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Camera Settings  
User currently offlineVirgin7 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 12 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 11 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 3532 times:

Hi.
I've asked various people at various locations about what they have there camera set at when taking shots.
The general concensus of opinion is to have it set at aperture priority and at the lowest aperture.
I know this can't be said for every situation,but any advice would be appreciated.
As you may guess I am still finding my feet at this game.
Thanks in advance.

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineNorfolkjohn From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 251 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (8 years 11 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 3511 times:

Nick,

There is no one simple answer and no universally correct answers to this question. You need to understand all the settings on your camera and you need to understand the relationships between Aperture and shutter speed which allow correct exposure. I would strongly recommend you read some good books on basic photographic technique rather than taking a straw poll of opinions.

This said here are a few basics that I use :

I shoot in shutter priority mode and generally set a speed of 1/500 or faster for jet aircraft. However this is with the proviso that I can still get an aperture no wider than f7.1. If I am having to go wider than f7.1 I will drop a shutter speed.

For prop aircraft I shoot at between 1/200 and 1/320 to ensure prop blur.

If you are shooting in Aperture priority you should normally aim for an aperture of around f8 to f11 as this usually gives the best performance from the lens. I would strongly recommend against shooting at the widest aperture (lowest f number) on the lens as this is likely to increase distortion and give poor depth of field.

In simple terms aperture affects depth of field and the bigger the f number the greater the depth of field but as I say optimum lens performance is usually around f8.

Shutter speed affects camera shake and the ability to freeze motion. For hand holding the rule of thumb is to set a shutter speed greater than the focal length of the lens in use to avoid camera shake. Thus for a 100 mm lens you want a shutter speed of 1/125 or greater and for a 300mm lens you want 1/320 or greater.

The above are just rough guides. All situations are different so like I said at the start read some books to get an understanding of the basic principles. Make sure you fully understand all the controls and settings on your camera then go take some pictures. Look at the results and try to analyze and learn from your mistakes. All this will take time - there are no instant answers.

One final thing - above all else - have fun and enjoy yourself !

Good luck

John  wave 



One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning.
User currently offlineSkyline From Canada, joined Feb 2005, 54 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (8 years 11 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3480 times:

For aircraft photography, I would suggest shutter speed priority mode over aperture priority. How fast should your shutter speed be set depands on the situation you are facing. Norfolkjohn gave an good example about it. Each lens has its optimum performance aperture. For example, Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 is at f8. Smaller the aperture better the image quality is not always the case.

Quoting Virgin7 (Thread starter):
The general concensus of opinion is to have it set at aperture priority and at the lowest aperture.


User currently offlineWakeTurbulence From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 1295 posts, RR: 16
Reply 3, posted (8 years 11 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3474 times:

Quoting Skyline (Reply 2):
For aircraft photography, I would suggest shutter speed priority

If you are using a Canon 300D (I'm not sure about other Canon models) if you use shutter priority it is automatically set at ISO 400. I use aperture priority so I can control the ISO speed and adjust the aperture to create the correct shutter speed.
-Matt



Jetwash Images - Feel the Heat!!!
User currently offlineNorfolkjohn From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 251 posts, RR: 7
Reply 4, posted (8 years 11 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3470 times:

Matt,

I did not realize this was a characteristic of the 300D. I use both the 10D and 20D and you have full control of ISO in both shutter and aperture priority. I use ISO 100 in all but the dullest of weather, and if it is bad enough to use a higher ISO I usually tell myself it is time to put the camera back in the bag !

All the best,

John



One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning.
User currently offlinePsych From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 3052 posts, RR: 58
Reply 5, posted (8 years 11 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3469 times:
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Hi Nick.

As always, John provides a fantastic post to help inform on these issues.

For me his is an opinion to respect highly - the only thing I would say different is that my camera education has resulted in me always choosing aperture priority as my 'default' picture-taking mode. I would also agree that the range f8 - f11 will generally be the best for aviation photography, as it's in an area where most lenses are at their best quality-wise, but it will also provide appropriate depth of field for subjects that are closer up. We all know about the high standards here, and a mistake you don't want to make is to have an aperture that is so big that the nose of an approaching plane is in focus, but the tail is slightly blurred.

