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Are bridge cameras good for airshow photography?

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upnorth
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Are bridge cameras good for airshow photography?

Post by upnorth » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:32 pm

Hello all:

I'm hoping to make this airshow season the last with my current camera. After pricing out some cameras, both bridge and entry level DSLR types, I've come to the conclusion that a bridge type might be more up my street.

I'm not a professional photographer nor to I have designs on being one, so when I look at the cost of the various lenses I would require to get right up to some subjects with DSLR I can't really justify the price.

I've looked at the current lot of bridge cameras that I could splash out on that have zoom abilities that could get me the sort of images I'm after and two that I've actually been able to hold in shops have got my attention.

Nikon Coolpix P510 (42x optical zoom)

Canon Powershot SX40 HS (35x optical zoom)

I know both manufacturers have good reputations, I always had Canons when I still had 35mm cameras, but would either of the above get the job done at an airshow when it comes to high speed subject matter?

I do realise that bridge cameras will not give me DSLR image quality, but as a non-professional I see that as a fair trade off for actually being able to get right up on my subject matter.

Thanks for any advice
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SteveS
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Re: Are bridge cameras good for airshow photography?

Post by SteveS » Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:02 pm

In a word 'upnorth', no. They will be fine for the static stuff, but for anything moving, you'll find that most just can't shoot at the frames per second rate a D-SLR can. Also, I found a slight delay between pressing the shutter button and the picture being taken. Which is no good at all when panning on a fast moving jet.

HTH
Steve

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Mayfly
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Re: Are bridge cameras good for airshow photography?

Post by Mayfly » Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:17 pm

^^^^ DITTO^^^^^^

I'm not hugely into photography but my bridge [Which? best buy] was superb at statics and props but really wound me up for jets stuff.

Saying that of course I think it eased my way in to DSLRs but at the end of the day was really a waste of money.
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Arthur Tee
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Re: Are bridge cameras good for airshow photography?

Post by Arthur Tee » Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:09 pm

May I add this to the previous two posts...

These were taken just a few yards forward of the static line on Saturday RIAT using a Canon SX40HS! I used two Canon AE-1 Programs for many years - and eventually moved into digital on the Canon S3IS. I had plenty of shots published in AFM, FlyPast, Today's Pilot (to name but a few) and the camera had well and truly paid for itself before I broke it last year...

I personally think my MiG-29 shot is no worse than those taken by majority of DSLR posters - and considerably better than some I have seen! I don't sit around taking umpteen shots - and these were taken during 'burger breaks' away from the static park!
Image
Image

Image

Image

Image

Yes - you don't get the quality of a DSLR - but you don't get dust on the sensor either! :P
In summary - Non DSLR's are not 'good' at airshows - but the results can be perfectly acceptable!

Arthur

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dustybug
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Re: Are bridge cameras good for airshow photography?

Post by dustybug » Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:22 pm

It's not what you've got - it's how you use it! Never a truer statement :clap: :clap: there was a lad on here jamie i think whos shots were with a bridge and they were stunning. If you really must have a DSLR look on the secondhand market theres many bargains to be had!

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SteveS
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Re: Are bridge cameras good for airshow photography?

Post by SteveS » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:42 pm

Depends what you're after. If you just want to take pictures that look alright a bridge will be fine. If you want to spend a bit more and push your budget, then fine, you'll get a better quality image and with practice, people may go "wow" when they see your shots. With camera's it really is a case of you get what you pay for.

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profile_m
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Re: Are bridge cameras good for airshow photography?

Post by profile_m » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:40 pm

Not that I've posted many shots but all mine are with a bridge and I would definitely say its not what you have but how you use it. Once you get used to your camera and its particular foibles then you can get some good shots with a bridge. Although, I have out grown mine and am upgrading to a DSLR. Bridge cameras are a good way to get into the hobby without spending a huge sum. Here are a few of mine as a reference....

Image

Image

Image

Image

Al with a fuji S200EXR
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phil8561
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Re: Are bridge cameras good for airshow photography?

Post by phil8561 » Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:00 pm

This is a link to the post I put up of the leuchars Airshow this year using my Nikon bridge camera, as can be seen some are grainy due to the zoom but I like the photos all the same (couldn't take my canon 550D due to working the show).

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=66738" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

upnorth
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Re: Are bridge cameras good for airshow photography?

Post by upnorth » Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:51 pm

Thanks for the input and examples everyone. Definitely food for thought before the next airshow season.
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phil8561
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Re: Are bridge cameras good for airshow photography?

Post by phil8561 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:25 pm

See if you can borrow some else's camera and see how you get on with it

joe spares
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Re: Are bridge cameras good for airshow photography?

Post by joe spares » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:04 am

Depends on what you want from your photos too, if you are just going to look at them on a computer/ipod etc bridge might do, if you want to blow 'em up and print poster size you might notice the lack of sharpness, not being too critical but some of the above examples are a bit soft in focus.
I'm of the generation that never had the option, if you wanted sharp close up pics you had to have a 35mm slr and lenses, obviously then just a case of buying a DSLR in later life to suit the lenses! I do have a Nikon bridge which I bought for my 8yr old to use and have taken a few pics with myself, but,
A) they aren't as sharp as the DSLR at big zoom distances
B) there's a delay in pushing the button and taking the shot (you can easily miss bits off),
C) there's an eternity to wait until you can take the next photo while it processes the info
D) zooming on moving subjects is a nightmare, with a DSLR you push/pull/twist and your own speed, not how fast your bridge cameras motor fancies!
E) your're stuck with it LOL! If you can afford to go DSLR do so, you can add and expand and upgrade your kit as you go to suit your pocket, you can buy good second hand bodies/lenses to go with a new body or vice versa, ( you may even have freinds who can sell you their surplus bits!) , with a bridge if you want better its bin it and buy new.
hope this is some help!

mike061
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Re: Are bridge cameras good for airshow photography?

