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New Camera/Lens

Nike55 15 966 United Kingdom
2 Jul 2010 2:58PM
There are a lot of these on here...'I am thinking of buying a new DSLR / Lens what is the best for me..?' Then a Canon v Beards & Sandals discourse breaks open.

The obvious answer seems to be buy the best you can afford/justify, depending on what you shoot (and a couple of other parameters).

So, approaching this the other way round, would a Canon 50d and a Canon EF 400 F5.6 L USM be at the upper end of a good choice for aviation.

(As I am currently suffering with a 300d and a soft focus Canon 70-300 IS, anything would probably be an improvement).
User_Removed 14 2.2k 3 United Kingdom
2 Jul 2010 3:01PM

So, approaching this the other way round, would a Canon 50d and a Canon EF 400 F5.6 L USM be at the upper end of a good choice for aviation.

IMO, yes. You could also bung in a 1.4 teleconverter and you're well away.
2 Jul 2010 3:01PM

would a Canon 50d and a Canon EF 400 F5.6 L USM be at the upper end of a good choice for aviation.

Certainly a lot more expensive than Ryanair Wink
gaelldew 14 377 United Kingdom
2 Jul 2010 3:16PM

Quote:There are a lot of these on here...'I am thinking of buying a new DSLR / Lens what is the best for me..?' Then a Canon v Beards & Sandals discourse breaks open.

Heard of Crapon but beards and sandles, who sells those, googled but cant find 'em. LOL.
thewilliam 13 6.1k
2 Jul 2010 3:23PM
I've said this before but I'll say it again.

Pretty well any modern DSLR is capable of giving good pictures. I believe the most important consideration is whether the camera feels comfortable in your hands and whether you enjoy using it. If it "fits", then you'll create good pictures and then you should keep the camera until it no longer delivers the goods. To me, the camera's a tool and I've used V series Hasselblad for more than 30 years, latterly with a digital back and Nikon 35mm for nearly as long. That said, a camera outfit is much like Grandpa's axe - in use for more than a century with 2 new heads and 5 new handles.

There's an industry behind selling cameras and their interests are best served by selling you the wrong camera that you'll want to change a few months down the line.

There's also the question of image because we live in a world where the "brand" is king.

Leica is for enthusiastic qentlefolk and priced accordingly, yet it's been the Magnum standard issue camera for the last 60 years because they do the job so well. The new S2 and M9 are consistent with this tradition.

If you want to appear "professional", you have to use Nikon or Canon and one of the upper models with the wide aperture "pro" lenses. The pictures won't be significantly better than those taken by the entry level bodies but you'll have kit that's built like a brick privy and you'll never wear it out. The upper-level bodies tend to have a lot more adjustments that allow the expert do better but the novice can get it horribly wrong!

In many ways it's just like the car market. You pays your money and you takes your choice.
Nike55 15 966 United Kingdom
2 Jul 2010 4:29PM
Thanks guys. No horror stories then.

I am aware, that like a toolbox you need to use the right tools for the job... and like any tool you need to buy the best as it will last longer - the gimmicks (video feature on 550D??) are marketing ploys.....unless a still frame from a short video burst is as good a quality as a single frame while panning a fly by maybe it has a place?

I always considred my 300D disposable and have thrown it around with abandon; motorcycle top box (some padding) etc. It has lasted well but it's feeling its age.

A (semi pro?) 50d should suit and I would hope to see a big difference in quality even with the non-stabilised 'L' glass.
javam 17 1.1k 19 United Kingdom
2 Jul 2010 5:20PM
I think you will find a 400mm prime too limiting for airshow work on its own.

I will be using a 70-200 f2.8 IS with a 1.4x and 2x converter and the 400mm f5.6 prime at airshows again this year. The IS+2x converter makes sharp shots of prop aircraft easier than with the 400mm prime, plus larger aircraft and formation displays will need a shorter focal length than 400mm (x1.6 crop factor).

You will see a forest of Canon 100-400mm at any airshow and for good reason as it covers the ideal range. I am not buying one at the moment as I am sure a new version cannot be too far away so my advice would be to hire one of those and give it a try, see how many shots you take at the 400 end vs zoomed back and then make a purchase decision.
Overread 13 4.1k 19 England
2 Jul 2010 6:01PM
the new version of the 100-400mm has been rumoured for years, maybe we will maybe we won't see a new one soon but until I see something concrete I wouldn't waste time waiting for the upgrade. Also on teh subject of 70-200mm lenses the current new 70-200mm f2.8 IS L M2 plus a 2*teleconverter is able to get near to the quality of the 100-400mm at the 400mm mark. It is a more expensive option of course, but if you're going to have and use a 70-200mm range lens normally its something you could consider.
User_Removed 11 4.6k 1 Scotland
2 Jul 2010 8:48PM

Quote:would a Canon 50d and a Canon EF 400 F5.6 L USM be at the upper end of a good choice for aviation.

