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09-13-2008, 10:35 PM   #1
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Which lens(es) to take to airshow ?

Hi, I am an inexperience shooter, and recently a friend of mine asked me to go with him to an airshow sometime next month, I want to go, and I am planning to take some photos of the flying planes. Currently I have the K10D and a kit lens DA 18-55, DA 50-200, Tamron 28-300, and a FA 80-320.
There is something about the Tamron really puzzle me. When I zoom the Tamron at 300mm, it does look just a bit longer than the DA 50-200 at 200mm, and looks quite shorter than the FA 80-320 at 320mm. It seems like even set at 300mm, the Tamron gets like the FA 80-320 set at 250mm.
So I don't know which lens(es) should I take with me to the airshow, and I am seeking advise from all of you experienced shooters in here.

Thank you,

Ken T

09-13-2008, 11:15 PM   #2
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You will need the longest lens you own for the flight shots - FA 80-320. You will also need the kit lens to take ground shots of the aircraft. 18mm should be about the correct length for that purpose.

Shooting suggestions:
Do not hesitate to crank your ISO up to at least 400 to keep the shutter speed up. You will need it for aircraft in flight. Don't use your widest f/stop - use f/5.6 or even f/8 to get a bit of depth of field. I would be tempted to turn off the half press AF and use the back button, or even to use manual focus. If you need to use auto focus, switch to centre spot only, and keep that spot on the aircraft. Pan with the aircraft, keeping the centre spot of the plane, using AF-C.

More important:
Have fun!
09-14-2008, 02:03 AM   #3
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Canada Rockies advice is awesome, go with that!
Just check which of those 3xx mm's have the best qualities for you. not much difference between 300 and 320, so if the tammy is crisper, use that, although Im almost sure the 80-320 will have a great IQ.

What do you mean "shorter", as in focal length or lens physical dimensions? The image is what counts, not the length of the pipe in front of the camera

And remember a tripod, it helps at times.

And I second the "HAVE FUN!" motion.
09-14-2008, 06:36 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ken T Quote
When I zoom the Tamron at 300mm, it does look just a bit longer than the DA 50-200 at 200mm, and looks quite shorter than the FA 80-320 at 320mm. It seems like even set at 300mm, the Tamron gets like the FA 80-320 set at 250mm.
The Tamron/Pentax 18-250mm has the same quirk. Due to its design, it only reaches true 250 mm focal length when focussed to infinity. When focussed at shorter distances, it appears less zoomed in than the DA 50-200mm.

09-14-2008, 06:45 AM   #5
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Rockies gave you some great advise. I have to add this picture and have been waiting to show it somewhere. I was at an airshow last weekend. The Thunderbirds where preforming and after a pass I saw this picture and had to take it.

I am wondering if any of them actually got a picture of the plane flying by with there cell phone. LOLOLOLOL
09-14-2008, 06:50 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by vievetrick Quote
Rockies gave you some great advise. I have to add this picture and have been waiting to show it somewhere. I was at an airshow last weekend. The Thunderbirds where preforming and after a pass I saw this picture and had to take it.

I am wondering if any of them actually got a picture of the plane flying by with there cell phone. LOLOLOLOL

maybe they each caught a piece of it and were just fitting it together LOL
09-14-2008, 07:42 AM   #7
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Maybe also think about taking a monpod with you, for extra stability when shooting with the bigger glass
09-14-2008, 10:11 AM   #8
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Considering that with very few exceptions all of the aircraft will be several hundred feet from you, forget focusing altogether for the aerial shots. Use manual focus, focus on infinity and keep it there. One less thing to worry about. However, if you are using a zoom and it's infinity focus changes as you zoom you'll have to watch this.

I'm going to the air show at NAS Oceana in Va Beach, VA next weekend.

You can see some photos from last years show at http://photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=716400 on photo.net.

09-20-2008, 09:33 PM   #9
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Original Poster
I had been out of town for the whole week and could not come in here to say thank to all of you, and my deep appreciation to Canada Rockies.

CR, reading your words made me had a feeling like I was being at the Airshow, and I had a very good teacher stood beside me, told me what to do to take great pictures of those beautiful aircrafts.

Thank you all - Nice Pentaxians.

Ken T.
09-20-2008, 10:05 PM   #10
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Interestingly, we also have an airshow here Nov 1st and 2nd. I have the intention to take some pictures of the planes doing stunts and stuff.

I also have the FA80-320 but i find that AF speed with this lens is rather slow. I am not sure if I would use it for the airshow event. I find my DA50-200 focus faster than the 80-320. But IQ wise, I think the FA80-320 can be very sharp at the maximum zoom length. It is just the speed that I think is a problems for such event.
09-21-2008, 01:10 PM   #11
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raider,
Since most of the aerial shooting is at infinity, you can just set the camera to manual focus an expose with spot metering.

Dave

QuoteOriginally posted by raider Quote
I also have the FA80-320 but i find that AF speed with this lens is rather slow. I am not sure if I would use it for the airshow event. .
09-21-2008, 10:05 PM   #12
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Big Dave, I will be sitting rather close to where the action is (I hope so) so I guess the planes will sometimes just fly directly over us (or very near). With that in mind, I am not sure if the FA80-320 is able to focus quick enuf?

I was at a zoo last year and they have this event with eagles flying over the audience and stuff. My FA80-320 just could not even AF in time. All I get are out of focus shots.

I guess I should really invest in a fast lens like the DA300*
09-21-2008, 10:40 PM   #13
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If you have not bought tickets yet you should get a Chalet (from what I here). The bleachers at Mirimar can get pretty tough to sit in all day. The Chalet's have tents and refreshments. Bring all your lenses and figure out which one works best for you once you get there.
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