Photography: A nearly complete rig without the skills to match


In my December 24th blog post about my acquisition of the 5D Mark IV, I wrote:

I still want to eventually purchase that (70-200) lens and maybe that’ll finally happen this year. The other lens I want is to sell my ‘kit lens’ 24-105 f/4 and purchase the 24-70 f/2.8. It’s built better and has a much better sharpness to it and that extra Bokeh. Sigh….another $1500 lens. I don’t do this professionally so I have to piecemeal these things out.

I decided to start cutting spending in other areas and buy a few lenses that were long overdue in my shopping cart. I started following CPriceWatch  in my RSS reader and when a lens on my list went on sale at Canon’s refurbished store, I’d buy it. The first was a 40mm pancake lens at f/2.8. It was light and small and compact an I found it to be really good for photographing pictures of beer and food because it was also a very affordable lens at $99 on an Amazon flash-sale. I’ve actually really enjoyed it. If we were going out on the town, I could remove my Canon’s battery grip and fix the 40mm lens and have a very light weight full frame SLR on my hip with general purpose candids. 

After that, my halo-lens finally came in to my possession for about $1200 on a crazy Canon sale around the time that COVID-19 started. The 70-200 f/2.8 was finally mine. While I had long settled on buying the f/4, this pricing from $1799 list last year was too good to pass up and I haven’t seen it on sale that low since. Note, these are refurbished lenses but I have seen no functional or cosmetic issues and they still have Canon’s warranty.

A month ago, my 2nd halo lens went on sale, the 24-70 f/2.8 which is known as Canon’s sharpest zoom lens and allows me to finally have a focal length range of 24 mm to 200mm with just 2 lenses both at f/2.8 throughout the focal range. I was set for 2020 until I started using my Canon 5D as a webcam hooked up to my iMac and realized the 24mm was actually not wide enough to use as a webcam, it was too tight so I shopped around and found that Canon’s 17-40mm f/4 was surprisingly affordable in the refurbished store for around $500 so I purchased that. 

The only other gadget on my 2020 list is Canon’s EF Extender 2X that I plan on affixing part time to my 70-200 to allow for 400mm of zoom at a slight compromise to the aperture but will allow me to get some photos of birds nesting around the house. I am very cautious to not get into bird photography because it’s a hobby that requires gobs of money and patience for very little return. Bird photographers are special and I mean that with all respect. I love shooting birds so I just have to tread lightly.

The full suite of lenses came into use when I was photographing a motocross event last weekend. I shot with the 50mm, 24-70, 70-200 and 17-40 lenses and I think the ultra-wide is my new favorite novelty. It has a very distinct time and place as in you can easily overdue ultra wide images but in my case, I used it for about 10% of the shooting and kept only a few of photos photos but they were visually pleasing compared to the human eye which is widely recognized as being about 17mm but some argue 35mm so it’s a toss-up.

I fully recognize that Canon is all in on mirrorless and that’s the future and why these lenses are regularly going on very good sales. The resale value for full-frame L-Lenses is in the crapper and these are less of an investment than ever before. Selling them won’t be easy when the time comes but I plan on eventually purchasing what is rumored to be the final full frame SLR, the 5D Mark V when it ships later this year but I’ll probably buy it a couple of years after release and then keep the rig going for 10 years after that. No plans at all to go back to mirrorless and let that market fully mature before I do. I see the advantages of mirrorless but love my setup a lot with the only downside being weight. There’s a huge upside to 2020 cost because Canon’s 70-200 RF lens is $2500…there EF-L lens is on sale for half the price every day. There’s some value in that to an amateur like me who doesn’t make any money taking photos. 

Here are some images shot with the 70-200:

The Rock Pile Warren NH  May 24th 2020

The Rock Pile Warren NH  May 24th 2020The Rock Pile Warren NH  May 24th 2020


And a few shot with the 24-70:

The Rock Pile Warren NH  May 24th 2020The Rock Pile Warren NH  May 24th 2020The Rock Pile Warren NH  May 24th 2020

And finally the 17-40:

The Rock Pile Warren NH  May 24th 2020

The Rock Pile Warren NH  May 24th 2020

The Rock Pile Warren NH  May 24th 2020

The Rock Pile Warren NH  May 24th 2020

The Rock Pile Warren NH  May 24th 2020The Rock Pile Warren NH  May 24th 2020

For now, these lenses and the Canon 5D greatly exceed my skills as a photographer but I finally feel that I am at a hardware level that allows the greatest flexibility and I will never miss a shot that I intend to take as in if there’s a moment I want to capture, I won’t miss it due to being at a place with the wrong lens. I’m pretty sure that this setup is going to yield a lot of amazing photos in 2020.

I also love now that with the 24-70 as my default lens at f/2.8 selfies with my 5D in any lighting are impossible to screw up. I can selfie in any condition and won’t have any blur thanks to the move away from my 24-105 f/4 to the f/2.8 at a slightly smaller focal length

Sunday Ride

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