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Jimbobtheflimbob

Budget Airshow Lense (Inc Duxford Airshow Photos)

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So i just got a Nikon D3300 and would like to do some (very) amateur airshow photography with it. I dont really have much money to spend and accept this is hardly enough to get a decent Lense but i was wondering if either of these lenses would work:

  • Nikon 55-200mm VR - I know 200mm isn't widely considered enough, but with a crop sensor would it be enough for airshows at Duxford and Headcorn where the planes are fairly close?
  • Sigma 70-300mm APO - I have heard the image quality is decent but the autofocus is a bit rubbish. has anyone had any success with this lense?

I have looked at the Nikkor 55-300VR but i can't afford it really, as my max is about £130. If i really can't get ANYTHING good for that i may be able to stretch it a bit.

Will

Edited by Jimbobtheflimbob

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I've used Sigma lenses for years, including a decade as a football photographer. I used to work for a large professional wholesaler and got th e chance to handle and use lenses right up to special order Canon and Nikon telephotos and zooms up to the massive 300-1200mm (which needed two professional size tripods to support!) I've never felt the need to change from Sigma. My advice? Go for the 75-300!

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Never used Sigma, although I hear good reports. 75-300 is more in line with your needs. Can you override the autofocus? It can be a pain at times hunting for the object. At full focal distance you won't really need autofocus anyway.

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Hi,

I've used both the Nikon & Canon versions of the Sigma 70-300 lens over the years and don't get me wrong they are cracking lenses.

The only problem I found with the 70-300 was on a very dark day at southport (2010) I found it difficult to focus a few times.

I'll see if I can dig out any photo's with that lens and my old D40.

Hope this helps.

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Buy used. Those big lenses are often bought by people like yourself, who want to experiment, then find that it's all too much effort and end up with kit that never gets used. Those are speciality lenses that seldom get used to anywhere near their useful lifespan by the average amateur. Take your time, look around, and you'll be able to buy a top lens for 1/2 to 2/3 of full retail.

Facebook is a good source of used gear - I'm a member of 4 used gear groups dedicated to Australia only, and I'm sure that there's similar wherever you are (I'm assuming UK). Where possible, go and see the lens in person before handing over your hard earned. There's also eBay, which generally has higher prices but is possibly safer. And also places like London Camera Exchange - not the cheapest option, but very safe.

IMO, it's always better to wait until you can afford good gear than it is to jump in at the cheap end. It makes the whole experience less frustrating, you get better results sooner and if you decide that it's not for you, the retained value on higher end stuff is greater, which means that you lose less when you sell it on. Lenses especially are equipment that you keep for a long time. Once you get a good one, it hangs around. My 70-200/2.8 was bought new in 2005 and has been behind 4 different models of camera. It still rocks on my D3s but is a bit lacking on my new D810 - still, 11 years of high quality means that it's cost me effectively 50c a day since I bought it, with the attendant joys of having good gear for all this time. And it's still worth about half of what I paid for it. One other benefit is that you feel more free to actually take the thing out and use it, because there's less chance of you being prissy about it getting wet, dirty or dropped than if you'd paid full price for it.

Be patient, wait and save, then buy good gear, used. You get more bang for your buck and have more fun using it. Putting my money where my mouth is, I'm going for a long drive next week to hopefully buy a used lens for 2/3 the new price, because I'm not rich, and I like good gear. (You have to be careful though - top end stuff is seductive and will take over your gear cabinet when you're not looking. It's hard to do without it once you've used it.)

Feel free to PM me if you want.

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http://www.ffordes.com/product/16082216451481

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/70-300-vr.htm

the best 70-300 for under a grand anywhere.

For a long time these were like rocking horse you know what on the second hand market , but now they are reasonably priced and available.

also vastly superior to any of the sigma efforts.

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Personally I'd go for the Sigma. Nothing wrong with the brand and it gives you more at the top end of the focal length which is where you're going to need it realistically. I've got a canon 100-400 (decided to treat myself a while ago) and to be honest at shows I stick it all the way out and never really come back to it's mid range...

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Hi Will
I have both the 55-300mm DX and the 70-300mm vr2 FX and they are light years apart on focus speed the 70-300mm is a lot faster and IQ the 70-300mm is better the 55-300mm is ok.

The 55-200mm is to small for air shows.
You have to watch out also as you have a D3300 and that will only suit AF-S lens the body dose not have a motor in it as its a starter model body it will only be able to use the older lens in manual mode.
I would go for the 70-300mm VR2 one that's the one with the VR in red there is a early one that's in gold do not go for this one I think this is not af-s.
I know it cost a lot more but you will use this lens for a lot longer than you have the D3300 it will go on your next up grade body and it will last for many years.
Try this place

https://www.mpb.com/en-uk

I get a lot of stuff from them.

The Thing is Photography is not cheap, I would save up and get the better lens.

