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Topic: Blurry Images
Username: Jesperpersson
Posted 2012-11-22 11:42:47 and read 5910 times.

What camera settings do you guys use for daylight shots at 200-300mm zoom with planes both on approach and departure. I mostly use the settings 1/300-800, ISO100-400 and f/6-10. But for some reason the photos get quite blurry or grainy from time to time. I ALWAYS shoot manually with a CANON EOS-1100D and a canon 70-300mm IS lens.

Topic: RE: Blurry Images
Username: Joshu
Posted 2012-11-22 18:52:46 and read 5834 times.

Well, no two settings are the same. But with average daylight at 150-200MM on my Canon 50-250 I typically use ISO of 100 or 200, F8, 1200ish shutter speed.

Are you using auto-focus?

Topic: RE: Blurry Images
Username: mjgbtv
Posted 2012-11-22 19:29:55 and read 5822 times.

Are you using IS? That can work against you if the camera is moving.

Topic: RE: Blurry Images
Username: Jesperpersson
Posted 2012-11-23 02:26:22 and read 5763 times.

Quoting Joshu (Reply 1):
Are you using auto-focus?

Yes, I am. I find the autofocus to make faster and better adjustments than what I can do. I use AF Servo, and that works fine in daylight conditions.

Quoting mjgbtv (Reply 2):
Are you using IS? That can work against you if the camera is moving.

Yes, I am but I have heard this before as well. But some people say that disabling the vertical stabiliser makes a big difference..?

Topic: RE: Blurry Images
Username: viv
Posted 2012-11-23 02:57:41 and read 5761 times.

Camera shake? The camera is not always to blame.

Topic: RE: Blurry Images
Username: Joshu
Posted 2012-11-23 06:10:37 and read 5729 times.

Quoting viv (Reply 4):
Camera shake?

That could definitely be the problem. I had an issue with it in my early spotting while panning. I bought a cheap eBay battery pack to add weight to the camera. The amount of unusable images has decreased since I started using it.

Topic: RE: Blurry Images
Username: stevemchey
Posted 2012-11-23 07:26:54 and read 5712 times.

Quoting Jesperpersson (Thread starter):
What camera settings do you guys use for daylight shots at 200-300mm...

I ALWAYS shoot manually with a CANON EOS-1100D and a canon 70-300mm IS lens.

I really don't want to be rude, but asking for specific camera settings in a forum like this suggests you shouldn't always shoot in manual. Manual mode is great, but only if you understand what you are doing. You might want to use a less manual setting for a while and see if your pictures improve. Once you have a great picture, look at the settings and use those as a starting point to go back to manual.

If your pictures are really blurry because of camera shake, go into shutter priority mode and see what speeds you need to get crisp images. If that doesn't fix it, maybe the settings aren't at fault. Maybe it's the lens or technique.

Topic: RE: Blurry Images
Username: dazbo5
Posted 2012-11-23 07:56:48 and read 5700 times.

Quoting Jesperpersson (Thread starter):
canon 70-300mm IS lens.

Is this the standard or L version? The non-L lens gets quite soft over about 220mm so that won't be helping things.

As a guide, you want to be using a shutter speed at least the reciprocal of the focal length, ie if you're at 200mm, you want to be using at least 1/200th, at 250mm 1/250th etc. Your lens will be around it's sharpest at f/8-10 so try and stick with those apertures and use the lowest ISO you can to give you a suitable shutter speed. Good (smooth) panning technique helps as well to minimise and motion blurr on the subject aircraft. If you're getting blurry, and not soft results, I suggest using a faster shutter speed until you master smooth panning.

Darren

Topic: RE: Blurry Images
Username: Jesperpersson
Posted 2012-11-23 08:53:44 and read 5684 times.

Quoting dazbo5 (Reply 7):
Is this the standard or L version? The non-L lens gets quite soft over about 220mm so that won't be helping things.

It's the standard version. Thanks for the tips Darren!

Quoting stevemchey (Reply 6):
I really don't want to be rude, but asking for specific camera settings in a forum like this suggests you shouldn't always shoot in manual. Manual mode is great, but only if you understand what you are doing. You might want to use a less manual setting for a while and see if your pictures improve. Once you have a great picture, look at the settings and use those as a starting point to go back to manual.

