© 2011 Lu Nelson

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo

I purchased and received a new Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6L late last week. It caught my eye as I’d been looking for a telephoto lens to round out my lens lineup, and after having hauled my camera equipment around London for a week, I realized small and light lenses were a priority for me. Originally I was looking at the 70-200mm f/2.8 or even the 70-200mm f/4 but realized the f/2.8 was too big and they were both too short. The 70-300mm fixes both of those problems, and is really just slightly slower than the f/4 (from the same speed to less than a stop slower). It sounded slow on paper, but in practice it’s been quite nice with my 5D2 being capable of a great ISO 1600 and decent ISO 3200. The autofocus is also incredibly fast on it even though it is a slow lens.

With the addition of that lens, I now have lenses ranging from 24mm to 300mm, with primes covering my favorite lengths (24mm f/1.4L II, 50mm f/1.8 II, 100mm f/2.8L IS macro, and Rokinon 85mm f/1.4) and zooms for walking around or subjects of indeterminate or uncloseable distance (28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, and the new 70-300L). I’m pretty happy with my current setup. I think my next one will be geared more towards architecture or indoor shots, likely a 14mm prime or perhaps the 17mm TS-E if I’m feeling adventurous.

I loved how my new lens performed at the zoo. I didn’t tire of carrying it around, and it was long enough to frame the animals how I wanted to in almost every case. There were a couple of times I would have liked to be able to open it up more, but I got some usable shots at 1/20s at 300mm thanks to the IS, so I didn’t crave it that often.

A meerkat sentry at the Desert Dome. I prefer to call it the Dessert Dome but that’s just me. We started off in the dome because it was so cold outside. The climate-controlled dome is a great way to escape from the elements, whether they be hot or cold.


A gibbon rests in the Lied Jungle.


Another monkey sitting on a branch in the Lied Jungle.


A pair of scarlet macaws. This was a great test of color rendition, which I think the 70-300L passed with flying colors. (That was an intentional double pun.)


A leopard yawning. It’s a shame about the bars here, but I guess that’s better than children getting eaten.


A polar bear decides to use the afternoon to nap.