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E-M1/Panasonic Leica 100-400mm at Miramar Air Show

Discussion in 'Sports and Action' started by Clint, Sep 29, 2016.

  1. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    I spent last Sunday shooting photos at the USMC Miramar Airshow, which is primarily the US Navy Blue Angels and other jets and some helos. Typically when I shoot airplanes I use S-AF, small focus point, Single Shot, Spot Metering, Low or 200 ISO and usually get great results. I have no problem timing my shots and when needed get 3-4 per second.

    But for Sunday I decided I’d try some 21st century stuff that so many seem to brag about. C-AF with a group of nine focus targets, Sequential Low and High, Center Weighted Metering. And best of all the new Panasonic Leica 100-400mm lens.

    All week long the weather had been great, and then the weekend started some Santa Anna winds, strong hot winds the blow off the desert towards the ocean, high temperatures for here were in 90s – and this caused issues not only on the ground but for about 2,000 feet up as well. Just adding to the challenges.

    Oh - C-AF with sequential shooting and the EVF lag, what a challenge. Jets traveling 550mph, I’m shooting ten frames per second, and the EFV lag would almost cost me the loss of the jet in the viewfinder many times (Keeping a fast jet in the viewfinder is already a challenge at 400m without any distraction) . But that lag on few occasions showed promising images, like excellent captures of two planes crossing.

    I’ll tell you, if someone can learn how to use this set up effectively when shooting high speed jets, you should be able to shoot almost anything!!!!

    I took about twice as many shots as I usually would, I guess not surprising as I was sequential shooting. Through the day there nine plane crossings where it is great to get one plane overlaying the other as they cross paths from opposite directions. Something with S-AF I typically would have captured 7 of those, but with Sequential High, I got two.

    And now I understand why many say to take 3-5 shots to find the best one in focus! That is because C-AF is slow compared to S-AF and it may take tenths of a second to catch up.

    And oh how disappointed I was when I started to cull my shots. I looked at nothing but focus and discarded nearly 30% what I had taken. Another 15% bit the dust because they were virtual duplicates of previous frames. And another 5% because I only had part of plane in the frame. So almost ½ my shots were a waste!!!! I’m going back to my old traditional way – I might toss 10-20% but the rest make me pick between them!!!!

    However – I do have about 10% as keepers. I was really amazed at the Panasonic Leica 100-400mm lens!
     
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  2. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    Here are three shots all taken at 400mm, the first is to show the heat waves to give you an idea of the challenges, the second is a 50% crop of the shot taken at 400mm (some say you can’t crop the 400mm images - you decide), and the last was taken when the F16s were traveling about 190mph about to take off (1/160, f/8.0, 100ISO). I would have got the front wheels off the ground but I had some jerk stand up in from of me and knocked my lens.

    full.

    full.

    full.
     
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  3. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    Post more shots! :)
     
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  4. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Last year at the airshow (I go to one every year and it is coming up in 3 weeks) I kept detailed notes. I had 80% in focus shots and all I use is CAF when shooting planes. The having multiple identical (or close to identical) shots is just a hazard of shooting 10fps burst and something I have come to live with. Even tho it can take forever picking the perfect shot from 10-20 almost identical, when you get that perfect shot it is all worth it. Hate nothing more then having the shot just before and just after the peak of action, so I shoot tons of photos and just have to sort thru them (after awhile you develop a system and it does not take nearly as long). One very useful trick I use is to get locked on with CAF and tracking the subject a bit before I am going to actually start shooting. This gives me a lot more keepers then just getting focus and shooting right as I get the lock, also allows me to time the shot until close to the peak. The blackout doesn't really bother me anymore because I actually lock on before shooting. This gives me time to get a feel for the speed and how fast I need to move to keep it on target, then when I start shooting I just keep that smooth pan going.

    I am really hoping the mk2 will allow spot metering to follow the focus point selection. I hardly ever use the center point so pretty much can only use the matrix (what ever Olympus calls their full frame metering) metering, even center weighted is useless when you have your subject to one side.
     
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  5. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Great shots and I really love the first. I went to the Miramar airshow every year when I was stationed in San Diego.
     
  6. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    Love the first one most as well.

    Feel your pain. I started using back button focus for C-AF and dud a little better that way but when subject is moving laterally I do better bursting S-AF.

    For unpredictable things like BIF though, in hopeless unless its big, slow and spotted coming from far
     
  7. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint