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Digital Rebel / 300D Help  
User currently offlineAndrewuber From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2528 posts, RR: 32
Posted (12 years 3 months 20 hours ago) and read 3215 times:

I'm new to SLR photography, and just bought a Digital Rebel. After two trips to do some spotting, my results are horrible, and I'm sure that my problems are "pilot induced", as I know this is a great camera, I'm just not doing this right. All of my photos are dark. At first I was using a circular polarizer, but that caused my shots to all look like they were taken in the middle of the night. Even after cleaning the images up a little bit in Paintshop, this was the result:


So today I tried again, without the polarizer. My images were still nearly as dark. I'm using the basic zone mode, and I did try messing around in the P mode (adjusting exposure), but all my images are still dark.

As I said, I know I don't have a clue what I'm doing, I'm just wondering if someone out there has this camera and can give me a little advice on which modes to use, what affects photo quality and what doesn't (as most of what I've tried doesn't), etc. Any help would be appreciated.


I'd rather shoot BAD_MOTIVE
9 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineMikec From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2004, 247 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (12 years 3 months 19 hours ago) and read 3196 times:

Basic zone won't be sufficient for aviation action shots. You should really be using either M, TV or AV (depending on experience/situation). Using TV (shutter priority) isn't as hard as you may think. P will work sometimes but won't produce optimal results under all conditions.

First make sure that in the menu, your quality is set to the top large setting (we'll ignore RAW for now). If your quality isn't set right in the first place then you are up against it even more. That setting is the 6 megapixel fine JPEG one.

Are you shooting with the sun behind you illuminating the aircraft? There are many factors like this that can affect the picture.

Turn the mode to TV and use the dial on the top of the camera to change the shutter speed. Watch the LCD display on the back, or the green LED numbers through the viewfinder. It will show numbers like 10,20,100,200 etc. So if it said 100, that means a shutter speed of 1/100 of a second, 10 will mean 1/10 of a second. You will see the number next to it changing as you change shutter speed. This is the aperture and it's being automatically chosen by the camera according to your shutter speed (because you are in shutter priority mode - the reverse would happen in aperture priority mode (AV))

If the lowest aperture value blinks (depends on your lens as to what it is), it means you need to reduce your shutter speed to correctly expose. If the largest aperture value blinks, you need to increase your shutter speed to correctly expose.

I can't tell you what aperture and shutter speed suit every situation, but for action photography (assuming you want to totally freeze your target), you would need a relatively fast speed. Try something like 1/500 (for arguments sake - it can be lower or higher depending on what you are trying to achieve and the conditions at the time of shooting.....I'm not trying to say that's what you always need to use) and point at the object you're trying to take a picture of and see what the aperture displays as. You should try to avoid very low numbers in full light shots because you'll lose depth of field (not everything will be focused). An aperture around f7-f8 is usually quite a nice spot. The smaller the f number the less will be in focus across the whole shot.

If all that is too much for you, go back to mode P, where the camera will automatically choose both for you, but let you change exposure compensation and white balance and ISO etc. If it's daylight, make sure ISO is set to 100 for the best quality of picture. If the picture is coming out dark, increase the exposure compensation a few stops. Also consider why it's coming out dark.....the 300D does have a tendency to under-exposure slightly, but I wouldn't call it dark. Try to ensure the sun is behind you.

In short, your problem is that you will never get a decent action image of an aircraft in a basic zone - even on a DSLR. Just keep practising and you'll get the hang of it eventually. But please dump the basic zones and try out P at least, and also TV.

I'm no expert, but I hope this might help a little

Good luck!

User currently offlineLewis From Greece, joined Jul 1999, 3793 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (12 years 3 months 19 hours ago) and read 3186 times:

Do not use the basic modes. Always use the creative ones (P for now and maybe Av at f/8-11 with good light) since the basic modes choose ISO automatically. Shoot at ISO 100 preferably for smoother photos without noise. If your images are dark try exposure compensation at +1/3 or 2/3. I do not know what could be causing dark photos. The outdoor photos from my 300D are properly exposed without compensating.


User currently offlineMikec From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2004, 247 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (12 years 3 months 19 hours ago) and read 3175 times:

After writing that I was just looking at your shots on myaviation.net and looking at the grain in the pictures, I guess you were using sports mode in the basic zone? The problem with that is that it always sets the ISO to 400 (pretty sure it's 400) which is not necessary for full daylight shots.

I think you'll see a vast improvement if you just persist with the "creative zones". Start with P if you feel happiest with that and then move to TV or AV. Ensure that ISO is set to 100 if it's bright outside. You can increase ISO in low light conditions if you can't get the shutter speed you require on the ISO you are using, but try to aim for 100 during daylight hours.

Looking back at some of your pre-300D shots, the composition looks fine (good light etc), so it must be down to the mode you were using (and possibly the quality setting not at full like I said)

User currently offlineAndrewuber From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2528 posts, RR: 32
Reply 4, posted (12 years 3 months 19 hours ago) and read 3173 times:

Thanks guys!

Mike- My first day shooting was partly cloudy, but I did manage to get a few shots when the sun was shining directly on the aircraft. The sun was behind me, I was shooting the illuminated side of the aircraft - but that polarizer ruined things for me (plus I was in basic mode).

I will certainly take your advice and stick with P and TV mode. I may try to play a little tomorrow with it, but I'm flying FWA - DAY - ATL - BHM on Thursday, and will be taking my equipment along. Maybe I can get some nice shots of ATL! We also plan to stop through BNA on our way back, so I'm sure I'll experiment a lot with it. I have seen what the Digital Rebel is capable of (just look at Tim Samples shots, for example), and I can't wait to catch high-quality images too.

Thanks for taking the time to explain this stuff to me, I really appreciate it!

I'd rather shoot BAD_MOTIVE
User currently offlineAndrewuber From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2528 posts, RR: 32
Reply 5, posted (12 years 3 months 19 hours ago) and read 3165 times:

Hey Mike-

I'm sure you've got some pics on airliners.net - can you post a link to one? I'd like to see your work too!


I'd rather shoot BAD_MOTIVE
User currently offlineMia777 From United States of America, joined Sep 2002, 1165 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (12 years 3 months 19 hours ago) and read 3164 times:

Definitely a high ISO. Check the EXIF data to find the shot's full detials. It sucks man...I have blown a full days worth of shots forgetting to change the ISO. Today I left it on Tv 1/60...damn...

User currently offlineMikec From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2004, 247 posts, RR: 12
Reply 7, posted (12 years 3 months 19 hours ago) and read 3162 times:

I've seen some of Tim Samples shots on here too.......very nice indeed!

I've mailed you (via the profile contact) links to my shots rather than plugging them on a public forum!

Glad to have been of some assistance!

User currently offlineSleekjet From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 2054 posts, RR: 20
Reply 8, posted (12 years 3 months 17 hours ago) and read 3142 times:

The kindness and free expertise at this site is incredible. Michael, you are a great help to those of us learning the craft.

II Cor. 4:17-18
User currently offlineAndrewuber From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2528 posts, RR: 32
Reply 9, posted (12 years 3 months 11 hours ago) and read 3115 times:

I agree Sleekjet. Thanks to everyone for their help.

I'd rather shoot BAD_MOTIVE
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