I have a Canon 70-200mm 4.0L lens that I’ve had for probably 10 years. It’s an awesome lens, extremely sharp, particularly given that zooms typically aren’t as sharp as prime lenses. The problem is that I never use it! Well, rarely ever. Given that I mostly shoot birds, I nearly always have my 400mm lens on the camera. On the rare occasion I shoot landscapes (or people!), the 70-200 is too long, so I typically have on my wide angle. The 70-200 thus only really gets used on rare occasions that I should large animals other than birds, like when we go to Yellowstone.
Well, we live 14 hours away from Yellowstone, and while we have been there a few times in recent years, it’s not exactly an every day occasion! The lens may be 3 years between being used! I had always wanted to try macro shooting, so finally wised up, put the 70-200mm out on eBay, and bought a Canon 100mm 2.8L IS macro lens. I had dreams of getting some wonderful insect photos like I’ve seen other people shoot with macro! Given what my first bird photos looked like when I started 15 years ago though, I expected there to be a very steep learning curve. I expected my initial images to look, well…pretty bad, until I got used to the new lens and learned how to use it.
The lens came today, and I went out in the back yard in search of insects to try it on. All I have to say about this lens is…HOLY CRAP! For someone that has never shot macro, the capabilities of this lens have blown me away on day one! It has a reputation of being one of the sharpest lenses Canon offers, and I certainly have no complaints after my first photos with it. I knew the lens was a “true” macro lens, capable of 1:1 photos (capturing a real-life object at the same size on the image sensor), but WOW, I didn’t expect to be able to get such great, close, detailed photos of small insects, without the use of extension tubes, close-up lenses, or other attachments people often use for macro.
I’m not a “buggy” person, in that I do NOT like insects or spiders in my house! But tonight I was in hot pursuit of whatever I could find. I ended up just sitting in the grass next to a flower bed, and trying to shoot what came by. I’m pretty sure the species of fly shown here is some kind of blowfly? Shooting like this sure opens up a new world. Bugs may be “icky” to many (including me most of the time!), but I was kind of blown away by the subtle beauty and detail that I was able to get with this lens.
I already have WAY too many hobbies. I fear that after today, macro photography may join bird photography as a hobby. The nice thing about it…at least outside of winter, you’re ALWAYS going to have some creepy-crawlies right in your own yard that you can shoot! I’m really looking forward to more use of this lens, and seeing what it can do.