Jump to content
mbuto

a6000 : airshows & aviation photography

Recommended Posts

All,

 

I'm into airshow and aviation photography and video. My Canon 30D is getting a little long in the tooth so I have a new a6000 as well as the PZ 18-105mm F4 G OSS. I have a decent HD camcorder for video, but it uses an oddball format, so I'd like to retire it as well as keep my kit simpler. I will be renting the FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS next week. I'm a little concerned that the best native lens is just 200mm. Before I go too far down the Sony path, I'm wondering I should keep my existing Sony combo for travel and general purpose only, or is there/will there be a path for getting a longer lens? Remember that a fast autofocus is key when dealing with aircraft in flight.

 

Thanks,

 

Mike

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

200mm will be good.  Trying to keep the aircraft in the frame at anything longer will be difficult.  Plus on the A6000, the 200mm will 'look' like a 300mm.

 

The A6000 has pretty awesome AF. There is probably some sort of AF setting/mode to use for following a moving subject.  On the A99 it is AF-D, I don't have an A6000, but I'm sure there is an equivalent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's definitely a lack of long telephoto lenses in E-mount, and there's no sign of that changing any time soon.

While the 24-240 is the longest the 70-200 is the best choice here (or 55-210mm for a far cheaper alternative).

 

 

Your other option, costing 1.5x the 70-200, is an LA-EA4 adaptor plus Sony 70-400mm f4-f5.6 A-mount.

This will provide standard DSLR-level AF, usable aperture (note adaptor takes 1/3rd of a stop) and absolutely ideal range.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I forgot about the 55-210!  That is an excellent APS-C lens.  Well worth the cash, it is very cheap.  Not as fast as the 7-200/4 but its way cheaper and a tiny bit longer.

 

Like Apollwnios demonstrated above, 200mm is plenty for aircraft.  Most aircraft are larger than birds.

 

Excellent shots there Apollwnios!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read this 'old' topic with interest as I was about to go to a large airshow and wanted to glean the best info from the experts that would help me get the most out of my a6300 along with a recently purchased 55-210.

The day of the airshow has now come and gone, and whilst I have ended up with some fun images (a couple are attached) I had the following 'annoying' experiences:

  • the 55-210 often took 'too long' to autofocus (compared to my newer-designed 18-135mm).
  • having 'locked on' with the focus, and with 'continuous focus' enabled, the lens would suddenly decide to re-focus (so totally losing focus) and again take a longish time to focus.
  • switching to the AF/MF position on the camera (the alternative to AEL) I hoped to be able to manually focus (since most aircraft were at a similar distance) but I could not seem to get the forward lens ring to do any focusing and it seemed always to be over-ridden by the autofocus. I can see no switch on the lens to enable MF.
  • too frequently many aircraft were tantalizingly 'just too far away' at 210mm (which I take to be a true 210mm, as the lens is specifically designed for aps-c cameras). I found myself wanting to be at 300mm or even a little more. Yes, I can crop my images to pull in the subject but would still have liked more zoom mm's.
  • I'm was interested by member LeButler's post, above, suggesting the "LA-EA4 adaptor plus the Sony 70-400mm f4-5.6 A-mount" but see that the lens is currently $1,500 (GB£1000) plus adaptor which is out of my amateur league for an infrequently used lens
  • my other thought is to have my existing Sigma 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 converted from it's existing Canon mount to a Sony e-mount and I'm check the cost of having that done right now. It's a bit of a 'beast' weighing 595gms but it might be an acceptable solution - particularly since their 2nd hand values are pretty low at the moment. Once done I don't know if the autofocus will function with an a6300 - or whether I shall have to consider upgrading to an a6500 (with in-body stabilisation)... and if I pay that money, would I be better-off choosing an A-7ii?? (I'm just waiting for my Canon 70D body to sell on eBay)...

Questions, questions, questions.... Any suggestions from the expert members would be welcome.

