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4 hours ago, Vifam7 said:

My camera from 2007 started acting funny last year as well. Purchased a brand new one earlier this year once I learned that the RAF Red Arrows were making a North American tour. 

Well, I think mine is an '06----guess no matter how well you take care of them, digicams just won't go past a dozen years.  (and it's kinda pointless IMHO paying $$$$ for most brand-new ones---nearly every one for sale now in the bridge/superzoom category, are 2014/2015 models still being produced---thus why I bought "slightly used" for 1/2 the price on ebay)

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So what type of camera would you guys recommend for someone relatively new to photography?

EDIT: More specifically what camera would help with cutting down on lighting and lense flares so my photos don't end up looking like a JJ Abrams film?

Edited by renegadeleader1

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3 hours ago, renegadeleader1 said:

So what type of camera would you guys recommend for someone relatively new to photography?

EDIT: More specifically what camera would help with cutting down on lighting and lense flares so my photos don't end up looking like a JJ Abrams film?

I will second this, my phone camera sucks and I would like a nice DSLR.

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I was out for a walk on the British South-West coast today and as it happened it was the Bournemouth airshow, which I didn't know was happening until we got there. We were on the other side of the harbour to where the airshow was happening so didn't see much other than some smoke trails and hearing some jet noise but apparently they had some cool stuff there, like a Draken. 

However, as we were making our way back, by pure chance we happened to be right under the "holding area" for a RAF Typhoon that was attending the show, and which was burning circles in the sky waiting for its slot. It even rolled at one point! That was pretty cool to see, actually the very first time I've seen one "in the wild" rather than as an airshow display (which technically this one was, but... :)). Attached is my photo, which was taken at extreme zoom from some distance away and has been cropped a fair bit, so nowhere near the quality of the images earlier in this thread!

P1020009 (2).JPG

Edited by F-ZeroOne

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I'm not "new", but I honestly have never even risen to the rank of "amatuer photographer"---that would require knowledge/skills I don't have.  If I have a lot of time, and a still subject, I can fiddle with the basic camera settings with a faint idea of what I'm doing, but more often than not it's just "guess and check" vs "actually knowing what f-stop and exposure time to use"  

If you want actual DSRL advice, I can't really help.  If you want "better than a phone, but doesn't cost a grand"----that's my area. Most of these fall under the "bridge" or "super-zoom" category---and those categories often overlap.   IMHO, I think battery capacity/type is under-rated in importance.  So many cameras will die SO fast at an airshow.  Optical image stabilization?  Uses the battery.  Focusing while zoomed?  Uses battery.  Hot sun?  Drains battery faster.  With many "proprietary" batteries only rated for a couple hundred shots under ideal conditions, you can measure their life in MINUTES at an airshow, when you're using constant zoom/focus/stabilizing under a blazing sun.  Thus, I always look for a camera that uses basic AA batteries, vs having to buy a whole bunch of $$$$ proprietary spares to be able to actually have a "full day of shooting".    Load the best rechargeables in the camera, keep the second-best rechargeables in the bag, and can buy a set of Duracells or raid the TV remote(s) in an emergency. 

I did once find a camera that actually did have an airshow mode---but had enough things I didn't like about it, I passed.  Pretty sure it was at Best Buy a couple years ago, so can't be very 'exotic' or long out of production.  Very few cameras have airshow (or equivalent) modes---which is basically telling the camera "yes, I do in fact want to take a shot of that small, dark, blurry thing, not the big obvious bright thing".   

Let's see----optical zoom is everything, digital zoom is worthless and even to be avoided (many cameras allow you to completely disable it).  *Optical* image stabilization is way better than any other method.  (but drains battery fast, but utterly needed for planes, or anything else that is far, or fast-moving---and jets to be both)  

The further you zoom, the harder it is to track/keep steady, even with stabilization.  So "buy more zoom than you need, all you can afford"---because a camera that maxes at 25x zoom, will be struggling to still have a "decent" image at it's max capability of 25x.  But a camera that maxes at 50x, designed to maintain a decent image up to 50x---will thus "have it easy" at 25x, and give a good result at 25x.  

