Sponsor Message:
Aviation Photography Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations  
User currently offlineSulman From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 2035 posts, RR: 32
Posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 3369 times:

Hello,

After a really enjoyable weekend at SOU (thanks Justin for the Saturday!) I'm toying with spending a little more on some kit. I've got a cheap Sigma 100-300 DL at present, and I'm quite pleased with it, but I learnt three very clear things after a session at the airport:

1) It's alot easier when they're not moving.

1) Pretend the lens stops at 200mm.

2) If I can't go to at least F8, don't bother.

I got some okay results -

http://macdemish.com/sulman/SOU_0079_edit.JPG

But I had to take an enormous amount - probably 1 in 8 were halfway near sharp - and I'd prefer to go for a little more quality over quantity. I've seen lots of shots on the - a few from Justin himself - with similar lenses (also Tamron equipment too) and they've been pretty fantastic. Anybody recommend a Canon AF lens for under £300 that's pretty good?

Cheers,

James

[Edited 2004-05-17 14:31:36]


It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDazultra From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2003, 689 posts, RR: 42
Reply 1, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 3335 times:

Hi James,

I think any 'consumer' lens shouldnt really be expected to perform amazingly well, but given the right conditions you should be able to get some good results.
I use the Canon 75-300mm IS USM (priced around £300ish) and this is a good lens between 70-200 and f8-11, but remember post processing can make all the difference between a good shot becoming a great shot, or an average shot. Turn the in-camera sharpening all the way down and this will allow for more scope when u come to edit the picture later on ur pc.

Daz.



User currently offlineCkw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 730 posts, RR: 16
Reply 2, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 3322 times:

Firstly, I'm becoming a little concerned about the number of people shooting at SOU. I thought it was understood that SOU was my airport.  Smile

As Daz says, you might find something a little better for the money you want to spend, but since you are being honest and realistic about the limitations of your current lens, I suspect you'll soon come to a similar conclusion about any other consumer lens.

So, you could spend £300 now, and be looking for a replacement in a few months time, or try and find a bit more money and go for the Canon L 70-200 f4 which optically is about as good as you can get. You should be able to find one on eBay for around £400. With this lens there are no issues whatsoever, any focal length, any aperture. If you want a bit more range, you could consider adding a 1.4x convertor, and it will still outperform any consumer 70-300

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlineSulman From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 2035 posts, RR: 32
Reply 3, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 3314 times:

Yes Colin, your AF CRJ at 1/60 was discussed with rather more than a little envy  Smile

You're quite right..I will probably hold out longer and invest in something really decent when I can afford it. You know how you get that "must have now" feeling once in a while!



It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
User currently offlineCkw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 730 posts, RR: 16
Reply 4, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 3309 times:

You know how you get that "must have now" feeling once in a while!

ME?! Never! All my purchases are carefully researched and deliberated over a period of many months  Smile

But seriously, there is a world of difference in shooting with a lens which you don't have to make any allowances for. There is a certain irony in that the better the equipment, the closer you get to true point 'n' shoot. By that I mean when you can totally trust your gear, you can spend more time thinking about the picture and less about the camera and lens.

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlineDazultra From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2003, 689 posts, RR: 42
Reply 5, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 3299 times:

ME?! Never! All my purchases are carefully researched and deliberated over a period of many months

Hehe thats not what i heard when u bought your 1D MK2  Wink/being sarcastic

Daz.  Big thumbs up


User currently offlineTin67 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 268 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 3294 times:

Hi James,

I think the lens in front of the camera is really important as ultimately the better quality optics will improve your results. I agree with Colin's advice above on the 70-200 f4 L. I recently sold mine as I upgraded to the f2.8 version, but for the money it's a great value lens and the L series optics are excellent. You can combine this with the 1.4x extender and with mine I never noticed any deterioration of quality.

I used to own a Canon 70-300 USM III and I thought this was very poor and soon sold it on. You get what you pay for at the end of the day, so if you can edge to the L lens I would highly recommend it.

Martin


User currently offlineAndrewmorrell From United States of America, joined Jul 2002, 73 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 3281 times:

When I bought my Canon 300D body, I was hoping that my two consumer-grade Tamron lenses would start flexing their muscles and reward me with some very nice photos.

I have been fairly disappointed - as a developing amateur hobbyist photographer - with the out-of-focus performance at the higher focal lengths. Furthermore, my inability to keep steady with objects in motion does NOT help!

However, I have discovered that the best friend of my Tamron is a liberal dose of PS USM! Here are some examples of what my 150 dollar lens can do with motionless close-up:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Andrew Morrell
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Andrew Morrell



View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Andrew Morrell



Andrew



Go Blue!!!
User currently offlineTin67 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 268 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3267 times:

Andrew

Have you tried using a monopod?

I am pretty hopeless at handholding especially with larger lenses, as the more I try to hold it steady the more I shake. I use a Manfrotto monopod with a 2 way head. I do find that this helps.

Nice shots above

Martin


User currently offlineAndrewmorrell From United States of America, joined Jul 2002, 73 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3268 times:

Martin...

