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Air Show Lens

geoffash26 17 2.5k United Kingdom
16 Jul 2012 7:07PM
Another vote for the 100-400 not as sharp as a prime but so versatile.
helicopter 15 27
18 Jul 2012 2:26PM
Thanks for all your input .I have today purchased a Canon 100-400mm so just waiting for it to arrive then Ill give it a try.
geoffash26 17 2.5k United Kingdom
18 Jul 2012 9:32PM
Enjoy Grin
18 Jul 2012 9:46PM
I'm another who would second the 100-400mm choice, I hope it gives you some great results! I currently don't have the funds to upgrade and shoot on a Canon 70-300mm which is OK for most shots. I would like to increase the range I have a little, especially during The Bournemouth Air Festival when some of the smaller planes fly quite far out over the sea.
helicopter 15 27
19 Jul 2012 12:10PM
Hi barefootwill I live in Bournemouth so the air festival will be a good try out for my investment.
javam 16 1.1k 19 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2012 12:26PM
Hope you will be happy with it. It is a great combo with the 7D.

Don't forget Airbourne - The free Eastbourne Airshow, that is the second weekend in August iirc.

If you want any set-up advice drop me a PM.
mohikan22 Plus
17 2.3k 2 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2012 12:42PM
I also live in Bournemouth and the Airshow should be good for you providing a: it doesnt rain and b: we ACTUALLY have something flying this year lol
davidburleson 14 3.0k 3 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2012 12:43PM
I'll be at the Eastbourne Airshow Smile
mohikan22 Plus
17 2.3k 2 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2012 12:49PM
i must admit though... the worst thing about the Bournemouth Airshow... is the SEA!! unless your aiming towards land FROM the sea, alot of shots become washed or shadow because of the sun and of course the flightpath over the sea Grin
javam 16 1.1k 19 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2012 12:50PM
Sadly I won't be. I enjoyed it last year, but family commitments have to come first this year.

Didn't have a problem with washing out. Despite a fairly flat sky at times, Eastbourne was one of my higher hit:miss ratio airshow trips out last year:

javam 16 1.1k 19 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2012 12:52PM
javam 16 1.1k 19 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2012 12:58PM
Sorry, don't seem to be able to delete that double post.
19 Jul 2012 1:04PM
@javam really love the last shot you added!
Out of curiosity, as a rough idea what sort of settings are people using for air show photography? I know I don't have the best lens for it, but I've never managed to get shots quite as sharp as some I've seen posted on here.
javam 16 1.1k 19 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2012 3:01PM

I have been including the full exif data on my more recent uploads so my exact settings for each shot can be seen there, but my general starting points are as follows:

Shutter priority in all cases

1: Prop aircraft - ISO 100, 1/250th second +2/3 to 1 exposure compensation, evaluative metering. I am trying to use slower shutter speeds now, but 1/250th is a good starting point and gives you some prop blur

2: Helicopters - as above but 1/125th or slower

3: Jets - ISO 200, 1/1000th the rest the same.

If the light conditions mean the camera is close to selecting maximum aperture I increase the ISO.

Some of the rest is Canon/7D specific, but my other settings are:

AF mode - af point expansion
Framerate - maximum
Lens IS mode I use mode 2 for prop aircraft, mode 1 for helicopters.
I have focus searching off in the custom functions and tracking knocked back a bit. I also have it set to prioritise focus over framerate.

If your camera supports it I would also recommend using the af button on the back of the body to focus so you can hold that down all the time you are tracking and just use the shutter to actually take the pictures not actuate the af.

These are guides rather than rules though, some people swear by manual mode and metering off the grass, or aperture priority or manual focus.

Ian-Jones 17 133 2 United Kingdom
25 Jul 2012 1:17PM
I agree with javam. The 100-400mm is a good lens to have (not just for air shows). However, even on a cropped sensor body it's only 150mm-550mm effective, and performance suffers at either end of a zoom lens' range. This isn't a problem at a small display like Duxford, where you can get closer to the flightline, or on take off's or landings at the big shows. However, at the big shows like RIAT or Farnborough your further from the action and something small like a Spitfire usually only fills 1/5th of the frame...if your lucky

Converters aren't ideal either. I think I'm right in saying that AF is only available on Canon converters on a 1D body. Also, you can get soft focus and vignetting with some doublers.

This only leaves the big heavy lenses if you want more reach. There's the "Bigma" (Sigma 50-500mm) and "Sigmonster" (Sigma 300-800mm), but neither of these have image stabilisation and the AF is rumoured to hunt so don't even go there. In contrast the Canon 500mm and 600mm primes are well reviewed.

I've rented the F4 500mm on five occassions and it's a beautiful lens - instant AF, sharp edge to edge, negligable chromic aberation, and, it's fast. The downside is it's 3.8kg, which means lifting nearly 5kg when on some camera bodies. That's about the weight of a rifle, so it's no coincidence that I use it like a 12 bore at a clay pidgeon shoot - predict, swing up, track ahead & above the target, shoot, and swing down. Still if you remember to aim mid body and focus using centre point only, using the right ISO, you'll get sharp frame fillers. The pics might even look good if the weather plays ball Smile

PS I plan to rent the 600mm for the next gig 'cos I wanna play with Canon MkII again...

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