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Advice Needed On Camera Settings  
User currently offlineReliantresin From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4374 times:

Hello all.

I would like to, if I may, ask for some guidance on camera settings. I see the standard of photographs on this site and am in awe of them - and of course, would like to contribute to the database. As I write this I think I have taken some pretty good shots, but don't think they would pass the screening process here. Obviously the standards are very high and the tolerances pretty fine. So I can easily get to LHR on a nice day, the subject matter isn't a problem (maybe other than common aircraft!), I have a Canon EOS 400D with a 70-300 f4-5.6 IS USM lens (there's plenty of shots in the database with this lens - although I appreciate the quality of L glass!) and a 24-70 F2.8L Lense for the big jets on short finals. I have a nice 2GB memory card to fill up with all those lovely pictures of awsome flying metal decorated in beautiful and expensive liveries. Life is good it seems! But, even though I've only tried a couple of times, and maybe come away with 120 pictures or so, | can't seem to get a good enough shot that I would upload to this site - over saturated, not sharp and noise would be the main 3 culprits. I'm only comparing my shots to maybe the same aircraft in the database.

Now i'm assuming the taking of a good enough shot is just a matter of looking through the view finder and pressing the button? If the settings are all correct - the photo is good enough. So my question is regarding the following settings:

What picture mode do people use? I mean my camera offers Standard/Neutral/Portrait/Landscape etc. Which is best? I know I can tweak this when processing the RAW files (more on this in a mo) but to get it right as shot?

Is it better to choose a white balance or leave it on Auto?
Which aperture works best? I know it varies from lens to lens, and a reasonable DoF is required to get all parts of the aircraft sharp, but this impacts shutter speed which is also important.
That brings me to picture mode. I usually shoot Manual but some I know use AV for best results!
I am also unsure whether to use IS in good light conditions. Is it better not to use it when not necessary? And lastly, autofocus. Is it better to use AI Focus or AI Servo? And lastly again, which is the best metering mode - I'm thinking centre weighted but hey, what works for you guys?

Sorry for such a lot of questions but I really am confused!!

Appreciate any sugestions!
Happy New Year anyway.

10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineFly747 From Canada, joined Apr 2005, 1497 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 4347 times:

A good start is to read some books and to understand how exposure works.
There are no set in stone settings. It all depends on light of course.
I, for example, shoot in M mode. I use a light meter so it doesn't matter what metering mode I'm in. For moving aircraft autofocus is on AI servo. I like my aperture right around f8 for regular day time shots. As it gets darker I open her up.
It's all a matter of preference I guess. You have to play around to find out what works for your lens. I am not familiar with that particular lens so can't comment on it.

Ivan


User currently offlinePsych From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 3052 posts, RR: 58
Reply 2, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 4336 times:
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Jason.

I would agree with Ivan that there are no settings set in stone. Each to their own really.

To give you an example from me, I don't do anything fancy like using a light meter - I trust the camera's meter (well not really, as I tend to set it to -1/3rd in bright conditions, as my 20D has a slight tendency to overexpose bright things in bright light). My standard photography mode for the planes would be to set the camera to Av mode - Aperture Priority. I would recommend avoiding those auto modes you mention, with the icons on the dial. Get used to at least having some control over your image, if you don't choose full manual. It is a rule of thumb, but a lens like yours will likely perform well around f/8 or so. So you could set the camera up for Av, f/8 and then see what kind of shutter speed the day's lighting is giving you. Depending on how close your subject is, and how fast it is moving, shutter speed now becomes a key variable. Taking shots of moving targets is a surprisingly difficult skill, if you don't want any blur/camera movement - so you need to practice and see what results you get. Lower shutter speeds - say 1/250th - unless you are skilled, can still result in the slightest blur which the eagle eyes of the screeners here will spot.

I find the Canon's white balance to be reliable, so leave it on AWB and one of the great things when I upgraded from my old 300D to the 20D was the excellent AI servo mode for focusing - which really does keep things in focus and is therefore my mode of choice for the planes.

To give you one recent example - the shot below was taken with the following:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Paul Markman


Av mode, -1/3rd on the exposure for a jpeg image, f/8, 1/500th, AI Servo mode for focusing, ISO 100 and Evaluative metering (looks like an 'eye' icon).

Hope this helps. Happy to help further if you wish.

Paul


User currently offlineKukkudrill From Malta, joined Dec 2004, 1123 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 4290 times:



Quoting Reliantresin (Thread starter):
over saturated, not sharp and noise would be the main 3 culprits

Sorry if I'm telling you something you already know, but have you factored Photoshop into the equation? The best taken photo doesn't stand a chance of making it here unless it's been edited. Typically you need to clone out dust spots, sharpen (a devilishly tricky business), and adjust levels (even if your exposure is spot on you would usually still need to adjust the contrast to compensate for atmospheric haze, particularly if you're shooting from a long distance).

That said, I'm a bit puzzled by the reference to oversaturation and noise. Have you bumped up your camera's saturation setting? What ISO level are you shooting at?



