At a recent workshop I attended a couple of images were presented where a 500mm reflex lens had been used. These are famous for their ‘donut ring’ bokeh and the point was made how you sometimes forget what attributes different lenses bring. It set me thinking and whilst I am a traditionalist when it comes to background blur I did think about a couple of the lenses that I used to use quite a bit but which haven’t been taken out in anger for too long.
So as an exercise I took my EF600mm f4.0 and my EF200mm f2.0 out in the garden to capture some of the flowers but more importantly to compare the back ground out of focus areas. The results are below.
Canon EF600m f4.0
The first three images are all taken using the EF600m wide open at f4.0 (note clutter behind subject flower is purely my poor composition and not to do with looking for an aesthetic!)
It gives a soft back ground and good separation.
I used to use this lens extensively at sporting events when I wished to foreshorten the action when it was about 40-50m away. The downside and why it is not used now so often is the Mk I version is a big heavy lens and if hand held (or monopod) you need a fast shutter speed and strong back muscles! Certainly not a lens that can easily be taken as carry on luggage on short haul flights.
Canon EF200m f2.0
A very different blur or bokeh to give it a posher term is produced with the 200mm lens that was open at f2.0.
Though there is some identifiable detail for objects close to the focus point it falls away very quickly to become pleasantly indistinct.
The speed at which the focus falls away can clearly be seen in the upper left of this hydrangea flower head. It is another lens that I haven’t used for about 2 years. After this shoot it will certainly find its way back in to my camera back in the near future.
Canon EF200m f2.0 & 25mm Extension Tube
By way of variation I added a 25mm extension tube to the EF200mm lens to get a little more magnification and detail in the images. The delicacy and colour variation inherent in nature.
I was really pleased with the results. Above and below are two hydrangea flower heads showing their delicate centre flower open and in bud.