Post by mike061 » Tue Nov 29, 2016 6:14 am

phil8561 wrote:This is a link to the post I put up of the leuchars Airshow this year using my party event photography camera, as can be seen some are grainy due to the zoom but I like the photos all the same (couldn't take my canon 550D due to working the show).

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=66738" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Hello Phil,
Thanks for the link

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PR9
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Re: Are bridge cameras good for airshow photography?

Post by PR9 » Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:56 pm

The previous posts from this thread were 2012.

Think opinion of DSLR v Bridge will be the same, but I would be interested to know if anyone has had any more experiences with the bridge cams released since then?
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ROSEB
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Re: Are bridge cameras good for airshow photography?

Post by ROSEB » Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:27 pm

Hi,
Good post, I've been using a bridge - Nikon P500 - for a while, and although looking to upgrade to a DSLR would not get rid of this, its a great little camera, downsides are in low light/evening - it cannot get enough light in for decent shots, upsides, 36x optical zoom. Definitely agree that it is how you take the shot that impacts more than the camera, as mentioned above I've seen some shots taken on DSLR that are just not good photos, I've attached a few of mine from the P500 below,

Imagerhyl airshow 2014 Red Arrows by ROSE BEAVAN, on Flickr

ImageRIAT 2016 295 by ROSE BEAVAN, on Flickr

ImageRIAT 2016 043 by ROSE BEAVAN, on Flickr

ImageRAF Coningsby 28.04.16 Typhoon GINA by ROSE BEAVAN, on Flickr

Hope this helps!
thanks
Rose

bigrich110
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Re: Are bridge cameras good for airshow photography?

Post by bigrich110 » Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:22 pm

i personally use a full frame DSLR and my wife used to use a bridge camera and i could never get on with it and hated it for airshows, however that is not to say you can't get good images with one they will be much farther between when compared to a DSLR
Canon EOS 5D mark III

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Angel15
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Re: Are bridge cameras good for airshow photography?

Post by Angel15 » Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:49 am

For action shots bridge camera is a poor choice.
Fine for portrait, scenery and general snaps but if you want the best results DSLR is the way to go.
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Pen Pusher
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Re: Are bridge cameras good for airshow photography?

Post by Pen Pusher » Thu Dec 01, 2016 7:48 am

Angel15 wrote: but if you want the best results DSLR is the way to go.
Really!

Due to a bit of a sore arm, I downsized the weight of my camera equipment this year from a Sony A77II + Tamron 150-600mm lens to a Sony a6300 + Tamron 18-200mm or 70-300mm lens (in image below/not mine) and getting just as good if not better images than with the A77II. All the photos I've posted this year have been with the a6300 and although it's not exactly a bridge camera, tell me again that DSLR is best?.

Image

Photos in the link below taken with the above set up.

http://duxfordfotogallery.co.uk/fighter ... ?preview=Y

Brian

John flightpath
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Re: Are bridge cameras good for airshow photography?

Post by John flightpath » Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:05 am

I agree with Joe Spares in a previous post.

I use a Nikon L810 bridge camera, had it about 3 years now. 26x zoom.
I carry it when travelling. I have used it extensively at Frankfurt for example, and for taxying and static shots no problem. Very handy also for museums and scenic shots etc. However, for the airshow fast moving subjects and say, the 'Mach Loop' type shots, forget it. It would be very hit and miss, with the emphasis being on the miss.

From pressing the button to the shutter actually activating takes too long. It produces crystal clear shots, when used on the right subjects ( the NIKON Lens is excellent)
So I went DSLR and have a couple of Canons now. You can get some good deals on used DSLR's on ebay or Amazon and then find lens's in the same way. I have a budget and I managed it ok, so very much worth considering.

Cheers
John 'flightpath'. :)
Equipment
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SG1
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Re: Are bridge cameras good for airshow photography?

Post by SG1 » Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:05 pm

I would say the vast majority of the worlds professional photographers use one of the top 3 or 4 DSLRs, Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax or Medium format and by that I mean people that earn a living out of photography not someone that's had a few pics published in a couple of Mags, I don't think Sony or any bridge camera would take the battering that a professional camera gets.
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sneezy24
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Re: Are bridge cameras good for airshow photography?

Post by sneezy24 » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:58 am

One of the main problems with a bridge camera is the 'lag' when squeezing the shutter. Any mirrorless camera suffers to some extent, they are getting better but not really good enough yet.
Static shots - fine, action/panning - too much lag in my opinion.

Things might change in the next year or so though.

The other thing is sensor size - unless you are going for an expensive bridge, many of them are smaller than APS-C.

I have a Lumix TZ70 which is a great travel cam, but useless for flying shots. The one thing it IS good for at airshows is video! Having an electronic viewfinder makes it very easy to take quite reasonable videos. It is not bad for static either, but if you want shallow DOF then anything with a small sensor will struggle.
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