I decided to try my hand at aviation photography this weekend, with me I took the Sony 70-300mm G lens and the Sony a6500. I headed to the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) which is the largest military airshow in the world.

**Note: Full resolution JPEG images are available to download, but the RAW files are password protected to help keep my hosting costs sensible. However, I do provide the username/password to all members of my monthly newsletter. All images are copyright protected and may be used for personal use only.

I’ve only recently purchased the 70-300mm 4.5-5.6 G lens, so was keen to see how it compared to the only other long zoom lens in my collection – the Sony 70-200mm F4 G lens.

Here are some of my shots from the day:

Typhoon Jet taken with Sony a6500 and SEL70300G Lens

300mm | 1/2500 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 320 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

Typhoon Jet taken with Sony a6500 and SEL70300G Lens

300mm | 1/2000 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 250 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

Tornado GR4 Jet taken with Sony a6500 and SEL70300G Lens

300mm | 1/2000 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 320 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

US Thunderbirds Jet taken with Sony a6500 and SEL70300G Lens

206mm | 1/2000 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 200 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

US Thunderbirds Jet taken with Sony a6500 and SEL70300G Lens

300mm | 1/2000 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 250 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

Static Jet taken with Sony a6500 and SEL70300G Lens

70mm | 1/200 sec | f/7.1 | ISO 100 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

F22 Raptor Jet taken with Sony a6500 and SEL70300G Lens

183mm | 1/2000 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 250 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

F22 Raptor Jet taken with Sony a6500 and SEL70300G Lens

194mm | 1/2000 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 320 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

F22 Raptor Jet taken with Sony a6500 and SEL70300G Lens

300mm | 1/2000 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 320 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

F22 Raptor Jet taken with Sony a6500 and SEL70300G Lens

300mm | 1/2500 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 500 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

F22 Raptor Jet taken with Sony a6500 and SEL70300G Lens

300mm | 1/2500 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 320 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

F22 Raptor Jet taken with Sony a6500 and SEL70300G Lens

192mm | 1/2000 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 500 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

F15 Jet taken with Sony a6500 and SEL70300G Lens

198mm | 1/2000 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 320 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

I’d been walking around and was completely unprepared for the B-2 flying over, I just pointed and shot. Unfortunately I didn’t really have the best settings locked in so it came out a little soft.
B-2 Stealth Bomber taken with Sony a6500 and SEL70300G Lens

220mm | 1/320 sec | f/9.0 | ISO 100 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

Apache Attack Helicopter taken with Sony a6500 and SEL70300G Lens

273mm | 1/160 sec | f/6.3 | ISO 100 | **Full Resolution Download: JPEG | RAW

I’m quite picky with my photos, and don’t really feel like I shot anything this day that I’ll be hanging on the wall anytime soon. That said, the extra 100mm of reach over the 70-200mm certainly paid dividends here, although I still found myself wanting for a little more reach.

I felt that the 70-300 performed reasonably well, focusing was fast and I was happy with the color rendition. As for the sharpness at 300mm I’m not so sure. It definitely does not appear to be as sharp as the 70-200mm F4, and after reading the DXOMark review for the 70-300mm it appears this lens is sharper when you stop down to f/8.

I shot most of my shots this day at f/5.6 accept the B-2 pass which I shot at f/9 and 1/320 only because I was fiddling with the settings and wasn’t prepared for it. So unfortunately it’s hard to compare this shot to my others due to the slower shutter speed. This is something I’ll have to test another day.

I’ll definitely be heading back to RIAT in 2018, especially as it’s the 100th anniversary of the RAF and looks set to be the biggest RIAT ever. I also hope to visit the Mach Loop in Wales for the first time to try and photograph the low flying jets there.

If you also love shooting aviation with your Sony Alpha camera, then I’ve setup the Sony Alpha Shooters Group on Facebook where you can share your photos with fellow aviation shooters. I don’t have a niche aviation focused group setup, but if there is enough interest I may consider it.

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