I don't ask for specific settings, and I used to shoot in shutter priority mode before but manual works better for me.

Quoting Joshu (Reply 5):
I had an issue with it in my early spotting while panning. I bought a cheap eBay battery pack to add weight to the camera.

Well, that sounds like a possible cause. Maybe it's worth buying one...

Topic: RE: Blurry Images
Username: sovietjet
Posted 2012-11-23 11:22:31 and read 5662 times.

Shooting in manual doesn't automatically mean you will get better images. I see two possible problems which may or may not be the issue. First, shooting at around 1/300 may be a bit too slow and result in blurry images. Second, shooting at f/6 likely means you are using your lens wide open and might result in soft images. Most lenses have a "sweet spot" between f/8-11 where they are sharpest. I would suggest you keep your lens around f/9 or so to keep it in this zone while slightly increasing ISO to be able to get a shutter speed at least above 1/500. This can easily be done with "aperture priority" mode where you can dial in f/9 and an ISO and the camera only needs to calculate shutter speed.

Which brings me to my next point, shooting manual for aircraft in daylight hardly is the optimal choice. Imagine an aircraft passing you. You start shooting it when it is at some type of head-on or 3/4 view and you end the sequence when you are looking at the rear. That means it has traveled through an almost 180 degree field of view. The light and exposure will most certainly change throughout that sequence (especially if its afternoon or morning) and your dialed in manual settings will only work for a small window the entire sequence. This is why shutter priority and/or aperture priority should be used IMO. That way the camera continuously changes the one variable left to properly expose the image. Otherwise you will end up with a properly exposed photo at some point in your shooting sequence and underexposed/overexposed everywhere else.

There is a time and place for manual (night photography mainly) or non-moving objects (such as parked planes) where you don't have to worry about the light changing as the plane moves.

Just food for thought...

Topic: RE: Blurry Images
Username: vikkyvik
Posted 2012-11-23 11:24:47 and read 5661 times.

Quoting dazbo5 (Reply 7):
Quoting Jesperpersson (Thread starter):
canon 70-300mm IS lens.

Is this the standard or L version? The non-L lens gets quite soft over about 220mm so that won't be helping things.

That would absolutely be my guess for the blur (extreme softness, really). If it's the IS USM lens, I never used it above 260mm, because it was too soft.

Don't know about the grain, though. Are you underexposing?

Topic: RE: Blurry Images
Username: Silver1SWA
Posted 2012-11-23 12:19:36 and read 5656 times.

How about posting some examples so we might be able to determine what kind of blur you're having issues with?

Topic: RE: Blurry Images
Username: eskillawl
Posted 2012-11-23 23:35:59 and read 5582 times.

Quoting sovietjet (Reply 9):
First, shooting at around 1/300 may be a bit too slow and result in blurry images.

I don't agree with you at that point. Shooting over 300 may often result in quite dark pictures. I think its better to shoot around 1/200 - 1/300, F6.3 and ISO 100 maximum 200. What I've heard and ofcourse tried by my own, F6.3 will gve you the sharpest pictures with this lens. Then ofcourse it depends on the postion of the aircraft. I've noticed some big difference in shooting the aircraft 100 than 200 meters away from it.

Good luck!

Topic: RE: Blurry Images
Username: vikkyvik
Posted 2012-11-24 00:14:55 and read 5577 times.

Quoting eskillawl (Reply 12):
Shooting over 300 may often result in quite dark pictures.

In daylight at F6.3? I'd probably be shooting at 1/500 to 1/1000 at F8 and ISO200. At F6.3 and ISO100, that'd be 1/400 to 1/800 to get the same exposure.

Completely dependent on the light, of course, but the thread starter was asking about daylight.

Topic: RE: Blurry Images
Username: sovietjet
Posted 2012-11-24 00:59:35 and read 5572 times.

Quoting eskillawl (Reply 12):
F6.3 will gve you the sharpest pictures with this lens

Which lens? Most lenses, especially large telephotos, have the sharpest pictures between f8-11.

