The Sydney Morning Herald Blogs: Photographers

Is big always the best? and dose this fit the lens adaptor for the G9

Canon’s EF 1200mm f/5.6L USM lens on display at a Canon event. Photograph by Joe Armao.

Anyway, this one is for the gear freaks. If you’re a keen photographer (and you are, or you wouldn’t be reading this), you’ve probably envied some of the sports guys at the football or the cricket and the impressive size of their 400mm and 600mm lenses. Well, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen this baby. We’ll now give you a glimpse of the biggest AF lens Canon has ever released.

A technological masterpiece it may be, but the Canon 1200mm 5.6 USM L Series lens is probably useful for about 1 per cent of assignments (like this one). But on those rare occasions when it is necessary it will absolutely save the day.

The lens was released in 1993. It takes two people to operate and costs somewhere in the vicinity of $186,000, and there are only about a dozen of them worldwide. Sports Illustrated magazine owns two, National Geographic has one and the billionaire founder of Oakley, James Jannard, bought another for himself. The rest of us ask Canon to lend us one on special occasions.

A few years ago, a buyer put down a hefty deposit with Canon Australia (they’re built-to-order with an 18-month wait time) but got cold feet before paying the balance. So now there’s a 1200mm lens at Canon’s North Ryde offices that can be loaned to customers with enough insurance to cover it.

The Sydney Morning Herald‘s Canberra photographer Andrew Taylor used it to good effect during an extended stake-out of Canberra’s Government House (from this position 500 metres away), in the days before the resignation of then Governor-General, Dr Peter Hollingworth, in 2003.

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The Sydney Morning Herald Blogs: Photographers


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