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Sep 17, 2004
Moorpark, CA


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Cheers guys. To make it even more interesting, syscom, that Martlett painted bird is an FM-2! I know, I'm not crazy about the paint job either. If it were a little more authentic FAA colors, it would be good.
Beautiful Eric I agree on the Martlett paint job. l hope I get some results from Duxford FL that are even slightly on a par with yours. Some how I very much doubt it though and as usual weather/lighting will be the biggest factor (aside from my picture making). I just sent off for that Bigma 50-500 APO DG, it should arrive in the next few days so Ill need to do lots of homework in the next few weeks to get as up to speed as is possible in the short time left. talk about a steep learning curve I don't make things any easier for myself do I, still I had to save some wonger to cover the plastic bill .
You did put a steep learning curve on yourself for the Bigma, but you should do okay. I actually received mine a day or so before the May 5 event at the museum. The biggest thing to get used to is the weight. With the camera, the whole kit weighs in at about 5 pounds. It's not bad for the first few hours, but after a full day of shooting, you will feel it.

One thing you will notice with the new lens is that the zoom ring will feel pretty tight. It was a real chore to turn for the first outing on mine. It does, and will, loosen up with use. So your first outing may result in a sore wrist from turning the zoom ring. It gets better pretty quick though.

I leave the grip/tripod mount on the lens and use it for a secondary strap. I have moved it into several positions and so far have liked it best on the right side of the camera. That way, it's pretty much out of the way, but it acts as a nice carry handle when walking around. Believe me, it will bang your around if you are walking quickly! I did like it one the top, but if you ever use the flash, the grip will block the flash.

One last thing on the sigma, be real careful using the flash. The sun glare shield will get in the way and give you an interesting shadow, even when it is inverted, so take it off if you use the flash. Also, too much zoom will also give you the shadow. That's one that has bit me.

Shoot away and have a blast with it. It will feel heavy for a bit, but you'll get used to it. The balance is pretty good, so if you get a bit of a shake, take your left elbow and rest it against your body for stability, or kneel down in a comfortable position and put your elbow on your knee. Anyting that helps hold the lens steady until you get used to the weight.

Here is an example of flash with zoom, and a couple of me with the Bigma.


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Thanks for the hints Eric I tried cranking one in a local camera shop and as you say the zoom ring was tight as hell but all the write ups I have looked at agree with you that it will ease after it has been run in also nearly all the feed back reiterates your findings on the image quality against value for money etc. As for weight I'm hoping that my experiences with my old RB67 will help there as a standard set up it used to go around 5lbs but I used to use it with the 180mm lens which was 2 lbs so it was a fair old lump to swing about.
as I have said many thanks for the help, having look at just about everything on the market the Bigma still seems to be a good choice at the price and the 50mm bottom end saves all that lens changing. Cant weight to start clicking away.
I certainly have no regrets getting that lens. I know a few aviation photographers that use it and no one has any complaints. One more piece of advise on the lens. I wear a collared shirt when I go shooting with it so that I can turn the collar up, put the straps in the collar, and then turn it back down. I keeps the straps from cutting into your neck. If you are only shooting for an hour or so, it's not bad, but with an all day shoot, it's much more comfortable to have the collar act as a buffer.

Enjoy it! I know I do.
Ill remember that about the strap, now Ive got some decent kit I wont have any excuses for turning out rubbish I still get lots of pleasure from others work and looking at your images has given me something to aim for so thanks for the help and sharing your knowledge and beautiful pictures with us Eric.
Thanks Tim.

Lee, you may want to keep the shutter speed relatively fast until you get used to the lens. I have been working on 1/250 on flying shots and my good percentage has gone down a bit at full zoom, but the ones that do come out look great. I used to shoot 1/400 for flying props which still gives some prop blur while maintaining aircraft focus. 1/250 will give you more blur, of the prop and in many cases, the rest of the shot. Grrr.

I have managed to get a full prop disc on a few taxiing planes now with some practice, but flying with a full prop disc hasn't happened yet. Here is a taxiing full arc shot.


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