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Author Topic: Lens choices for airshow  (Read 6297 times)

GuyF

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Lens choices for airshow
« on: August 16, 2012, 01:53:08 PM »
Should be going to the Leuchars airshow on Sept 15th here in Scotland and, since it's the first airshow I'll have been to in over 20yrs, wondered about the best choice of lenses.

Main gear will be 5D3 plus 300mm 2.8 IS (and Kenko 1.4x TC) (without monopod as I think it would be too restrictive).

However now the problem starts - do I also take:

24-105mm for static stuff (B-52!!) and wider field of view flying shots (Red Arrows/Patrouille de France)

or

17-40mm for static aircraft and 70-200mm f4 IS for Red Arrows/Patrouille de France?

No doubt some will say take it all but I want to travel as light as possible but not miss shots by leaving stuff at home. Bearing in mind I'll also be carrying food and water for a long day.

Next part of the question is: to ensure razor sharp shots of the flying displays am I better shooting at, say, f8 and let the 5d3 take care of the rest or shoot close to wide open to maintain high shutter speed and rely on the focus tracking of the 5D3 to keep up with fast jets?

Any opinions and airshow example shots would be appreciated.

Guy.

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Lens choices for airshow
« on: August 16, 2012, 01:53:08 PM »

charlesa

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Re: Lens choices for airshow
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2012, 02:03:59 PM »
Would take the ultrawide and the 70-200 mm, although that might create issues by having to keep changing lenses constantly. For airshows I usually take fisheye, tilt-shift, 70-200 and 400 mm prime +/- 2x III TC.

Moody Blues

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Re: Lens choices for airshow
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2012, 09:45:42 PM »
I have had good success with the 70-200 and 1.4 ext. Airahows would be the perfect venue for the new 200-400!
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rwmson

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Re: Lens choices for airshow
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2012, 07:31:51 AM »
I'm no pro, and the subjects are backlit, but there are some in-flight air show photos on my site:
http://spiritstudios.smugmug.com/Other/JBMDL-Air-Show/24572381_jbvWvZ
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IIIHobbs

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Re: Lens choices for airshow
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2012, 09:03:13 AM »
Main gear will be 5D3 plus 300mm 2.8 IS and 1.4x TC

However - do I also take: 24-105mm for static stuff (B-52!!) and wider field of view flying shots or 17-40mm for static aircraft and 70-200mm f4 IS

Next question: to ensure razor sharp shots of the flying displays am I better shooting at, say, f8 and let the 5d3 take care of the rest or shoot close to wide open to maintain high shutter speed and rely on the focus tracking of the 5D3 to keep up with fast jets?

I am heading to an Air Show here in NJ this weekend (weather permitting). I am taking the 300 f2.8 IS and will have the 1.4xII with me (not sure if I will need it though). The other lenses in my bag will be my 24 f1.4 and 135 f2 (I have no zoom lenses).

Based on past experiences I do not think you will need your 17-40 with the 5DIII. The 24-105 will get you plenty wide enough and also get you near enough to whatever is on the ground. The 70-200 is also not needed, you can always use the 300 for tight detail on the ground if you like.

The 300 alone will get you close enough to most of the air action; adding the 1.4x will allow you to get tighter on the smaller aircraft and skydivers, but tracking will become a bit more difficult.

As for aperture, on the ground, be as creative as you want, things are static. In the air, I think you will be better served by allowing the camera to decide for you, especially with the faster moving objects, the lighting and background conditions can change quickly. Being able to concentrate on the subject and allowing the camera to do the rest will increase the number of keepers.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2012, 09:05:23 AM by IIIHobbs »

bchernicoff

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Re: Lens choices for airshow
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2012, 09:44:18 AM »
100-400 is the airshow king. I know you don't own it, but that and the 24-105 would cover it.
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rolsskk

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Re: Lens choices for airshow
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2012, 10:55:09 AM »
Don't rely upon the focus tracking, as at times it will fail you and momentarily lock onto something else at a crucial moment. You'll often find that the 300mm will be enough, and sometimes too much when a formation of aircraft flies overhead.

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Re: Lens choices for airshow
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2012, 10:55:09 AM »

GuyF

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Re: Lens choices for airshow
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2012, 02:01:59 PM »
Many thanks for the comments. I think the 300 and 24-105 should cover all static and formation/solo flying. I guess the B-52 will call for a multi-shot panorama no matter what lens I take!

IIIHobbs - if you get to the airshow this weekend can you maybe post some 5D3 plus 300mm shots so that I can gauge what I might be able to achieve?

Thanks.


bchernicoff

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Re: Lens choices for airshow
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2012, 02:11:03 PM »
Adding to IIIHobbs suggestion, I would also suggest you consider using auto-Iso and manual or shutter priority. The camera still meters in manual when auto-iso is set. This lets you control the motion blur and depth of field while still enjoying auto metering.
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bdunbar79

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Re: Lens choices for airshow
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2012, 03:49:14 PM »
Adding to IIIHobbs suggestion, I would also suggest you consider using auto-Iso and manual or shutter priority. The camera still meters in manual when auto-iso is set. This lets you control the motion blur and depth of field while still enjoying auto metering.

I'd also consider spot metering.  Consider it, and play around with it.  It works pretty well with backlit airplanes, if they are backlit.
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articulatedjunction

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Re: Lens choices for airshow
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2012, 03:51:24 PM »
I hate to disagree with the consensus, but I think the drama of the planes on the ground is best captured by a wider FOV than 24mm can offer.  Many airplanes look so much better when you can get all of them from a low, close angle.  The wide angle dramatizes the shape.

Look at airshow photos online.  Almost all the good ones on the ground are shot wide.  I say go for the 17-40mm.  The 70-200 IS would be nice to have for sure.

rolsskk

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Re: Lens choices for airshow
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2012, 12:51:52 AM »
Many thanks for the comments. I think the 300 and 24-105 should cover all static and formation/solo flying. I guess the B-52 will call for a multi-shot panorama no matter what lens I take!
The B-52 isn't that massive. Sure, you'll have to back up some, but you can easily get it all in the frame.

Quote
IIIHobbs - if you get to the airshow this weekend can you maybe post some 5D3 plus 300mm shots so that I can gauge what I might be able to achieve?

Thanks.
Here's my 5D MkIII with f2.8 300mmL II


« Last Edit: August 18, 2012, 02:37:48 AM by rolsskk »

GuyF

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Re: Lens choices for airshow
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2012, 04:26:00 AM »
Rolsskk,

Nice shots! Were the images cropped much or not at all? Also just out of interest, what exposure were you using for them? (I'm well aware I won't be seeing blue sky in Scotland in September  :( )

Guy.


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Re: Lens choices for airshow
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2012, 04:26:00 AM »

rolsskk

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Re: Lens choices for airshow
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2012, 10:38:11 AM »
Rolsskk,

Nice shots! Were the images cropped much or not at all? Also just out of interest, what exposure were you using for them? (I'm well aware I won't be seeing blue sky in Scotland in September  :( )

Guy.
First one was cropped just a little, to better compose the shot, but not by much, the second one is is uncropped.
For the Raptor shot my settings were: ISO100, 1/3200, f2.8, with AWB. For the Thunderbirds it was ISO50, 1/2500, f2.8, with AWB.

westr70

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Re: Lens choices for airshow
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2012, 11:52:16 AM »
This is all very timely.  Next weekend I'm going on a day cruise on a restored Liberty ship which will be subject to mock air attacks.  I'm taking my 200-400mm and going to have a great day out there in San Pedro, California.
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Re: Lens choices for airshow
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2012, 11:52:16 AM »