posted in: Birds, Warwickshire | 0

I wanted to try out my new lens today, and I decided to use it on the crop-sensor camera, to see how nicely they would play together. Although I use the 7DII a lot with a macro lens in the summer, in winter it tends to sit in my study gathering dust, because I really don’t like the grain it generates in poor light. But I hoped that being able to open the 300mm lens to f/4 would allow me to shoot in the murky woodland at Hillers without having to raise the ISO too high – while the effective extra reach provided by the smaller sensor would compensate for the lens being shorter than my 100-400 zoom.

The 300mm f/4 is a venerable old lens, first introduced over twenty years ago, but highly regarded enough that it’s still in production today. The most surprising thing about it is how small and light it is, relatively speaking; on the small body I found that it sat very comfortably in the hand for quite long stretches of time, without annoying my joints at all. The autofocus is a little clunkier than in a newer series lens, but it’s fast and locks on well. After shooting a couple of dozen frames and checking them carefully, I felt that it was forward-focusing a tad – unusual for a Canon lens in my experience – so I micro-adjusted the focus by +1, after which I was pretty satisfied with the sharpness.

By the time I took this image it was starting to rain – if you look at it full-screen you’ll be able to see some raindrops on the dunnock – and the light was deteriorating fast, but the lens was still focusing quickly and accurately. Considering the aperture I’m very happy with the sharpness of the subject, and I love the mushy bokeh. If you’re interested, there’s a different kind of photo over on my Facebook page: the little muntjac I first saw last week, eating fruit on the far side of the clearing.

I got very cold trying to wait out the rain in the hide, and then very wet as well when I realised that it wasn’t going to stop and I needed to make a run for the car. By the time I got home I was feeling distinctly offish, but having examined all my photos carefully I’m pretty pleased with the day’s output. I don’t suffer from Gear Acquisition Syndrome, and buy new equipment quite infrequently, usually after a lengthy period of consideration, which means that each purchase is a bit of an event, and I’m always a little anxious until I’m sure that I made a good decision. In this case I’m very pleased – especially given the excellent price I paid for the lens. I think it’s going to be a very good addition to my kit bag, and I’m looking forward to getting to know it better.