Wide angle lens for airshows


Link Posted 30/09/2008 - 09:49
Morning All,

Just some advice please re the above, in particular taking shots of aircraft in the static park as I'm looking to upgrade for next season after the wonderful summer airshows we've had this year...

I've got the kit lens 18-55 AL11 but am looking for something up to say 100mm. I borrowed the DA 18-250mm but found the range to be too big. I have considered the 17-70mm SDM but have read bad reviews about that otherwise that would be ideal. I also thought about a 28mm + lens but I would imagine that with the crop factor I wouldn't get much of a wide angle?

On another subject I purchased the DA*300mm a couple of weeks ago, used it at Old Warden and took some of my best aircraft photos ever and hope to use it at Duxford on Sunday, it is worth every penny

I did consider posting this on another forum specifically for aircraft but hardly anyone has any Pentax kit.

Looking forward to your advice and replies,



Link Posted 30/09/2008 - 10:02
Pentax has three wider zooms than your kit lens, other than the 17-70mm you mention. 10-17mm Fisheye, 12-24mm, and 16-45mm. The latter is not much wider than your kit lens but produces superior quality images.

The 17-70mm has only SDM focussing with its KAF3 mount (screw AF drive has been omitted from these lenses)so will be manual focus only on the older bodies.

You say you want something wider than your kit lens, up to 100mm. That is longer, not wider. Please clarify.

If you are happy with the DA* 300mm, you'll love the DA* 16-50mm & 50-135mm lenses.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream
Last Edited by Mannesty on 30/09/2008 - 10:02


Link Posted 30/09/2008 - 10:10
To clarify...I'm looking to go up to 100mm but will also give me some scope for wide angle at the other end if that makes sense? My kit lens is okay but looking for more at the other end. These will be used on a K20D. What would a 28mm lens give me on the K20D?

Sorry for any confusuion caused...



Link Posted 30/09/2008 - 10:11
Meant to say confusion in the last line above


Link Posted 30/09/2008 - 10:16
I'd be interested in the bad reviews of the Pentax 17-70 - I have one and am very happy with it.


Link Posted 30/09/2008 - 10:20
What type of photography do use your lens for Gwyn?


Link Posted 30/09/2008 - 10:42
28mm X 1.5 = 42mm = not very wide at all.

As far as I know there is no zoom lens that goes much wider than 18mm and extends to around 100mm.

I think you are going to need two lenses (DA* 16-50 + DA* 50-135) and maybe two bodies to avoid lens changing.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream
Last Edited by Mannesty on 30/09/2008 - 10:45


Link Posted 30/09/2008 - 10:47
Looking at other photographers at airshows some of them do have 2 bodies for that very reason I suppose. Thanks for your help and advice Mannesty.


Peter Bargh

Link Posted 30/09/2008 - 10:56
Coincidentally there's going to be a three page article about air display photography in the next issue - out in a week or so.


Link Posted 30/09/2008 - 10:59
Thanks Pete I'll look forward to reading that.


Link Posted 30/09/2008 - 11:07
RobE17 wrote:
Meant to say confusion in the last line above

You can make spelling corrections using "Edit" at the bottom left of the post.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream
Last Edited by Mannesty on 30/09/2008 - 11:07


Link Posted 30/09/2008 - 11:54
Money no object I would suggest 3 lenses.

1: Either the sigma 10-20 or Pentax 12-24 for static shots. I have used the 10-20 a lot in the hangers at Duxford, more recently to take 5 auto bracketed shots for HDR use due to the high contrast lighting conditions in there

2: DA* 16-50 - possibly my least used lens at airshows, but useful for the flight line walk at Duxford.

3: DA* 50-135 - This is good for detail shots of aircraft in the hangers and formation display shots. The temptation with static shots is to try and fit the entire aircraft in, but the engineer in me enjoys focusing in on the piping and rivets for more abstract shots and the 50-135 is very good for this.

The 300mm prime will be good for most things airborne. I use the Sigma 100-300 and that never needs to come off during a display. If you have the 300mm prime and the 50-135, you have a potentially big gap, but I tend to use my 100-300 at either end most of the time and seldom in the middle.

If you want better coverage a 10-20 and 18-200 or 60-250 could possibly be another solution. EDITED because I realised I invented a lens range, doh!

Hope that helps. I am the author of the aforementioned article, but happy to answer any questions that the article does not cover or Qs about Duxford before then.

http://www.arbitrary.co.uk http://www.ephotozine.com/u25920
Last Edited by javam on 30/09/2008 - 17:49


Link Posted 30/09/2008 - 21:36
I use my Tamron 24-135mm quite a bit.
I find it quite useful and the IQ is not bad at all.

Would like to see some of your shots of aircraft with the DA* 300mm some time, I am undecided which long lens to buy atm.
. My Flickr


Link Posted 30/09/2008 - 23:45
How about this one.

It's a model Christen Eagle II.

The model show was at Alcantarilla Air Force base here in Murcia, Spain, a few weeks ago. Some very impressive model jets flying, but I didn't use the DA* 300mm for them .

To see more images of this event taken with the DA* 300mm lens, visit here. All images shot with K10D + DA*300mm, PP'd in Lightroom 2.1

The jets in formation are real aircraft collectively known as Patrulla Águila (Eagle Patrol), Spain's version of the Red Arrows.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream
Last Edited by Mannesty on 01/10/2008 - 00:23


Link Posted 01/10/2008 - 01:20
Some great shots there. K.
Kris Lockyear
It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head. Henri Cartier-Bresson
Lots of film bodies, a couple of digital ones, too many lenses (mainly older glass) and a Horseman LE 5x4.

My website
Add a Comment
You must be registered or logged-in to comment.