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05-14-2019, 03:03 AM - 4 Likes   #1
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Pentax and aviation photography… or aviation photography and Pentax!

Hello to all Pentaxians that also love aviation photography. I wanted to start such a thread for a long time to share information and photos about aviation photography and never found the time todo so, until now! I could say many things but I have to keep it simple and short (I know I can’t but anyway…) because otherwise it will become a tiresome post. A few things about how I reached to the point I am now first:

I’m into aviation photography since 1992 but back to those days with my (borrowed) Zenit TTL camera and a MTO 11CA, 1000/f10 mirror lens I found in new condition (and still have, but don’t use anymore unfortunately). I was amazed to be able to photograph flying planes and helicopters and actually have many pictures with subjects filling the frame! Until then all my photography was with my dad’s Pentax ME with the M 50/1.7. So my aviation photography consisted of planes in airports that I was allowed to photograph and some efforts of low flying jets that were so tiny in the photos you couldonly say their type from the general shape…

My main interest was/is military aviation and my other hobby back then was plastic modeling, which further grew my love for aviation photography. Back to the film era, my try with the Zenit and MTO combo was just to make an archive of the airplanes you could see back in the 90s-00s in the skies where I was living. Anyone who has tried using such a monster in front of a manual camera with a max SS of 1/500 knows what it feels like. That era though taught me a lot about photography and I still believe that the joy of taking a really good photo with all manual equipment and aim/focus is unbeatable and only compares to some extend to the satisfaction of taking an absolute perfect (to your standards) picture with today’s advanced equipment.
After 20 years with this equipment (in fact, at somepoint around 2000, I upgraded to a Zenit 312 and a MTO 1000A 1100/10.5 both bought as new) I decided on 2011 to move to the digital photography. After some research on the www about aviation photography and equipment I ended up to go for the Canon 7D and the 100-400 that most people were using back then! I went to one of the big stores and after one of the salesmen who was also aprofessional photographer convinced me to buy the Nikon D7000 and the Bigma50-500 OS instead! The story behind this buy is quite interesting really, because this was a very serious investment and up to a few weeks before that time I had never seen myself getting so seriously into photography and aviation photography that I loved. The turning point was that the company I was working for ceased and 15 employees were given compensations and lost their jobs. I was very worried and unhappy as the general recession in the country meant it was very difficult to find a new job and to see my future with optimism… Despite this or due to this I decided to go against my fears and invest half of the compensation to buy some serious equipment. That way I would continue doing what I loved back then that I had plenty of free time and hopefully I would avoid falling into melancholy. Thanks God, things went well and I found a new job after 3 months, so everything was OK.

So I began digital photography as a Nikonian! The D7000 was a very nice camera, but somehow it never felt very attractive to me. I understood that later when I bought the K-5! The Bigma is a great telelens and gets you to the pro side of the photography in terms of IQ. It was a joy to use. The jump from manual film photography to the digital era with advanced equipment was huge! It was the first time I felt I could also make images that were approaching those I admired in the aviation magazines and websites. I had still a lot work to do, but I was studying photography and taking seminars with a great photographic team we had back then and also improving my skills in PP again learning next to professional photographers (most of them landscape and portrait oriented).

After a while I thought it was a pity my mirror lenses were staying home without being able to use them for digital photography. After some research and some articles I found on the web I ended up that Pentax cameras is a real option that works for utilizing my MTO lenses again! I knew nothing about Pentax DSLRs apart from seeing some colorful K-50s and a red K-500 in two shops’ windows! I was reading great things about the K-5 and I found a very good deal on EBay (from Japan) but I wanted to be sure before giving my money to Pentax. So this was my first post in here:
MTO Lens Question - PentaxForums.com

After the answers I got from the fellow members in here, I decided to buy the K-5 and more or less end my story with photographic equipment as I would be good for anything from 18-55 with the K-5 to 500mm with the D7000 and then be able to play with the mirror lenses on my K-5… How wrongI was!