Make the most of the available light ... a lesson of photography that applies to life
User currently offlineKlintrepid From United States of America, joined May 2005, 124 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 4285 times:

I shoot in AV mode around f8 if I can at 100ISO. Always try to shoot at the lowest ISO possible. I have a 500mm lens so I need at least 1/500 of a sec or faster if I the cameras not on a tripod. So on a nice sunny day you would want to shoot in AV mode f8 (I forget the sweet spot for that lens), 100 ISO, and at LEAST 1/300 of a sec shutter.
Of corse this varies due to the weather.

If you want you could post in this thread some examples of your shots.

Now a question 4U, how do you like that 24-70L? I am thinking of getting one as a walk-around/portrait/ street photography lens.



~its a JEEP thang~
User currently offlineReliantresin From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4257 times:



Quoting Klintrepid (Reply 4):
That said, I'm a bit puzzled by the reference to over saturation and noise. Have you bumped up your camera's saturation setting? What ISO level are you shooting at?

Looking back at some of my pictures, I think the noise was due to using CS2s Shadow/Highlight correction tool. I used it to try to bring out some more detail in the shadows, and the over saturation was due to an adjustment I had made when converting from RAW. It looked good to me at the time but I guess it is a case of practice practice practice! I take it there is no limit to rejections!

Quoting Klintrepid (Reply 4):
If you want you could post in this thread some examples of your shots.

OK. Here is a pretty standard shot. All I have done is cropped it slightly and resized for the web. No further editing has been done. I think you'll agree it's rather average and lacks "The X-Factor". Details like the reg are not sharp, maybe due to a bit of shake or DoF. I may have had a cheap UV filter on as well which may have something to do with it. I won't use it in future.

http://www.imagehosting.com/show.php/1475881_IMG1109.JPG.html

Setting were:
1/1000th sec
f7.1
ISO 200
Mode: Manual
Picture mode:Standard.
Can't remember if IS was on or not but at 1000th sec does it matter?


So, what I need to do is practice and see what works best. The advice about shooting around f8 and in AV mode is the main change I will make as well as using ISO 100 (my minimum on my camera). Most useful guys, thanks very much. I will post any progress to prove the wonders of the photography forum!

Quoting Klintrepid (Reply 4):
Now a question 4U, how do you like that 24-70L? I am thinking of getting one as a walk-around/portrait/ street photography lens.

That's why I bought it and I love it. I recently took it on holiday and was really impressed with the image quality even on my camera. I want to upgrade to a full frame one day and apparently it's even better on something like a 5D.
I think I will use it when the first A380 in service comes into LHR but that's another story!


User currently offlineDvincent From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1745 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4254 times:
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Nothing wrong with using ISO 200 even on sunny days. The noise increase is negligible and you get a free stop's worth of shutter speed to work with. I almost never use ISO 100 unless I need to slow a shutter speed.


From the Mind of Minolta
User currently offlineKlintrepid From United States of America, joined May 2005, 124 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 4242 times:



Quoting Reliantresin (Reply 5):
Looking back at some of my pictures, I think the noise was due to using CS2s Shadow/Highlight correction tool.

Yeh, you have to be careful with that tool. I don't normally use it.

Quoting Reliantresin (Reply 5):
OK. Here is a pretty standard shot

Thats is a cool shot! It is a little soft. Do you use the center AF point? Everybody has their own ways, but I find it easier to focus on what I want. You may want to try AI servo mode too.

Quoting Dvincent (Reply 6):
Nothing wrong with using ISO 200 even on sunny days

This is true, but it also depends on how well your camera can handle a higher ISO. Its always better to shoot low ISO whenever possible. (alot of times I end up leaving it on iso200 though)

Reliantresin, just make sure you have a fast enough shutter with a low ISO. I hate to tell you to use a low ISO and all your photos come out blurry, I would feel bad.

I can't wait to get my L lens now!  Smile



~its a JEEP thang~
User currently offlineDvincent From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1745 posts, RR: 11
Reply 8, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 4238 times:
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Quoting Klintrepid (Reply 7):
This is true, but it also depends on how well your camera can handle a higher ISO. Its always better to shoot low ISO whenever possible. (alot of times I end up leaving it on iso200 though)

ISO 200 is nowhere near "high." In fact, many sensors use 200 as their base and 100 is a bit of a kludge.

The point is that the difference between them is almost indiscernible on any DSLR.



From the Mind of Minolta
User currently offlineKlintrepid From United States of America, joined May 2005, 124 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 4233 times:



Quoting Dvincent (Reply 8):

I still like to be on the safe side  Smile



~its a JEEP thang~
User currently offlineViv From Ireland, joined May 2005, 3142 posts, RR: 28
Reply 10, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 4206 times:



Quoting Reliantresin (Reply 5):
CS2s Shadow/Highlight correction tool.

A tool of the devil. To be used very carefully if burnt fingers are to be avoided. I rarely use it.



Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-400, Fuji X Pro 1, Fujinon 35 f/1.4, Fujinon 18 f/2
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