Need help with new camera

Discussion in 'Warbird Displays' started by ontos, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. ontos

    ontos Well-Known Member

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    Hey guys, my wife just got me a new DSLR, I was just wondering if anyone could help me with what size of telephoto lens would be good for those great aerial shots you guys take, and should I get any filters. I'm new at this DSLR stuff. I'm use to the point and shoots. A 18-55mm and 75-300mm came with it. Also 3 filters, UV Protector, 812 Warming Filter and a Circular Polarizer made by "Tiffen". I have a feeling the Tele lens will be too expensive, just need some pointers. Thanks
     
  2. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Wow ontos, congrats....sounds like you really scored there!

    I use two different lenses at the airport, my 70-300 Sigma telephoto (for airborn shots), and my Pentax 18-55 lense (for static displays). Eric would be able to give you far better pointers as far as filters and settings, which depend on the environmentals, etc...but I normally leave my camera's shutter/aperature set on "Program Automatic" for basic shooting and manually focus. I'll change the settings if conditions dictate, of course.

    Congrats again on your new camera!
     
  3. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Yeah, Eric would be the main guy for this. If I remember right he shoots with both an 18-200mm IS (Nikon) and a 50-500mm (Sigma). I use a Canon 55-250 IS which does the job well without being too expensive.

    I personally though would recommend something with a max of between 200 and 300mm. Image stabilisation is something to think about although it won't add much to the photos if you already have a steady hand but it does add to the cost. A lot it will depend what brand of camera you have as to what range of lenses you can get and which one would be best for you. So a little more information would be welcome.
     
  4. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    For starters, you have a good kit there. My first setup was a Nikon D50 with a 28-80mm and a 70-300mm. The 75-300 that you have will be good for stuff in the air. Depending on whether or not zoom lens has any image stabilizers, you can really get some good shots with a good amount of prop blur.

    The general photography rule of thumb is to not go slower than 1/focal length. So if you are shooting at 300mm, the rule would be no slower than 1/300. The problem with that is obviously keeping track when using a zoom. So when I am shooting with my 50-500, I will typically shoot around 1/400, but may adjust for certain shots.

    Keep in mind that is a general rule and when shooting digital, get outside your comfort box and try stuff you'd never do with film. The shots cost you nothing. Take a 300mm shot at 1/100, or 1/50. Practice panning technique by taking photos of cars moving.

    Do 'kamikaze camera' (my favorite thing to do when bored at the airport, yes it does happen sometimes). Kamikaze camera is setting your camera on a basic setting like 1/250 with a standard lens, not a big zoom. Hold the camera out in front of you, or over your head, or at a weird angle and blindly take the photo. Most of the shots will be crap, but who cares? It's digital. Plus for every 30-40 crap shots play KC, you get something cool or interesting. This will help you break the 'film cost fear' of photography that makes you want to only take safe shots.

    The 75-300mm will be a good start for your aerial shots. If you find yourself wanting more reach, you can start to look at 400, 500, 600mm lenses, but they start to go up in price quickly. The good news is that kit lenses will give you good shots, because like dogfighting, it ultimately comes down to the shooter as to how the shot is. You can perfect your technique with the 75-300mm and get some great shots while sparing your back and arms the burn of holding a 5-7 pound lens up in the air and following Rob Harrison, or Doug Jardine through an entire aerobatic routine.

    I took, and used, the 50-500mm to Chino. A majority of the shots that I took ended up being around 300mm. It depends on the show, and your position on the showline as to how much reach you need. It also depends on what other photography you do as to your lens needs.

    For filters, UV filters are nice for protecting your lenses from damage, and I know many photographers swear by them for that reason alone. You are going to have to experiment with them to get a feel for when they are useful. I personally never use them since I have switched to digital. I do all of my filtering in Photoshop. Filters can help enhance a photo, but also keep in mind that filters also give you one more shiny surface for light to get through, or bounce around and reflect.

    I got a bad UV filter for my 50-500 that caused my images to be very soft. I bought them together and I almost returned the whole kit because I thought I had a bad lens. Then I thought to remove the filter first and take some test shots. It was a night and day difference. I'm not saying that all filters are bad by any means. I used them a lot with film. I just have a much different method of processing today.

    Questions? Feel free to ask. Try different settings, play around and shoot with wild abandon. The ones that don't turn out you can always delete. One last thing on that. Never delete any shots during review on the camera. I have had shots that look so-so on the camera screen that looked REAL good on the big screen at home. Conversely, I have had shots that looked great on the little screen that were not so good on the big screen. The key is to look at all of them, good and bad. Looking at good ones lets you see what you did well and your composition. Looking at the bad ones are good to learn what you did wrong.
     
  5. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Active Member

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    Sounds like you got an excellent camera. Congrats! Now if money is no object, you should really consider not so much focal lenght(200 or 300mm) but aperture. Look for something in the f2.8 range.
     
  6. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    My advice, listen to these guys ontos. They have helped me immensely. It looks like you've got an excellent start. Just take your time and don't be afraid to play with settings and most important, HAVE FUN!!!!:)
     
  7. ontos

    ontos Well-Known Member

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    #7 ontos, Jun 13, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2009
    Thanks for all the great advise, I've got allot of reading to do on this Camera. I hope to make it to the Air Museum in Palm Springs, Tuesday and try it out. I didn't get to go the last time, too much work to do at the homestead. As far as lenses go, being a new born in this field, I would like the simple and cheap for now :lol: The lenses that came with it say "Image Stabilizer" except the 75-300mm. I would like to get a macro lens, for those personal pictures with flowers and bugs 8)

    By the way, Gnomey, I like your new sig. looks great. I'm thinking of changing mine but can't come up with any ideas. I'll have dream one up. Again thanks all. The camera is a Canon EOS Rebel Xsi.
     
  8. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Thanks, I might just touch it up a bit (clean up the silhouettes) but otherwise I am pleased with the result.

    If you are looking for a cheap IS lens for Canon the two main options are the one you are looking at (the 75-300mm) which is a little more expensive but gives the extra 50mm of reach or the 55-250mm IS (which I have) which is slightly cheaper and also avoids the gap between 55 and 75mm that is present if you buy the 75-300mm.

    As for a macro lens there are two main options for Canon. The 100mm or the 50mm, so it depends how much zoom you wish (how close you want to get). Both are fixed focal lengths. The 100mm is more expensive but both are good lenses. The best thing is to read reviews of anything you wish to buy before buying it to get an idea of the quality of it.
     
  9. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    It depends on what you are photographing. For bright sunny airshow days, which is most of the time in Southern California, F2.8 is nice, but not necessary.

    I don't have anything below F3.3 in my bag and I haven't missed anything yet. That being said, I would like to do some portrait work, and for that I am looking at the 50mm F1.4. But that is a much different type of photography than my normal work.
     
  10. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Active Member

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    I'll second what most have said here, but to add....

    If you are looking for a "bug" lens, the 100 macro is vastly superior than the 50 in the Canon line. The 50 is fine for inanimate stuff, but you have to get too close to fill the frame with a bee-the critter won't sit still.

    Evanglider-If you are looking to do portrait work, you might want to check out Canon's 85 f2.8. It is not terribly expensive and will not give you the distortion of human features that the 50 will. Additionally, it is tack-sharp! This is a very popular choice for working pros.
     
  11. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Thanks Diddy, but I am a Nikon shooter. I have read some rave reviews of the 50mm f1.4 Nikon lens. I may rent a few to try before I purchase though to compare.
     
  12. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Active Member

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