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Question On Prop Blur........  
User currently offlineJThompson From Australia, joined Mar 2009, 21 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 11675 times:

Hi all,

I've been having difficulty getting sharp shots when trying to get Prop Blur with a subject.

All advice that I have seen says that most Lens's have their sweet spot at around Aperture f8, but to try and get some Prop Blur I use TV or M modes to get a slower Shutter speed, (I usually shoot in AV, Aperture Priority mode), which throws out the f8 Aperture, and the pic turns out way bright or way dark, and when it does looks ok, it is always soft.

I am getting a good result with the Prop Blur, but the Aperture the Camera is selecting causes the picture to be very soft, and if the shot is turning out dark, increasing the ISO may introduce noise.

So is it just my shooting technique that is causing these shots to be soft with the slower Shutter speed selected, or are there some things I am missing here with settings?

I am using a Canon 40D with a 100-400L Lens.

I apologise if this is a stupid question and there is a simple answer, but I am still new to trying to shoot in any other mode other than AV and any help will be much appreciated!

Cheers,
Jeff.

56 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSpencer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1635 posts, RR: 17
Reply 1, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 11656 times:

Hi Jeff, firstly it's not a silly Q. It's not an easy thing to accomplish and you've seen that first hand now. It takes a very steady hand, something I used to think I had....! So a tripod is always handy, especially on stationary ac. Perhaps get yourself a monopod for added support when things are moving? I always shoot in Tv mode for blur and M if I want to override anything. You can try compensating the aperture if things seem to be softening up (excuse the pun!). In fact I normally always have to do exactly that so the image doesn't blow out.
Spence.



EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
User currently offlineJThompson From Australia, joined Mar 2009, 21 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 11650 times:

Thanks a lot Spence!

So it is mainly my shooting technique not being steady enough then....I'll have to keep working at it.

Yes I wasn't sure if I had missed something along the line somewhere, settings wise, and whether I was on the right track or not.

Thanks again Spence,

Jeff.


User currently offlineViv From Ireland, joined May 2005, 3142 posts, RR: 28
Reply 3, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 11638 times:

You are correct in using shutter priority. As long as the aperture does not get smaller than about f/11 or f/13, softness should not be a problem. If you really want to keep f/8 with a slow shutter speed, put a gray filter on the lens. This will reduce the amount of light getting through and the camera will open up the aperture to compensate.

But it does take a steady hand. This shot was at 1/40th/sec, f/13 with a 400mm lens, if I remember correctly. It was hand-held.


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Photo © Vivion Mulcahy




Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-400, Fuji X Pro 1, Fujinon 35 f/1.4, Fujinon 18 f/2
User currently offlineDendrobatid From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 1671 posts, RR: 62
Reply 4, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 11615 times:
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HEAD SCREENER

I hate to see frozen props and as a lot of what I photograph is prop driven, I use Tv all the time keeping the shutter speed as low as I can which means that I drop the shutter speed if I am closer to the action, the 100mm end of the lens rather than a higher speed at the longer end.
Aircraft that are not moving do not present a great problem but another factor enters into the equation when the aircraft are in flight and that is the fact that, no matter how steady you are, even using a tripod, the subject will have moved during the exposure leading to a blurred subject.
It is not easy to get a full prop disc on a moving aircraft and, with digital, it is best to take more than one shot to improve your chances of success. I take plenty and expect to throw a lot of unsharp ones away, but can easily visit Cranwell where there is a steady stream of aircraft doing circuits and bumps.

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Photo © Mick Bajcar
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Photo © Mick Bajcar



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Photo © Mick Bajcar
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Photo © Mick Bajcar


Mick Bajcar


User currently offlineJid From Barbados, joined Dec 2004, 972 posts, RR: 31
Reply 5, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 11616 times:

Jeff I find that practice makes perfect. It is a lot about technique. So I tend to practice on the more common aircraft at my local field.

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Photo © Jid Webb


I have tried tripods, monopods etc but find hand held for moving subjects is best. The above shot was a 'practice' shot, TV mode at 1/60 which gave me F16 on my 40D with a 24-105L lens. You won't get many keepers but the few you get normally make up for it.

