I started doing photography roughly two years ago. At the beginning I had a 550D and some beginner zooms but one day I made the mistake of getting an L lens, and the inevitable happened to me -> I got infected.
Aside of the 50 1.8 I only have L lenses now which are the 70-200 4 L IS, 100L and 16-35L II, and somewhere in between I also got a 5D3. So now you have an idea of my current setup.
About one year ago I started developing the idea of getting something bigger because my favorite type of photography is wildlife and my 200mm doesn’t cut it (by far). So I was looking into the 300 f4 with 1,4x and the 400 5,6 and … well that are pretty much all the alternatives you have with canon if you want to stay in a reasonable price range.
Suddenly it appeared absolutely clearly in my mind – What do you want with this chickens**t??? If you wanna do something you gotta do it right!
So 500mm f4 L IS II it is! If I get a telephoto lens – this will be it.
BUT there are some serious issues that keep me from going to the shop and ordering one:
- PRICE: Although I’m only 28 I could afford this lens. I have to work for about six months ONLY saving up for it but hey, I’m already at about 5 1/2 right now
! I don’t have a car, I go by bicycle everywhere, I really spend very less money regularly and I do not have any other expensive hobbies.
Additionally I believe that if I spend €9500 (which is the current price here in Austria) on this piece of equipment and use it a LOT of years (let’s say 10) I still can resell it for maybe €7000 (if I treat it well of course, and I darn sure will treat it very well!!). So the total cost of ownership will be “only” about €2500 or €250 per year which is pretty reasonable. There are more stupid ways of spending €250 per year I guess (smoking for example
Please note that I’m a total amateur and I’m not expecting to make any money out of it.
- WEIGHT AND SIZE: I know that this thing is a BEAST. I saw it once in real life in a shop window with the hood on and I couldn’t imagine myself lugging this thing around. As already mentioned I don’t have a car so I usually go by bike or by foot everywhere. I would get an appropriate backpack for it (Lowepro 500 or something) and carry it on my back all the time (So 600 II and 500 I were not an option from the beginning). Additionally I do not have a tripod, monopod or tripod head hat supports this kind of weight, and for financial and backpacking reasons I will not get these things anytime soon, so I’m planning to use the lens exclusively handheld. 3.2 kg doesn’t actually sound like so bad but holding it to the eye for an extended period of time … I’m not so sure about that. I’m not really a strong guy, but I’m also not the “only shooting from eye-level” kind of photographer, more like the “lying in the dirt most of the time” photographer – so a bean bag or resting the tripod foot on the knee or on the ground is an option.
- CONSPICUITY: Sometimes when I use my white 70-200 and my gripped 5D3 I can notice people watching and I really dislike that. I like to work alone and undisturbed and when people watch I cannot concentrate so well on making my pictures. Compared to the 500, the 70-200 f4 is a BABY TOY lens so how will it be when I walk around with the beast? I myself have never seen such a lens “in the field” so I would be watching too if someone else had it! When I think about it I believe that I wouldn’t use it so much when there are other people around. I am living in a not too big city but I would still have to travel a bit to get to a quiet place (you do remember the no car thing do you?
). This would further increase the necessary effort for using this lens. Together with the weight and size issue I have the fear that I wouldn’t use it so much than I should to justify its price.
OK, after so much negative things I should state some good things I expect, otherwise every one of you will just advise me against getting the lens
+ This lens would be AWESOME.
+ IQ is absolutely as good as it gets at this time.
+ This lens would be totally AWESOME.
+ I don’t need to spend money on fitness studios when lugging this thing around (which I wouldn’t do anyways to be fair)!
+ It would give me the reach I need for all my wildlife and birding needs (I would surely get the 1,4x III after a couple of months and maybe also the 2x III).
+ It would be AWESOME in combination with my 5D3, AF- and IQ-wise!!
WOW, if you read until this point then TANK YOU! But although it helped my decision making process to write down all the advantages and disadvantages there is one more thing I would ask you to do. Please tell me your opinion:
- Did I make some serious errors in the arguments I stated above?
- Do you have experience with this kind of gear and can tell me something in general and especially about the handholdability?
- Does it really make sense for me to make such an investment or should I simply convert to Buddhism and seek my joy in meditation?
- Should I pull the trigger or not? Please do not encourage me for the sake of it but really tell me what you think. It would be cool if you could put a +1 or a -1 at the end of your post for buying or not buying respectively.
At the end I would also like to share some of my pictures with you so that you can get an idea of my skills and what I like to do normally. Due to the lack of a good tele, I concentrated on macro work during the last year. Most of those were taken with my old 550D. Critics are also very welcome!
Hope to hear your opinions!