Megapixels ARE over-rated.  Very.   "Sensor size" is really what matters.  Think of it this way (and this is pretty close to how it works)----20 megapixels on a 2-inch sensor, or 20 megapixels crammed onto a 1-inch sensor.  Which will be clearer, with no compression artifacts, banding, chromatic abberation, or just plain bad pixels?   You really want "the fewest megapixels per inch".   The REALLY high-end cameras, are not some "50-megapixel pixel-beast" of a camera.  They often have LOWER megapixel counts than "lesser cameras".  What they do have, is larger sensors.  So that their pixels "aren't crowded", and thus they give amazing quality and clarity for the megapixels they DO have.  High megapixel counts-----It's kind of like taking old footage, and uploading it to Youtube as 4K.  Well, it's not really 4k footage/quality, no matter what Youtube says the resolution of the video is.  The raw quality as recorded simply isn't there, now matter how high a resolution you're making it.  "720p, recorded at 720p" is going to be way better than "old 8mm, uploaded at 4k".  So, an 8-megapixel picture, taken by a camera with a full 1-inch-plus sensor, is going to look WAY better than a "20-megapixel camera" that has like a 1/2inch sensor.  

Sensor-size, is of course, rarely listed in a way that is easy to compare.  "Everyday" cameras, will say something like "1/2.3"    That has zero to do with the physical size of the sensor.  But they do "go in order".  1, 1/1.2, 2/3, 1/2.3, etc.  (no, can't have logical stuff like 5/8in or 3/4in or even 4/7in, it's 1/1.2in and 1/2.3in, so you've gotta do some mental math when comparing)   And just to mess with people, they have both 4/3 and 1.5 when going past 1. 

Anyways, bigger sensor=way better.  But you'll literally need a chart to compare most sizes---best to use one of the many "camera comparison sites" to just have it tell you which sensor is bigger.  

 

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Airshow photography is easily one of the most difficult forms of photography out there.  In fact, it really needs its own thread, more than likely. 

But my 2 cents since this thread deals with aircraft and pictures are great and you're more likely to snap them at an airshow...  DSLR is where it's at.  Both for the reasons David has mentioned above (battery life, sensor size, zoomability) and some other ones he's not mentioned.  I only shoot the moving stuff with my DSLR so these are all based on personal experience.  I'm also not a pro and probably wouldn't even consider myself an ametuer these days.  I am an active member of a photography club though and find it's hugely helpful.

In any case, today's DSLRs are plentiful, even the entry level "cheapies" are easy to find.  They still aren't nearly as cheap as the bridge or superzooms already discussed but they're also not far off and may be more affordable if quality if you factor in the cost of getting good shots and having battery life.  Still, there's no doubt you'll pay for it.

Pros:

  • bigger sensor (usually)
  • huge choice of interchangeable lenses
  • Less lens distortion unless you're getting a 30-300mm or something huge
  • Way better battery life due to the lack of powered zooms and the need for an always on screen.  This varies though and the small "consumer" versions always seem to have smaller batteries and worse shots per charge than their bigger "prosumer" brethren.
  • Much more accurate focus systems (usually).  The gap is likely closing here.
  • Higher frame per second shooting in "burst mode" unless you grab a camera with this specific feature as a core design.  I'm sure they're out there.
  • More comfortable to hold. This is a personal preference of course but they tend to fit the hand better and are easier to use all day for something like an air show.
  • I'm sure there are others I'm leaving out but these are the ones that spring to mind

Cons:

  • high up-front cost
  • they take up a lot more space
  • tend to be heavier
  • they can take you on a journey of discovery and learning that might take over your every spare moment!

David, if you want to move this to a new thread, feel free.  I'm passionate about photography and airshow is easily top of the list for me.  I'd love to have a dedicated thread for it, if that's something people would benefit from.  Furthermore, I'm sure there's some amazing stuff in the smaller cameras that I'm completely ignorant of.  A thread might open that up a bit to others who are less likely to lug around a DSLR.

Edited by mickyg

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I think it would be good to continue this topic in the photography thread for further reference.

One thing I's like to add regarding camera quality is the importance of the dynamic range capability of the sensor. Especially on aircraft photography you'll want to avoid having the plane on a bleached out background or have beautiful clouds, but the aircraft is a black blob.

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16 hours ago, electric indigo said:

I think it would be good to continue this topic in the photography thread for further reference.

One thing I's like to add regarding camera quality is the importance of the dynamic range capability of the sensor. Especially on aircraft photography you'll want to avoid having the plane on a bleached out background or have beautiful clouds, but the aircraft is a black blob.

