Jawed
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Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2006 10:47 am

Tripod Or Hand-held For Aviation?

Fri Jan 25, 2008 8:31 am

I'm finding that I usually have to hand-hold the camera (with a big lens like Nikkor 80-400mm) at airports, because planes are moving fast, I have to move around quite a bit to aim over the fence, I might have to run from one spot to another when an aircraft takes off, and so on.

I wish I could somehow use a tripod though because last time my forearm muscles got really tired and cramped and got sore the next day from holding that huge lens plus camera!

So how do you do it? Is a monopod really useful? Or is more time in the weight room the answer?

[Edited 2008-01-25 00:31:38]
 
CalgaryBill
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Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 12:27 am

RE: Tripod Or Hand-held For Aviation?

Fri Jan 25, 2008 8:40 am

Monopods are great at the airport, but I find they slow things down too much at an airshow or when you get runway-side access for takeoff/landing shots. In the latter situations, I just can't swing a monopod around fast enough to keep up with the action. But I'm in terrible shape and can still hand-hold the Nikkor 200-400 for both the morning and afternoon rounds at Axalp - if I can do it, anybody can do it (without going to the gym!).

A step up from monopods are the Wimberley heads, but again, I find them too cumbersome for fast-moving targets. They're fantastic at the typical airport viewing area though, or for wildlife photography.

B
 
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scbriml
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RE: Tripod Or Hand-held For Aviation?

Fri Jan 25, 2008 8:54 am



Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
I wish I could somehow use a tripod though because last time my forearm muscles got really tired and cramped and got sore the next day from holding that huge lens plus camera!

Do you mean this lens?


That's a very manageable 1.3kg

Try waving this bad-boy round at a show with fast jets!


A muscle-building 3.2kg

Maybe you need to shoot more often, or go to the gym?  wink 
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cpd
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RE: Tripod Or Hand-held For Aviation?

Fri Jan 25, 2008 9:02 am

That's not a very heavy lens.  Smile

I don't know how you could use a tripod - I attempted it once and found it far too un-practical. Both my normal lenses (A Bigma and a older Nikkor F/4.0 300mm prime) are not much different to each other in weight.

I'd suggest more time in the weight room. But that's probably a good thing anyway.  Smile Two benefits for the price of one.  Smile
 
sulman
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RE: Tripod Or Hand-held For Aviation?

Fri Jan 25, 2008 9:11 am

I tried a 300 2.8 last year, and stood for most of the time with it cradled in my arms when I was waiting. This was less work than putting it on the floor and picking it up again... Smile That was with my plastic fantastic 300D. I expect a magnesium-bodied camera with a battery grip would be even worse.

I wouldn't bother with a tripod though. Look at most of the photographers at airshows, the only equipment the best ones bring are stepladders. Make sure you buy one of these and erect it right at the front, because your lens (which will be bigger than everyone elses) needs all the help it can get.


James
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viv
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RE: Tripod Or Hand-held For Aviation?

Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:31 am



Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
I wish I could somehow use a tripod though because last time my forearm muscles got really tired and cramped and got sore the next day from holding that huge lens plus camera!

I shoot hand-held with that lens (on a D200) all the time. It never provokes muscle soreness (but I work out at the gym twice a week).

As lenses go, it is not particularly heavy.

A tripod is not very useful for aircraft shooting - except for night shots of static aircraft..
Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-400, Fuji X Pro 1, Fujinon 35 f/1.4, Fujinon 18 f/2

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