No I haven't tried a monopod... I DO have a tripod, but haven't made use of it lately.

The thing that I REALLY need is a set or immovable, iron arms attached to my body...

Andrew



Go Blue!!!
User currently offlineSkymonster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3259 times:

I think that there's a lot of non-sense spoken on this forum about consumer lenses. Non of the major lens producers (camera manufacturers or independents) have produced any total duffers recently, and most newish stuff is going to be capable of producing results worthy of airliners.net (albeit maybe not worthy of super sharp A3+ sized prints). It seems increasingly that the solution is to throw money at a problem, rather than look at the real root cause.

I doubt whether a consumer lens from Canon in the sub-£300 range is going to do anything for you much more than your current Sigma will do. Further, if only 1 in 8 pictures are worth anything, I suspect that something other than the lens is going wrong. I don't know whether its your panning, your settings, whatever, but you should be getting more than 12% even if you've got a milk bottle stuck on the front of the camera unless you're doing something way outside of the norm (like trying to shoot in way dark conditions, and judging by your sample it was a sunny so that doesn't apply).

All of us who've been in this game for some time produced far more rubbish when we started than we do now. My recommendation - go out and practice more with what you've already got. Sure it'll be painful for a while, but it'll come. And I really doubt that your lens is as big an impediment as you think.

ANdy


User currently offlineSulman From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 2035 posts, RR: 32
Reply 11, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 3249 times:

Andy,

I think your comments are reasonable. I started out really struggling on the Saturday (it was warm but really quite hazy, and I shouldn't really have expected much) but the Sunday saw a vast improvement. Most of which came from me not getting so excited when something roared down the runway.

I've looked at some of the output again, and they're not actually that bad, with a bit of work. It is possible to wind one's self up into an overcritical state, and 24hrs later I feel a bit more positive about my results. I'm going to be out a few more times with this lens, so we'll see.

Cheers


james



It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
User currently offlineJkw777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 3235 times:

Firstly, I'm becoming a little concerned about the number of people shooting at SOU. I thought it was understood that SOU was my airport.

Hell no Colin  Laugh out loud

Is there room for your Previa on the car park or mound?!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

SOU is also my Airport  Big grin But you shoot it best I feel!

James mate, no problem for the lilttle tour. Shall have to go again!

Justin  Big thumbs up


User currently offlineJeffM From United States of America, joined May 2005, 3266 posts, RR: 52
Reply 13, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 3225 times:

While it most likely is not your lens that is causing your problems, you can always rent a good lens and remove all doubt as to the cause.

User currently offlineSulman From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 2035 posts, RR: 32
Reply 14, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 3182 times:

Justin,

We'll definitely have to go again, and I'll do my best to make LHR this weekend. I never imagined it would be such a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. I'm going weak at the knees at the mere prospect of uploading 200 BA A319's Big grin. Thanks for all your help with the settings and processing tips.

It's an interesting learning process, and it's quite the challenge when you first try it. It's such a shame being locked up at work when it's so bright out - makes the mind drift!

Cheers

James



It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
User currently offlineSkymonster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 3175 times:

James,

Heat haze (especially) is the enemy of us all - the images may look terrible, and they are, but no amount of money will sort it out and those of who have 400mm lenses are even worse off. You won't notice much difference with expensive lenses with general air haze either, but that's often fixable by messing with curves, levels and contrast. Really, the expensive lenses will deliver you some biting sharpness that the consumer lenses can't (but that's not really needed for web exhibition - consumer lenses should mostly be fine), faster focusing in some cases, the ability to use the maximum aperture more readily, and maybe less vignetting (darkening round the corners at long lengths). But if your problems are down to not being able to hold the camera steady, or heat haze, or such, no lens of any value is really going to be able to help you - OK, someone will now mention image stabilisation in terms of holding the camera steady, but for the most part what I'm saying is I think fair.

Andy


User currently offlineCkw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 730 posts, RR: 16
Reply 16, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3159 times:

Andy - I think as general observations your comments are entirely fair, but what I picked up on in James' initial posting was that he was frustrated by specific aspects of his lens ie. performance above 200mm and below f8.

I've always felt that as soon as you are concious of the limitations of a bit of equipment, its time to move on as these issues will start looming ever bigger in your mind and frustration will increase. Because of this, I now have a rule of photography which goes

"never play with, test or try a new piece of equipment unless you are prepared to buy it"  Smile

I remember reading a review in a hi-fi mag for a pair of speakers retailing for something silly like $100K. The reviewers final remark was along the lines of how great the speakers were, but he wished he'd never heard them because his listening pleasure with anything he could afford was gone for good.

Cheers,

Colin




Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlineSulman From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 2035 posts, RR: 32
Reply 17, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3147 times:

I can understand Andy's viewpoint. The number one complaint of screeners I've read (aside from A319s over Myrtle avenue) is people either blaming or relying on their equipment. If I'm guilty of anything it's underestimating the demands of aviation photography. I was perfectly happy with my lenses when it came to strolling around the new forest and on holiday, but the detail, movement, rigid geometry, and colour in aircraft are a different game.

