Mustang flight captured by D4s / 24-70f2.8
Whenever I see a question that has the word perfect, I retreat to a corner and pull the covers over my head. That’s because that word denotes there is only one choice, option, answer and I’ve never found that in my photography. With warmer wx coming, it would seem many are preparing to hit the skies with many reaching out asking this question, “Is there a perfect lens for air-to-air photography?” This is really a great question, except for the use of the word, perfect. Lens selection has evolved over my short time shooting A2A starting with the 28-300 and my current being the Z70-200f2.8 WITH the Z1.4x attached. There are two things I personally look for in lens selection for this, length and minimum f/stop. The photo above was taken with the 24-70 at 70mm. With the very talented pilots, I was working with, having them tucked in a little more the normal was something I was comfortable with. We were doing nothing more than the formation you see. Safety is everything and distance is a great safety measure to always keep in place. Distortion is also a concern so 24mm is not an option. The other important variable is the minimum f/stop. I need f/32 or more in the lens I use. This is why I have the Z1.4x on the Z70-200f2.8, it gets me down to f/32. I need that for the slower shutter speed at ISO 100 when I want that full disk blur. In this formula for my own photography, there are multiple lenses that I would consider “perfect” but there is no one. Heading to an airshow and putting your subject in the viewfinder and looking at the image size is the perfect way for YOU to determine the perfect lens for your air-to-air photography. Just don’t be surprised with time, you might change the answer to, is there a perfect lens?