I certainly would argue against the notion that you should use the 'lowest' aperture possible. We also need to be careful about language here - I would suggest 'small' and 'large' create less confusion, though that can still be tricky, as a 'small' aperture is signified by a larger number - e.g. f22. Large apertures do allow very fast shutter speeds, but depth of field and quality issues come to the fore, so it's all a balancing act.

Also, don't forget ISO setting will affect the shutter speed. For example, I may use aperture priority with a setting of f8, resulting in a shutter speed of 1/250th. If I am worried that is not fast enough - say for a plane rotating - I could open up the aperture a stop or two to, say f5.6 (but maybe get a slightly less high quality image - dependent on the lens) or I could increase the ISO, which will have the effect of allowing a faster shutter. But - again depending on your camera - a higher ISO will also have an impact on the quality.

Take care.

Paul

P.S. Sorry - my post took a long time as I was answering an email. Matt - I think you are referring to the 'Sports Mode' on the 300D that sets to ISO 400 automatically - not shutter priority in general.

[Edited 2005-11-25 17:29:10]

User currently offlineJeffM From United States of America, joined May 2005, 3266 posts, RR: 51
Reply 6, posted (8 years 11 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3454 times:

Quoting Virgin7 (Thread starter):
The general concensus of opinion is to have it set at aperture priority and at the lowest aperture.

Well Nick, as usual, the 'experts' here are giving the "AV / TV mode" and "f8 - f11" line. And again, no mention to exposure metering, which may be even more important based on the number of poorly exposed rejects we see here on a daily basis. Take you camera out and try the different metering modes on the same exact scene and see what they do and why. If you really want to learn about exposure, buy a gray card or incident meter and shoot manual, you will be amazed and never look back.

Nick your comment on using the lowest aperature is not wrong, you will have sufficient depth of field if using most zoom lenses that set f5.6 at the long end from positions other then right next to the aircraft. There are many DOF calculators that will show you your area of focus. With the exception of landscape photographers, a nice bokeh is sought after.

Don't limit yourself to using just AV / TV mode. What a waste that is.


User currently offlineWakeTurbulence From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 1295 posts, RR: 16
Reply 7, posted (8 years 11 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3453 times:

Ah yes Paul, you are correct. I am sorry for the wrong info. Thanks for the correction.
-Matt



Jetwash Images - Feel the Heat!!!
User currently offlineVirgin7 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 12 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (8 years 11 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 3439 times:

Hi

Thanks everyone.

I am amazed at the amount of expertise in this forum,your comments and advice are much appreciated.

Thanks again.

Nick


User currently offlineFlybhx From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 137 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (8 years 11 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 3371 times:

Jeff,

I have an incident meter and to be honest it gives readings quite different to the camera meter and usually a poor picture. I'm obviously doing something wrong. I know that you've been using one for some time. Could you give some pointers on how to use incident mode correctly for aircraft in flight?

Kevin


User currently offlineJeffM From United States of America, joined May 2005, 3266 posts, RR: 51
Reply 10, posted (8 years 11 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 3345 times:

Quoting Flybhx (Reply 9):
Could you give some pointers on how to use incident mode correctly for aircraft in flight?

Sure, All you have to do with your meter is tell it what ISO you're using, then set it either to your preferred aperture or shutter speed, put the dome out, and place it in the same light the aircraft will get (just hold it in front of you with the dome facing the light), press the button and see what it says. Then just dial in those settings on your camera in Manual. Don't change a thing until the light changes.

Depending on what kind of meter it is, and how old, it is possible you may need to calibrate it to your camera. If your exposures are way off, try a manual reset on it first, then check it with a gray card. You should be all set then. If not, using your gray card, keep shooting it, adjusting your ISO until you get the gray spike in the center of your histogram. At that point it will be done. Just use that ISO with that lens combo.


User currently offlineFlybhx From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 137 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (8 years 11 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 3287 times:

Cheers Jeff, I'll give it a try

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