A road shoot yesterday gave me a rare opportunity to pull one of my favourite lenses out of the cupboard - my big, ludicrously heavy but fantastically sharp 200mm f/2. It's probably the most expensive piece of kit I own in terms of cost per completed shot, simply because its bulk and weight make it hard for me to use on a lot of shoots. But every time I make the effort I'm reminded just why I like it so much.
Click to make (a lot) bigger. Nikon D3, 200mm f/2, 1/3200sec f/2 @ ISO800
It's the incredible wide open crispness and the creamy out of focus areas (bokeh, to use the jargon) that make it so special. Have a close look at this shot and you'll see that the bike's wheelbase just barely fits in the available depth of field at f/2. The lead rider is barely an extra bike length in the lead, and yet is completely out of focus. The crisp transition from in to out of focus adds depth to the shot in a way that even the best f/2.8 long zooms can only dream of.
Here's a 100% crop to prove the point:
Click to display actual size
Sometimes the best gear really does make a difference. It may be a small difference, but it's one that's worth having in my book. Perhaps I need to spend a bit more time down the gym (or on my singlespeed) to make carrying this beast around a bit easier. Now there's a thought...