Plain Aviation

the life of a planespotter and true avgeek

Category: Equipment reviews

5D Mark IV – Real World Experience

Last week, I had the opportunity to take my new Canon 5D Mark IV out to the airport to put it to the test doing some aviation photography. After receiving it the mail a few days before I only had the chance to take a few test shots of my dog, so I was really excited to try it out for real. I had to buy a new CF card (as I don’t think SD cards do the camera justice), but I was able to use my 70D’s spare batteries on the new Mark IV. Before heading out I slapped on the Canon EF 100-400mm telephoto lens that I’ve been using been using with my old 70D, and I was all good to go.

Canon 5D Mark IV Unboxing

After too long a wait, the Canon 5D Mark IV is finally here. Though the first consumer batch only started shipping this week, I was lucky enough to have gotten my hands on a pre-order model before they were sold out.

I placed the order for my Mark IV on Tuesday of last week (August the 30th), and I took delivery of it yesterday (September the 8th). As I was one of the first people in Hong Kong to pre-order the camera, I also receive a miniature Hansa Canon model, an 8GB USB in the shape of the EF 16-35 2.8L III, and a SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB SD card as freebie gifts.

A breakdown of Canon’s telephoto lenses

Other than a decent camera body of course, a quality telephoto lens is an aviation photographer’s best friend. While not everyone is able to afford a top-of-the-line Canon L lens, any plane spotter worth his salt should know the importance of glass in determining image quality, as opposed to just the camera body, and be able to pick out a lens suitable for his needs and his budget. In this guide I will be breaking the down characteristics of several telephoto lenses for Canon DSLR’s popular among plane spotters so that you will hopefully be able to make a better decisions as to which one is most suitable for you. Note that I only own some and not all of the lenses mentioned in this review, however I will derive information from reputable sources on all of these lenses so rest assured that what I’m presenting to you is indeed factually correct. Also note that I do not have any affiliation with Canon or any other company that may be mentioned. All opinions seen here are completely unbiased and come from either me or one of the several reputable sources that I have listed. For a more detailed review and image tests of lenses that I do own, please visit the links provided. Enjoy!

Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 – Image quality test and review

I do a fair amount of general photography outside of planespotting, so I was in need of a standard zoom lens to replace the crappy kit lens that I was using (which came from my old Rebel SL1). I eventually settled with the Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD, which many refer to simply as the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8. Tamron makes two versions of the 17-50mm f/2.8, one with VC (Vibration Control, another name for Image Stabilization) and another one without (which is the one I’m reviewing). I was able to pick up this lens second hand for just over $200 USD, which is not too bad as it normally retails for $500, but is quite old. According to this test done by, the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 is supposed to have image quality on par with the much more expensive Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM, which is regarded by many as a fantastic lens.

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM – General overview

Recently I decided that I’ve been planespotting for long enough that I should upgrade to some new gear, so I went out and got myself the Canon 100-400mm Mark I, also known as “the planespotter’s lens” due to how popular it is among spotters. Now I wasn’t ready to go and dish out a bunch of cash, so I opted for a second-hand copy which I picked up for less than half of how much a brand new Mark II version of the lens retails for. The lens was quite old, having been made in 1999, but I found it to be in mint condition. Considering the lens cost me a fair price of $850 USD, I’m not sure who got the better end of the deal here – me or the shopkeeper.

Canon’s 18-55mm kit lens – my opinion

So although this may be a deviation from the usual aviation-related posts, I’ve been seeing so much hate and praise for Canon’s 18-55mm kit lens that I thought I might as well share my own opinion.

As you  may know, most Canon entry-level DSLR’s are sold in bundles with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM “kit , mainly the XXXD (or Rebel in the United States) models. Opinions on this lens are quite varied considering it’s only a simple budget-friendly piece of glass for those who are only starting out with photography. Most people hate it because of its unimpressive image quality, cheap plastic build, and crap aperture. I mean if you were to ask a pro-tog to describe the overall quality of this lens in one word, that word would either be cheap or crap.

Canon EF-S 55-250MM f/4-5.6 STM – Image quality test and review

 EF-S 55-250MM f/4-5.6 STM

on B&H –

on Amazon –

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Having recently retired my old EF-S 55-250mm STM lens after purchasing a set of telephoto “L” glass, I feel like it’s about time to write a review for it. While I am happy to have upgraded to a better lens, the EF-S 55-250mm STM has served me well and I’m somewhat sad to let it go. The image quality and design of this lens is more than acceptable given it’s affordable price.

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