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Zooms or Primes for Aviation Photography?

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  • Zooms or Primes for Aviation Photography?

    I've had this question on my mind for sometime. It seems like with primes being so sharp and the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 having a minimum focusing distance of about 8 feet, that lens would be an excellent choice compared to say a 75-300mm. Why do so many aviation photographers choose zooms over the quality of primes?
    CheckSix

    Equipment: A camera (who gives a rip about the brand?)

  • #2
    I have answered my own question, simply: Price $$$$.
    CheckSix

    Equipment: A camera (who gives a rip about the brand?)

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    • #3
      versatility is also a factor.
      But the main factor is that highstreet shops are unlikely to have any primes in stock, especially the longer ones.
      Most people buy a camera kit consisting of a body and one or two lenses and for the last 15 years or so those lenses have been zooms.
      Most people never get another lens...

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      • #4
        Versatility is pretty much it for me.

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        • #5
          Most of the time I'm shooting at the full 300mm anyway, so versatility is really subjective. A 300mm 2.8 prime is versatile in the sense that you can slap a 1.4x and 2x converter on it and not have such a big hit on the f-stop. (think Colin Work). And apparently this combo still manages to AF on the new 1Ds mkII!

          -Clovis

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          • #6
            Primes tend to be the sharpest lenses out there, the premium is however you are limitted to such a small focal range.

            I love my 80-400VR, and I need that range. Sure alot of my photos are at the 300mm-400mm, but for my use a prime wouldn't make sense.

            That being said, this summer I hope to rent a Nikon 600mm fixed lens with a 2x converter and have some fun with departures here.

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            • #7
              You better be rock steady holding that 1200mm Mark!

              -Clovis

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              • #8
                I have a Monopod

                mmm.... 600mm lens.....2x converter.....D100.....effective 1800mm

                When I do get around to it, it will be a good day.

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                • #9
                  Better have some damn bright sun for that stuff...2x is hard on the optics!

                  -Clovis

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                  • #10
                    Clovis said -

                    A 300mm 2.8 prime is versatile in the sense that you can slap a 1.4x and 2x converter on it and not have such a big hit on the f-stop. (think Colin Work). And apparently this combo still manages to AF on the new 1Ds mkII!

                    Important point - I use the 300mm f4 not the 2.8!

                    As far as I can see, the f4 is nearly as sharp as the legendary 2.8, but its a lot smaller and lighter, which for handheld photography is a big consideration, esp. with those stacked convertors

                    And yes, even with an effective aperture of f11, the amazing Mkii can still AF (even though its not supposed to).

                    The 300mm f4 LIS has got to be one of the best quality bargains out there at the moment - add the Canon 2x convertor and you've got yourself a very good 600mm at a very reasonable price - and although this combo won't AF on d60/10D/d30/300d, this lens is very easy to use in MF mode.

                    Cheers,

                    Colin
                    ________________________________________
                    A member of AirTeamImages

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                    • #11
                      Ah yes Colin, I remember reading on the A.net forum that you said you had the f/4. Thus it even further proves my point!

                      -Clovis

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