And as already been said go for the best glass you can it will save a lot in the long run.

Best of luck Paul

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Hi Jim Bob,

Nikon 55-200mm VR - I know 200mm isn't widely considered enough, but with a crop sensor would it be enough for airshows at Duxford and Headcorn where the planes are fairly close?

I don't have the same degree of experience as others who have replied here and I'd love to go for a bigger lens, but I have one of these fitted to a Nikon D5500 and it's okay. It does depend on what you wish to do with your photos, but I have had some of mine published. Take a look at these using that lens and decide for yourself; is this quality enough, or are you expecting more?

Anson%2014_zpsrkmnfxqy.jpg

C-17%205_zpssa3dxrpn.jpg

DSC_5492_zpsphzosoza.jpg

DSC_6346_zps7blravue.jpg

DSC_7971_zpsw8m0aheu.jpg

Admittedly some of these have been cropped; the benefit of a very good light sensor on the camera, but the 200 mm lens is fine for amateur stuff and I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results. It is a little plasticky compared to more expensive kit, but you get what you pay for.

Edited by nuuumannn

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those look great... definitely made my decision a lot harder.

PaulT, i think that they make a 55-300 VR with a AF motor in it which is what i meant. i would love a 70-300 but i doubt i will be able to afford one. i think ill have to go on the lookout for a good deal.

Will

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you are now close to the end of the airshow season - save some extra dosh over the winter.

buy once, and if you cannot afford what you need - wait.

With the new CAA rules on airshows, the display line is farther away than ever before and the 200 will not cut it.

you will throw the 200 money away and eventually have to buy the 300 at a massive loss.

I have done this before and regretted it.

buy once and buy smart.

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With the new CAA rules on airshows, the display line is farther away than ever before and the 200 will not cut it.

Oh yes, that's right; I forget that at airshows in the Southern hemisphere the aircraft still fly near the airfield, rather than in a different county. 200 mm might not be the best, but with a good light sensor on your camera - and the Nikon D3300 isn't as good as the D5500, it's still able to produce good results, if you know how to use the kit. This sequence was taken on a gloomy day akin to UK airshow weather; they are cropped, so you can produce okay results.

Anson%20display%20i_zpsha3bjyrc.jpg

Anson%20display%20iii_zpsmq1to8fv.jpg

Anson%20display%20iiiii_zpsal4cscpx.jpg

Anson%20display%20iiiiii_zpsm8h1kyog.jpg

Anson%20display%20iiiiiii_zpsvzjgn8cq.jp

you will throw the 200 money away and eventually have to buy the 300 at a massive loss. I have done this before and regretted it.

Why? it's not like taking perfect ground to airs is the be all and end all of airshows. Again, it depends on what you want from the camera and lens. Waiting and saving for better kit might be the right decision for your ground to air shots, but I also find my 200 mm very useful when wanting to capture detail on stationary objects, so even if it doesn't work out entirely favourable for ground to airs, all is not lost; the value of your equipment is in how its used.

Edited by nuuumannn

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Have you considered hiring a lens...?

Could be a viable option if you're on a tight budget...

All the best.

Chris.

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Hi Will

The MPB web site has a used 70-300mm VR2 for £229+ pp that's only £100 more for a much better lens. as has been said the Air shows are mainly over now I would save up and get it in time for next year.

Ref AF-S what I mean is the older Nikon lens that are cheaper do not have AF- S and are only AF which will not work on your body.

I got the 55-300mm as it was cheaper and it was a brand new lens i.e. just released when I got my 1st DSLR back in 2011 a D90 which I still have.

In 2012 I got my 1st D300s and this showed up the slower speed of the 55-300mm, I got a 70-300mm and not looked back.

My main kit now is D300s 2 off one with 24-120mm f4 on and the other one with the 70-300mm on this is what I use the most at the MX tracks.

The 24-120mm f4 is my fav lens I use this 90% of the time, and I tend to go for the 70-300mm if I need a longer range I do have a 120-400mm Sigma but I like the 70-300mm better.

I do have other lens for other times, and still going to get more on the look out for a 70-200mm f4 and 17-55mm f2.8 DX both s/h that's still going to cost me about £1,200 and a 50mm f1.8 G which I missed the other day on the MPB site I just took to long to make my mined up to get it and to late it had gone that was a good price @ £129.00 need to be quicker next time one comes up.

Take a look at my FLICKR pages and you will see what the lens can do there are both lens on these pages

https://www.flickr.com/photos/132351349@N08/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/131463519@N07/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/paul876/

Best of luck

Paul



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Would the Tamron 70-300 VC USD be worth getting?

A nice lens, and great value for money second hand. Personally, I wouldn't use anything less than 400mm for an airshow now, I was using 500mm at RIAT and unless it's passing the runway, it was a pin gentleman's parts in the view finder. I can post some edited photos to show you if you want.

