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Old Oct 5, 2010, 8:35 PM   #21
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I think the answer to this is yes, from what I can figure out, but is 18X adequate for shots of aircraft in flight? Not meaning jet liners way out there in the clouds, more like air-show stuff and slightly higher. There are at least 15-20 fighter jets over my house every day, a few helicopters once in a while and every so often a big one. And once a year there is a huge international air exercise hosted here. I'm hoping to practise on the 'home team' to be good enough to get shots during next year's exercise.
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Old Oct 5, 2010, 8:38 PM   #22
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Aircraft in flight 18x can be to short. I have what would be equal to 24x in a dslr lens, and at times it is to short. And the smaller fighters if you are not close enough will be to short at 18x. Also the AF system of the megazooms will not be able to keep up if you are trying to track them.
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Old Oct 5, 2010, 8:47 PM   #23
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(this is me shaking my head)

I'm just eventually going to end up with a camera collection, too, aren't I? LOL.....
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Old Oct 5, 2010, 8:49 PM   #24
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You will need at least 24x zoom. The closer shots were at 24x eq, and I was closer then most air show, I was about 100-150 feet away. The FZ will get helicopters, but not the f/A18's. The move way to quick for the megazoom's AF systme.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/tr...port-shot.html
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Old Oct 5, 2010, 11:15 PM   #25
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That is a nice set of photos, S/T-

I spent 20 years as an Air Intelligence Officer and Photo Interpreter in the Navy and 32 years as Commercial Pilot/Captain for a major U.S. airline, with the two careers running concurrently for about a 12 year stretch. I retired as a Boeing 747 Captain.

The 24X optical zoom (25mm to 600mm) found on the Panasonic FZ-40 should fill the bill nicely for you, Kaaryn. Surely it would be nice to have that in a DSLR where the imager is so much larger, but the cost and the weight would be prohibitive and camera handling would be much more difficult.

The FZ-35, with 18X optical zoom, would be a bit short but still quite workable for aircraft overhead. You can also pan with a moving aircraft to enhance the focus lock ability, as well.

So I think it is very fair to say that either the FZ-35, or the FZ-40 as the best case scenario would be a great starting point. Currently, I shoot both super zoom and DSLR cameras.

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Old Oct 5, 2010, 11:25 PM   #26
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If you shoot airplane, you will need something that you can track the airplane with. I have tried to shoot it with my epl-1 with the contrast base AF system. And it not the ideal AF system for airplanes. And I was shooting large commercial aircraft up close. With Fighter Aircraft, they are way quicker and the smaller size will make them more difficult on a camera.

So yeah, if you want to shoot action. You will want a dslr, not a megazoom.

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Originally Posted by kaaryn View Post
(this is me shaking my head)

I'm just eventually going to end up with a camera collection, too, aren't I? LOL.....
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Old Oct 6, 2010, 12:10 AM   #27
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If you want to check out photography of aircraft, check out the transportation forum. There is allot of airplane stuff there.

This is why I say a 18x and even a 24x zoom my be to short. This is at a safer distance. And the planes are quicker and smaller. Making it harder for a slower AF system. Also with the slower refresh rate of the evf on the fz's you will only see the first shot, and the evf will go black. So panning will be next to impossible. You will not be able to keep the camera on your subject.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/tr...-race-nyc.html
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Last edited by shoturtle; Oct 6, 2010 at 12:57 AM.
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Old Oct 6, 2010, 9:56 AM   #28
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The number that is the most relevant is not the zoom number (18X or 24x or ...) but the maximum telephoto zoom equivalent (486mm or 600mm or 710mm or ...). Some of the cameras are zooming from 26mm, some from 28mm and some from 31 mm or even 35mm.
My 520mm Casio can take small pictures of airliners well over 10,000 high. My DSLR, a Pentax K-x with a zoom lens of 55-300 (equaling 450mm) focuses faster but doesn't zoom as far. I have a 1.4X teleconverter, but picture quality degrades significantly. I think either the Pentax FZ35 or FZ100 can focus fast enough to catch an F18 in a blue sky unless it's really low.
If you want to get a decent 400mm zoom lens for a DSLR, you will pay more than the cost of any of the superzooms you were considering.
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Old Oct 6, 2010, 10:14 AM   #29
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Well I think the decision is.... I'll order the FZ35 because it's on limited availability and it's on sale right now (under $400 shipped). There is a 14-day exchange policy, so I can get it here, try it out and see. If it's not cutting it, then I'll exchange it for the FZ40.

I'm in the odd position of being right on an air base - the jets don't exactly do "low" passes over the house, but they're close enough that the kids hit the ground covering their ears if we're outside. They're rarely using afterburners over the residential areas, but sometimes they do and that is just incredibly loud. I can go out to a staging area by the runway for takeoff and landing shots of the jets and choppers, and for the big ones I can go to hubby's work and be just inside the fence.

But I have to go and look today, apparently for security reasons there are limitations on what kind of lenses we're allowed to use. Hubby tells me there is a sign out there with the rules and regs - so I'm going to see what it says and take some notes. He says he knows for sure that the professional-grade zoom cameras are banned - could well be that with their crazy zoom lenses, something like the HS10 or SX30IS wouldn't be allowed out there, either.
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Old Oct 6, 2010, 11:07 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robbo View Post
The number that is the most relevant is not the zoom number (18X or 24x or ...) but the maximum telephoto zoom equivalent (486mm or 600mm or 710mm or ...). ...
This is very true. My Sony H1 is 12x with a reach of 432mm while the ZS7 (also 12x) has a reach of 300mm because it starts at 25mm rather than 36mm.
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