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Old September 3rd, 2009, 07:43 PM   #1
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Shooting stills at an air show

I actually have a 450D and want to buy a new lens for this occasion since I just have the standard one. What lens should I get and what would be some good settings as far as shutter / exposure / AF / ISO are concerned? These things will be freakin fast and it'll be sunny and bright out. Also, any neat tips/tricks for this sorta thing? Thanks! :)
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Old September 4th, 2009, 01:05 AM   #2
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I sold my EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS to a guy with a crop frame camera who bought it specifically for airshow photos. The 300mm focal length is a 480mm equivalent on a crop camera, the f/5.6 aperture is fine in daylight, and the lens includes stabilization mode 2 for smooth panning. You can get one used in the mid-$400 range.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 02:01 AM   #3
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What are IS and a crop camera again?
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Old September 4th, 2009, 04:53 AM   #4
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I don't know if I can be of much help as I don't have a 450D but I have a 400D (as well as a 5DM2) and have found the Canon 400mm f5.6 lens to be fabulous. Its focussing is extremely fast and I think would be ideal for your use. My hobby is bird photography and I do a lot of bird flight shots with this combo.

You can see some shots using the combo on my flickr site.

Canon 400D & 400mm f5.6 lens - a set on Flickr

Bob
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Old September 4th, 2009, 11:05 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jackie Morton View Post
What are IS and a crop camera again?
IS is image stabilization. Canon lenses with IS have little gyros that keep the image from getting blurry due to shake. Image Stabilization is especially important with telephoto lenses with small apertures, like f/5.6.

Old 35mm film cameras are "full frame". The 5D Mark II has a 36mm x 24mm sensor, so it's also full frame.

Most digital cameras have smaller sensors, so they "crop" the frame. The 450D sensor is 22.2mm x 14.8mm, so it's about 0.62 (1/1.6) times the size. That's referred to as a 1.6x crop.

A 300mm lens on a crop camera is equivalent to a 480mm lens on a full frame camera. A 400mm lens is a 640mm equivalent.

Crop cameras are excellent for daytime telephoto work, like airshows.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 06:19 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bob Thompson View Post
My hobby is bird photography and I do a lot of bird flight shots with this combo.

You can see some shots using the combo on my flickr site.

Canon 400D & 400mm f5.6 lens - a set on Flickr

Bob
Wow Bob, just had a look at your stream, that's one fine collection. Great work
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Old September 4th, 2009, 07:27 PM   #7
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Lately I'm seeing a lot of folks that are really liking the 100-400... and I've noticed the
price has gone from $2400 to around $1500

Amazon.com: Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras: Electronics
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Old September 4th, 2009, 07:53 PM   #8
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Ray,

I believe the 100 - 400mm zoom is a push-pull zoom. It could have a tendancy to "suck in" dust particles in a dirty environment. I find it difficult to "push and pull" and take handheld fast moving shots.

Bob
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Old September 4th, 2009, 08:06 PM   #9
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Bob, I don't have one... just an observation that all of a sudden the price dropped to around $1500 from $2400 and a lot of folks are using the lens and saying good things about it...

here's some feedback on the lens and it gets a rating of 9.1.. not bad


FM Reviews - EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM
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Old September 4th, 2009, 08:57 PM   #10
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The 100-400 is about an 11 year old design. It is an "L" lens and offeres the best image quality in its class (super tele-zooms).

I don't think the price was $2400 as far as I can remember but is still not cheap in the mid teens for such a specialized use lens..

Many folks are hoping Canon will update this lens and like myself are scared to buy one and find out in six months that the upgraded version is coming.

As far as shooting airshows and photographic technique, Jackie you might benefit from some photography classes, some books or just a lot of reading on dpreview.com.

For fast moving subjects the shutter speed is the most important factor. I would guess that you would want to use 1/1000th to be safe at an airshow or maybe even more if a fighter plane is flying low and right past you.

Good luck
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Old September 4th, 2009, 10:27 PM   #11
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Ive shot a few, and you just need good depth of field management and sharp focus reflexes.

I used to go manual all the way, but now I find the AF systems are pretty good.
With shutter speed, for prop driven aircraft, anything more than 1/500 will freeze the props (not good) so I aim for 1/250 with the appropriate aperture, using ASA of 400. Prop driven AC shot at 1/30 look simply stunning, but are hard to balance with subject/camera movement.

I shot an FA18 Super Hornet doing a topside pass at Mach 0.9 during Avalon in 2007 using a Nikon D70 with my old 80-200 f2.8AF Nikkor.

For close up detail work when the AC is not on the runway (such as at the top of a loop) then its the 400 f2.8AF.

Click on the aviation photos link in my (very ancient and soon to be updated site) for the living proof. Home

In brief; Spare cards, spare batteries, a minimum of an 80mm lens, preferably at least 200mm. Dont worry about a tripod or monopod for flight pix, take water with you and a timetable of events so you can plan the toilet stops. Don't delete anything off the cards until you work on them later, using PHOTOSHOP or Photoshop Elements to crop and tweak.

Ben
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Old September 5th, 2009, 09:35 AM   #12
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I'm thinking of shooting B&W to give it a unique touch - what filter do I use to enhance B&W photography on a bright day on a blue sky? Oh and you guys are saying I don't need a tripod?
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Old September 5th, 2009, 01:26 PM   #13
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Jackie,

This is a video forum for shooting video with these DSLR cameras.

You would be better served visiting a still photography forum either on this site or on another like DPreview.com.

Black & White is very easy to do in post processing so it is better to shoot in color to give you the option of both.
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Old September 5th, 2009, 02:09 PM   #14
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You definitely don't need a tripod. You'll be shooting in daylight, so you can set a fairly fast shutter speed. You'll track the planes by hand as you snap the photos. Image Stabilization Mode 2, which allows panning, will help.

If you wanted to have the planes make a blur, you could use a tripod and a remote shutter. You would fix the framing where you expect the planes to be a use a slow shutter speed. Click the shutter a moment before they enter the frame. The results will be pretty dull though. You'll see streaks, but no detail on the planes.

For a blur photos of planes, you're better off snapping a sharp photo by hand with a fast shutter and applying a bit of motion blur in the direction of movement. That can give a sharp photo with a blur trail. It works best over an even blue sky.

So, yeah, skip the tripod for aircraft stills.
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Old September 6th, 2009, 10:29 AM   #15
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The rule of thumb for handholding is 1 to 1 1/2 times shutter for the focal length you are shooting.

So 300mm would need 1/320th to 1/500th to get a sharp image without camera shake.
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