Love and hate and the 55-200

Started Jun 19, 2013 | Discussions thread
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mark finn
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Love and hate and the 55-200
Jun 19, 2013

With a few days off I thought I'd give my newly-acquired 55-200 good workout, by taking it to one of the places where a shorter lens struggles: the zoo. The result was... well... mixed.

First things first - as everyone is saying it is extraordinarily sharp, as in Canon L-glass sharp but for half the price. It's also very well made and all the controls are very smooth, again reminding me very much of some of the better Canon glass I've owned, such as the 24-105L. Focusing is slowish, but not as bad as some have made out, but glacial compared to a fast DSLR/lens combo. However it is extremely accurate, with most misses attributable to user error.

The funny thing is that despite the quality of the results, it just feels weird to shoot with. I know it's probably due to my two decades of looking through optical viewfinders, but the experience of having to frame and shoot with the EVF just didn't have the immediacy I'm used to. I was also thrown by the instant review, which was great for my more deliberate street shooting, but more of a hindrance than a help for photographing animals. I must remember to turn it off next time.

The killer though was the Xpro-1's viewfinder blackout, which seemed an eternity compared to the 7D I'm used to. Several times I fired off a shot of an animal only to miss an even better one, the last trace of which I glimpsed as the viewfinder lit up again after blackout. I never really noticed it before because I've been a dedicated OVF user with the 35mm, but the longer lenses force you to use the EVF. I also struggled with the EVF in the bright Australian sunshine and depending on the angle of the sun it was very hard to judge the exposure.

I guess if you're coming from a compact camera none of this would be a big deal, but coming from a fast DSLR the relatively slow shot-to-shot times can be frustrating. I actually started to feel a heavy dose of buyers remorse, though that was lessened somewhat when I got the photos on the computer. Did I mention that it was sharp...

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