"But my phone has an HDR spot to tap, all ya need!"  :p

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This topic has been beaten to death. Necro'd and beaten to death again but here we go.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/29653/this-is-what-grummans-proposed-f-14-super-tomcat-21-would-have-actually-looked-like

Quote
  • F110-GE-429 turbofan engines. This 29K pound thrust class engine, a modification of the same variant found in later block F-16s and now some Strike Eagle derivatives, albeit with a longer exhaust pipe tailored to the Tomcat, would give the ST21 supercruise performance (>Mach 1 without the use of gas-guzzling afterburner) while carrying a relevant air-to-air loadout. Some state M1.2-1.4 supercruise would have been possible.
  • Enlarged and recontoured leading-edge gloves with an additional 2,200lbs of fuel storage each.
  • Underfuselage-mounted Ford Aerospace (now Lockheed Martin) Night Owl targeting pod/FLIR and navigation pod. 
  • Single-piece windscreen for enhanced visibility.
  • Wide-angle raster-scan HUD capable of projecting FLIR imagery.
  • Glass cockpit. New mission computers and graphics processors. 
  • On-Board Oxygen Generations System (OBOGS)
  • AN/APG-71 radar with additional upgrades ported over from the AN/APG-70 used on the F-15E. Expanded range and capabilities over the original AN/APG-71 in F-14D, which itself was an outgrowth of the AWG-9. 
  • Digital Flight Control System (DFCS).
  • Wet wing pylons capable of carrying 300-gallon external tanks.
  • Ability to carry 425-gallon external tanks on nacelle hardpoints if it was developed. Existing tank size 280 gallons.
  • Larger multi-segmented fowler-flaps.
  • Enlarged and extended slats on wing leading-edge.
  • Bring-back to ship capacity increased from 9k lbs to 16k lbs. 
  • Reduced approach speed and better slow-speed control.
  • Integration of latest standoff weaponry, as well as AIM-120 AMRAAM.
  • Upgraded AN/ALE-47 countermeasures dispenser. Integration of the BOL countermeasures dispensers into the outboard pylons as a mission configuration option. 

Obvious typo on the engine as it's obviously the F110-GE-129.

Edited by Shadow

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14 hours ago, Shadow said:

This topic has been beaten to death. Necro'd and beaten to death again but here we go.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/29653/this-is-what-grummans-proposed-f-14-super-tomcat-21-would-have-actually-looked-like

Obvious typo on the engine as it's obviously the F110-GE-129.

It's like the Navy blew off a Victoria's Scret runway model to bring a short, fat, dim-witted, greasy-faced date to the prom!  I'd be slightly less bitter if there was at least a decent 1/48 or 1/32 kit of that plane.

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51 minutes ago, captain america said:

It's like the Navy blew off a Victoria's Scret runway model to bring a short, fat, dim-witted, greasy-faced date to the prom!  I'd be slightly less bitter if there was at least a decent 1/48 or 1/32 kit of that plane.

I was thinking the same thing about a  kit of this plane....and also a production variant F-23.

Chris

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The problem with the Super Tomcat 21 is that it wouldn't have solved the heavy maintenance issues inherent to the Tomcat, the huge costs per plane, the increase in weight on a already super heavy fighter, the lack of any stealth features, and the disadvantages of variable-geometry wings in terms of agility. 

While it's unfortunate that the Super Tomcat 21 never happened, in retrospect I think the Navy made the right choice in purchasing the Super Hornet.

Edited by Vifam7

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3 hours ago, Vifam7 said:

The problem with the Super Tomcat 21 is that it wouldn't have solved the heavy maintenance issues inherent to the Tomcat, the huge costs per plane, the increase in weight on a already super heavy fighter, the lack of any stealth features, and the disadvantages of variable-geometry wings in terms of agility. 

While it's unfortunate that the Super Tomcat 21 never happened, in retrospect I think the Navy made the right choice in purchasing the Super Hornet.

The Rhino has no stealth features either though and the ST21s loitering capability, speed, detection range and ordinance capacity would offset being less maneuverable in my view. I won't argue about the maintenance costs surrounding the plane though.

I can't help but like the potential Navy carrier wing being comprised of Super Tomcat 21/2010s, Enhanced Hornets and F-35Cs.

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Super Hornet isn't stealthy, but it as least has some modicum of RCS-reducing measures.  Tomcat is a flashing red light, radar-wise...

Increasing the complexity of the flaps strikes me as the most odd thing of all.  The trend is towards SIMPLER flaps, to save weight, due to more advanced computational modeling now able to get the performance of a double or triple-slotted flap, out of a single or double.   Multi-piece flaps are complicated and heavy.   Though, this may literally be a difference of "what they proposed back then" vs "what they'd likely do NOW".  

737NG, 747-8, A321XLR---all have simpler, lighter, fewer-piece/slot flaps than the original design, and equal or better landing performance.  

