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While I encourage your enthusiasm Warren, I must content that a kit lens vs. one of Canon’s most celebrated L lenses for which myself and many others have paid a substantial amount of money for; there is a substantial difference in contrast/IQ/CA/distortion/fringing/etc. Most Professional lenses tout the price tag because they are indeed extremely high quality. Otherwise, why would someone pay $2,299 for a nearly 3 pound piece of glass when there’s a perfect alternate that cost $299?
You can say, “bragging rights”. However, I’d rather be called cheap and purchase a lens that costs $299–if it were just as good.. Bragging rights means absolutely nothing in this case.. (This is a rhetorical statement)
I will say, that the 70-200 f/4 non-is can be had for substantially less, you lose a stop, but the IQ is nearly indiscernible, and it weighs substantially less.
While I realize that not every piece of L glass that’s hit the market has been astoundingly successful–it could’ve been a variety of reasons, but if you get a bad L lens, its generally just your copy (that the distributor/mfg) will repair, free.
If you’re happy with what you use, that’s your prerogative, and you should be; it works for you. However, professionally for an agency that has a real marketing team with an eye for details will generally scrutinize any prospective photographers kit to ensure maximum IQ for that particular shoot. Some even spec what you can use. Imagine that? 🙂
Standard dictates that one who professes him/herself a professional, should in fact have the professional tools for that particular trade. As an analogy–Don’t go trying to get a job as a carpenter with hobbyist tools. People want someone with a particular standard that can be reassuring, and reliable.. I apologize for the crudeness, but a $299.00 lens being used as a professional tool, ought not happen. They market lenses at different capacities and to different criteria of people based on the principal that one is Consumer and the other is Prosumer. The difference is in manufacturing, materials, handling, down to the people who actually assemble it. They are not going to put joe-blow who started a month ago in the same room with seasoned technicians assembling 1500-13,000 dollar glass.
my $0.02 cents