New York Air Show 2017 – F16 Viper has this to say about the F16 Fighting Falcon (the F16 Viper is the latest version).:

One of the most versatile aircraft in the U.S. Air Force inventory, the F-16 Fighting Falcon has been the mainstay of the Air Force aerial combat fleet. With over 1,000 F-16s in service, the platform has been adapted to complete a number of missions, including air-to-air fighting, ground attack and electronic warfare.

In an air combat role, the F-16’s maneuverability and combat radius (distance it can fly to enter air combat, stay, fight and return) exceed that of all potential threat fighter aircraft. It can locate targets in all weather conditions and detect low flying aircraft in radar ground clutter. In an air-to-surface role, the F-16 fighting falcon can fly more than 500 miles (860 kilometers), deliver its weapons with superior accuracy, defend itself against enemy aircraft, and return to its starting point. An all-weather capability allows it to accurately deliver ordnance during non-visual bombing conditions.

According to Wikipedia:

At the 2012 Singapore Air Show Lockheed Martin unveiled plans for the new F-16V variant with the V suffix for its Viper nickname. It is to feature an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, a new mission computer and electronic warfare suite, and various cockpit improvements; this package is an option on current production F-16s and can be retrofitted to most in service F-16s. First flight took place 21 October, 2015. Production run To upgrade Taiwan’s F-16 fleet started January, 2017.

Taken with a Sony Alpha 500 and Tamron A18 AF 18-250mm f3.5-6.3

New York Air Show 2017 – Overview

I went to two friends to this years New York Air Show. I’d missed the 2016 show, but had last been there in 2015. Of course the trouble with such an event is that you tend to take a lot of pictures. I told one of my friends that this time I wasn’t going to take any pictures. I’d just enjoy watching the show.

Things did not turn out quite as I expected. I’d foolishly assumed that the displays would be pretty much the same as in 2015. This turned out not to be the case. There were a number of new aircraft that I hadn’t seen before, and which I wanted to take pictures of. Good thing I took the camera…just in case.

Above a member of the West Point Parachute Team, which opened the show.

Taken with a Sony Alpha 500 with Tamron A18 AF 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 lens.

A recent visitor to our garden

A type of woodpecker: a northern flicker. Specifically (if I’m not mistaken, which I might well be) a yellow-shafted flicker (Colaptes auratus auratus). So if it’s a woodpecker why is it chewing up our patio rather than pecking wood? Grab a worm on the patio or bang your head against a tree? I guess it’s an easy choice.

As usual when I’m taken by surprise or my subject is moving I messed this up. When I noticed the bird I grabbed the nearest camera, which happened to my Sony Alpha 500 with Tamron A18 AF 18-250mm f3.5-6.3. Without thinking I zoomed in to the fullest extent not thinking that it as was relatively dark outside and that the combination of large aperture combined with large lens meant that that pictures were certainly going to suffer from blur resulting from the slow shutter speed selected and my inability to hand hold the lens at that speed.

This is why I don’t do more wildlife photography. Still better than nothing though. I’ve never seen one of these before.

Sony Alpha 500 revisited

In an earlier post I mentioned that I had never really taken to this camera and consequently hadn’t really given it a chance. So I thought I’d try it again. But first why didn’t I like it in the first place:

I think the first reason was that I rationalized my problem as being that as I got older carrying around a digital SLR was too much. However, this really wasn’t a good enough reason. It’s really not that big, or that heavy – especially compared to some other DSLRs. Yes – if you put a large zoom lens on it can dramatically increase the weight, but with a smaller, lighter prime lens or a lightweight zoom it’s not at all bad.

Somehow though I was uncomfortable with it – something to do with the balance maybe – especially when holding it vertically. My arms and wrists are not all that strong and I felt that I couldn’t keep it steady. To remedy this I bought an inexpensive battery grip. This helped a lot. I feel a lot more comfortable now.

Then there was the quality of the images. I wasn’t satisfied. I had three lenses. The kit lens that came with the Konica Minolta 5D (Konica Minolta DT 18-70mm f3.5-5.6), A Sigma 75-300mm f4.5-5.6, and a Konica Minolta 50mm f1.7. In looking back over my images I noticed that most of them had been taken with the kit lens, not renowned as a great performer. I had hardly used the others. So I bought some inexpensive (I doubt that I payed more than $150 for all of them) Konica Minolta autofocus lenses. Some of them were also kit lenses in their day, but with different focal lengths. I was also looking for a prime lens that would give me a 35mm equivalent. I don’t normally look at Quantaray lenses because I’ve read that they are “cheap and nasty”. However, in browsing on the internet I came across a 24mm Quantaray Tech-10 f2.8 (apparently it’s made by Sigma and is the same as the Sigma 24mm Ultrawide II), which seemed to get very good reviews. I’ve also been using the 50mm f1.7 more.

I’ve taken the camera out several times of late and I must say that I’m a lot happier now. I’m still getting used to some of the foibles, but all things considered I think I’ll use it more in the future. For a minimal investment (both in money and in time) I have a camera that I’m getting to like more and more.

Konica Minolta DT 18-70mm f3.5-5.6. Not a great lens.

Sigma 75-300mm f4.5-5.6. Not a bad lens. It’s large and heavy and quite slow. It’s hard to hand hold and I don’t like to lug around a tripod (maybe I should). The best shots I’ve made with this lens have been when I’ve used a monopod, as I did here.

Konica Minolta 35-70mm f3.5-4.5. I’ve only used this once. Seems like a fairly typical kit lens, maybe a bit better that the DT 18-70mm, but with less of a zoom range. In particular you lose the wide end particularly when the crop factor is taken into account.

Konica Minolta 70-210mm f4.5-5.6. Much lighter than the sigma. I’ve only used it once, but my sense is that the Sigma is sharper.

Konica Minolta 28-100mm f3.5-5.6. A third kit lens. Maybe similar quality to the other two, but it feels more comfortable. I also like the zoom range more, but nothing really wide.

Konica Minolta 50mm f1.7. Pretty decent lens, but with the crop factor a bit too long. Seems good for portraits. but I don’t take too many portraits.

Quantaray 24mm f2.8. I really like this lens (it’s on the camera in the picture above). In a addition to this picture the “Sylvan Glen” pictures were also taken with it. It’s small, light and has a good macro capability. It’s pretty sharp and I like the colors. It seems to have a tendency to flare, so I’ve purchased an inexpensive hood.