On Labour Day weekend I had the opportunity to capture some images during the 2016 CNE Air Show in Toronto, Canada.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
I’ve attended this event for the past number of years and have used a range of camera gear to capture images of the various aircraft.
Over the years this has included full frame and cropped sensor DSLRs, and most recently Nikon 1 mirror-less gear.
Regardless of the camera gear used the challenges are always the same in terms of waiting for the best lighting on the subjects, and trying to time captures to get interesting smoke trails etc.
There are always trade-offs when choosing camera gear and some of those trade-offs become very apparent at this type of event.
In terms of absolute image quality the full frame gear I used to own (Nikon D800) did produce the best captures, allowing for more latitude in post especially when dealing with shadows and highlight details.
The small 1″ CX Aptina sensor in my Nikon 1 V2 is challenged when it comes to dynamic range and colour depth. The bright, sunny conditions during my CNE Air Show visit accentuated these shortcomings.
I tried a number of different shooting approaches during the air show, shooting in Manual with Auto-ISO some of the time, and also playing around shooting in Aperture Priority with a dedicated ISO.
A couple of things were consistent throughout the event. I shot at f/8 and used centre-weighted average metering.
I used to keep my aperture at f/5.6 at a maximum when shooting with my Nikon 1 gear in the past. As I’ve become more familiar with working with my Nikon 1 files in post I’ve pushed that maximum to f/8. I know that I risk a bit of softening from diffraction but I find the results to be acceptable for my needs.
I always prefer to shoot hand-held which presents another challenge. The air show is three hours long and I did find my D800 along with the Tamron 150-600mm zoom became a tad heavy towards the end of the show.
Shooting with one of my V2s and the CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 is not taxing from a physical standpoint at all. At my advancing age trading off some image quality for smaller, lighter and easier to handle gear makes sense to me.
Another Nikon 1 attribute that I really like at events like air shows is the fast 15fps AF-C with subject tracking. This creates more potential for an exact moment image capture when shooting at this high frame rate.
This comes in very handy when photographing smoke trails and aerobatics.
Regardless of the gear used, air shows can be a very enjoyable way to spend a sunny, summer afternoon.
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