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Sunday, 12 April 2015


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When exactly did a "sale" start to become known as a "price drop"?

Maybe about the same time "price point" became synonymous with "price."

I'm starting to wonder when did a 'price drop' start to be known as a 'sale'. (!)

... Seems to me a 'sale' is temporary, while a 'price drop' is more permanent.

So if the latter has become more prevalent, perhaps they are losing hope that they can return to the higher prices?

There's the price of these superteles and then there's carrying these behemoths in the field.

Every time the price of these lenses comes up, I get so happy that my angle of view needs are within what the most humble normal zooms can manage. (That being something like 28-90mm-e.)

Things so far away to require a $10,000 lens are best left in peace.

The original 400mm 6.3 "Girl Watcher" lens was pretty sharp- and at $34.95 a helluva lot cheaper!

Sorry- forgot to include:


I admit to being somewhat baffled by long-lens obsession myself. I can understand that for some situations you need a zillion millimeters of reach, but it always seems to me that most of the people who lust after those lenses and complain about the price would be better served by a slower (cheaper!) lens and a lot more practice.

Armond's comment cuts both ways, though I doubt he intended it to. A long lens is exactly the tool that lets wildlife photographers stay far enough back to leave their subjects in peace.

Personal anecdote. For the first time in several years I've had my eye on a particular Canon lens. A rental copy from LensRentals (first time, great service!) convinced me to buy one. I found a used-like-new copy at a Canon dealer and made the purchase online last night, smug that I had saved myself quite a nice chunk off the lens' substantial price.

Fast-forward 3 hours. My phone's email alert: Ding! It was an alert from B&H of the Canon sale. Ding! Same alert from Adorama. My heart sank! Had my "savings" been erased? No, just substantially reduced. Grrr, well as my mother used to say, you can't win for losin'. (I never understood what that meant. I still don't. But with each passing year it just feels more profound.)

As for the 400mm, I can't imagine anyone purchasing such a monster lens unless they use it constantly, and earn their living from the images. Otherwise, why not rent as needed ?

I shoot pro football and baseball with mine

I once left a rental Canon 400mm f2.8. I got it back but I was anxious for several days.

Non telephotos are a bit easier on your back as well! Myself lugging a 1200f5.6L around way back in '96.

Sorry: typos.

I once left a rental Canon 400mm f2.8 on the Paris Metro. I got it back but was anxious for several days.

If I met someone wielding that big ol' Canon on safari I wouldn't even give it a second thought.

It's the guys lugging something like that around in town who stand out like a Mars Bar in a swimming pool. And there are a surprising number of 'em around. Architectural details? Urban birdwatching? I'm sure they have a legit reason.

If you have the need for it the 400mm F/2.8 is one sweet piece of glass. I even use mine for basketball in some gyms as I can really isolate players on the floor.
Wildlife to football, baseball, rodeo and golf, the lens is sharp, contrasty and f/2.8 really helps the subject stand out from the background.
If I had not been able to make it pay I could not have afforded it. I love the lens just as I did the 600mm f/4 Nikkor when I was using that system with manual focus before Canon came out with big, fast AutoFocus glass.

Back in the 80s I took Herb Keppler's advice and bought a couple of the fairly cheap 400mm f4 or f5.6 long telephotos (why a couple? I had a burglary). I think the first was a Sigma and the second was definitely a Vivitar. Nice solid feel to it. I think they cost around the $250 mark in those days. No zooms then.

As Herb said, they were great value for money. Not fancy, but plenty sharp enough, and never forget, unless you can keep your long lens steady and vibration free, it doesn't matter if it cost $9,999, you won't get good results. I've got some shots of an old sailing ship about 2-3Km off the coast in 1988 and on K64 it's sharp enough to define the rigging lines.

Mirror lenses were big in those days too and I had two, a 500mm f8 Tokina, and the 250mm f5.6 RF Rokkor. I've still got that one! It's a little jewel. For many years in film days I struggled with it because it always seemed to be hand holdable, but it wasn't really, with the K25 and K64 I used to use. Many failures. It sat on the shelf for years, although I've still got a Minolta XK I could use it with.

But now I've got a m4/3 adapter and I can use it on the E-M1, a tiny 500mm image stabilised, and shooting at ISO200 or more with beautiful results. No CA with mirror lenses. Some vignetting, but make it disappear in modern software. Brilliant.

Btw, the Tokina 500mm mirror lens was Minolta mount and then I switched to Olympus OM. It occurred to me in 1986 that as there were no couplings in the mount, it ought to be changeable. I wrote to the Australian agents for Tokina and asked if I could buy an OM mount for it. Yes, they could supply. So I bought it for about $35, I think, and changed it myself. It worked fine. I also lost it in that burglary in 1990. I lost so much great, almost irreplaceable specialised gear! Grrr.

Go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05pmrtt and go to about 23:15 (mins:secs) into the programme. One guest says "why can't you just get closer"

"I feel a bit sorry for people who need things like the EF 400mm ƒ/2.8L IS II USM ($9,999 on sale)"

Need? NOBODY "needs" such things.
You can do perfectly fine without it, as many shooters before the introduction of said lens.

Mike, you're having a problem with price reduction/sale. My own current bete-noir is the tendency for magazines and reviewers to describe a lens as 'bright', when they mean wide aperture or 'fast'. Things which produce illumination can be bright...the sun, lamps, flash-guns etc not lenses which transmit and do not produce light...am I alone in this?

"A long lens is exactly the tool that lets wildlife photographers stay far enough back to leave their subjects in peace."

Lest their subject leave them in pieces!

Thank you for the tip. Hey at that price I'd better order 2!


I did encounter vultures now and then, but was never formally introduced...

These are tools of the the trade, tools of the trade. Try shooting pro football, soccer, etc. without 'em. Motorcycle grand prix racing requires even bigger glass. When I used to shoot for Laguna Seca, I used the Canon 500/4 L IS, and a lot of the guys I've shot with use 600mm as the international circuits are pushing the photographers further and further back as they increase run-off room.

I never got into supertele photography since after owning a slow 400 I realized that the narrow angle of view doesn't suit my style well and setting up a long lens to be able to frame accurately and take a shot without vibration can be serious effort, let alone carrying said lenses aroundin the field.

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