I've written before about my attempts to reduce the bulk and weight of my gear. And I've just got back from a trip that involved epic riding, during which fellow photographer Blake Jorgenson suffered heatstroke partly because of the sheer weight of the 300mm f/2.8 lens he was carting around.
So why on earth have I ordered one of these (secondhand)? Admittedly, it's a bit shorter than the 300. But it's the same weight (think full 3 litre Camelbak).
Clearly, I've taken leave of my senses. Either that, or I'll now be able to shoot long lens pics in lower light and use this lens's extremely shallow depth of field to isolate riders against the background.
Lovely. But I can hear my osteopath cracking her knuckles already...
Update: it's here. And although I knew it was both wide and heavy, nothing can quite prepare you for the reality of that much glass on the front of a camera. It dwarfs my D200 - the D2X feels better balanced, but adds another half pound to a setup that's already close to the practical limit for handholding. To put it into perspective, it's getting on for twice the weight of my 80-200mm f/2.8 (and that's not a light lens). I'm trying to work out how I'm going to carry it around. But it gives me the 35mm equivalent of a 300mm f/2 and (with my 1.4x converter) a 420mm f/2.8.
And it's a dream to use. Blisteringly fast autofocus (and a nifty focus memory feature, which means I can pre-set a focus point and come back to it just by pushing a button on the lens barrel. Very nice touch). The VR works very well, allowing me to handhold down to around 1/30sec. And it's sharp. Incredibly sharp, in fact, even wide open. Focus carefully and you get acres of beautifully rendered out-of-focus foreground and background and a narrow, crisply defined field of razor sharp focus. Simply wonderful.
Proof, if any were needed, that with lenses you really do get what you pay for.