What lens is best for shooting air shows? I would assume Nikon's 200-400 or Sigma's 150-500 (for less money).
where there’s smoke there’s forum fire
What lens is best for shooting air shows? I would assume Nikon's 200-400 or Sigma's 150-500 (for less money).
What airshow are you planning to attend? Is it a military base or airport? Anything above 200mm is good but I'd check with the airshow's website and ask because they may not let you take large telephoto lenses and monopods. They usually don't for copyright and safety reasons unless you have a media pass. They might not let you take in a large camera bag or pack-back either so check first.
I suggest you go early and get there before the flight line opens up. Before they rope off the aircraft and start flying. You'll get lots of good close up shots of the planes on the ground with good early morning light. Getting there early helps you beat traffic and standing in long security checkpoints. Once they start flying you'll need to find a good spot to sit and enjoy the show unless you've got lots more aircraft to walk around. Be prepared to do a lot of walking.
A lot of good questions that I did not know to ask. I should have mentioned that I don't plan on using the lens myself. My nephew is into shooting airshows and the lens is intended as a gift.
I enjoy his shots but taking them would make me dizzy. I go for landscapes, a macro in the yard, or travel anywhere.
Then definitely find out about what is allowed into the show. I hate to say it but maybe a super zoom point and shoot (20X) with image stabilization might be a better choice if he can't walk in with a big heavy zoom. Unless your nephew has connections and can get in with a big zoom. Security is usually tight though and media credential deadlines are days ahead of the shows.
My experience is that you need a media pass to get a big zoom inside. The air show performances are copyrighted so they control that kind of access.
Second option would be to find a public area around the outside of the base or airport and shoot the planes as they fly by with the big zoom from there. But again you might be asked to move away if your hanging around near a runway fence or stopped on a roadway near a military installation.
Please, don't buy your nephew a lens unless he has said that he wants that precise lens. And even if you do know which lens he wants he might want to check it out at the camera store to make sure it is a good one. What you can do, is get an envelope, write on it "Telephoto Lens Fund" and put money in it.
Regarding airshows ... nothing is set in stone. Get in contact with them and ask. If it is not allowed for mere mortals to bring teleoptics along, then try to find out what has to be done in order to get permission. I know the example is from a totally different field, but a long time hobby photographer I know shoots at international football matches from ground level. The only restriction is that he has to choose a side and remain behind the goal line during the game. The catch is that the football association that owns the stadium can use the shots for non-promotional purposes. But what's the difference ... both are in the business of entertainment.
ted2001 - if You could wait till the weekend, I'll be back home, and will have access to a polish photo magazine, where this topic was deeply discussed as there's a huge air show going on this weekend in Poland, and they were preparing photographers for this; at this point AFAIR Nikon 200-400 was marked very well, and generally everything from 200mm and up
Thanks Adam. When I used to photo auto racing years ago, 200mm was the "normal" lens, with 100mm for multi-car shots and 400-500mm for longs.
The Sigma 150-500mm can be good, I have sold a few good samples, but I would strongly recommend that that lens is purchased in a store and tried out. You can find tons of complains about quality issues with this lens or others like it. If you can afford get the Nikon lens and that one would be safer to get on-line also as Nikon's quality control is better. I have debated on getting one of them. the Nikon is to expensive for me and for me to get the Sigma as a staff purchase they are send from our supplier directly to me I would have to take a chance on Quality. Maybe do it this way get a 70-200 2.8VR and a 1.7 teleconverter, I plan to get a 1.7 teleconverter for mine. This would give you 70 to 340mm of range that is sharp and fast, this site has some info
I wish that I had a uncle like you
:-) My uncle gave me a 200-400 zoom lens last year .. :-) its the Tamron f5.6 version. ! I need a better tripod to get the best out of it I think.
I frequently take pictures during air shows, in the USA and France mainly. I use a nikon 70-200 2,8 VR + 1,4 TC on a D300 and it's a beauty !!! Heavy but you need that to get some kind of stabilization. Training and VR do the rest… Sure it's expensive but it's fast and will last for ever. You will use and abuse several bodies before you need to replace it ! Give priority to the lens, not the body. An airband radio receiver should be the next step :o)
As other posters have said, it depends on the area and the regulations, but you could look at the 70-300. It also depends on how big your budget is as well.
Yes I know but it is easy to remove the 1.7TC and then you have 70
ok - got Your point Pete :)
"What airshow are you planning to attend? Is it a military base or airport? Anything above 200mm is good but I'd check with the airshow's website and ask because they may not let you take large telephoto lenses and monopods. They usually don't for copyright and safety reasons unless you have a media pass. They might not let you take in a large camera bag or pack-back either so check first."
I went to, litterally, hundreds of air shows and I have never met any such restrictions about tele lenses or tele zooms. Aviation lovers/photographers and the general public at large are what keeps these air shows going. Any one foolish enough to adopt such a rule would be facing a total failure (And a huge bill too !).