What I can’t well describe is how much impressed I was with the K-5! What a great camera in every aspect! I really loved everything about it and the images came out with beautiful rendering and IQ. I noticed that I was looking for excuses and situations to take with me the K-5 instead of the D7000! Then I understood that I couldn’t afford or justify supporting 2 systems and I had to choose. Since I liked the Bigma so much the ultimate test would be to buy the same lens in K-mount and compare it to the Nikon combo. Fair test of the same sensors on 2 completely different cameras in the way they feel in hands and operate. The Bigma on my K-5 was another huge step ahead and after 2 months of side by side shooting, everything was so clear to me. I sold my D7000 with all the Nikon lenses I had (the great 35/1.8, a very capable 55-200 I had received as a gift and of course the Bigma) and stayed withPentax.

Next part will be dedicated to aviation photography!




Last edited by redpit; 05-14-2019 at 03:23 AM.
05-14-2019, 03:32 AM - 4 Likes   #2
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So I went with Pentax because it offered me so much and at lower prices than the competition. The K-5 was better for me as a camera in general as it is a joy to use but also had better FPS and buffer than the D7000 and the final image quality was distinctly better! The D7000 had better AF-C and was faster to focus, but I found that although it acquired focus almost instantly, I got more tack sharp images in a long burst from the K-5 than the D7000. The area that the Nikon was (and still is) clearly better was tracking a bird or a plane in a frame with busy background. In such cases Pentax cameras tend to lose the subject and focus on the background (infinity).

When I got into digital photography my engagement with aviation photography became more serious and I started visiting airports,airshows etc taking thousand of pictures and as I was getting better and becoming more known to the aviation cycles in general, opportunities came up to work on various photographic projects and meet other serious aviation photographers too. I was upgrading my equipment too financing these upgrades partly by selling my older equipment but also by some projects - mainly products and architectural photography that turned over part of these investments. The K-1 was released at the perfect timing for me as I had decided to go FF after being able to assess the results from Nikon D750 and 810 and the upgrade from APS-C to FF was another significant step for me in many ways. This decision to go FF with a camera like the K-1 that is not the “best suited” for aviation photography and sports in general was conscious and after much thought. It was based on which my photographic priorities are and how much money I’m willing to invest. I had a plan in my mind and that was to have the equipment that could give me the results I want, to enjoy shooting (your equipment must be inspiring – not only top notch) and finally to pay me back in a medium term with the kind and number of projects I’m already undertaking. Unfeasible and overoptimistic plans are not helpful. It’s better to be honest to yourself and say I will buy this because of my GAS/LBA or because it will offer me joy even though I can’t justify it or because I can do it, than trying to persuade yourself or your wife/family etc that this lens-camera-equipment will turn you into a top photographer who will be selling prints and becoming rich if you are not already a top photographer getting richer everyday.

Anyway we will talk about equipment a lot and I will happily answer your questions about equipment for aviation photography as I have used a lot of different equipment and I have close friends photographers that use a variety of cameras-lenses from other brands too. I’m the kind of guy that I will tell you my opinion straight without hesitations but also I will tell you I don’t know anything about a matter that I don’t have any idea about…

Back to aviation again! But before that I feel the need to say a very big “Thank you Pentax”! I have read a lot of bitter comments about Ricoh/Pentax and for me most of them are unjustified for a real decent small company that offers what it promises! Anyway although I also have/had problems with some of my equipment I don’t know any fellow photographer that didn’t have at some point with his. In total though Pentax equipment has given me the opportunity to take aviation pictures like those I was admiring back when I started and I was wondering if I will ever reach that level or more simply take some similarly great pictures myself. Some may laugh and think "who is that guy" and "he has a big idea of himself". I’m nothing more than an enthusiast but a very satisfied one by his work. And I’m always the strictest judge of my images, so this is quite an accomplishment and Pentax has helped me reach it. Could I have done it using different brand equipment? Most probably yes, but I’m not so sure if I could afford it and if it would offer me the same level of satisfaction (for some subjective – like ergonomics – and many personal reasons).

Anyway now I’m here and I’m a Pentaxian doing aviation photography, so back to our subject for the third time (or more, I’ve lost count). Next post will be about settings, technical stuff and eventually photos. I know there are many friends in here interested in aviation photography, so I hope we will have a lot to talk about!
05-14-2019, 04:54 AM - 1 Like   #3
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I really enjoyed your story. I bought a K 1 just after they first came out which was an upgrade from my K5. I shoot mostly nature and specifically forests which require a high dynamic range and the K1 is likely the best camera for this.

