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a6000 : airshows & aviation photography

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Hi Tinplater,

Thanks for your response. I hope that sony or somebody will come out with a native emount zoom lens with perhaps (50-400mm)that doesn't cost $2400. An f5.6-f8 aperature range would probably do ok.

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15 minutes ago, desert_view said:

Hi Tinplater,

Thanks for your response. I hope that sony or somebody will come out with a native emount zoom lens with perhaps (50-400mm)that doesn't cost $2400. An f5.6-f8 aperature range would probably do ok.

At present 70-300 or 70-200 f4 are your only choices.  I have had both, the 70-200 was a better overall lens in my opinion.  It is constant f4 and superb opticlaly.

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If anything, the new Sigma 60-600 sports seems to have near native AF performance with the MC-11 adapter. I've not tried it myself and like Tinplater would be hesitant to advise the use of adapted lenses for fast moving action. But you might want to check some reviews on that combo and try it in the store instead of mailordering it. Be warned though: that lens is a beast to carry.

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5 hours ago, tinplater said:

the speed of acquiring focus ...

... is not dependent on the lens alone. The body (sensor, processor) have a big impact on recognizing, whether an image is sharp or not, and generating the appropriate commands to the lens to move glass in the proper direction. The former is obviously a function of the body itself, while only the latter depends on the lens.

Also, when you're talking about fast moving flying objects, the risk of motion blur from body/lense shake is always present, in addition to motion blur from the fast movement of the object itself. So you will need good in-body stabilization, preferably complimented with in-lens stabilization, too.

When you go for long-reach lenses, the rule-of-thumb tells you to use an exposure time of 1/4th of the reach, or faster. For a 400mm lens that would be 1/1600th or faster. To avoid malinvestment or disappointment, I'd recommend to rent and try the lens of choice for a weekend, before you decide to buy it.

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Approaching the question from a different angle, as the lens that you would like either doesn’t yet exist or is pretty much unaffordable, what about investigating the purchase of a superzoom compact from Sony, Lumix etc as being your ‘dedicated’ camera for the r/c airshows? Many of the superzooms offer astonishing zoom lenses with full stabilisation, fast focus and good IQ - all the points that you want without breaking the bank. Unless you intend to blow the images up to big poster sizes the IQ will be perfectly good even for magazine submissions. 

I too have an a6500 and am somewhat frustrated by the lack of affordable lenses beyond 200mm ff (= 300mm crop), but I then backed off my search when I evaluated what % of my hobby was actually spent at airshows. My answer was to stick with my existing ‘nice’ lenses and borrow my wife’s superzoom compact for the annual airshow or two. 

Clearly if your living is made by taking photos of the r/c airshows then the above probably doesn’t answer your dilemma!

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2 hours ago, PeterMac said:

superzooms offer astonishing zoom lenses with full stabilisation, fast focus and good IQ

Been there. It sounds really tempting, getting an 83x zoom which extends to 2000mm equivalent, for less than US$ 500,-. Don't expect any miracles, though.

I recently bought a Nikon Coolpix P900 for my wife. We tested it during a one day hike in the alps, and found the image quality to be exceptionally poor, at the very long end. So much so, that we eventually decided to sell it (at a loss, of course, with a shutter count of only around 50 or so.). Maybe i am spoiled from the image quality of a full frame, but in my view there is no point in taking pictures which you hate to look at.

My wife now has a Sony RX100, in the "mark Va" variant. For the very same reason as above I opted against the "mark VI" variant, which has a longer reach, but a poorer image quality.

P.S.: see this for a "caveat" description of the Nikon Coolpix 900:

Quote

There are some downsides to the long zoom / small sensor combination, though. At 2000mm, you'll need to use a tripod or crank up the ISO in order to get a sharp photo. Since higher ISOs on small-sensored cameras mean more noise, don't expect your photos to be on the cover of 'Sports Illustrated'.

