Everything Counts in Large Amounts

Two weeks ago, I met with sports photographer, Alex Lawrence, in a busy Hove café, to receive a very special piece of equipment : the Canon EF 500mm f/4 L IS USM lens. I first met Alex on Brighton beach in March; our last rendezvous was only our second and so it is a rare privilege to be offered custody of a £7500 lens for one month. Alex knows I have form for destroying L series lenses; the Canon EF 100-400mm and 28-70mm lenses have both, on my part, succumbed to accidental obliteration. Never again, is what I swore, the time before. I have to credit my other job in adult social care for developing me as a person; I often meet several new people in one day and I need to gain their trust very quickly in order to help them. I'm sure Alex saw this in me.

My experience with the Canon EF 500mm lens brought forward the purchase of a replacement DSLR; I had been saving for the brand new Canon EOS 1DX, but, at £5299, the money would be better spent on a used DSLR and the rest put towards purchasing my very own Canon EF 500mm lens in the future. Last Wednesday, I purchased a barely used Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III from MPB Photographic. The camera produces vivid, high resolution, low noise images; 21.1 megapixels is ideal for landscape photography and wildlife, where cropping may be needed to compensate for distant, elusive animal subjects. I chose this model in favour of Canon's latest professional digital SLRs, because new cameras are prone to early defects in manufacturing and software programming. I often spend hours, painstakingly locating shy, wild animals; one mistake and the whole trip is a waste of time. I need a camera, which is 100% reliable. Owning a wholly dependable telephoto prime lens would be perfect.

The Canon EF 500mm f/4 L IS USM is a large and distinctive piece of equipment. Indeed, its presence has drawn gasps from country walkers; my mother's jaw dropped on Saturday and several car drivers have stopped to ask questions about the lens. One gentleman, having noticed me carrying the lens home in its supplied case, asked me for a quote to install a new gas boiler. I know Brighton and Hove is a city helping police with its enquiries, but some things are beyond the call of duty. 

Using the lens out in the field has been a real eye-opener as to the sheer quality and reliability of Canon L series telephoto lenses. My Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM lens suffers from inconsistent focussing; although optically very good, the lens back-focusses at the long end. In contrast, the Canon EF 500mm lens will never let me down again; every shot is pin-sharp; each frame focussed to perfection. The extra reach is of great benefit when photographing shy, wild animals; it was just a question of time, before I took my best ever photograph of a Roe deer. You will have to purchase my upcoming book to see it.

Roe deer



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