Last summer I made arrangements with a pilot to take me up and shoot from his plane, over a large forest and lake area during the Fall Colours. Unfortunately it didn't work out do to weather and airplane mechanical problems. So its on top of my to do list for this summer.

You talked about photographing air planes but my interest is more shooting from airplanes So don't know if this is a fit but I'll be watching this thread to see if it also goes in this direction as well.

Happy shooting 😎
05-14-2019, 12:45 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Hi Pete, My Friend,

I'm glad you started this thread. As you and I have discussed before on another site we both share a passion for aviation and aviation photography and you have some exceptional aviation images. Its good that you shoot aviation with a Pentax system, probably not many are skilled enough to capture images like you have. I hope you can impart some knowledge of the techniques you use to get your images and I hope everyone who is interested can gain from you knowledge especially since Pentax has long been maligned for sub par autofocus!

Larry

05-15-2019, 02:00 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Larrymc Quote
Hi Pete, My Friend,

I'm glad you started this thread. As you and I have discussed before on another site we both share a passion for aviation and aviation photography and you have some exceptional aviation images. Its good that you shoot aviation with a Pentax system, probably not many are skilled enough to capture images like you have. I hope you can impart some knowledge of the techniques you use to get your images and I hope everyone who is interested can gain from you knowledge especially since Pentax has long been maligned for sub par autofocus!

Larry
Hello my friend Larry! Thank you for your kind words! You know how much I appreciate them.

I don't know if there are not many Pentaxians out there that are great aviation photgraphers as well, I wouldn't bet there are not! Anyway I started this thread to share our knowledge and discuss on the Pentax specific features. Pentax and AF is a huge chapter I will deal with it with my findings on aviation photography. I hope that some PF members and Pentaxians in general may find some of the data in this thread helpful. At least that was my incentive to start this thread.

QuoteOriginally posted by Garry Conway Quote
I really enjoyed your story. I bought a K 1 just after they first came out which was an upgrade from my K5. I shoot mostly nature and specifically forests which require a high dynamic range and the K1 is likely the best camera for this.

Last summer I made arrangements with a pilot to take me up and shoot from his plane, over a large forest and lake area during the Fall Colours. Unfortunately it didn't work out do to weather and airplane mechanical problems. So its on top of my to do list for this summer.

You talked about photographing air planes but my interest is more shooting from airplanes So don't know if this is a fit but I'll be watching this thread to see if it also goes in this direction as well.

Happy shooting 😎
Thank you Garry! We can talk about your A2G photographic plan. All I can tell you is that it is much easier than G2A if we are talking about landscapes with a wide lens. If you are thinking about more tele work then there is some shaking involved that you need to be aware of.
05-15-2019, 02:18 AM - 3 Likes   #6
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Now some technical stuff. For some incomprehensible reason the aviationphotographers I met at the airshows during the 90s and 00s were not very willing to share their experience or talk about settings and techniques! So many of the things I write below I learnt after many years of practice and through the trial and error process! Unfortunately this has costed me many lost opportunities. For example, it’s sad but I can’t rectify my wrong settings during a retirement ceremony of an aircraft type.
So here are my personal findings-settings that seem to work pretty well!

1. Always shoot RAW! I won’t recommend RAW+ as it affects cameras FPS and buffer (and personally I don’t see any reason for in camera Jpegs too).

2. When shooting jets on a bright sky, always try to keep your shutter speed (SS) above1/1600!

3. Don’tbe afraid of high ISO values! Light quality is all that matters.
With good light high ISO pictures can be processed and end up with a nice image. When the light is poor (for example a backlit plane in a dark canyon) whatever you do the final image will be poor! You can pan a shot with a very slow SS and get an ISO value under 400 in your frame, but even this 400 has nothing to do with an ISO 800 or more on a sunny day and a properly lighted aircraft! In the poor light the shadows don’t contain information that can be brought up later. OTOH the good light offers unlimited possibilities for post processing (PP).
Pentax tip:Our cameras handle high ISO better than almost any camera out there! If your settings are correct and still the light was such that gave you “bad” results,I assure you that everyone around you has the same or worse results! On the contrary most Pentax cameras are ISO invariant, which means that they forgive mistakes easier and they give plenty of room for PP! In fact it is a real joy to process K-1 images.

