From China with courtesy

These guys on the left are Yu Xin-Yuan e Zeng Shao Xuan and they're going to be, most probably, China's doubles team at the next Olympics. Xin and Shao have been teaming up forever, they're both from Bejing and are currently the number 1 doubles team in China.

I've first seen them last year in Rimini, then in Recanati, where they reached the doubles final and now, this year, again in Recanati. They travel with their coach Mao Rui and another coach I don't know the name of (sorry man :) ). They're all very polite, very professional and a joy to watch play because they really play doubles, no "parallel singles" with this two like it happens with some many other doubles teams these days.

Unfortunately their run here in Recanati ended tonight in the final: they lost 63 75 versus Benedikt Dorsch and Bjor Phau, two very good german players (Phau in particular has been a top 60 both in singles and doubles). Maybe next year, guys: third time is, after all, the charm ;)

Getting to know you...

It's now been a week since I've started using my brand new Canon 70-200 f4 (the non IS version). To be honest, I was expecting a smoother path: the first few days my keepers' rate had drastically fallen and I was beginning to fear there was actually something wrong with my copy. I'm still not convinced everything is fine, because it doesn't seem as sharp as I was expecting it to be but the last few days things have improve dramatically. As soon as I get home I plan to post a couple of test shots on PotN forum to inquire about the sharpness issue, but so far I'm tending very strongly toward user error to explain the bad results (what a surprise there, uh? ;) ).

If I should make a comparison with my old Tamron (a very unfair comparison: we're talking € 450 of price difference here) the first thing that jumps to my eyes, even in the bad pictures, is the absence of any noticeable chromatic aberration (for noticeable I mean something that's immediately evident, even when you look at the picture at 50 % of its actual resolution). The Tamron was really awful in this department and I'm very, very pleased that my days of correcting bluish edges are over. And then, there's the autofocus. Man, this thing is faaaaaaaaast. Look at the picture here: this was undoubtedly a lucky shot, but with the Tamron it would have been almost impossible to get, it would have never focused fast enough to catch it without serious blurring.

This guy in the pictures, btw, is Horacio Zeballos, a 22 year old Argentinean who's going to play the final here in Recanati at the Guzzini Challenger tomorrow afternoon. Horacio, who has gained his place in the Main Draw by winning his qualifying round, has become a bit of a fan favorite here and tomorrow he will play for the title against Slovenia's Grega Zemlja. The tournament this year had a less than stellar line-up, due to the unfortunate date that has placed it in the same week of Wimbledon's qualies. Hopefully next year, without the Olympics to wreck havoc in the ATP calendar, Recanati will be able to move to its old July date or at least away from a Grand Slam.

New gear, testing begins

Dear Blog, I finally cut out my indecision and pulled the trigger on a new acquisition for my gear. I'm now the proud owner of a brand new 70-200 f4 L. I debated long and hard whether to favor Sigma or Tamron f2.8 offerings for the same focal length and similar price.

Faster autofocus, QC, post sale assistance and, I have to be truthful, the allure of the 'L', all played their part in the final decision. Mostly autofocus and QC, since I bought it online and I didn't relish the possibility of having to send it back right away. That could still happen though, since I've barely had time to unpack it and snap a couple of shots just to see if it worked.

F2.8 would have been mighty nice, but this lens will be use 99 % of the time to shoot outdoor in bright light conditions. Hence, f4 will be enough (great to have constant aperture btw).

I'll be testing it intensely this coming week and I plan to have a blast with it. I'll still keep the Tamron (the new lens is intended as an upgrade for it) to use it whenever I want something light and cheap I don't worry about. But for the "important" stuff, like my tennis shooting obsession, the 70-200 is now my go-to-guy. I can't wait!