RPCrowe wrote in post #18581464
A 500mm lens with a 2x extender seems like a LOT OF GLASS to hand-hold, especially at 1/250 second...
Larry Weinman wrote in post #18579594
You didn’t say anything about a tripod. 1000 mm really requires a tripod and maybe mirror lockup and a shutter speed faster then 1/250. It is even helpful to exert a slight upward support with your hand under the lens
I'm now shooting at airshows in the UK using a Sigma 150-600 C, on a 50D. For many of the single engine types to get a good angle, rather than just dead side on, the aircraft can be over 800m away. So even with 600mm on APS-C I often need to add an additional 1.5× crop, for an effective 900mm. To match that on a 35mm format sensor I would need 1440mm.
For prop aircraft I shoot at 1/160s or slower. I did start out using a tripod at airshows in my early days on 35mm film in the 1970's. The real problem I found was that at an airshow you need to be able to make a pan that requires a swing that closely approaches 180°. Simple hand holding is much better than trying to negotiate moving around the tripod in a confined and crowded area. The optimum system that I found was to use a shoulder stock system to support the camera and lens, so that you can use it just like a shotgun. Back in the 70's I had a really nice stock sold in the UK under Dixons own Prinz brand. That went missing over the years, so now I use a custom built rig made using one of those 15mm rod systems used for building DSLR video rigs.
I also have a custom modified remote that I tape to the front hand grip to fire the camera. This allows me to control the AF without the need to worry about first/second press of a single button. I had hoped it would allow me to trip the shutter without initiating the AF, as I could on my old 300D, with the 3.5mm TRS plug for the remote. Unfortunately even if you don't initiate AF the camera will operate the AF if the image seems to be out of focus. So no simulating full BBAF.IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/21dBDDT 0001
by Alan Evans
, on Flickr
If I'm just hand holding then I will usually just shoot three or four shot bursts, with the expectation that the first and last will be throwaways, since it doesn't matter how smooth you are, just flexing the finger can cause some disturbance to the camera. The same applies to the last shot, as you start to relax off the button you will again disturb the camera. The same effects also apply in my sport, Olympic style target rifle shooting, at least knowing this allows me to compensate for it. This is not nearly such an issue with the shoulder stock rig, as with the remote the button movements are not directly on the camera, and they work in a neutral direction. You still need to be smooth in operation, just jabbing at the buttons is never good.
So here are a couple of images taken at the last airshow I shot, Duxford last September. These two images were both shot at 1/80s at 600mm. Both were also given the 1.5× crop that I often use. This could also be referred to as removing 33.33% linearly, or 55.55% by area. I use ML's DualISO feature and in the conversion to the DNG file it reveals some pixels that would normally be masked in a CR2 file. To achieve the crop I reduce the image so that you go from 4770×3177px to 3177×2116px. Very easy to do in the Lr crop tool, as you just need to use the X key twice.IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/ZxaxtC Hawker Fury Mk I
by Alan Evans
, on FlickrIMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/22hSr7q Yakovlev Yak 3
by Alan Evans
, on Flickr
There is one effect that you have to consider when shooting moving objects at slow shutter speeds, especially with very long lenses, and that is parallax. Thanks to parallax different parts of the same aircraft can have different apparent velocities. This can mean that although you nailed focus, and got the pan dead right on the cockpit, the tailplane, nose, and both wingtips can all end up with a little apparent motion blur. What is more the blur can often seem to be in different directions! This can happen even when the aircraft is flying straight and level. Some of the top competitive aerobatic aircraft can do amazing things, which can include roll rates of over 540°/s, thats 90 RPM! So as well as getting prop blur, you can get the whole aircraft giving rotational blur during a display. There is a little bit of parallax blur visible in the photo of the Hawker Fury above.