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10 minutes ago, kalvasflam said:

That would be so sweet if they could revive the F-23 in that format.    May be they can get the USAF to buy a few hundred after the fact.  :p

"Must think in Nihongo, must think in nihongo..."

The brain interface will come standard right?

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Is it just me, or is there a wonderful example of double-think in that article - the way in which it claims that these days, the USAF would have chosen stealth over agility.

Tell that to the F-35 and wait for it to stop bitterly muttering.

Edited by F-ZeroOne

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That article was the ultimate, what could've been.  I think the USAF should define a set of requirements and stick with it.  It is all about planning for the future, not the last war. 

In the last decade, it's been all about COIN, so you get these cute propeller driven things that can lug bombs, and now all of a sudden, it's all about peer threats from China and Russia.  The USAF should just remember it's in the air dominance business, I think part of it should be at some point, CAS should be turned over to the army and the marines.   Because I damn well guarantee that the army would love to get their own little air force with A-10s and AC-130s in addition to attack helicopters.  That way, they aren't subjected to the whims of the USAF when it comes to ground support.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Mazinger said:

"Must think in Nihongo, must think in nihongo..."

The brain interface will come standard right?

Aggh! You're thinking in Japanese, aren't you? If you must think, do it in German!

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5 hours ago, kalvasflam said:

That article was the ultimate, what could've been.  I think the USAF should define a set of requirements and stick with it.  It is all about planning for the future, not the last war. 

In the last decade, it's been all about COIN, so you get these cute propeller driven things that can lug bombs, and now all of a sudden, it's all about peer threats from China and Russia.  The USAF should just remember it's in the air dominance business, I think part of it should be at some point, CAS should be turned over to the army and the marines.   Because I damn well guarantee that the army would love to get their own little air force with A-10s and AC-130s in addition to attack helicopters.  That way, they aren't subjected to the whims of the USAF when it comes to ground support.

2 notes.

1. The USAF has never objected to nor neglected the CAS mission. Just because they don't want the A-10 doesn't mean they object to doing the CAS mission. It's a fallacy.

2. Even if the Army took the A-10s and AC-130s and setup it's own fixed-wing air division, it won't make a difference. Ever since the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986, the individual services do not conduct it's own war activities. As such, all air assets (USAF, USN, etc) are now under the control of a regional command (such as USCENTCOM during ODS) tasked to complete its mission.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldwater%E2%80%93Nichols_Act

 

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Paid a visit to the Air Force Museum in Dayton  last month and got a shot or two of this beauty:

100_3880.thumb.JPG.8d9be602f761ef04fe89922851e2c5f2.JPG100_3910.thumb.JPG.26b5eb6eefaa5e3f3e36ad8915198852.JPG 100_3872.thumb.JPG.197198f2b19bba3ab2716d391d8c5ed7.JPG

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^ Long sorrowful sigh... what could've been... :cray:

 

I don't mean to disparage the F-22, it's an extremely capable and wonderful looking ASF in its own right... certainly far better looking than its YF-22 prototype; but just look at the sheer beauty that is the YF-23 and imagine what a refined F-23 would be like... drool.gif?width=250&height=250&crop=1:1,smart

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Somehow, it's MORE futuristic looking now, than back then.  Did we regress with the F-35/Su-57/J-20? 

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2 hours ago, David Hingtgen said:

Somehow, it's MORE futuristic looking now, than back then.  Did we regress with the F-35/Su-57/J-20? 

I recall one of the FCAS mockups having a V-tail set up. One of MHI's concepts for the F-3 also had a distinctly YF-23 look to it.

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Not sure if this ever got shared. Thought you guys might enjoy. These are real. Unfortunately, after they painted the dome like this, the higher ups got mad because “they didn’t get permission from Marvel” so they had to remove it. They did a great job. I think Marvel would have supported them.  This was from 2016.

05167751-8087-423D-81BF-C27892C42AEF.jpeg

A03480F6-3D31-4678-AC46-CB69B7BFE82A.jpeg

Edited by mcfly50

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3 hours ago, mcfly50 said:

Not sure if this ever got shared. Thought you guys might enjoy. These are real. Unfortunately, after they painted the dome like this, the higher ups got mad because “they didn’t get permission from Marvel” so they had to remove it. They did a great job. I think Marvel would have supported them.  This was from 2016.

Wait, why would they need permission from Marvel? They can't possibly have copyrighted/trademarked that design.

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Apparently that was the excuse given from the upper brass to remove it immediately. ‘‘Twas a shame. 

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