Well the world is being changed around us in fear of terrorism. When people are being stopped by the police in London because they are taking pictures of landmarks, then I wouldn't put it past them if they started seeing something fishy in taking pictures of jets :)
I was referring to large lenses like the 200-400mm and 600mm not the smaller 70-200mm. Restrictions depend on location. Usually the small airports are not as strict as the big city or military events. Things such as tripods, large camera bags and even back packs might not be allowed. Just like they don't let you take in water bottles, food, drinks, coolers, etc.
Air show performances are copyrighted so don't expect to take pictures and then sell the prints of the performances. They really can't stop you if you say your shooting for personal use only, but the more gear you bring with you the more likely they will hassle you about it. Again it just depends on the venue.
Some shows now offer you (at an additional cost) a VIP like photo pass. It gets you into a reserved section for photographers only. Kinda like a media pass. Ted didn't say which air show so can't say if that's an option. I like the Chicago Air and Water Show since it's free and there really aren't very many restrictions. Just find a good spot near the shore and start shooting.
Bernard share some of your air show pictures with us.
Ted are you sure you and I aren't related because I'd want you to buy me a $6000US lens as a gift too :^) Don't listen to monty11's idea about the lens funds envelope. Just give me the lens !!! You don't even have to wrap it up for me. Well on second thought an envelope with $6000 dollars in unmarked bills might be a better idea Uncle Ted :^)
Ted - continuing Niko's idea I will even fly to You and bring You some delicious cookies from my sweet land :)
Thanks, but I bake. I'm also open to being adopted by a family with large trust funds...
NikoDoby : Now I understand :o) When you speak of airports, it can be very tricky, depending on the place and the airport police attitude. In the UK, quite often the police will see you as an extra pair of eyes which can help spotting terrorists. In France it is generally the opposite, but I have often seen people destroying airport property just to get their lens through a fence, and that I disagree with, totally !
Air shows are there to let you take pictures, and as many as you like. It is true that the show and its planes are copyright, so the easiest is to get a Spotter Pass which you rightly mention. Even better is to get a Media Pass, and if you already published pictures in magazines, it will be easy to get one. If not, you'll need to be very diplomatic and use your best smile :o)
Yes, you can see many of my pictures on the Commemorative Air Force French Wing web site at: < http://www.caffrenchwing.fr >, then click on "Gallery". It's all in French at the moment but it's easy to follow. When you get to the gallery, you will see airplanes sorted by aircraft type, or events. Click on one of them to see the thumbnails, click on the first one and you(ll see a larger image, and finally, if you click on this image you can see it almost full screen. I hope you like them. I take them mainly for the Commemorative Air Force which use them for its publications, and, occasionally, for magazines, but it's not my number one target (Too much trouble, unless you want to make a living out of it).
Great pictures Bernard thanks for sharing ! Brings back a lot of memories for me, especially the 'Yellow Rose' B-25 Mitchell. Boy is she still looking good. I assume you've been to CAF HQ in Texas? I grew up going to all the CAF shows with my dad.
Uncle Ted are you SURE we aren't related? :^)
Your Dad gave you the best possible education !!! :oD
I have been to Midland (Texas) every year since 1991 (The year they moved from Harlingen to Midland) for the CAF annual Airsho. The next one is on October 10 and 11, and I'll be there if everything goes as planned.
I became a member in 1994 and I have been the Unit Leader for the CAF French Wing ever since it was created in 1996. We have 2 planes that belong to the Wing, a Piper Cub and a Rearwin Sportster (The latter needs a lot of work before it can fly again). I'm also the co-owner of the NC 856 Norvigie which you can see in our Gallery, and several other members own various planes like the MS 733 and the MS 315.
Taking photos for the CAF is my favorite, especially air-to-air which is a real privilege. Photos from the ground are the most difficult part of it, especially propeller driven planes since the propeller must be as blurr as possible and the rest of the plane as sharp as possible. Jets are a lot easier: Set the camera to priority "S" and shoot with the fastest possible shutter speed.
I love the B-25, and I flew aboard Yellow Rose a couple of times. What an honor that was ! Otherwise, I usually fly aboard a C-46 or C-47, the camera ship, and take pictures of whatever comes along. A real time machine ! :o)
Yep, lots of good memories with the CAF air shows for me. You and I have probably passed each other at some of the shows !
Another member on this forum RobertD is an aircraft aficionado as well. He was a photographer for Learjet. He's got some great historic photos in his collection.
I don't think I'll make Midland this year but I might make the Ellington Field show. Keep in touch Bernard it's good to have you on the forum.
This is the last place where I was expecting to find aircraft lovers :o)
It feels like home !
The photos from RobertD are amazing ! Especially the B-24 which hit me right in the heart. This photo itself is what he CAF is all about. These guys died so that, today, we can discuss freely on this forum. We owe them so much !!!
Too bad about Midland, but, as you say, we'll keep in touch :oD
Hey, I like aircraft too. (Is aircrafts a correct term?)
It's just that I don't get a chance to take photos of them all too often. I do snap at the occasional helicopter and airplane if I can reach it (optically).
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