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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Transportation Talk 
Thread started 26 Mar 2008 (Wednesday) 12:20
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100-400 plus Extender for air show photography?

 
StewartR
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Mar 26, 2008 12:20 |  #1

Does anyone have any practical experience of using a 100-400 plus an Extender for air show photography?

We have a customer who wants to hire a 100-400 to take to the big show at RAF Fairford in July, which I'm sure is a good choice, but he's not sure whether an Extender would be a good idea.

Pro: Extra reach.
Con: Lower quality, loss of autofocus (camera=400D/XTi).

I think the trade-off is that the cons are probably worth tolerating if (a) the extra reach is necessary and (b) the loss of autofocus is manageable. What would you advise? 1.4x Extender? 2x Extender? Or neither?


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JWright
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Mar 26, 2008 12:35 |  #2

StewartR wrote in post #5195429 (external link)
Does anyone have any practical experience of using a 100-400 plus an Extender for air show photography?

We have a customer who wants to hire a 100-400 to take to the big show at RAF Fairford in July, which I'm sure is a good choice, but he's not sure whether an Extender would be a good idea.

Pro: Extra reach.
Con: Lower quality, loss of autofocus (camera=400D/XTi).

I think the trade-off is that the cons are probably worth tolerating if (a) the extra reach is necessary and (b) the loss of autofocus is manageable. What would you advise? 1.4x Extender? 2x Extender? Or neither?

That's exactly the problem, plus, if he's standing close to the flight line, he might find the aircraft are coming way too close and they're going to be too big in the frame. Is the extra reach necessary? I think not... I've never seen the need for it at any of the airshows I've shot over the years.

I use my 100-400 for airshows all the time and I find that even at 100mm the planes are just too close sometimes. Because of the loss of AF on anything except a Series 1 camera, your customer is probably better off not using an extender for in-flight shots.


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RTMiller
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Mar 26, 2008 12:52 |  #3

JWright wrote in post #5195523 (external link)
I use my 100-400 for airshows all the time and I find that even at 100mm the planes are just too close sometimes. Because of the loss of AF on anything except a Series 1 camera, your customer is probably better off not using an extender for in-flight shots.

I'll second that. I don't think an extender is necessary.



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FlyingPhotog
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Mar 26, 2008 12:56 |  #4

+1 for not needing the extender.

On a 1.6x body, the 100-400 is plenty.


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FeXL
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Mar 26, 2008 13:43 as a reply to  @ FlyingPhotog's post |  #5

Don't use an extender much, but dragged it out for the eclipse (2x II on Canon 300/2.8 IS, 1D MkII, tripod, remote trigger, all images shot at f5.6). Side by side in PS, equal subject size, non-extender images were significantly sharper than those with extender. I don't know if that's typical but if it is, he's better off to resample in PS and keep AF.

I guess I didn't know what to expect. I didn't figure I'd get the equivalent of a 600mm prime, but I didn't think they'd be that soft.




  
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Denny ­ G
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Mar 26, 2008 14:50 as a reply to  @ FeXL's post |  #6

Forget the extenders.

The 100-400 is perfect for airshows just the way it is.

Also, the lens is push/pull. If you are moving the lens back and forth and then have to manual focus you are going to lose a lot of action.

Denny


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FlyingPhotog
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Mar 26, 2008 14:53 |  #7

Denny G wrote in post #5196447 (external link)
Forget the extenders.

The 100-400 is perfect for airshows just the way it is.

Also, the lens is push/pull. If you are moving the lens back and forth and then have to manual focus you are going to lose a lot of action.

Denny

Use AI Servo and put AF on the "*" button and you won't miss a thing...

You can also tighten the zoom drag on the 100-400 so that the lens won't creep on you and it can still be manually focused.


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Denny ­ G
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Mar 26, 2008 15:29 as a reply to  @ FlyingPhotog's post |  #8

Thanks FlyingPhotog. That's nice to know. I'll give it a try(the AF) but for me to tighten the zoom ring is out. I move around to much.

Denny




  
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ben_r_
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Mar 26, 2008 15:41 |  #9

I just took mine to an air show a couple weeks ago and I found that even on a full frame 5D 400mm was enough. Youd be at 640mm with your rebel. And shooting an air show without AF would be impossible.


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sandpiper
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Mar 26, 2008 15:55 |  #10

Denny G wrote in post #5196730 (external link)
Thanks FlyingPhotog. That's nice to know. I'll give it a try(the AF) but for me to tighten the zoom ring is out. I move around to much.

Denny

I use the 100-400 for air shows and have never needed an extender. I do like to keep the zoom ring fairly tight though, as otherwise you have to be very careful not to let it zoom whilst shooting. Even a fractional movement will cause a soft image and, if you have it too slack, you are likely to not be able to hold it exactly stationary, unless using quite fast shutter speeds. You will have to hold it steady if it is slack, as otherwise it will zoom out to 100mm every time you point it upwards (a bit problematic at an airshow).

It isn't a 'locked' or 'loose' choice, so I suspect by tightening the zoom drag flying photog meant tighten it to the point at which it won't slide on it's own, but will still slide when you choose to move it (although it may not be a very smooth action, due to the higher friction). That is what I do at airshows, although I may adjust the slack according to what I am shooting.
For example, if shooting a small aerobatic aircraft which will need 400mm all the time I will lock it tight. If shooting a formation team such as the Red Arrows, I loosen it off a touch more than usual as I will be rapidly changing focal length to keep the whole formation tight at various distances. I will never have it very loose however as that can degrade IQ with fractional fore/aft movements. I sometimes wonder if that is the cause of some of the complaints from people who say it is a 'soft' lens.




  
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aridan
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Mar 26, 2008 16:01 |  #11

Extra reach aside, how is he planning on manually focusing and tracking something as fast as a fighter jet?...


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FlyingPhotog
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Mar 26, 2008 17:51 |  #12

aridan wrote in post #5196939 (external link)
Extra reach aside, how is he planning on manually focusing and tracking something as fast as a fighter jet?...

If he has to rack much inside infinity at a big airshow (based on where the crowd line is...) he'd better end up on the cover of Air & Space Magazine... :lol::lol::lol:

Usually, focus isn't the issue (unless you really twist it out of whack) but panning smoothly...

Of course, if you're Victor Archer (search for Marauder61) and you're standing right under the aircraft as they fly over, then you'll be needing a 16-35mm LOL...


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BrantG
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Mar 26, 2008 18:07 |  #13

No need for an extender.

Taken with the XTi and 100-400

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FlyingPhotog
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Mar 26, 2008 18:13 |  #14

^^^ Oooooooh.....

Sexy!!


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GeoffSobering
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Mar 26, 2008 18:17 as a reply to  @ BrantG's post |  #15

One more vote for the 100-400mm "by itself".

Cheers,

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100-400 plus Extender for air show photography?
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