Quoting eskillawl (Reply 12):
Shooting over 300 may often result in quite dark pictures. I think its better to shoot around 1/200 - 1/300, F6.3 and ISO 100 maximum 200.

In daylight I hardly believe shutters above 1/300 will result in a dark photo. It's better to just bump ISO to at least 200. In today's DSLRs the difference between ISO100 and 200 is negligible and yet gives you a full stop. What's better - a blurry image caused by low shutter speed (in order not to use higher ISO) or a sharp but slightly noisier image? I'll give you a hint, one of those cannot be fixed  

Topic: RE: Blurry Images
Username: dendrobatid
Posted 2012-11-24 01:38:25 and read 5563 times.

Quoting stevemchey (Reply 6):
asking for specific camera settings in a forum like this suggests you shouldn't always shoot in manual. Manual mode is great, but only if you understand what you are doing. You might want to use a less manual setting for a while and see if your pictures improve. Once you have a great picture, look at the settings and use those as a starting point to go back to manual.

The above was such a wise thing to say.....
Auto exposure works well the majority of the time and as you are learning photography it is one less thing to be thinking about until the time comes where you need and understand when to go to manual.

The lens will not cause grain (more accurately noise) but underexposure will, again fitting nicely within Steve's comment.

Quoting dazbo5 (Reply 7):
As a guide, you want to be using a shutter speed at least the reciprocal of the focal length, ie if you're at 200mm, you want to be using at least 1/200th, at 250mm 1/250th etc.

That rule quoted by Darren was an old way of working things out but that was FOR A STATIC subject. I think (though I am not certain) that we should be using effective focal lengths in those calculations too so for a moving subject we should be using higher shutter speeds than that indicated by that old rule. I photograph a lot of props and am rather obssessed with good prop blur and at the longer end of my 100-400 I throw quite a few away at 1/250 sec, even with Mode 2 IS, though I can hand hold well far slower at the shorter end of the zoom.

I am sure we will be able to identify the problem if you show us some images with issues

Mick Bajcar

Topic: RE: Blurry Images
Username: Epten
Posted 2012-11-25 04:29:54 and read 5437 times.

I'd try AV mode, F/9 and ISO200. If that's too slow, then perhaps ISO400 (nr software can work wonders)

Topic: RE: Blurry Images
Username: Jesperpersson
Posted 2012-12-04 08:37:52 and read 4989 times.

A big thank you to all of you guys!  

Next time I'll try to shoot at Av mode instead and see if that works better. And about the images, I tried to upload some but the page said I had to be a first class member to do that.

Topic: RE: Blurry Images
Username: dendrobatid
Posted 2012-12-04 10:25:51 and read 4973 times.

Quoting Jesperpersson (Reply 17):
Next time I'll try to shoot at Av mode instead and see if that works better.

I thought this thread had died....  

I very rarely use Av as I like to be in control of my shutter speed so use Tv for aviation photography. My reasoning is that it is far more likely that you will spoil a photo by having the wrong shutter speed than by having the wrong aperture - too low a shutter speed and blur is likely (where this thread started) and too high is an issue with frozen props.

Whilst all lenses work best when stopped down a bit and most work best at about F8 the differences a stop either side of that tend to be differences that are best seen on an optical bench rather than in practise so I think you would do better sticking to Tv but getting the speed right.

Mick Bajcar

Topic: RE: Blurry Images
Username: coninpa
Posted 2012-12-11 05:01:22 and read 4706 times.

My personal usual settings:

- I use Tv for props to avoid, as Mick said, frozen props. Shutter speed to 1/320 to 1/400 for props in flight to avoid the plane being blurry (but you need to train to do a good panning), I go down to 1/15 to 1/30 if the plane does not move at all or not too much, to have a circled prop. If the light is poor, ISO must be a bit high (400-500) to maintain a decent depth of field at 1/400 sec.

- I use Av for jets, during day light, setting apperture most of the time to f/8 to have a good DOF and have the lens work at its best on the image borders, with ISO 400 to have a safe shutter speed.

Patrick


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