Just following up on this thread.
My 70-200 f/4L USM arrived today and I went to a local lake to have a play around sunset. Right beside the lake is an old cement factory, so following on from my abandoned buildings theme of the weekend (see http://www.shuttertalk.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=2500
and also http://www.shuttertalk.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=2501
) I decided to investigate and take a few shots.
My initial thoughts are quite positive. The lens itself seems absolutely fine and everything I'd expect. My only niggle is that perhaps the USM motor is just as noisy as the micro-motor on my kit lens, but I don't particularly care about that as I won't be using this lens to sneak up on anything where that amount of noise will bother it.
It wasn't as heavy as I was expecting which is good, and was about the same size as I'd imagined. It doesn't seem to dwarf the camera too much, but the white lens on the silver body isn't particularly appealing to me.
It came with a soft case and a lens hood, but no tripod mount (optional). When mounted on my (cheap and nasty) tripod it didn't seem to unbalance it or want to tip forward or do anything that would make me think the tripod mount is an essential extra. But maybe time will tell.
With the lens hood attached, it starts to look big on the poor little 350D.
I also have an Olympus 1.7x Teleconvertor that I bought for my C750, that screws onto the front of this lens with the help of a step-down ring. Although clearly not built to the same standards as the Canon L lens, this might come in handy occassionally when I *really* need the extra reach and am prepared to sacrifice some image quality to get it. My initial tests seem to show it holds up better than I expected.
ok, so how does it perform? Well, considering I'm using it on a camera I've only owned for a few days and have only the kit lens to compare it to, I think it is too early to tell beyond initial impressions.
The lens itself seems great. I have some amazingly sharp shots, there seems to be no CA, the bokeh is lovely, wonderful colours, no flare I could see, it focuses fast and decisively and is a joy to use. I can't comment on barrel distorion or anything as I didn't test that, and the only time I noticed any vignetting is when I had a step-down ring attached with some filters on it (which is to be expected putting 55mm filters in front of a 67mm lens).
When I looked at the images at 100%, it really seemed to highlight my poor technique!
I got some *really* sharp shots which show just what the lens is capable of, but many others that I would normally "get away with" were not as sharp.
Admittedly I was shooting in failing light at sunset and was pushing the limits of hand-held stability when I had a polariser attached and wanted to stay at ISO 100 or 200... But still this lens is not at all forgiving when it comes to camera shake.
I guess I shouldn't blame the lens for this at all (thats why they invented IS), but rather my dodgy technique was probably previously masked by the poorer optics of my C750 and to a lesser extent the 350D kit lens. Now the lens is sharper than my hands, so it makes me look bad. It was a bit frustrating.
So it seems that I am now the "weakest link" in getting a nice sharp shot at sunset, which is a good thing I guess. I can no longer blame my gear (except my tripod!), and It will force me to improve my technique and think harder about getting the shot.
Here is a 100% crop of a photo I took today of a light plane flying overhead (400 ISO with a fast shutter speed so it was sharp).
Below are some other images I took around the cement factory and Little Rush lake. The last 2 shots were taken using the kit lens instead of the 70-200, but I thought I'd include them anyway. Of course at these resolutions they all look lovely and sharp (and these ones pretty much all were). Also I must confess to cheating - I photoshopped the moon into the photo with the silo and birds, and then had to photoshop it into the other silo photo to give it some consistency!