I don't see how having to use a tripod would work well enough when trying to capture small, fast flying objects.

Edited by Chrissie
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2 hours ago, Chrissie said:

Been there. It sounds really tempting, getting an 83x zoom which extends to 2000mm equivalent, for less than US$ 500,-. Don't expect any miracles, though.

I recently bought a Nikon Coolpix P900 for my wife. We tested it during a one day hike in the alps, and found the image quality to be exceptionally poor, at the very long end. So much so, that we eventually decided to sell it (at a loss, of course, with a shutter count of only around 50 or so.). Maybe i am spoiled from the image quality of a full frame, but in my view there is no point in taking pictures which you hate to look at.

My wife now has a Sony RX100, in the "mark Va" variant. For the very same reason as above I opted against the "mark VI" variant, which has a longer reach, but a poorer image quality.

P.S.: see this for a "caveat" description of the Nikon Coolpix 900:

I don't see how having to use a tripod would work well enough when trying to capture small, fast flying objects.

Your point is valid Chrissie as I also fell out of love with Canon bridge cameras for the same reason. I suggest that Lumix May well offer a better lens than most and is worth trying out probably others are worth trying too. 

The ‘bottom line’ of your argument is indeed correct that one can not expect a $500 compact camera to be the equal of a high-end $2,000 lens! It will come to deset_view’s ‘available cash’ vs. ‘How good (or not) IQ can I accept for my purposes’. Like many, I’m sure, I would love the IQ of the $2,000 lens but that’s not likely to happen - a case of having champagne tastes on a beer income I’m afraid 😂🤣

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Thanks so much for your sage replies.

After a day (Sunday) of trying to hand- hold burst-shoot warbird RC model planes(over 1000 raw frames), I came out with quite a good batch of shots. I think the best of my attempts resulted from holding the camera steadier during the pan. The lens I used is a 55-210 Sony kit with an Olympus 1.7 extender on a A6500. Some pictures used a Sony 18-200 zoomer.

I will post some images later.

My conclusion is that to improve my results, I should follow what videographers do. They steady the camera using a support attached to their torso. Its like a third arm holding the camera at just the right location relative your eye.

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Some nice pics of some beautiful r/c models! Well done. I’m very intrigued by your use of the Olympus extender - how did that go with the e-mount? Evidently you got the focus working fine... Now it’s just down to practice and perfection! 🤪🤪

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I like the top one best, because the object is sharp and against a motion-blurred background, which really conveys the impression of speed. Very well done!

The center one is obviously a slow fly-by, as you can tell by the downward deflected flaps.  ;-)  It's also nice and in focus, however against an empty background. Unlike the "birds in flight" category, with a human pilot you have the advantage that you can pre-arrange such slow fly-bys, which gives you a beforehand knowledge of where and when it's going to happen, which helps in avoiding camera shake.

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I have looked up the product that supports and steadies the camera. It can be viewed at

https://www.simaproducts.com/collections/camera-photography-accessories/products/sima-videoprop-neck-strap-support-for-dslr-svp-3

I will be experimenting with this neck strap gimic on 2/14-2/16 2019 at our annual RC jet rally. If interested in seeing gorgeous turbine-powered, 200 mph jet models and sharpening your panning skill see the club website www.cvrcclub.com for directions.

 

Edited by desert_view
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I decided to try out the steadying gimic on Sunday, jan. 27. It did help a lot, but I discovered that in bright daylight, major improvement in sharpness could be achieved with higher shutter speed. The example below was taken in slow burst mode with shutter priority 1/2000 sec.. Note that the propellers are not fully blurred (preferable) but (hurray) the airplane focus is sharp. Other vitals include A6500 body, 55-210 kit lens, Olympus 1.7 extender, center focus and bright sunlight. (I wanted to show more examples so look at my website after the Jet rally February 17) www.desert-view.smugmug.com

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Quite good, especially the propeller, considering the shutter speed. 

Could you please provide more information about this Olympus extender?

 

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