for some food):

I heard something to my left, a sound that I have become familiar to. When swans want to get around the water quickly they will use their wings and feet to almost fly around, here we have 2 swans in this process, and they were moving very fast. As this is a wide (narrow) shot I have uploaded this to my site as one of the header images:

Here are a couple of shots of Black-Headed Gulls (BHG) coming into land


Sometimes they circle around before they do this:

The swans are still courting each other, I captured the end of these two who were intertwining their necks:

One of the more unusual animals around on the day was a juvenile swan with some of his grey/brown feathers:
What was unusual is that I haven’t seen any juvenile swans since late summer last year so I’m not sure where he/she has come from.

I was happy about the sharpness with these next three images. What I don’t like is the busy distracting background which according to Moose is definitively a no-no:




Here we have the final BIF shot from the day:

And on the way back the following BHG decided to pose for me:

So what do I think of the new lens? It was worth every penny, it is very fast at focusing and the Image Stabilisation (IS) is exceptionally good and the optical quality is second to none. I recommend this lens to any Canon shooter that needs a lens with a 200mm focal length.

I would like to try the Mark III extenders with this lens at some time but at £400 each that will have to wait a few months, I might try and rent them for a week and see if they are worth the cost; they would give me a focal length and aperture combinations of 280mm @ f/4 and 400mm @ f5.6