Tell me, who wins when you have an argument with yourself? OK, OK, it was more of a discussion than an argument, and it seems to me that no matter what the decision is, I win!
Oh, you want to know what I why I was arguing with myself? I had a serious case of "lens lust". I guess I've known for a while that I wanted a big zoom lens for my camera, because sometimes I see things that I want to capture that are just too far away. Sometimes I've been very lucky to capture images of birds or wild animals. Sometimes they seem to wander closer to me without my moving an inch - like the day the mute swans wanted to play. Other times I can't get close enough, like the gray day not too long ago when I really wanted to capture some shore birds running along the ocean. A couple of sea gulls posed for me, but the little running birds wouldn't let me get close enough.
The solution was close at hand - giving in to my dream of a new lens for my camera. When I bought my everyday lens I knew that if I ever gave in to my dreams and got a longer lens that I would either need to carry a tripod (or monopod) or that I would have to get a lens with built-in image stabiliztion. While a monopod may still be in my future, I want a lens I can just grab and use, even when I'm wandering on my bike. I have enough room to stash another lens on the bike, and yes, I'm sure that a monopod will fit too, but for now...
I had my eye on Canon's IS lenses. I had the shock of my life when I first priced them. I was looking for the 100-400 zoom but I had inadvertantly selected the 400 prime lens. It was $6500! Uh, wait a minute... I'm not a professional photographer, and that's way out of my range for playthings. I sort of accepted that I wasn't going to get a new lens, but I couldn't let it go. I went back a few days later and priced the lens that I really wanted. Yes, it was still very pricey, and if I hadn't seen the price of the 400 IS I might have thought it was out of line. But hey, in comparison with $6500, the price of $1310 for the 100-400 IS lens seems almost reasonable.
I kept going back and forth, yes, no, yes, no, yes, no, yes! I finally gave in and ordered the lens. Should I have bought it locally so I could feel it on my camera before the purchase? Maybe. I looked on the web sites of the two larger photo shops in the area, and neither of them showed any trace of my dream lens, so I ordered my new toy from B&H Photo in New York. They are usually very fast in filling orders, and they are a very reputable photo shop. I've ordered small things from them before, never something as big as this lens.
Ah, now it's time to wait. I will be very surprised if I don't have the lens on Friday. I selected their least expensive shipping method, tagged as 3-5 days by UPS, but my experience with B&H in the past implies that they play some kind of magic games with shipping.
Waiting, dreaming, and hoping that I made the right decision...