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Old Apr 12, 2007, 10:18 PM   #11
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Corpsy wrote:
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That does sound like it would perform very well, but when you consider that the E500 in your own words is 1 stop worse at high ISO, that means you have to use ISO 800 instead of 1600 on one of the other cameras. That makes the 560mm f4.5 effectively a 560mm f6.3. Considering that a typical 70-300 is f/5.6 at 450mm equivalent, your lens combination offers only about 30% more reach at 1/4 stop less brightness, but at about 5x the cost when compared to the Sigma 70-300 APO for the Pentax. Also, I didn't notice, does your lens combo have stabilization?
First, lets not loose a grip. I tell the downside along with the benifits to the Olympus camera. I want the original poster to purchase the best camera for the original poster's personal needs. If its another camera, that's great.

I would never consider shooting an airshow at ISO 800, let alone ISO 1600. I wouldn't have with film, and why do so with a DSLR? Airshows are in daylight and are cancelled in really heavy skys. Maybe ISO 400, maybe 200, and if the suns out I'd go ISO 100 because you'll be panning with the subject. The reasoning above seems a bit out of sorts to me.

The Sigma 70-300 is a lens I'd never own. If its important to say it goes to 300mm, then fine, but it doesn't perform at 300mm. It doesn't even do well at 200mm. I'd much rather have the Sigma AF 55-200mm f/4-5.6 DC on an Olympus that would reach the same as thatlens on anything else.

No Zuiko lens is stabilized. The E500 isn't stabilized. The upcomming E510 body will be in a couple of months, and that body with the Sigma 55-200 would be around $1000, but that's not now. For the record, the E510's nMOS sensor has been reported to be much better for high ISO noise. I've seen some raw ISO 1600 files and they are MUCH better than my camera can produce, probably by about a stop.

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Old Apr 12, 2007, 10:41 PM   #12
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It also may be worth looking at the Sigma AF 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 APO as a lens for nearly all cameras, including the Olympus. It performs well until it hits its 400mm maximum when it wide open. It can be stopped down at that point and still perform quite nicely. It runs about $500 so an intro body only and this lens would be about a grand.
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Old Apr 12, 2007, 11:05 PM   #13
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fldspringer wrote:
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I would never consider shooting an airshow at ISO 800, let alone ISO 1600. I wouldn't have with film, and why do so with a DSLR? Airshows are in daylight and are cancelled in really heavy skys. Maybe ISO 400, maybe 200, and if the suns out I'd go ISO 100 because you'll be panning with the subject. The reasoning above seems a bit out of sorts to me.
In overcast conditions with distance haze (like the last airshow I went to) and 300mm with the lens stopped down a bit, a 1/90 second exposure at ISO 400 is pretty typical. At least it is for birding and other nature photography that I've done. I can get away with it having stabilization built in, but I wouldn't want to shoot that slow even with stabilization for planes in flight. With my K100D, I'd most likely shoot at ISO 800 at 1/180 and expect to drastically increase the contrast in post.
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Old Apr 13, 2007, 12:11 AM   #14
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I don't know what to say to that. I went back to a couple of events (not airshows) that I photographed and looked at EXIF data. I'd expect at least two stops faster shutter if I went with f5.6 and both of those days the airshowwould have been canceled. The weather was IFR in pilots terminology.
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Old Apr 13, 2007, 10:20 AM   #15
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I appreciate all the replies. thank you very much. The olympus is something I will look at. I think I will print out a bunch of the reviews and just look them over and such. Again, the lens thing though is definitley going to 'make or break' my shots. Interesting to hear everything everyone had to say. I was surprised a bit too by the comments on higher ISO's, I've really only went up to ISO 200 for my shots, being that yes, most of the time it's outside and sunny, although I learned with a recent trip to a bombing range what not changing the ISO can do. Ruined a lot of shots for me. Also, it will be nice to have the ISO useable at a higher range, for museums and such if I decide to use it that way, which I'm sure I would eventually. I am using a Panasonic DMC-FZ50 right now, and it's great, except the noise issue. I'll still probably keep it for a backup and something I can take anywhere with me, that's what is nice about that.

I'd still be interested in what people have to say. I figure that even if I start this airshow season at 300mm zoom, I can learn and just have some fun and get used to using the new camera. Then I can upgrade my glass, or simply add a teleconverter or something.

The Cannon 400D (rebel xti) has been getting some nice comments about it on another site, and it is in my price range. You guys are the first I've really seen or heard that gave the Pentax a nod, so I will look at that. Haven't heard too much about the Sony Alpha, i've seen some nice deals with their 300mm zoom lens. And then there are also the Nikons as well.

I was interested to read also about the sigma 300mm. thanks, this is something i will need to investigate a bit more. i know it's a well-used lens it seems, but i would need it at the far end, and so i need to know that type of info.

thanks!
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Old Apr 13, 2007, 10:50 AM   #16
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Waltz41,

Glad we could help. As someone who shots a LOT of action, let me re-iterate some things I think are going to be important to your success:

1. The sigma 70-300 is a great bargain lens for <$200. But there is a noticable improvement in focus speed and image quality (in the 200mm-300mm) range going from that lens to either the Canon 70-300 or the Nikon. You really will see a big improvement. I would only advise going the Sigma route if you intend to replace the lens in the future. Because you'll be doing a lot of shooting at full zoom and using continuous focus to track the planes the loss of sharpness and lack of motor drive on this lens will be a factor WHEN COMPARED TO THE OEM lenses or A sigma lens with HSM (their lens motor drive).