Here's an illustration. One of my colleagues at work is a professional photographer. He's got a pretty interesting portfolio, working for several specialist magazines, mainly doing portrait and model work. His principal gear is a 10D and Various 'L' lenses. I broached the subject of post-processing with him. He looked me straight in the eye and told me he did not do any at all. Curiously, aviation and sport photography don't do anything for him at all.

Made me realise what a varied field this is.

[Edited 2004-05-18 15:22:40]


It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
User currently offlineStaffan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3137 times:

I think you'll find that even though your colleague doesn't do any post processing himself, there is someone else doing it before it gets printed.

Staffan


User currently offlineSulman From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 2035 posts, RR: 32
Reply 19, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3137 times:

Staffan,

You're probably right. I just thought it was an interesting example of the variation of skills found in a similar field.


James



It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
User currently offlineSkymonster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3138 times:

Colin,

I too accept your points in return. However, I'm keen to put forward a view, especially in this case, that changing from one consumer lens to another that costs £300 instead of £150 is unlikely to yield a major step-change in results - you know as well as I do (because we've both been there by our own admission) that throwing out one average-grade piece of kit and replacing it with another usually doesn't cut it - its only when we've got our technique really sorted out, and when we can justify thumping down the cash for top-end gear, that we can really make a big difference.

I believe that there are many things a photographer can do to address percieved deficiencies in results, one of which is reviewing technique and looking for work-arounds. I also believe that replacing kit should not necessarily be the first thought when trying to address problems. I make no appologies for the fact that I now carry around L-series glass, but there are three main reasons for that - 1. its more robust and will last longer, 2. I can afford it and I've learned its better to spend a lot infrequently than to spend a little frequently, and 3. the 100-400L in particular gives me length and stabilisation that I can't get through one consumer lens. Having said that, given the quality of results I personally want, if image quality was the only criteria in choosing a lens I suspect I'd still be using a cheap-and-chearful consumer grade 75-300 because I know that it will deliver what I need and I used the lens in the past for long enough to know how to work around most problems it exhibits.

Andy


User currently offlineCkw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 730 posts, RR: 16
Reply 21, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3118 times:

Exactly my initial point - sidestepping between consumer lenses is a waste of money - God knows I've done enough of that in my time, hence my recommending the 70-200f4 L.

Based on many years of photography, and a disconcerting tendency to drool in camera shop windows, I would suggest to anyone who is committed to photography, and can afford it (or can't afford it but like me believes that we'll all be wiped out by a comet before the Visa bill arrives) to get the best equipment they can.

A very common remark from those who do is "wish I'd done this ages ago", and I would bet anyone who has invested in top end gear looks back at old pictures and thinks "if only I'd had XXX then".

I will accept that I am advocating reckless and irresponsible behavior coupled with a serious risk of grief from your significant others. But you only live once. Possibly A.net should institute health warnings for certain posters - "Beware - reading this message may be harmful to your wallet"  Smile

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlineEGBB From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3108 times:

More like-

'Beware - Colin has a new camera and he lets you play with it'

Do I break the bank and buy a MkII or just go for that 70-200 F2 glass for this year  Confused

Derek



User currently offline2912n From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 2013 posts, RR: 8
Reply 23, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3086 times:

Just in that vein...my local camera shop loaned me a Canon 550EX flash unit for the week to see how I liked it. No strings attached...just use it and return it. Yeah, right. There goes another 300+ into the camera gear pit. (For those of you who have not used anything but the on camera flash or a cheaper external unit...watch out. I have only begun to play with this thing and it has blown me away with it's abiltiy and versatility. The true test comes tonight when I shoot my wife's school kids doing a play...{yes, the term shoot wife can be used interchangably.})

Now I wonder why I spent that money on cheaper flash units....sigh.


Top Of Page
Forum Index

This topic is archived and can not be replied to any more.

Printer friendly format

Similar topics:More similar topics...
18+ Mm Zoom Lens Recommendation posted Mon Mar 6 2006 16:48:42 by Ariis
Help With A Zoom Lens posted Tue Feb 8 2005 00:59:54 by Mu2
Best Canon Zoom Lens posted Tue Jan 4 2005 23:06:59 by Janne
Is On Zoom Lens posted Wed Nov 17 2004 21:54:11 by Draigonair
Fixed Focal Length VS Variable Zoom Lens? posted Mon Jan 19 2004 04:27:04 by Jasonwinn
No Zoom Lens, No Digital, But Look At This Photo! posted Mon Aug 18 2003 22:49:33 by RayPettit
Sliding Zoom Lens posted Tue Aug 5 2003 19:36:44 by BigPhilNYC
Cheap Zoom Lens posted Mon Jan 20 2003 21:39:44 by Delta777-XXX
What Zoom Lens Needed At Clt? posted Mon Apr 22 2002 19:44:44 by 727LOVER
Any Photos Accepted With A Compact Zoom Lens-cam? posted Tue Jul 24 2001 22:56:23 by Connector4you