I use MPB for my second hand stuff, I can't fault them one bit if you are considering it. I recently bought a lens half the price of the RRP and it's in immaculate condition, you would think it's new. Highly recommended.

I'm not a Nikon person but buy the best you can afford, even if it means waiting a little bit longer. You may regret it in the long run. The Nikon 80-400, even though it's over your budget is a good lens.

£479

https://www.mpb.com/en-uk/used-equipment/used-photo-and-video/used-lenses/used-nikon-fit-lenses/nikon-af-80-400mm-f-4-5-5-6d-if-ed-vr/sku-619057/

£419 for a Sigma 150-500, photos below that I've taken with a Sigma 150-500, I quite liked it.. It wasn't mine but I can borrow it when I want and it's been great every time.

https://www.mpb.com/en-uk/used-equipment/used-photo-and-video/used-lenses/used-nikon-fit-lenses/sigma-150-500mm-f-5-6-3-apo-dg-os-hsm-nikon-fit/sku-625993/

Could do with re-editing, but it's sharp.

19264737099_df06a6f4fb_o.jpg

Tail clipped as this was 500mm and it filled the frame.

18283662034_9fa03d7a08_o.jpg

500mm

14199566678_f5c1f8a043_o.jpg

500mm and a slowish shutter, the OS worked well.

14199036480_61f3699c1f_o.jpg

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Hi
This 80-400mm is only AF and will be only manual focus on the D3300 this one is the 1st 80-400mm there is a newer 80-400mm that's AF-S and will work on the D3300 but that's about £800 to £1000 that are on the MPB site ( I look at it most days in the week).
See link http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/compatibility-lens.htm#dslr , this explains it very well.

The other thing is the 80-400mm is quite well known as a very slow focus lens even the new one with a pro-body, and the D3300 with just 11 focus points and only one the centre one of that's crossed that's not going to make it any quicker.

That lens is also just over 1.5 kg and on the 3300 I think it would be a big hand full.

See you at a show soon Radleigh.

Best of luck

Paul

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See, I know nothing about Nikon. My brother has a 80-400 but it must be the new one as it's nice and quick.

AF's really well in the dark too (brothers pic)

27600138486_0c726ecfdc_h.jpg

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Hi

The new 80-400mm is a lot lot better than the old one, I was going to get one I like the range it has but the cost was way to much for me at the time I got the SIGMA 120-400mm new at just over £700 the Nikon one was near £2000 at the time.

I note the new ones have come down in price s/h now and looks tempting. Mined the new 200-500 dose also.

The photo was that one of the Northolt night shoots, must try to get to one some time.

Paul

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There is no world where i would ever be able to afford either the 80-400 or the sigma 120-400. Even if i could afford them i dont want to spend that much on a lense. I am not looking to get professional photos. i just want a lense that will actually be good enough to see the planes and not just a black dot, with reasonable clarity and a AF motor that is reasonably good. Although most of these posts have been very helpful, i feel that some people didn't read the original post and are just recommend the best lense.

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Hi Will

You can get a Nikon 55-300mm DX for the £130.00 ish S/H that you have that's about the cost they are, the lens is ok and will do the job you wish it to.

If you can wait and save up a few more £ then a Nikon 70-300mm VR2 will be able to be got.

Out of the 2 I would go for the 70-300 each time, the 55-300 is a good fall back lens.

I have both of the lens, and used them both quite a lot. I do not know how much skill you have with a DSLR it took me a while to learn Digital from the 35mm days that I had been doing since about 1970 up till about 2004 when I got a pocket digital 1st DSLR in 2011 when I could afford to get one.

Here are some tricks do not shoot if they do not fill at lest 3/4 of the viewfinder and as yours shows you 95% you will always get more around the sides than you think when you see them on the screen, as you have 24meg to play with you can crop a bit.

The other thing is just good panning and correct use of the settings. You should use SP and set shutter speeds to match ie about 320 or below for props and 800 or faster for jests

we all have our own settings that we like and get used to so others will tell you different settings you just need to try as many as you can and pick the ones you get the best shoots that you like.

I would not use the pre set settings that you have as the can hinder you getting the best from the camera and lens, I would keep to P - just for snaps its way better than auto, SP - AP & M are the others to use.

I would set the WB to auto and the ISO to auto with the range set to a max of say 1200 ish and the min at 100 or 200 depends on what your min ISO is when you learn how things work you can change these settings to ones that you like.

All this takes time I would learn one thing and get good at that then move on to the next thing try not to do to much at a time, the good thing is that you are not wasting any thing like in the film days and you can see what you have taken straight away I always look at the ones that have gone wrong and see if I can learn from them.

If you need any help just ask there are a load of us that can help.

Paul

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Thanks. Ill have to print that off and put it in my camera bag so i dont forget!

Any more opinions on the Tamron 70-300 VC USD for airshow use? it is a bit cheaper than the 70-300 vr2 but has very good reviews.

Will

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