DSC01579.jpg

DSC01850.jpg

DSC01908.jpg

Edited by PeterMac
Most of the text was missing.... (I think)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not really an expert but I am considering the Sigma MC 11 adaptor and Sigma 100-400 contemporary lens, comes in at about

£850 for the two if you shop around. Not perfect but I can't afford 2,500 for the Sony E 100-400  HTH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Gosman767, a very realistic alternative at an affordable price. The reviews for it are good. My only thoughts - pretty heavy at 1067(?)gms especially on my small a6300 and no tripod mount for the lens. Now, if I can get the e-mount fitted onto that lens - goodbye adaptor! Excellent thought, thanks. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update on the idea of converting my Sigma 18-300 from a Canon to a Sony e-mount:-

  • they can not do this conversion as they do not make an 18-300mm with a Sony e-mount in their current lens range and thus there is no mount available.

Strange, I would have assumed that the mounts are universal i.e. one e-mount would fit all their lenses, same as one Canon mount would fit all their lenses - but no, presumably each mount is individual to each lens model. Pity!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's often better to skip the lock-on focus and just use AF-C and Wide focus area. That setting easily tracks a plane against the sky. Also disable face recognition as that slows down af.

Regarding the long lenses, this camera needs a lot of light onto the sensor to focus. The longer the lens and smaller the aperture, the slower and more unreliable the af will get. Introducing an adapter in the mix doesn't help.

There are better options, such as the 70-200/4, but it doesn't necessarily get you the performance you want.

Another alternative would be to get a camera with a separate af module. My old A77II was crazy good for flying birds and airplaines. It grabbed them instantly and clung to them like glued. Once a small bird flew very fast across the frame as I was shooting a portrait and the AF switched instantly and nailed it. They're cheap used and you could pair it with the 70-300 SSM II for great IQ and performance. Probably won't cost more than buying a long lens for the A6000.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many thanks Jaf-Photo - another helpful answer from you! I will put that advice to work for the next air show. Migrating from using Canon for years it emphasises that each manufacturer has his setting 'quirks' for optimum results. I had found plenty of guides and manuals for Canon but they seem thin on the ground for Sony, or at least my a6300.

Having sold the last of my Canon kit today (🎉🎉) I am intending to upgrade to the a6500 - mainly for the internal stabilisation - to allow me a much wider choice of lenses. I am running various comparisons with the (affordable) part of the A7 range but still am inclined to go for the a6500 as I am absolutely a hobby photographer (rather than making any income that way) and don't see an advantage of full-frame over the smaller body size of the a6500. Any thoughts about this would be most welcome. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of the time, people can't tell the difference between shots taken with FF and APS-C. Where you can see the difference is mostly in close-ups where FF will give you those beautiful focus transitions from pin sharp to really blurry.

One thing I have noticed with the A6300 is that sometimes AF-C will give you definite focus confirmation but the shot will be out of focus. I've also seen it in filmed test shots in reviews. My suspicion has always been that Sony prioritised speed over accuracy to be able to boast World's fastest af on launch. The A6000 is slower but more accurate in my experience.

Personally, I use the A6300 as a portability kit often with the 20/2.8 or 16-70. I have some misgivings about the af, optical quality and colour science but that is easily trumped by the convenience.

The best APS-C I've ever used is the A77II, though, and I'll end up getting a replacement for the one I sold. I thought A99II would obsolete it, but I miss the good old 77 terribly. Amazing colours and so much detail.

Edited by Jaf-Photo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really useful info Jaf-Photo. Clearly you are saying "try it" and "experience" which is what we all try to cram in the moment we have a new rig. I'm going to go the a6500 route because i have been able to get excellent visual results (?) with the a6300 when combined with my Development settings of Lightroom. I resist the FF rig sizes because of body/lens weights but want to embrace the lens stabilisation freedom of the in-body a6500.

Many thanks for your input!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×