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AirShow = E-M1 + ZD 50-200 SWD + 1.4x TC

Discussion in 'Other Genres' started by Phocal, Nov 4, 2014.

  1. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Back in January I switched from Fuji to a OMD EM5 and about a month ago I got my EM1, have never been happier. The addition of the EM1 got me to look at picking up some of the wonderful ZD glass out there. While I really want the 40-150 Pro, winter is coming (insert random Game of Thrones reference) and I really need a weatherproof setup that can replace my 75-300 and the new pro lens just does not have the reach for my needs (yes, even with the TC). So, I decided to pick up a ZD 50-200mm and the 1.4x TC (plan on getting the 2x TC also) as my weatherproof wildlife lens. With the TC it's 280mm is enough to replace the 75-300 because I rarely (only when I get excited and forget) shoot it past 250 or so because the IQ drops off.

    I got my 50-200 Thursday night, just in time for the Wings Over Houston AirShow on Saturday, figured this would be a good test to see how well it performs. I can now say that I am really satisfied with the lens and that it performed above my expectations. I used the TC for the entire Airshow but believe I could have shot the entire thing without it. I took 2,803 photos during the show (about 300 of them where shots of the planes sitting on the tarmac), so have a lot of photos to still go thru. I made one pass thru the photos and got it down to 1620 photos, deleting out of focus shots, those that cut of part of the plane, had plane to close to edge of the frame etc. Still need to go thru and delete out more but it is such boring work. I have managed to process 5 of the photos so far and of those 5 one was taken at a focal length past 200mm. But, a quick look and I do feel I would have been better off without the TC because most sequences I shot (started at max zoom and following plane in while decreasing zoom) I prefer the closer photos. The reason for this really has more to do with the angle of the shot then anything else. They really do a good job of providing the crowd a perfect angle for a photo at a distance that most amateur photographers will have the reach for.

    Technical details:

    - I shot in aperture priority @ ISO 200 and used C/AF for the entire show.

    - I kept switching between single, all, center group of focus points. To make switching easy I used 3 my sets assigned to the selector wheel with the only difference being the focus point selections. I feel that all three worked equally well and would really depend on the number of aircraft I was trying to photograph as to which I preferred to use.

    - shot in low speed @6.5 fps

    - Rls Priority C was on

    - IS was off for sequential shooting

    - HLD-7 was used on the EM1

    Performance:

    Handholding the lens for 7 hours was really not bad at all. Last time I shot an airshow I was using a 7D w/grip and the Sigma 150-500, this was a lot lighter and easier to use. I found that by resting the tripod collar in my palm I could easily reach up and control the zoom or the manual focus ring. Let me say, I am so glad I got the SWD version. Sometimes I would miss focus and the lens would go hunting and racking back and forth. When this happened it would take way to long to get things back to working order without being able to quickly go into manual focus and crank it back out to infinity. This only happened a handful of times but would be very aggravating when it did. Focus lock was actually really fast compared to what I was lead to believe from reading various reviews. Once locked, it seemed to keep focus very well as long as I could maintain following the aircraft. A majority of my out of focus shots were due to my inability to follow the aircraft and not a fault with the lens. One note on the EM1. I have only had it under a month and have not really shot a lot of burst with it. I was surprised by the number of shots I could get before the buffer slowed me down. The guy next to me shooting a Nikon commented several times about the number of shots I could take without the camera stopping.

    I am completely satisfied with my purchase of the ZD 50-200. It performed way above my expectations and for my typical wildlife shooting it will be a welcomed addition. I am glad I decided that the new Pro lens is to short for most of my shooting and that I got this lens and can wait to pick up the Pro lens as a refurb. Now, the 300mm is a different story.......that one I will preorder the first hour that it is available.

    Well enough of that, lets get to some photos.