4. Don’t shoot wide open unless it is inevitable. There are the laws of optics/physicsthat you can’t overcome and when there is plenty of light try to keep your maximum aperture one stop down to get into the higher resolution and fidelity "territory” of your lens.
Pentax tip: The green button with the camera set for MTF priority helps you get into that territory by just pressing it. That way you don’t need to remember the MTF charts of each of your lens. Anyway the general rule of closing your lens one stop or more is always handy!

5. Always have in mind what you want to achieve before starting shooting a session/demo/aircraft! Never forget that. If you don’t have a clear plan beforehand you will end up constantly changing settings and aims that will ruin the whole shooting! When you have much experience and confidence you can change your goals during each pass of an aircraft, but I recommend envisaging the images you would like to get, set your camera accordingly and devote yourself in succeeding getting the desired frames. Personally I prefer 2-3 images that are exactly what I was aiming/hoping for to a whole session of correct and uninteresting images.

6. Don’t forget the fundamentals of photography are the same no matter what kind of photography we are talking about. Aviation photography is just another sector of photography and even if it doesn’t interest you, you can still tell a good picture to a mediocre or bad one. Choosing good light (early morning, late evening), a beautiful framing, correct camera settings, a different angle or an artistic view on a subject make a lot of difference in the final result. I believe that even those who are completely irrelevant with a subject can appreciate a superb work/artist/athlete etc when they come across to it! I have caught myself watching skating on ice world champions performing without even remembering how I fell on that channel on TV and sat on the coach

7. I prefer to shoot on TAV mode because I want to have control over my aperture as well as the SS. For AE metering I choose center weighted and depending on the light and my subject I usually apply some EV compensation. Most of the times I try to avoid blown out highlights by using -0.7EV but there are times that I need to dial in +1EV or even -2EV (classic example an airplane coming out to the sun from a dark hangar). Remember the EV compensation follows the background’s “direction”. For correct exposing a white airplane on a dark sky you go even darker, for a dark airplane against a backlit bright sky you go even brighter! In extreme conditions you only care about your subject to be exposed correctly!
Pentax tip: As I told you the Pentax ISO invariance is a great advantage for Pentaxians. In most cases leaving the EV compensation to 0 or -0.3 is fine as any corrections can be done later during PP. In extreme conditions though exposing correctly during shooting can make a lot of difference.

To be continued...
05-15-2019, 02:46 AM - 3 Likes   #7
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As you can imagine the AF part is separate...

8. For AF settings, I shoot mostly in AF.C mode with the Expanded Area AF (S) of the 9 central points. When there is a situation where precision is required I shoot with the central point only. For large formations or in clear skies with good light I may also choose the total 25 cross type points, as in the K-1 they are all close to the center of the frame and this configuration also works fine - Expanded AreaAF (M). I have the sensation that this setting is the best for AF-C tracking, but since I can't tell it for sure, I just mention it here and not on the tips part.
When my subject isn’t moving a lot (for example a hovering helicopter) I go for the AF-S with the central point which gives the maximum precision.

Pentax tips and some suggestions to the manufacturers (if I may) :
AF.S Setting -> Focus priority.
AF.C Setting -> 1st frame release priority / Action in AF.C focus priority / Hold AF status off.