Certainly a lot more expensive than Ryanair Wink

But you won't have to pay extra to have a pee!!

Thincat 14 616
3 Jul 2010 9:00PM
I don't know how commited you are to Canon equipment but you could get, say, a Sony A500 and the Sony 70-400mm G lens. The body has IS and the G lens is one of the sharpest available in this focal range - better than the Canon 100-400mm.
Late 11 9
3 Jul 2010 9:58PM
Canon 100-400L is probably the favorite choice for aviation, as stated above. Since you can't change either your shooting position, or the distance of the aircraft, a zoom is obviously very useful.

Optically it is not far behind the 400L, plus it has IS.
ARI 18 586 1 United Kingdom
8 Jul 2010 7:00PM
Have used the400L and own the 100-400L. Th fixed focus 400L is certainly sharper than the zoom, but lacks versility that the 100-400 has. I use the zoom extensively on EOS 7D in nature photography (mamals, birds, etc static and hifg speed), with the 1.7 crop gives the equiv. of 680mm (both lens), but has the ability to go down to 170mm at the lower end. Which would I keep, the 100-400L which has been giving stirling service sence 1999!
Get the best lens you can afford, buy once. Used Sigma lens in the past and have changed over to Canon L lens since, with no regrets
Hope this helps
Nike55 15 966 United Kingdom
14 Jul 2010 5:40PM
Thanks to all. Just to finish the thread (I always wonder when I read a thread what the outcome was - did the enquirer go off and buy the recommended kit? Are the results as expected?)

Well, in my case I had a quick reality check and although a main hobby I simply cannot justify a £3k lens.

In addition I also realise the kind of images I want are pretty much unobtainable in any case (accessibility, lighting etc).

I'll let the pro's with the airside passes take the snaps and buy the magazine - but knowing that with the right gear, at the right time, in the right place I could probably do just as well!
javam 17 1.1k 19 United Kingdom
14 Jul 2010 6:11PM
I am curious to know what kind of images you are after that you think are unobtainable, are you referring to air to air shots?

Also I think there is an option open to you which comes in at under half 3K - a second 40D and a second hand 100-400. I would expect you to have change from £1400. You could also just buy the a secondhand 100-400 and use it on your 300D.

The other option is to hire the equipment.

If you only do one or two airshows a year and what you already have does what you need the rest of the time, you could hire a 7D+100-400 for £126 for a day (Calumet prices).

Buying magazines and looking at other peoples photos gives me no satisfaction at all. I would rather get a shot half as good, but known I have taken it myself. Same reason I go out and photograph landscape views that have been done to death, I would rather stick a shot I have taken on my wall than somebody elses.

Just my opinion though and I am not saying you have to agree as I appreciate you may have different objectives.
Nike55 15 966 United Kingdom
15 Jul 2010 12:30PM
javam, thanks for the encouragement.

Unobtainable images: Internal hanger shots of front line aircraft at night, very early morning/sunset shots at airshows.

(I'd love to do a portfolio (or even a documentary using a 550D video mode) of the start of an air show day. rather like the end of the original 'Day of the Jackal' or the opening sequences to Steve McQueen’s 'Le Mans' - cinema verite?)

The suggestion of buying used equipment does not appeal - I had considered this but my trust in human kind and my faith in sellers is very much based on previous
experience and Caveat Emptor. Even buying new (Canon lens) I later found it subject to a recall order.

I am currently deliberating the choice between the 550D or the 50D and am paralysed by the simple choice - whichever one I buy I will immediately find that tomorrow a newer version is available for the less then the price I paid.

Hire Option - Due to work I have very little time to make any hire arrangements and I had not considered this option.

I do many events per year, equestrian, motor racing, motorcycle, Shuttleworth, Duxford, Riat, Farnborough, County shows, RSPB wildlife, Architecture, Landscape, Abstract, Macro, occasional friends weddings/parties etc .. the upshot is that my equipment is a does everything but not very well. One reason I don't post anything.

I'd agree with the dissatisfaction of buying magazines and looking at other peoples photos but you try getting a shot of a B2 being worked on in a hanger or UAV operations!

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