    Angels Moon 1/2500 @ ƒ4.5 focal length 117mm


    Upside Right 1/2000 @ ƒ4.7 focal length 158mm
    [​IMG]

    Breaking Away 1/3200 @ ƒ4.5 focal length 130mm


    Whistling Death 1/2500 @ ƒ4.9 focal length 258mm


    Contemplation 1/1250 @ ƒ4.8 focal length 194


    Any and all comments are welcome and if you have any questions please feel free to ask

    Ronnie
     
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  2. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I've always said that the 50-200mm lens, especially in competent hands, is an extremely good lens and you've certainly proven that to be true.
     
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  3. denniscloutier

    denniscloutier Mu-43 Veteran

    204
    Dec 24, 2011
    Nice!

    I own the 2x TC and I haven't found that it works all that well with the 50-200 (non SWD in my case). I think maybe f7 is just too dark for the autofocus to work really well. Of course technique may also have something to do with it. I'm debating whether to try the 1.4x TC, or just hold out for the 300 f4 & TC.
     
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  4. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I used the 50-200mm with the EC-14 extensively many years ago and it worked quite well (in bright conditions). The focus accuracy and speed is dependent on the aperture and the EC-20 can have a dramatic effect on AF with slower lenses.
     
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  5. penfan2010

    penfan2010 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 12, 2010
    NJ, USA
    Ronnie -thanks for sharing your experiences in a lot of detail. Despite having a 75-300 mk II and also being quite happy with it, I also just got a 50-200 SWD for the same reason you did, e.g. lower-light, all-weather shooting and the need for much sharper images on the long end of the lens. i have not gotten an E-M1 yet, so have had to contend with a fair bit of hunting on the E-m5, but I am still very happy with the results. Your images of the Blue Angles and the F4U are great, BTW. I do love aviation and air show photography as well, but thought the SWD might be too bulky and heavy to carry around all day . I never had a big DSLR, used Olympus 4/3 before shifting to m4/3, so i never had any real basis for comparison. i brought the SWD out for a morning of bird photography and was really tired afterwards. At any rate, I can't wait for the warm weather again so I can take photos when the air shows start up in the Northeast. Look forward to seeing more of your photos.

    Ed
     
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  6. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Thanks Ray............will trade you for your 90-250 :smile:
     
  7. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    You could always sell the 2x and have a little leftover after getting the 1.4x. So far I love the combination and feel you can not go wrong getting the 1.4x.
     
  8. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I use on occasion (use to use it all the time) a Canon FD 400mm ƒ4.5. The 50-200 is smaller and lighter so if all else fails I could use the 2.0x as a manual focus lens and be ok with that.
     
  9. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Very little hand holding with that lens, unless you're built like a weightlifter. :)
     
  10. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    While it is heavier then the 75-300 it is not as bad as it could be, like bringing along one of those 500mm/600mm ƒ4.0 lenses from the other guys. So far all I have really done with it (other than a quick trip to the lake to photo of a bird to test the lens) is go to the airshow. Did not really involve any walking around, just standing in one spot the entire day. Going to try and get out to my favorite state park this week or weekend to really give it a test at wildlife photography.
     
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  11. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    That's ok, I have a really good tripod.
     
  12. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    Thanks, Ronnie. The photos are great, and the tips just as useful. I had a hard time shooting a recent Blue Angels airshow, and could have used some of those tips.
     
  13. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Wow..........I cannot believe that is has almost been a year and 20,000+ photos since getting my 50-200. I can honestly say I have never been so happy with the performance of a lens for the money I paid. This lens has really been a wonderful work horse for the past year and I don't see that changing much over the next year. Now I have the ZD 150mm ƒ2.0 but will not be taking it to the airshow. It really is just to much reach (as I found out looking at my photos from last year), and this is one of those times you cannot zoom with your feet. Next month I will once again be using the 50-200, this time without the EC-14 (I will have it with me just incase tho).