What Ihave found is that the AF of Pentax cameras is very reliable and when it locks it is spot on. To my feeling it lacks processing power to make continuous readjustments, so I feel (without having relevant knowledge – just a feeling from using the cameras for many years) that if Ricoh/Pentax include a processor like the one that improves IQ in the KP and K-1II which will allow instant continuous calculations and adjustments of the AF the AF-C of Pentax cameras will be rocketed to a higher level. Another great improvement would be if the AF.C when it passes from an easy contrasty background (a blue sky for example) to a busy background with a lot of information to automatically hold the AF to the distance it had before entering the “difficult situation”. So the hold AF status should go to High and moreover when the camera looses focus on its subject, not go to infinity and lock on the background but instead keep on “searching” in the last distance it had locked focus +- some meters back and forth. Imagine that a user is shootinga BIF some 30 meters away in AF.C mode against the sky. Then the bird falls quickly towards the ground to catch his pray. Since the user is shooting AF.C and in Continuous High frames he surely isn’t aiming at the scenery in the background! Keep the data from when the bird was at ~30 meters away against the sky and search for it in the “adjacent space” near the 30 meters that was the distance before entering in the busy background.
Another easy(?) to make solution would be if Pentax would offer us the alternative to dial in the preferable distance the camera would fall into when it looses focus during AF.C! For example if I’m standing next to an landing strip at 60 meters in front of me and I’m waiting for a fast low pass of an aircraft above it, Iwould dial in the 60m distance to be my “default” when camera looses focus and I am sure that I would get more keepers than I do now, since my K-1 usually locks on the background and until it refocuses on the airplane you have pretty much lost all the good frames! All these recommendations are based on the assumption the camera can calculate the distance to the subject.

Until then what works best is not pressing your shutter button continuously but leaving it and refocusing like pumping it at a tempo you will find out works best for you. My tempo is about every second as I have seen.

Another great finding (which shows that the Pentax AF is not lacking in accuracy but rather in speed or data transfer) is that when an aircraft passes really fast and low coming towards you, so it will at some point full your frame and its details are visible then the AF.C is spot on!!! I have photos of low flying jets with SS of 1/4000 or even faster where when the plane was above me you could read the stencils and the only problem was to keep it all in my viewfinder-frame. As the plane is coming from a distance head ony ou will have some good shots and some missed focus shots, but when it is so close that the camera has points to fine adjust AF the pictures are tack sharp despite the fact that the relevant speed to you is way higher and you struggle to track it! Impressive and confirmed finding which leads to my next recommendation. When you find yourself in such situations choose a fast AF lens with shorter focal length and aim for the closer and more impressive frames than the remote ones. (I will comment more on this Pentax paradox on a following post, because it explains or it depicts some of the Pentax AF weaknesses. Maybe this discussion will give an idea to a fellow member/engineer with deeper knowledge on how the AF system works to explain this behaviour or think about the fine tuning it is required to upgrade the AF.C tracking performane...)

The fastest lens and most accurate for me is the DFA 150-450 by a large margin. In the previous situation for example don’t waste all your buffer on the 450mm, but instead track the plane and follow it with the lens @150-200mm and shoot a long burst until you fill your buffer when it is closer and there is detail in your pictures… In this case, even the shutter button pumping is not necessary! The camera usually tracks the plane and give consistently focused frames during the burst. If 150mm are too long for your case go for an even wider short tele lens, even the DFA 24-70 which is also a fast focusing lens.

Another Pentax trick is again with the DFA 150-450 (I saw the images from the upcoming 50-300? and it also has this feature/button configuration!) is to utilize the prefocus button of the lens. Prefocus on the point where you expect the plane to pass in front of you (like the landing strip I was referring above) and when the aircraft dives above it use the focus buttons on the lens to acquire focus quickly when you feel that you lost AF on the plane.

To be continued...
05-15-2019, 02:53 AM - 4 Likes   #8
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9. Shake reduction: I use it on helicopters and low speed planes when the SS is lower than 1/500 or 1/800. I usually not leave SR on for SS greater than 1/1000 but I know Pentaxians that shoot aviation with the SR always on without any problems (at least with the K-3II/KP and K-1/II cameras).
Pentax tip: A really impressive finding about Pentax (K-1) SR and panning shots is that when you are panning with fast moving subjects it is less effective than when you use it on slow moving ones! So, let’s say we have an F-16 that comes in for landing and you are panning with a SS of 1/200 and SR on. You will get some initial images that the camera hasn’t yet understand your horizontal movement where the plane is blurry and the background is clear! Then it adapts and the next images are with clear airplane and blurry background from the panning move. The % of sharp images depends on your skills, the SS (lower means less keepers but more impressive ones) and the AF tracking which rarely has problems under such circumstances. What is impressive though is after the plane has landed and while it is taxiing in front of you with slow speeds if you want to pan some shots even with large teles at SS of 1/50-1/100 with SR on you will get more keepers than while panning with faster speeds and faster hand movements! This also shows that the SR works great but maybe it also lacks some computing power when things get faster!... I think it is an AF.C tracking analogy and also aparadox as the vertical shaking at the slower movements surely is more but the in body stabilization has more time to adapt…

