Which combo would perform best at an Air Show?

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Harry Tan
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Looking for advice.
The Singapore Air Show 2024 is coming up in a few weeks and it has been a very long time since I photographed at an air show. Back then I used a EF100-400 mk2 with 5D3.

Now that I have a mirrorless EOS R7 as well as the new Alpha 7Cii - of my lenses here, which combo is the best for the air displays?
1. EF100-400mm mk 2 (adapted on R7)
2. RF200-800mm (on my old R6 or R7? - would this lens bee too long on an APS-C?)
3. FE200-600mm (on A7Cii)

Thanks In advance!
 
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I just realised that the R7 suffers from bad rolling shutter so it will probably stay home and be replaced with my old R6 - if it fits my needs. I am still wondering if the Canon or Sony set up is best. Rolling shutter is now a major concern!
 
So much depends on how close the performers are. Looking over the couple air-shows I attended the last couple years, I seem to be in the 180 to 400 range most of the time with few much beyond 400, but then those are smaller airshows with the flight line being maybe 100 ~200 yards away from the spectators, so really close. Also, most are prop WWII and aerobatic aircraft so they fly low and slow. I would think 800 would be too long but since the 200-600 and 200-800 both have a minimum of 200, it doesn't really matter. Take which you think gives the best quality.
 
I am also wondering if folks shoot Airshows with or without tripods with gimbals or handhold. These camera set ups arent what would be described as light and waiting for the planes to arrive between shows isnt something one can hold up for a long time. Also air shows can last up to 10 minutes long. I am sure it will be a real right tough to hold the gear up for so long just handheld. Thoughts?
 
I am also wondering if folks shoot Airshows with or without tripods with gimbals or handhold. These camera set ups arent what would be described as light and waiting for the planes to arrive between shows isnt something one can hold up for a long time. Also air shows can last up to 10 minutes long. I am sure it will be a real right tough to hold the gear up for so long just handheld. Thoughts?
I've never had luck with a tripod or monopod. Too hard to track the airplane.
 
So much depends on how close the performers are. Looking over the couple air-shows I attended the last couple years, I seem to be in the 180 to 400 range most of the time with few much beyond 400, but then those are smaller airshows with the flight line being maybe 100 ~200 yards away from the spectators, so really close. Also, most are prop WWII and aerobatic aircraft so they fly low and slow. I would think 800 would be too long but since the 200-600 and 200-800 both have a minimum of 200, it doesn't really matter. Take which you think gives the best quality.
Thanks! All good points. The air show will be featuring displays by national air teams from various parts of the world.

Indian Air Force Sarang Aerobatic TeamHAL DhruvTeam Aerobatics
Indonesian Air Force Jupiter Aerobatic TeamKT-1BTeam Aerobatics
Royal Australian Air Force’s RoulettesPC-21Team Aerobatics
Republic of Korea Air Force’s Black EaglesT50Team Aerobatics
Republic of Singapore Air ForceF-15SG & AH-64DTeam Aerobatics
AirbusA350-1000Solo Aerobatics
Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, LtdC919Solo Aerobatics
United States Air ForceB-52 StratofortressSolo Aerobatics

I suspect that as they are flying in teams they will be at a further distance. Also, if flying in formation I would need shorter focal lengths?
 
following.... (I don't have any of the gear listed but would love to see a Singapore Airshow!)
I have zero experience with digital video or filming an airshow. I may give it a try but unlikely it will be a quality video as I have zero experience or knowledge how to post process them.
 
If you have an airport nearby, you might want to see if they have a viewing area (most do) and head out and practice a bit. I do this at our local airport. They are all commercial planes, but it does let you try a few things out to see what works instead of waiting for the day of the air show and then try to figure it out.
IMG_2901 by photog711, on Flickr
 
I just realised that the R7 suffers from bad rolling shutter so it will probably stay home and be replaced with my old R6 - if it fits my needs. I am still wondering if the Canon or Sony set up is best. Rolling shutter is now a major concern!
Rolling shutter might be a problem with helicopters, some prop planes, and panning a plane with buildings behind it. Jets in the sky will image fine.
I am also wondering if folks shoot Airshows with or without tripods with gimbals or handhold. These camera set ups arent what would be described as light and waiting for the planes to arrive between shows isnt something one can hold up for a long time. Also air shows can last up to 10 minutes long. I am sure it will be a real right tough to hold the gear up for so long just handheld. Thoughts?
I shoot hand-held. It's difficult track planes while using a tripod. Bring a hat, sunscreen, and water (if they let you bring a water bottle). I use a 50-500 zoom and a 18-50 for static displays on a 7D2.

Here are links to my airshow images as that shows what a 50-500 lens does:

Thanks for posting this! It looks like I can see the show on 25 February, unless work gets in the way!
 
I shoot some aviation and air shows. I don’t do video, only stills. In the year I had the R7, for air shows I left it home in favor of the R6 with an adapted 100-400II with and without a 1.4X III. As pointed out the rolling shutter of the R7 in electronic shutter is not good for propeller aircraft. You could shoot in mechanical, but some AF stumbles with the R7 made me more confident with the R6 In mechanical shutter. I also loathe the sound of the R7 mechanical shutter, but that’s me. I’m always shooting handheld at airshows.
 
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A question about the rolling shutter concern. I guess I assumed that you were going to take stills and not video. Is this a wrong assumption? If stills, your shutter speed should be fairly slow for prop planes so you can get that prop blur and for jets, it doesn't matter as much.
 
I've always shot airshows handheld with a Canon crop body (20D, 40D, 7DMII) with a 100-400 mm lens. This year I have a R6MII (full frame) and may throw a 1.4 III TC in the mix. We are typically fairly close to the flight line maybe 100-200 yards. I can't recall ever seeing anybody use a tripod or monopod. I suspected they were a restricted item but I can't find it on the list.
 
I'm not sure but it sure looked way more stable. Much easier to follow the target.
 
Given that I regularly need to crop by 1.5× at airshows shooting the Sigma 150-600 on APS-C, with the crop giving a 900mm FoV I would be taking the 200-800 if I had the chance. This is even at "small shows" that are generally small pre 1939 aircraft and close in.
 
A question about the rolling shutter concern. I guess I assumed that you were going to take stills and not video. Is this a wrong assumption? If stills, your shutter speed should be fairly slow for prop planes so you can get that prop blur and for jets, it doesn't matter as much.
Good points. There will be a mix of prop and jet planes. Plan to shoot at 1/500 sec for prop planes And 1/2000 sec for jets. I don’t plan to shoot videos.
 
Good points. There will be a mix of prop and jet planes. Plan to shoot at 1/500 sec for prop planes And 1/2000 sec for jets. I don’t plan to shoot videos.
I would be worried that 1/500 for props is to fast and you will end up with frozen props. I’m usually around 1/125, and not over 1/250.
 
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