2016 CNE Air Show Aircraft Images

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.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 280mm, efov 756mm, f/8, 1/6400, ISO-800
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 280mm, efov 756mm, f/8, 1/6400, ISO-800

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.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/8, 1/5000, ISO-800
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/8, 1/5000, ISO-800

Over the years this has included full frame and cropped sensor DSLRs, and most recently Nikon 1 mirror-less gear.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 254mm, efov 686mm, f/8, 1/2500, ISO-400
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 254mm, efov 686mm, f/8, 1/2500, ISO-400

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.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-400
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-400

There are always trade-offs when choosing camera gear and some of those trade-offs become very apparent at this type of event.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/8, 1/3200, ISO-400
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/8, 1/3200, ISO-400

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.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 234mm, efov 633mm, f/8, 1/2500, ISO-400
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 234mm, efov 633mm, f/8, 1/2500, ISO-400

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.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 195mm, efov 525mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO-400
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 195mm, efov 525mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO-400

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.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO-180
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO-180

A couple of things were consistent throughout the event. I shot at f/8 and used centre-weighted average metering.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 267mm, efov 720mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO-160
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 267mm, efov 720mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO-160

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.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO-160
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO-160

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.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/8, 1/1250, ISO-160
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/8, 1/1250, ISO-160

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.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/8, 1/1250, ISO-160
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/8, 1/1250, ISO-160

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.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 201mm, efov 542mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO-450
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 201mm, efov 542mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO-450

This comes in very handy when photographing smoke trails and aerobatics.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/8, 1/5000, ISO-400
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/8, 1/5000, ISO-400

Regardless of the gear used, air shows can be a very enjoyable way to spend a sunny, summer afternoon.

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3 thoughts on “2016 CNE Air Show Aircraft Images”

  1. Very nice work, Tom! Air shows are a challenge no matter what is used! You did a great job with the V2 and CX 70-300 VR! Such a fun outfit to use! I was very impressed with your photos.

    I may be old (eighty in July), but I still enjoy my DSLRs. Also feel like you, and have so much fun with my Nikon 1 system. I have a small backpack with a V2 and V3 and three or four lenses. When I carry it I hardly know it is there.

    I had heart surgery two years ago. The Nikon 1 system came to my rescue because for some time I was under weight restriction for lifting. It was no problem carrying it. So I was out taking pictures in no time. That helped me through the healing process. That’s why I hope the Nikon 1 system survives in Nikon’s lineup.

    Again, fine work. Thanks for sharing it.

    Vern Rogers

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