10. For shooting propeller driven aircraft use SS of less than 1/800 for the turboprops and the closer you go to the 1/320 the better prop blur you get. Under that point you are at the pro-league and you’re heading for full discs at SS around 1/125 to 1/80 depending on the type! It is nice to attend airshows where there are so many opportunities to make your tests and see what works for you, but I give you the general rules.
For helicopters again speeds around 1/500 to 1/320 give nice results and best results are around 1/160 where the tail rotor becomes from really blurry to full disc depending on the type (some Soviet helis don’t have tail rotor, but two main contra rotating ones, so be careful!).

11. Always PP your RAW images! You have to learn the basics, there is no need for advanced knowledge, but shooting RAW allows you to hand a nice image to an expert and make it really shine! Basic PP means the most important thing cropping right and then adjusting WB, your histogram and your colours. It’s less than 5-10 minutes per image and the result is far superior to shooting Jpegs.

I think I've covered most of the general information and settings. For anything special we can discuss it below. Sorry for the long posts but I couldn’t do it otherwise. Also since English is not my mother language you have to excuse my mistakes or any unfamiliar phrasing I may use.

Happy aviation shooting to everyone!


Last edited by redpit; 05-15-2019 at 03:58 AM.
05-15-2019, 04:32 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by redpit Quote
Now some technical stuff. For some incomprehensible reason the aviationphotographers I met at the airshows during the 90s and 00s were not very willing to share their experience or talk about settings and techniques! So many of the things I write below I learnt after many years of practice and through the trial and error process! Unfortunately this has costed me many lost opportunities. For example, it’s sad but I can’t rectify my wrong settings during a retirement ceremony of an aircraft type. So here are my personal findings-settings that seem to work pretty well!

Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge. I usually only shoot aviation once a year, at the annual Torbay Air Show, and since that's coming up on the first weekend in June your tips have arrived at exactly the right time for me.

I feel like I've managed some okay shots of prop-driven planes over the past few years, but I've always struggled with the fast jets so I'm particularly interested in your tips on that subject. I'll definitely be following this thread with interest over the next couple of weeks.
05-15-2019, 09:07 AM   #10
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Excellent post.

Sometimes I do aviation photography, last time two weeks ago but I had to leave the k1+sigma 50-500 at home because of baggage limitation and I used an asp-c pentax+pentax 55-300, and I find all your explications are very interesting, mainly about the use of AF-C in K1.

I have some questions:

For aviation photography with pentax k1/k1 II:

1- Which is your favorite lens and why?
2- Which is the sharpest lens?
3- Which is the lens with fastest and more accurate focus? (sorry: this question has been answered previously, the pentax 150-450)

Thanks in advance

Last edited by dagoban; 05-15-2019 at 09:26 AM. Reason: One of my question has been answered previously
05-15-2019, 11:17 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by dagoban Quote
Excellent post.

Sometimes I do aviation photography, last time two weeks ago but I had to leave the k1+sigma 50-500 at home because of baggage limitation and I used an asp-c pentax+pentax 55-300, and I find all your explications are very interesting, mainly about the use of AF-C in K1.

