I like when I have to sign for UPS deliveries.
It means the contents of the package are extra special.
Or extra expensive.
Or both, in this case.
My new lens arrived Tuesday.
Nikkor 80-200mm 2.8
(Without getting into too much detail, the 80-200 is the focal length, which has to do with angle of view and magnification. The 2.8 is the maximum aperture, which means I can open the lens way up and let in a lot of light. This gives me many more options overall and helps in low light situations.)
The only lens I had previously was a 50mm 1.4. If I wanted to “zoom in” with that prime lens, I had to move my body. With the 80-200, I can zoom from 80mm to 20mm without changing lenses. Here's a little graphic to show you the differences. Each photo was taken by me, standing in the exact same spot.
(Click here for another that shows shorter focal lengths.)
By the way, I am currently accepting recommendations for T-cushion armchair slipcovers.
This new lens means that I can (hopefully!) capture migrating orcas on our upcoming vacation to the San Juan Islands. And it means I can take better photos of our mountain (Mt. Hood) from the comfort of my living room.
But what I'm really enjoying right now is the extra magnification. The lens manual says it has a “macro” focusing distance. That may be technically true, but it's not quite “macro” enough for me. (My sister-in-law Megan does amazing things with her real macro lens. I will get one, someday.) It does let me get closer than my 50mm, similar to the old macro shots I would take with our point-and-shoot. You can count on seeing more of these on the blog.
(No cropping this time, Jen!)
The only drawback is that the 80-200mm is bigger than me. No, seriously, it's gigantic. And it's heavy. My camera body is like an accessory for this lens. (Here's a picture, but that's not me holding it.) :) I was finally feeling comfortable with the body + 50mm—comfortable enough that I wasn't going to drop it at any given moment. Now I'm paranoid all over again. But I'll get used to it.
For those of you with dSLRs: As skeptical as I was, I'm seeing significant focus improvement using back button focusing. If you haven't tried it, you should. It's really not scary. I think it actually helps me keep the camera more steady.