Air show options?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Rhys, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. Rhys

    Rhys Guest

    Sep 4, 2010
    Last year I went to Southport Air Show and had a good time taking photos. At that point I had a Nikon D300 and a 300mm f4 lens which was a good combo for such an event. Since then I have sold my Nikon stuff and moved to a GF1, which for most purposes is great. I could just go get a 45-200 for the GF1, but I'm not sure that a mirrorless camera is going to be up to continuous shots of fast moving subjects (I don't even know if the GF1 can continuously autofocus while shooting a burst). And maybe f5.6 is a little slow? I've got the LVF1 which should help using a telephoto, but there is a noticeable lag between what is happening and what is displayed on the viewfinder (same delay as with LCD too of course).

    I've thought of the following options:

    1. Don't worry about taking photos, just enjoy watching the planes (but I'll sulk about not being able to take pics!).

    2. Buy the 45-200 and find out on the day whether or not that combination of camera and lens will be good enough.

    3. Buy a 2nd hand Nikon body (D50 or D70 probably) to use with the 80-200 Nikon lens that I already have.

    4. Buy an Olympus E420 body and borrow a 40-150 lens (I know a couple of people who could lend me one).

    Options 2 to 4 will all cost about the same.

    Anyone have any other suggestions that I've overlooked? Has anyone used a :43: camera at an airshow?


  2. DownUnderDog

    DownUnderDog Mu-43 Regular

    Hi Rhys,
    I use the Panasonic 45-200 lens. I'ts great. The lens equates to 90-400 in fullframe 35mm.
    It should suit an airshow depending how far you are from the planes. I'd go for option 2. The lens is not too expensive, and if you didn't like it there is reasonable resale value.
  3. Herman

    Herman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Hi Rhys. If you can lend an Oly lens I suppose you too can lend an Oly body?
  4. Rudi

    Rudi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 16, 2010
    I know that the E-PL1 will no AF between frames when shooting in continuous mode, and I assume this is the case with all MFT cameras that use CAF (like the GF1). Even with the first frame, the AF will be slower than your DSLR was, quite a bit slower. As a result you will NOT as high a percentage of keepers with the GF1 that you would with the Nikon DSLR. Not by a large margin! Whether this is important to you is up to you. :smile:
  5. john1027

    john1027 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 5, 2010
    Alexandria, VA USA

    I agree with Rudi's comments. I have taken quite a few photos of commercial type airplanes mostly landing and taking off as I actually work at an airport. You can do the half-shuttter press and lock focus and pan along with the airplane, as you further compose the shot, and it works very well. However, you do need to be able to lock focus first and that is much more difficult in m-4/3s and the 45-200mm if the plane is moving fast such as it will be with a fighter jet or high speed plane. If the planes are slower or vintage types of aircraft you will have better luck, but anything very fast will be a challenge with the 45-200mm. Of course for anything on a static display, the 45-200mm is fine especially in its mid-range.
  6. Rhys

    Rhys Guest

    Sep 4, 2010
    Thanks for the responses, much appreciated.

    I took the unusual step (for me!) of reading the manual this afternoon, and it says that AF is possible in burst mode. With focus priority turned on, the burst rate will be slowed to ensure focus and with it turned off, the manual says that 'burst speed takes priority and focus is estimated within possible range'. So sounds a little better than no burst AF, but not sure if it's going to be good enough for jets.

    I'll be able to borrow a Olympus lens at the time of the show, but their respective owners will need their camera bodies at the time unfortunately.

    I'm sure the 200mm length on a m43 camera will be long enough as the planes are close to the crowd at Southport, it's more just the AF and lens speed issues.

    Still can't decide what to do. Doh!

    Edit: Just tried panning in burst mode with the 14-45mm and I don't think I'm going to be tracking even a bi-plane! Sadly between shots all you get it a preview of the previous image followed by the next image as soon as it's taken. Narrowed down to a Nikon body to go with the 80-200 or an E420. Will go see if I can borrow an E420 and lens for a play this weekend.
  7. Rudi

    Rudi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 16, 2010
    I can tell you with 99.9% certainty that the Nikon will still be the pick of the two. :smile:
  8. Rhys

    Rhys Guest

    Sep 4, 2010
    I can tell you that you were 100% right! I wasn't keen on the Olympus so this morning I bought a second hand D70. It's a bit of a monster next to the GF1.

  9. Rudi

    Rudi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 16, 2010
    Best tool for the job, though!
  10. dko22

    dko22 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 26, 2010
    Stuttgart, Germany
    was going to suggest option 1 as I've never seen any point in taking photos of aircraft flying around in the sky (other than for purely documentary purposes). But it looks like I've been overtaken by events....:smile:
  11. Rhys

    Rhys Guest

    Sep 4, 2010
    I suppose you could say that about taking photographs of anything...but then no one would have cameras and this forum wouldn't be here... :0)