Canon: I Never Use A Lens Less Than f/2.8
Sunday, I was in the interior up the Fraser River doing some eagle “shooting”. The end of November is the time of the year in British Columbia for the start of the eagle “shooting” season. Is this the largest concentration of eagles in the world? That depends on who you ask, but usually we talk between 1500 to 3000 birds, depending on the salmon supply. People come from all over the world to see these eagles. This year there was a large contingent from China with many people with a Canon setup in the $20,000+ with 400 f2/8, 600 f/4 and 800 f/4.
Bold Eagle: British Columbia, Canada
The eagles follow the dead salmons. They wait for the salmon to spawn, then the salmon dies and the eagles eat the salmon. That's not just the eagles but also the seagulls, the crows, some of the bears…
It was cold, -5° Celsius or 22/23° Fahrenheit. With the wind chill factor, it was -15°C or 5°F. That's cold, especially for us, the wimps of the Canadian West Coast. That's cold, but it was a "dry cold"! I didn't like it, and the eagles didn't like it either. They'd feed on the salmon from the mud flats as quickly as possible then return to the cover of the trees in the forest.
This guy was “lost” in the woods. He wasn't really lost, just he couldn't find any eagle. So he asked if I'd seen any. I told him about this bold eagle. I took this photo at 400mm and little bit of cropping, only 15 meters / 45 feet away. I kept walking in the woods looking for other eagles and decided to go back.
The guy was still setting up his tripod, changing the lens. He recognized me and we started talking cameras.
Him — My lens is too short. I only have a 70-200 f/2.8.
Then he asks me what kind of lens do I have:
Me — It's a Sigma 120-400 f/4 to f/5.6
Him — I don't use any lens that is less than a f/2.8. They are not good enough!
Me — (I frowned) It's good enough for me. I'm happy with it.
Him — I used to be a pro (the guy looked like in his 70s)!
So I left to take many more photos.
In the end, reach from a “lower quality” lens is more important than a higher quality shorter lens. He had a 70-200 f/2.8 on a Canon 5DMk2. I had my Sigma at 400 f/5.6 on a Canon 7D, that's the equivalent of a 640mm lens. That's 10¼ larger in my frame than his (3.2x3.2). “I win!”