Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 13/11/2012

Blinded By The Light

Seeing the Light, originally uploaded by

Many of you may remember me drooling over a pre-production lens from Canon I managed to test earlier in the year, the hallowed 200-400mm L lens.  Quite nerdishly of me, whilst attending the numerous Olympic events I was lucky enough to get tickets for, I did spend some of the time examining the lenses being used in the photographers pit to see how many of these lenses were out in the wild – Canon using such events as test beds for test equipment to help iron out any issues.   Canon officially announced their intent to produce this lens way back in February 2011; it’s not unusual for there to be a short delay, usually three to four months, before the item announced hits the street however a delay of eighteen months is rather unprecedented.  A posting on a rumours website may offer an explanation for the delay, one that might see the lens further delayed.  Many of you may wonder what the big deal is about a 200-400mm lens, when there are a number of such lenses that cover this focal length already; firstly, unlike these other zooms the lens retains it’s f4 aperture throughout the zoom range which at 400mm is rather impressive, however the real deal clincher which will see this lens selling well is the added 1.4x converter built into the body which can be added at any time and which has no effect on the f-stop (though separate 1.4 converters rarely do either) – all of this and the zoom and focusing mechanisms are all internal so that the lens remains the same length whatever focal length it’s being used at.  It turns out it’s the housing mechanism for this converter that has caused the problem for sports photographer testing the lens, though there aren’t any details about what the problems they are, but it does mean that the lens has needed a redesign to alleviate whatever issues were reported back to them.  Let’s hope this greatly anticipated piece of equipment doesn’t go the way of The Beach Boy’s “Smile” album of Guns ‘n’ Roses “Chinese Democracy” bot of which took decades to finally see the light of day.


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