Remedy against GAS? Shooting with a vintage EF 500 mm f/4.5 L USM

justaCanonuser

Grab your camera, go out and shoot!
Feb 12, 2014
273
108
Frankfurt, Germany
#1
Well, we all are more or less driven by GAS: should I have the latest camera or lens? But sometimes I hesitate and reconsider my addiction for the latest stuff. This happens every time when I think I should upgrade my vintage, now 23 years old EF 500 mm f/4.5 L USM (built in 1995). It survived sand storms, fell from a tripod on a rock etc., it looks battered, but it still works 100 % reliably. It has no IS (in fact, it has a built-in passive mass inertia IS ;)), its first generation USM drive is a bit slow, wide open the image edges get a little bit soft (but f = 5 is fine) and with a 2x TC my cameras switch off their phase AF... But every time I have it in my hands, I still love it, and I know exactly what this lens can achieve and where its limits are - after many years its like an extension of my body. I shoot it more the 80 % free hand, because then I am best in catching birds in flight. For this technique this lens is not too heavy with 3 kg (my old back is still fine) and its more slender form factor compared with a modern EF 500 mm f/4 is just perfect for my hand.

For this Atlantic puffin I used it in combo with a 7D2. I think it is more important that you really know your gear than having always the latest stuff.
Papageientaucher Flug Staple Island.JPG
 

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
Nov 7, 2013
2,212
113
Germany
#2
Hi justaCanonuser!

Thank you for sharing this story and the nice pic with us.
And a nice idea of (re-)inventing the IS (= inertia stabilizer) *lol

I think it is more important that you really know your gear than having always the latest stuff.
100% agree with this.
New (better) gear makes it esier most of the times. But if you do it wrong from the start, no high end gear in the world will help. ;)
 

degos

EOS M50
Mar 20, 2015
55
4
#3
For this Atlantic puffin I used it in combo with a 7D2. I think it is more important that you really know your gear than having always the latest stuff.
Says the guy shooting with a 7D2, still Canon's latest prosumer sports/action body and retailing today for £1200, more than the price at which it launched here in the UK.

I'm actually the contrary; I'm happy to invest in new lenses but bodies are well out of date; 1DS3 and 7D.

Well done with your old 500mm, but features like IS and spot-focus were really worth it to me. No Canon body can help shoot at 1/10th like a Mark II stabilised big white can.
 

justaCanonuser

Grab your camera, go out and shoot!
Feb 12, 2014
273
108
Frankfurt, Germany
#5
Says the guy shooting with a 7D2, still Canon's latest prosumer sports/action body and retailing today for £1200, more than the price at which it launched here in the UK.

I'm actually the contrary; I'm happy to invest in new lenses but bodies are well out of date; 1DS3 and 7D.

Well done with your old 500mm, but features like IS and spot-focus were really worth it to me. No Canon body can help shoot at 1/10th like a Mark II stabilised big white can.
:) you're right and wrong. In fact, compared with the money you have to invest in a new EF 500 mm a 7D2 is low budget. For me, today's digital cameras are (unfortunately) short-lived products, but a good lens is a keeper for a while, sometimes more than 20 years.

In fact, IS is in particular good for video, because already a little bit of wind blowing into the long lens hood starts to shake it e.g. on a Wimberley on tripod. For stills I don't miss IS much, because I shoot mainly birds, and most of them vibrate literally from life. I also have a Tamron 150-600 mm G2 as a light travel gear, it has a very good IS (VR), but I don't need to rely too much on it.

Thanks for your nice comment. Maybe I should add that this is not a lucky keeper within thousands of failed shots, I get quite a decent in-focus hit rate when I get adapted during shooting, despite it is such an old lens.
 

Del Paso

M3 Singlestroke
Aug 9, 2018
117
99
#7
Your picture of a puffin literally illustrates the difference between a tech-freak and a talented photographer.
Excellent lens, but even better photographer!
 

justaCanonuser

Grab your camera, go out and shoot!
Feb 12, 2014
273
108
Frankfurt, Germany
#9
great story! you should post a picture of the good old 500mm lens!

I've got a couple 40 plus year old Takumars that I just love using, the image quality is beyond amazing....not perfect, but amazing!
Here's my old 500 mm club.
13220655_1778055955763017_4208218248959844837_o.jpg


How about an image of your old Takuma? I love to shoot with more or less vintage glass and cameras, too (I am no collector, I really use them). Here's a quick selection of some of them (had those images already):
16463752_1916601008575177_998343092284457627_o.jpg
12273697_1715332675368679_6130219320289919504_o.jpg
13173282_1771264096442203_8035393802436986467_o.jpg
 
Likes: Durf