2. I will reiterate the number of focus points and continuous focus motor can have a great impact on your success. So, fldspringer's happiness with his Oly asside (and I don't mean this in a bad way that choice works well for him) - the 3 focus points of the Oly camera puts it at a disadvantage for this type of photography. And focus is key to success. For that same reason I would also discount the D40 (see folks, it's not an anti-oly thing it's a matter of both these cameras - one nikon and one oly not having a critical feature the other cameras do - more focus points).

3. Hard to say whether you will use ISO 800 very often for airshows. The Canon, Pentax and Nikon cameras I mentioned all perform very well at high ISOs. Sony and Oly start falling behind above ISO 400. So, if you think you will be doing high ISO shooting (either at airshows or in museum) then maybe the list becomes Canon, Nikon and Pentax.

The key here is that you want a camera and system whose feature set most complimentns YOUR needs. Not the camera that one of us has that meets our needs (especially iftheneeds of the person making the suggestion are different than yours)we're trying to suggest you buy. For the record I don't own any of the cameras I'm recommending to you. But based on my experience shooting action and (since it has come up) shooting low light - and based on reading reviews and seeing photographs from the above cameras I believe they are the best matched for your needs. And based on that I would say Pentax, Nikon & Canon will meet all your needs with Sony in 2nd place (because of poor high ISO performance) and Oly in 3rd (because of lesser focusing system compared to others andpoor high ISO performance).

Good luck in your decision! In the end, any DSLR will be better than what you are using now, but for your needs I think certain cameras will be better than others.


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Old Apr 13, 2007, 1:24 PM   #17
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fldspringer wrote:
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I'm going to disagree with John on this one. Olympus has a big edge with the big telephoto reach you are needing. Because the somewhat smaller sensor, telephoto lenses reach farther than with the other DSLR manufacturers. You will have less weight to carry and hold. Big advantage!
The trouble with that so called "extra reach" from a smaller sensoris that it is not much different than cropping an image from a photo with a larger sensor. Going with a smaller sensor is never an advantage unless you like noise.
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Old Apr 13, 2007, 7:37 PM   #18
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Meatwhistle wrote:
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The trouble with that so called "extra reach" from a smaller sensoris that it is not much different than cropping an image from a photo with a larger sensor. Going with a smaller sensor is never an advantage unless you like noise.
That's pretty much the most ridiculous thing I've read in a long time. I imagine you own the a Hassy or something, everything else would be trash by that measure. Let me know how your going to move a 39mp Hassy with a long reach around an airshow.

Then there's the Canon 5D. I don't currently know of anything else using a sensor size comparable to the old 35mm film.

Then there is the rest of the pack using 1.5 or 1.6x sensors. Check out the size of these in comparison to the 5D's sensor... Big difference!

Then there is Leica. You'd never go with that, right? and Panasonic and Olympus. All use the 4:3 system. Compare the sensor size compared to the rest. Do you need a magnifying glass?

http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/oly-e/...nsor-sizes.gif


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Old Apr 13, 2007, 8:12 PM   #19
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I think we are losing track of the start of this thread and people taking comments too personally.... it's only a camera and we need to give the best (non-bias) advice possible. Who cares what someone uses as long as they get the results they need and not just buying the same camera as us just to makeus feel happy about the purchase decision made by us.

I've been a Konica Minolta (now Sony) user and then moved to Canon as this system suites my work (sport/action photography) better than the KM/Sony system.

I would agree with JohnG and say take a serious look at Panasonic, Nikon and Canon but also have a look at the lenses that will be available as you grow your system to ensure you have the right options. Check out what is available from the camera manufacturers and also the 3rd party suppliers such as Sigma, Tamron and Tokina.... this one of the top reasons for my move as KM/Sony just didn't have the lens range I was looking for. Main thing, don't go for the cheap options
(approx $200) Sigma/Tamron 70-300mm or even Canon 75-300mm as they won't give the quality at the long end that you need. Look at the next level up otherwise you will be disappointed. The glass is going to have a huge differenceto your results so don't skimp on that.

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Old Apr 14, 2007, 12:06 AM   #20
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I bumped into this:

http://www.digitaldarrell.com/Tips-D...phAirshows.asp

Sorry, but no lens recommendations. Some other good info.

The FAA restricts how close the crowd is to the flight performance. The closest distance is 500 ft for piston driven planes with exceptions of takeoff and landing and straight line flight (fly by) . Jets are required to be either 1000' or 1500' away depending on the speed of the aircraft. Aircraft can overfly the crowd as long as they are 1000' off the deck and are not doing aerobatics (I believe that's less than 60 degrees bank and 30 degrees nose up or down).

I'd say the longer the lens the better for the airshow, but something wide will be nice if you can gain access to the flight line for some static photos.

Good luck and have fun.
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