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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Transportation Talk 
Thread started 11 Dec 2006 (Monday) 15:52
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Help me choose Airshow L Lens

 
Z3rocool
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Dec 11, 2006 15:52 |  #1

Hello, I know this has been talked about before but wondered if anyone has got any comments on what lens setup would be best for airshows.

The choice I have come down to is between 3 lenses;

300L f4 IS + X1.4 TCON
400L f5.6
100-400L IS

I know the zoom will give me great versatility and has IS. I have read the issues that some copies are soft at 400.

I am leaning at the moment (changes every other week) towards the 400 prime for better image quality but am worried about not having IS

The 300 has IS but will have to use the TCON to get the reach. Not sure how much image/focus performance the TCON takes away from the 300 with it on.

Has anyone who has used these lenses got any opinions/pictures of military photography with these lenses. Never used a prime before so also a bit worried about getting pictures with only 1 focal length without moving around too much.

Cheers,


:EOS 30D + 18-55 Kit Lens:
:400 5.6 L: :24-105 f4 L:
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tiktaalik
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Dec 11, 2006 15:58 |  #2

Zooms are real useful at airshows, so if I were to limit it to your list I'd say the 100-400.

However another very good lens is the Sigma 50-500. No IS, but with some practice you can get to 1/250s-1/200s at 500mm. Most of my airshow shots in my gallery are with this lens. I love it.


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Benandbobbi
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Dec 11, 2006 16:02 |  #3

If you use a prime only at an airshow, you will miss many, many pictures. 100-400 is the lens to get in my opinion. As far as being soft at 400, mine is not.


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steved110
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Dec 11, 2006 16:05 as a reply to  @ Benandbobbi's post |  #4

You really need a zoom. Things move fast at airshows!

100-400L is the only one that fits the bill if you gotta have L

otherwise you might want to consider the Sigma 50-500. From what I've heard the sigma 80-400 OS is pretty slow focusing, but I've also heard rumours of an upgrade.


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sandpiper
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Dec 11, 2006 16:30 as a reply to  @ steved110's post |  #5

I'm another 100-400L fan. I did six airshows with it last year and it never failed to deliver the goods.

You definitely need a zoom, you will be at 400mm much of the time but a lot of shots need shorter lengths, particularly at take off / landing or low flybys along the flightline (especially if you're shooting a B-1 or B-52 :)).




  
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Z3rocool
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Dec 11, 2006 16:38 |  #6

sandpiper wrote in post #2386027 (external link)
(especially if you're shooting a B-1 or B-52 :)).

Did you go to fairford too then... love the B1 and B52 take off's.

I am turning again towards to 100-400 as the one thing I am worried about the prime is missing certain shots especially take offs etc with the burners on :) The Thunderbirds are at Fairford next year :) Should be different. Would love to see a Raptor too...


:EOS 30D + 18-55 Kit Lens:
:400 5.6 L: :24-105 f4 L:
:BG-E2 Grip: :Kata R-103:
:Next Lens 70-200 2.8 [COLOR=red]L: Gotta fill that gap :D

  
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Tdragone
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Dec 11, 2006 16:42 |  #7

100-400 all the way!
Or you could go the 70-200 2.8 IS + 1.4X route.

There are times when at 400 you won't even get one whole plane in frame; I'd feel 'crippled' without the zoom range of 100-200 for high speed passes and formations.

You signed off with cheers; so I suspect you're from the UK...
If you have the option before or during the airshow season in the UK, rent or borrow a 100-400 and fix the focus at 300 or 400 and see how many times you want to zoom out to catch what you want.

I borrowed the 100-400 from jpthomas27 on this forum (close friend) and I decided 100-400 was for me instead of a prime for airshows.


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liza
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Dec 11, 2006 16:47 |  #8
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I used a 70-200 f/4L. The planes flew so close to the ground, I really didn't need the reach.



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steved110
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Dec 11, 2006 16:50 |  #9

liza wrote in post #2386113 (external link)
I used a 70-200 f/4L. The planes flew so close to the ground, I really didn't need the reach.

If you have a good position, 70-200 is fine. I found it worked pretty well at the one airshow I have been to so far. but I would have prefered 100-400. Drawback is the extra weight and the pump action zoom - I'd use a monopod for this one.

I'd take the 100-400 over the 50-500 for the simple addition of IS


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SYS
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Dec 11, 2006 16:57 |  #10

My new 100-400L doesn't show any evidence of being soft at 400. As someone who's been spoiled by beautiful images that 70-200L produces, I'm as impressed with the 100-400L. I did consider 400 prime -- and perhaps this is a bit sharper than the zoom, I really don't know -- but with IS and the range flexibility, I didn't consider for long.



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sandpiper
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Dec 11, 2006 19:49 |  #11

Z3rocool wrote in post #2386055 (external link)
Did you go to fairford too then... love the B1 and B52 take off's.

I am turning again towards to 100-400 as the one thing I am worried about the prime is missing certain shots especially take offs etc with the burners on The Thunderbirds are at Fairford next year Should be different. Would love to see a Raptor too...

Yes, I was at Fairford.

As far as takeoffs are concerned, the smaller planes are fine at 400mm with my 5D, although the extra reach with the 30D may mean that you want a shorter length than that.

These are both taken at 400mm:

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As for the big guys, I was shooting at 400mm with them at the end of the runway and gradually zooming out until I was at 100mm as they passed in front of me. With the crop factor of the 30D, I doubt that you would get the whole plane in when it is directly ahead although you would be fine as it comes towards you.

These shots are taken using the full range of the zoom.

The Buff approaching the end of the runway (400mm):

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The B-1 shortly after takeoff (275mm):

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The Buff again, passing in front of me (100mm):

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I'll definitely be back at fairford next year, weather permitting.



  
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JNunn
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Dec 11, 2006 19:58 |  #12

I'd vote for the 100-400L. Since getting mine a little over a month ago, I've come to like the push/pull zoom for fast framing. Most people complain about the push/pull action, but I find that in trying to track birds, its quick...maybe quicker than a twist type for the range.




  
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SYS
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Dec 11, 2006 22:10 |  #13

Sandpiper -

What great shots! I especially liked the second one.



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Billginthekeys
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Dec 11, 2006 22:15 |  #14

another vote for the 100-400


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birdstrike
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Dec 11, 2006 22:22 as a reply to  @ Billginthekeys's post |  #15

Sandpiper, Awesome shots. #2 is also my favorite. The telephoto compression really does it justice!

I shot my last airshow using a 400mm f4. There were some shots where that was too much reach, but not many since I wasn't right at show center.

These were all shot with the 400mm prime:

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Help me choose Airshow L Lens
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