The curse of the 70-200

The 70-200mm f2.8 lens, whether it be Canon, Nikon, Sony etc… seems to be the mainstay lens in the majority of Derby photographers kit bags and a lens to aspire to for those new to the sport.  They aren’t cheap, and appear to cover all the bases, but the curse is that they are the first go to lens, and many people don’t deviate from this choice.

I will admit I was the same. I coveted the white Canon L series lens. It marked one out as a professional (or as professional as I can be).  It served its purpose at the time but now it never makes it to the kit bag, well, for Derby shoots at least. It is an outstanding lens, the IS and non-IS versions. The Nikon equivalent I never really got on with, although it to, is meant to be outstanding. The copy I used was dropped by someone, they never ‘fessed up, but even after it came back from the repairers I was never happy with the results.

So why did it go? Well, for me it was just too heavy and unbalanced even on a pro body. The maximum f2.8 aperture was too slow. And as for the zoom, I never used it. 90% of all shots I took were set at the same focal length. Perhaps it is just personal.

So why are they such popular lenses? There is a feeling of safety of having a wide focal length to play with at a constant aperture. They also seem to offer value for money compared to investing in a set of primes to cover all options, plus you don’t have to faff in changing lenses. You can zoom in and out of the action, you will never miss a shot. Except, that I was missing the shot. And so I went back and re-invested in a  range of primes and have never looked back.

So when tackling Derby there are more options out there, some I’d argue are far better, others will give you a different perspective and so from time to time you may just want to leave the 70-200mm at home and try something new, it may just be better. Trust me, they are cursed.


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