Good luck,

Jid



G7EPN is back after 15 years! Operating all Bands 80mtrs -> 70cms QRZ DX
User currently offlineDehowie From Australia, joined Feb 2004, 1060 posts, RR: 33
Reply 6, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 11612 times:

Nice shot Viv..
IS is a major air when shhoting at lo shutter speeds so use it to your full advantage. Mode 2 while panning if you know what prop RPM there aircraft runs it can help you work out what shuter speed you need for a full disk.
IE The Dash 8 runs 1200RPM on approach so 1/20th will get you a full disk..not easy at longer focal lengths.
If the plane is taxiing or stationary then a pod or wimberley head will allow really low shutter speeds but if its flying its quite a bit harder..air to air even harder your moving as well.
Lots of respect for anyone getting full discs on air to air...always ask for max rpm for a shoot makes it a lot easier.
Not so slow Herk at 1/100th 600mm

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Photo © Darren Howie - Vortex Aviation Photography



Not quite as fast but lower shutter speed you can see the diff in the pics i really like the full disc you get but not easy to get..
1/40th 480mm handheld..

http://www.vortexaviationphotography.com/Airshow-Photography/Airshow-Downunder-2009-Avalon/blur-herk/587797738_HvPtV-X2-2.jpg

Practice practice practice...



2EOS1DX,EF14.2.8LII,17TS,85/1.2,16-35L,24-70LII,24L,70-200F2.8LII,100-400,300/400/500/800L
User currently offlineAnder From Spain, joined Jan 2005, 367 posts, RR: 21
Reply 7, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 11605 times:



Quoting Jid (Reply 5):
Practice practice practice...

And a bit of luck will help too  Wink)))
Cheers,
Ander



Born to tri.
User currently offlineAndyEastMids From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 1018 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 11567 times:



Quoting Dehowie (Reply 6):
IE The Dash 8 runs 1200RPM on approach so 1/20th will get you a full disk..

1200[RPM]/60[seconds] indeed equals 20 rotations per second, or 1/20th second per full 360 degree rotation... However, that assumes only one prop... If a four bladed prop, you will get overlap between consecutive props and thus the appearance of a full disk at 1/80 or so...

Quoting JThompson (Thread starter):
I am getting a good result with the Prop Blur, but the Aperture the Camera is selecting causes the picture to be very soft,

Maybe not soft but very slightly motion blurred due to the slow shutter speed - it can be a little difficult to tell...

Andy


User currently offlinePsych From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 3052 posts, RR: 58
Reply 9, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 11545 times:
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Hi Jeff.

All good advice. The only issue I would add is that I have found when shooting using Tv - which results in a small aperture - that my camera has a tendency towards overexposure more than at mid range 'f' numbers. For example, the shot below was purposely taken using Tv for prop blur, giving an f-number of 20 (and it was still 1/160th because the aircraft was taxiing relatively fast, so I needed to ensure there was no obvious motion blur):

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Photo © Paul Markman


But I needed 2/3rds of a stop underexposure, because I had found previously with bright aircraft that overexposure so often resulted (I have a 40D too).

Cheers.

Paul


User currently offlineSpencer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1635 posts, RR: 17
Reply 10, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 11522 times:

One thing I have noticed on my last two outings, trying for prop blur/full disc, was that the gazillion dust spots I have on my sensor showed up very clearly, even on the thumbnail!! Has anyone else witnessed this particualr problem, with dust spots and ultra slow Tv?
Spence.



EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
User currently offlineDendrobatid From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 1671 posts, RR: 62
Reply 11, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 11510 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD SCREENER



Quoting Spencer (Reply 10):
Has anyone else witnessed this particular problem, with dust spots and ultra slow Tv?

Absolutely !
Stopping the lens down dramatically really shows the dust spots up.
I even wondered about using ND filters as the lens seems softer when stopped down a lot too, though I have not yet resorted to that. I did try a circular polariser but the focussing on the 40D did not like it when fitted to a 100-400
Mick


User currently offlineSpencer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1635 posts, RR: 17
Reply 12, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 11503 times:

Thanks Mick, I actually wasn't sure if I was a. seeing things, b. going mental or c. completely messing things up!!
Now then, what would cause the dust spots to show up using a slow shutter speed (with a long focal length and stopping down)? Perhaps just more time for the light hitting the sensor to show these things up?
Spence.



EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
User currently offlineDendrobatid From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 1671 posts, RR: 62
Reply 13, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 11496 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD SCREENER



Quoting Spencer (Reply 12):
Perhaps just more time for the light hitting the sensor to show these things up?

Uh ? At 3 x10 to the power of 8 metres/sec for the light, no, certainly not.

Not sure how it happens but it certainly does. I use this phenomenon to actually check the cleanliness of my sensor. I point the lens skywards and take a few shots of an even sky with the lens stopped right down.
It certainly shows up any dirt

Mick


User currently offlineSpencer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1635 posts, RR: 17
Reply 14, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 11488 times:



Quoting Dendrobatid (Reply 13):
Uh ? At 3 x10 to the power of 8 metres/sec for the light, no, certainly not.

Haha, 2.21 gigawatts and all that jazz eh Mick....and I thought I'd started drinking early! Not sure whether you meant that in jest or .... but surely a slower Tv would result in more light coming in, thus reflecting the spots onto the sensor? Or? It was actually a serious Q that I'm now really wondering over.
Spence.



EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
User currently offlineDendrobatid From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 1671 posts, RR: 62
Reply 15, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 11482 times:
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HEAD SCREENER



Quoting Spencer (Reply 14):
It was actually a serious Q that I'm now really wondering over.

I'm confused now, but would be intrigued if anyone did have an answer as to why the dust spots show more at very small apertures, but it is certainly a fact that they do.
I will throw another spanner into the works now......
They show more with long lenses too

Mick


User currently offlineSpencer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1635 posts, RR: 17
Reply 16, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 11478 times:

Agreed, long FL, stopped down and/or slow Tv.
Spence.



EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4838 posts, RR: 26
Reply 17, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 11474 times:
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Quoting Dendrobatid (Reply 15):
but would be intrigued if anyone did have an answer as to why the dust spots show more at very small apertures, but it is certainly a fact that they do.

I always assumed it was related to depth of field...



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlinePsych From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 3052 posts, RR: 58
Reply 18, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 11462 times:
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Quoting Dendrobatid (Reply 15):

I'm confused now, but would be intrigued if anyone did have an answer as to why the dust spots show more at very small apertures, but it is certainly a fact that they do.

Me too Mick.

I assume it has to be related to depth of field and light. Imagine shooting an image through a wire fence: with an aperture large enough you can almost 'hide' the wire due to the tiny depth of field, so that at worst it is a grey blur. But with a very small aperture the wire in front of the lens becomes very obtrusive, blocking more light to the camera. I assume it is the same kind of effect, but on the other side of the lens. With a very small aperture a speck of dust covers some of the light sensitive cells of the sensor and really shows, whereas with a large aperture it gets disguised a lot more.

I may be off beam here, but I am certainly taxing my brain cellls!

Cheers.

Paul


User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4838 posts, RR: 26
Reply 19, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 11460 times:
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Quoting Psych (Reply 18):
I assume it has to be related to depth of field and light. Imagine shooting an image through a wire fence: with an aperture large enough you can almost 'hide' the wire due to the tiny depth of field, so that at worst it is a grey blur. But with a very small aperture the wire in front of the lens becomes very obtrusive, blocking more light to the camera. I assume it is the same kind of effect, but on the other side of the lens. With a very small aperture a speck of dust covers some of the light sensitive cells of the sensor and really shows, whereas with a large aperture it gets disguised a lot more.

Exactly how I was thinking.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlineDvincent From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1745 posts, RR: 11
Reply 20, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 11456 times:
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Quoting Dendrobatid (Reply 15):
I'm confused now, but would be intrigued if anyone did have an answer as to why the dust spots show more at very small apertures, but it is certainly a fact that they do.
I will throw another spanner into the works now......
They show more with long lenses too

You're not really seeing the dust spot itself, you're actually seeing a shadow from the dust spot being cast as it sits on top of the low pass filter. The shadow becomes less diffuse (more in focus) as you stop down due to the narrower light source. There's some good discussions on this out there. Paul's analogy is actually spot on, it's a similar effect except with the object in front of the lens instead of behind it.

If you don't have any ND filters, a polarizer will generally act as one in a pinch; most cut out 1 1/3 to 1 2/3rds stops of light.