I have some questions:

For aviation photography with pentax k1/k1 II:

1- Which is your favorite lens and why?
2- Which is the sharpest lens?
3- Which is the lens with fastest and more accurate focus? (sorry: this question has been answered previously, the pentax 150-450)

Thanks in advance
Thank you too Dagoban! About your questions:
1. My favorite lenses for aviation are the DA 560 and the DFA 150-450. Since I got the DA I try to use it whenever I can (even in airports). It is not an easy lens to use, the AF speed is just adequate and it is easier to lose focus while tracking. But the IQ when you have used it correctly is rewarding. The DFA 150-450 is much more useful for aviation, a must have for Pentax tele users. It’s fast, with the AF limiter even faster, it has the refocus buttons that can be helpful and it is sharp even wide open. I have compared it with the NIkon 80-400 and the Canon 100-400II and I have to say the K-1 + DFA 150-450 is a killing combo and shows the Pentax potential. It is better than the 80-400 and equally good if not better than the Canon classic.
2. In terms of sharpness the DFA* 70-200 is the winner, but again the DFA 150-450 is very close to it and impressive for a zoom lens!
3. Yes it’s clearly the DFA 150-450.
05-15-2019, 04:16 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by redpit Quote
Thank you too Dagoban! About your questions:
1. My favorite lenses for aviation are the DA 560 and the DFA 150-450. Since I got the DA I try to use it whenever I can (even in airports). It is not an easy lens to use, the AF speed is just adequate and it is easier to lose focus while tracking. But the IQ when you have used it correctly is rewarding. The DFA 150-450 is much more useful for aviation, a must have for Pentax tele users. It’s fast, with the AF limiter even faster, it has the refocus buttons that can be helpful and it is sharp even wide open. I have compared it with the NIkon 80-400 and the Canon 100-400II and I have to say the K-1 + DFA 150-450 is a killing combo and shows the Pentax potential. It is better than the 80-400 and equally good if not better than the Canon classic.
2. In terms of sharpness the DFA* 70-200 is the winner, but again the DFA 150-450 is very close to it and impressive for a zoom lens!
3. Yes it’s clearly the DFA 150-450.
Thank you very much for your answers.

Yes, you are true, the nikkor 80-400 did't like me very much, too expensive for its performance. What is your opinion about the cheaper nikkor 200-500 F5,6E ED VR in FX cameras?. I din't test it yet.

I'm looking for a DA 560 for sports, aviation and fauna, but previously I need to test its AF speed to be completely sure that it is the lens I need.
05-15-2019, 08:00 PM - 1 Like   #13
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Hi Pete,

Many thanks for the very useful information! Now I've got to get over to the airport when the USAF T-1s and T-6s are in the pattern along with the USMC T-45s to capture some images.

Happy Shooting, My Friend
05-15-2019, 09:52 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by dagoban Quote
Thank you very much for your answers.

Yes, you are true, the nikkor 80-400 did't like me very much, too expensive for its performance. What is your opinion about the cheaper nikkor 200-500 F5,6E ED VR in FX cameras?. I din't test it yet.

I'm looking for a DA 560 for sports, aviation and fauna, but previously I need to test its AF speed to be completely sure that it is the lens I need.
You're welcome. The Nikkor 200-500/5.6 is an excellent lens. It's fast, easy to handle, sharp from wide open and with great VR system. I have tried it on the D500 and 850 and it is a joy to use and delivers!

Try the DA 560 to see if it suit your needs. It's a lens with some special characteristics (not on par with the 10+K primes of Canonikon in AF speed, some CAs and strange bokeh under challenging light conditions) but I love mine! - is there anything perfect after all? If you want a super tele with the prime IQ for Pentax the DA 560 is your lens.
05-16-2019, 10:27 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by redpit Quote
You're welcome. The Nikkor 200-500/5.6 is an excellent lens. It's fast, easy to handle, sharp from wide open and with great VR system. I have tried it on the D500 and 850 and it is a joy to use and delivers!

Try the DA 560 to see if it suit your needs. It's a lens with some special characteristics (not on par with the 10+K primes of Canonikon in AF speed, some CAs and strange bokeh under challenging light conditions) but I love mine! - is there anything perfect after all? If you want a super tele with the prime IQ for Pentax the DA 560 is your lens.
Thank you very much for your accurate and very valuable answers.

I the past, before the jump to the full frame format with the pentax k1, I considered a lot of options for sports, fauna, aviation,...one of them was the D810+nikkor 80-400. Finally I bought a pentax k1+sigma 50-500. Pentax DAF 150-450 was descarted because I needed lens shorter than 100 mm for sports in FF.

Now I'm looking for a single focus lens with high IQ and pentax DA 560 could be that lens (indeed there are no much more options).
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