Airshow advice about lenses

Started Jun 15, 2007 | Discussions thread
Glenn Bloore Contributing Member • Posts: 553
Re: Airshow advice about lenses

I hope I can answer everythign properly.

First of all, the choice of what lens to buy clearly depends on what you plan on using it for. I use my lens for shooting action. Airplanes, Baseball, Football, Racing. Things of that nature. What the 200-400 is lacking, and in my opinion, the only thing it is lacking it an aperture of 2.8. With that in mind, if you plan on shooting baksetball indoors, baseball at 300 is still often too far, you will need the extra light. Since my shooting is almost always in the daylight, it wasnt essential to me.

In my opinion and many others that I know and respect, there is no better combination than the D2X and the 200-400. The versatility of a zoom along with the ability to use the high speed crop mode gives one amazing flexibility. I know there are many that like the 100-400L on the Canon, but almost all eventually go away from it since it is universally regarded as soft on the 400 end. (Before someone lights me up for that, please understand, I am sure you can show me sharp shots with that lens and quite frankly I am happy you can, but I really dont care that much to argue.) With that versatility, you can really get some great composition.

I think the 300/VR is a great lens but there is no way that it coupled with a teleconverter will focus as fast as the 200-400 without one. The extra stop of light during the middle of the day means almost nothing anyways.

As a rule of thumb, try to always shoot at the lowest ISO possible. When everything is exposed well the difference between 100 and 200 means almost nothing. But if you shoot planes enough you know that there is almost always an area of the plane on every shot , that is not exposed perfectly. ISO 100 gives you a better chance of fixing that.

Shutterspeeds are a very bizarre topic. I know it is natural to think, wow that is a fast jet, I need a high shutter speed. And that would really be true if the camera was stationary and you were shttong it passing through the frame. Please remember that you are panning with the plane and therefore don't need as much speed as you would think. Obviously stay above the 1/focal length rule, and give yourself a little buffer. The key is panning well and smoothly. Prop planes warrant a slower shutter speed to get some prop blur but even 1/250 or 1/320 should do that if the engine is spinning at any decent RPM's.

As far as metering is concerned is almost always use Matrix metering. I dial in the necessary exposure compensation but would much rather meter the whole scene since the plane rarely stays in the middle of the circle on any other metering system.

I am sure I missed some questions, please let me know and I will try to answer them if anyone is interested. Finally I always handhold my lens. Yes it is heavy. Get over it. Work out. Do something. The results are well worth it. I use a Tamrac camera strap, but I am sure any Neoprene one will do to take the pressure off a little. Make sure you hook the strap to the lens not the body. If you dont you will have way to much stress on lens mount.

Sorry if this is disjointed and rambles on, but I don't think I have written that much since school.

Here are a couple more.

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