    I have one question for any experienced aircraft photographers out there. What is the approximate fastest shutter speed I can use and still have the propellers blurred and not frozen like my photo above?
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2015
  14. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    There's a discussion of that in here.

    One of my interests too. Anxious to hear how the 50-200 performs

    Fwiw. I think I've heard 160th to 320th.
     
  15. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Thanks for the link, was pretty informative overall. Looking at the photos from the video you are correct, 160th to about 400th is where you want to be depending on aircraft.

    The 50-200 performs very well. I used it last year for the airshow and was very happy with it's performance. Was like the 2nd day I had the lens and I recently (like a month sooner) gotten my EM1. I am expecting much better results this year as I have a better idea of what to expect. I will redo all my buttons for the airshow so I can quickly switch between different shooting modes.
     
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  16. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Forgot to add that I am looking forward to seeing how much of an improvement the new firmware is over last year at the airshow.
     
  17. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    Can't wait to hear. Keep us posted.
     
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  18. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    Ok darnit. Our airshow is Sunday, and you've convinced me I should go. If nothing else, it's always good practice for BiF, and general panning. Now, do I take the monster and tripod, or just the 40-150 and em1...?
     
  19. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I can provide you with my experience, but it is limited to shooting the same airshow on two occasions and with different equipment each time.

    My first time I had my Canon 7D paired with the Sigma 150-500 and I brought both my tripod and monopod. I have never really been a big tripod guy and really did not start using one until I started using my Canon FD 400mm on my Fuji and EM5. Then it was really only to help maintain the distance to subject for focus reasons. I now use a tripod frequently in my wildlife photography but mostly it is just to keep the camera pointed at a bird while waiting for it to catch a fish. Anyways, after 30 minutes or so of trying to follow planes using the tripod and then another 15 minutes with the monopod.....I switched to just handholding the camera. Way easier to follow the planes that can come from different directions and altitudes. When I went last year with the EM1 and 50-200 I did not even bring my tripod. So, basically it really is a personal decision with some thought given to the weight of your gear and your upper body/arm strength.

    In that video above they talk a bit about focal length with the expert saying you can never have enough reach for airshow photography. While I somewhat agree, it really does depend on the airshow. In the video he used a 300mm (not sure if it was a cropped sensor or not) and it looked liked he really could have used more reach. At the Houston airshow I saw people with big lenses but really think that an effective 600mm would be to much. At times you could use that super long reach, but most of the stunts and stuff are performed pretty close to the crowd. I used the EC-14 the entire time and while I took a lot of shots at or near full zoom, all the ones that I liked (mostly because that was when you could catch the peak of the action) were under 200mm (or 400mm effective). The Houston airshow really does a good job of putting the airplanes close to the crowd and where you don't need 600mm+ of reach. This year I will be starting off without the EC-14, but will have it and the EC-20 with me because well......why not bring them (they are light and take up no room).

    Even if you bring the 300mm, I would still bring the 40-150. Because you can't control distance to subject by moving, a zoom really is preferred in my opinion. I know at the Houston airshow you would be to close to get shots like this with the 300 because you would be to close (taken at 158mm or 316mm effective).



    Not knowing the airshow does present a problem. Personally, I would take the 40-150mm with the TC and hope you don't need more reach. If it turns out you do, well you know for next time. Or, take both to be safe and have all the gear to lug around all day. Either way, next year you will know exactly which lenses you need. Oh, make sure you take your 7-14 for static shots of the planes (if they have them setup where you can go by and see them). I was without an UWA last year (still am other then my fisheye) so did not get any that I really liked. When I had my 7D I also had the wonderful Tokina 11-16 (which they made lenses for µ4/3) and got some amazing photographs of the planes which can be seen here: http://www.rrcolejrphotography.com/aircraft

    LOL, guess I did not really help with the decision.........look forward to seeing your results.
     
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  20. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I forgot to add............I think for most airshows something around the equivalent of a 100-400 would be about perfect and would still allow handholding without to much effort.
     
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