Aerial photography on a budget lens suggestions


SteveLedger

Link Posted 13/07/2011 - 23:14
We have an airshow coming up next month so I'm looking to the skies for photographing moving objects.

The K7 I bought two years ago came with the Pentax-DA 18-250mm ED AL which frankly is cr*p. Slow focussing, soft/blurry around the edges (especially the right side) and unpleasant vignetting at full zoom.

So - I'm looking to get something better if possible without breaking the bank (bear in mind this is a single annual event here).
I was thinking about going to 300mm, but I can't afford to spend heaps.
I've heard the Tamron AF70-300mm f/4-5.6 LD is a nice budget lens, anyone use one of these?

There's no lens hire places here, so that's not an option.
I can only buy and hope it is a good choice.

Suggestions? Experiences? Examples?

johnriley

Link Posted 13/07/2011 - 23:18
Firstly, the Pentax 18-250mm is quite a good lens, certainly capable of sharp images. Sue uses one of these a lot, so look at her EPZ portfolio (sueriley) to see what the lens is capable of. If yours is not sharp, something is amiss.

The SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm would be my recommendation. See the reviews section of this site.

https://www.pentaxuser.com/review/smc-pentax-da-55-300mm-f-4-5-8-ed-lens-review-...
Best regards, John
Last Edited by johnriley on 13/07/2011 - 23:20

snappychappy

Link Posted 13/07/2011 - 23:22
Have used both the Tamron and the Pentax lenses, I prefer the image from the pentax, it seems more contrasty and colours seem richer, however the Tamron lens has a better macro facility although only half life size, i had some great results from it.
My piccies.

SteveLedger

Link Posted 13/07/2011 - 23:34
Thanks John,

I agree - you're review and sample shots do make the Pentax-DA 55-300mm appear to be a very good choice.
You say the Pentax 18-250mm is quite a good lens, why have I not found this to be the case? Faulty?
The Pentax 18-55mm I have is an excellent lens, which is why I chose the 18-250mm option when buying the K-7 (I also have the *istDS).

I have very few examples of my results with the 18-250mm lens because I hardly use it, when I do I normally end up just deleting the shots as they're just rubbish.

johnriley

Link Posted 13/07/2011 - 23:41
A few sample shots might help, but it could well be faulty or damaged if it's not performing well. It should be at least as good as your kit lens.
Best regards, John

SteveLedger

Link Posted 14/07/2011 - 00:19
Here's two I just snapped off out the back. One at each end of the range.
See also the CA on the 4WD

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/250070/Photos/istDS/IMGP1008.JPG
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/250070/Photos/istDS/IMGP1013.JPG

Bear in mind the lens is mounted to the *istDS body at the moment, the K7 has my best lens on it most of the time (Sigma 30mm f1.4 prime)


Anyway, the main point of my topic is hearing what others use in the 300mm range which is suitable for shooting aircraft (and of course birds I suppose.

Cheers
Last Edited by SteveLedger on 14/07/2011 - 00:19

SteveLedger

Link Posted 14/07/2011 - 00:36
One other related question.

What's the significance of the green band over the white band on the PENTAX DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8 F/4-5.8 ED lenses I see offered at various outlets?

Smeggypants

Link Posted 14/07/2011 - 00:45
sledger wrote:
Here's two I just snapped off out the back. One at each end of the range.
See also the CA on the 4WD

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/250070/Photos/istDS/IMGP1008.JPG
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/250070/Photos/istDS/IMGP1013.JPG

Bear in mind the lens is mounted to the *istDS body at the moment, the K7 has my best lens on it most of the time (Sigma 30mm f1.4 prime)


Anyway, the main point of my topic is hearing what others use in the 300mm range which is suitable for shooting aircraft (and of course birds I suppose.

Cheers

I can see what you mean. Not great is it?

The CA is easily removed in PP, but I'd be disappointed with the IQ of that lens
[i]Bodies: 1x K-5IIs, 2x K-5, Sony TX-5, Nokia 808
Lenses: Pentax DA 10-17mm ED(IF) Fish Eye, Pentax DA 14mm f/2.8, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8, Pentax-A 28mm f/2.8, Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.2, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.4, Pentax-FA 50mm f/1.4, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7, Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8, Sigma 135-400mm APO DG, and more ..
Flash: AF-540FGZ, Vivitar 283

johnwhit

Link Posted 14/07/2011 - 07:46
The first shot 35mm @ f/5.6, I'd suggest stopping down beyond f/8 to see if that helps. The second shot was at 250mm, probably the worst part of the range.

John
PPG link

In LBA hiatus.
Last Edited by johnwhit on 14/07/2011 - 07:55

johnriley

Link Posted 14/07/2011 - 07:49
250mm is quite some telephoto, so needs a tripod, especially with the limited maximum aperture.
Best regards, John

bretti_kivi

Link Posted 14/07/2011 - 08:06
the 55-300 is the "cheap" option, along with the Tamron 70-300. The Pentax is widely considered to be the better of those two.

Outside of those, you start getting into Sigmas with nice price tags.

Bret
my pics: link
my kit: K3, K5, K-01, DA 18-55, D-FA50 macro, Siggy 30/1.4, 100-300/f4, 70-200/2.8, Samsung 12-24/f4, Tamron 17-50, and lots of other bits.

SteveLedger

Link Posted 14/07/2011 - 09:11
johnriley wrote:
250mm is quite some telephoto, so needs a tripod, especially with the limited maximum aperture.

Not sure, but I don't think a tripod is going to be viable at an airshow where I'll need to do fast and random panning, so I guess the answer is to stop down a little more as suggested by other John, or throw the cam into sports scene mode and just fire off a few burst shots as I did for this image (it was a sudden and unexpected opportunity outside the house!)

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/250070/Photos/istDS/_IGP0948.JPG

Yeh, I'm aware I have dust on the sensor.

I suppose I'm wanting a bit more reach than the 250mm and a better lens to compensate for lack of practice/skill
All the same, I still think this 250mm is not very good, as Smeggy notes too.

johnriley

Link Posted 14/07/2011 - 09:15
The alternative approach is to up the ISO setrting. ISO1600 on the K-5 is a very usable setting, not sure about the K-7.
Best regards, John

SteveLedger

Link Posted 14/07/2011 - 09:19
Not my first choice, the K7 is well known for it's noise.

Pentaxophile

Link Posted 14/07/2011 - 09:44
I would have a go at ISO1600 if it was that or not taking the shot. I imagine aircraft would clean up very easily in LR / Topaz denoise, especially if the light is good.
[link=https://500px.com/will_brealey/[/link]
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