The Flak Gunner

dscn0038I betook myself to the light-plane airfield today to take some pictures with a new Nikon camera – a tourist thing designed to put a very long telephoto lens onto a small digital sensor for a cheap price. It is intended for use on tours of Africa and Alaska. The idea of using it for surfing and airshows has also been mooted – these are subjects that you cannot physically approach.

Well, it has an effective vibration reduction system and a pretty fast auto-focus. It beeps when it is ready to shoot and does not take too long to digest a shot before it is ready for another…but…

But the business of finding the target out at the end of a 60x zoom lens when that target is a moving aircraft is nearly impossible. The hit rate of focus may be 90% but the rate of success in framing is only 10%. A small EVF combined with a small field of view means you rarely see what you need.

Flak guns used to use a ring predictor sight that the gunners placed on the travelling aircraft – judging which circle of the sight to lead with depending upon the perceived height and speed of the target. Of course they missed more than they hit too, but they did hit.

dscn0052I remember seeing an Olympus bridge camera that featured the novelty of a red-dot sight set on top of the EVF  – supposedly to enable you to pre-sight crudely before resorting to the main screen. It seemed pretty silly a year or so ago, but I’m wondering whether it might have been a good idea after all. Perhaps it is time to haunt the militaria fair again to see what can be found.

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