From the Mind of Minolta
User currently offlinePsych From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 3052 posts, RR: 58
Reply 21, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 11443 times:
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Quoting Dvincent (Reply 20):
You're not really seeing the dust spot itself, you're actually seeing a shadow from the dust spot being cast as it sits on top of the low pass filter. The shadow becomes less diffuse (more in focus) as you stop down due to the narrower light source.

Than makes complete sense to me Dan - thanks for that! I can relax now  wink .

Paul


User currently offlineF4wso From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 974 posts, RR: 11
Reply 22, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 11411 times:

Another aspect of this topic is the speed of the propeller. Photographing during the runup versus the taxi out will yield more blur at a faster shutter speed. Likewise, takeoff propellers will be spinning faster than those in a landing configuration.

Gary,
Cottage Grove, MN, USA



Seeking an honest week's pay for an honest day's work
User currently offlineJThompson From Australia, joined Mar 2009, 21 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 11379 times:

Thanks a lot for all the replies fellas!

I appreciate all the info and tips that have been posted, I will take all of it onboard, and all those shots that you guys posted for examples are fantastic!

I'll keep plugging away at it, and hopefully I can finally get that shot with some nice Prop Blur without the out of focus look or soft.


Cheers,
Jeff.


User currently offlineMjlewis From United States of America, joined Dec 2008, 208 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 11229 times:

Sorry I'm replying to this fairly late in the discussion, but found it to be VERY interesting and helpful, as I just recently had to deal with all this prop blur stuff at the AOPA Summit here in Tampa, and I was trying to shoot some of the GA planes on approach and landing, and get some decent panning shots down. Got maybe a handful of worthy "sharp" ones, but the rest were kept that were halfway decent.

The majority of them were shot at about 1/125-1/100 or so. Used my 70-300 VR so the focal lengths were all over the place, I'll post some up soon!



Flying runs in the family : )
25 Cpd : That's a good shutter speed to use - with 70-300mm, VR and some practice, you'll be getting those kinds of photos much more regularly. 1/60sec and lo
26 Sulman : I'm utterly hopeless at slow shutter speed stuff. Just don't have the steady hands for it. Still, it's very rewarding when it does work out. James
27 Post contains links and images Ptrjong : Wonderful picture that is, Viv. View Large View MediumPhoto © Peter de Jong I had lots of time to figure out this one and found I needed to go d
28 JThompson : Nice shot Peter! Cheers, Jeff.
29 Viv : That's why a darkening gray filter comes in handy.
30 Cpd : Use a VR/IS equipped lens and a tripod. I did it today, VR on, using a new tripod with a good 3-way head and some amazingly low shutter speeds that I
31 Ptrjong : What's that, it simply takes some light out?
32 Cpd : Yes, that's right. Use them to get those motion blurred people walking across a scene in daylight kind of photos. I don't know if there are any avail
33 Astro777lover : Also couldn't you use a polarizing filter? Is it the same thing? -Austin
34 Viv : Not the same thing. I have one that is 77 mm in diameter. Don't know if bigger ones are available.
35 Astro777lover : Oh i didn't know they were talking about a ND filter.
36 Ander : Of course. For big lenses you can use a 52 mm filter that you insert in the drop in filter holder, that you fit in the middle of the lens. Same thing
37 Cpd : I know about the polarising filter, that's a very costly special item (an actual entire drop in thing that is externally adjustable. Didn't know abou
38 Dehowie : ISO 50 helps...
39 Cpd : Oh go away you... You and your Canon stuff.
40 Astro777lover : I wish i had iso 50, that would come in handy sometimes
41 Cpd : Yeah I know. Darren has got me this time. I would have liked to have had it yesterday, instead of using F/14. The results at F/14 were still sharp an
42 Mjlewis : With some cameras, like my D300, we can go into the LO#.# iso, same with HI's, but it's just not the same...
43 Dvincent : Keep in mind that ISO 50 on the Canon 5D/2 is not a "real" ISO, it's just a one stop underexposure that's pulled back via a tone curve. You could get
44 RonS : The man with the most amazing disk rotor blades! I love his shots, some of the best I've seen. Speaking of which though, I caught a helicopter today,
45 Dvincent : Probably both. Chopper rotors operate in the same area of RPM at all phases of flight and their rotation is quite slow - only a few hundred RPM. Give
46 Post contains links RonS : Hey Dan...it was one of those AEROSPATIALE or however you spell it. Not to be confused with the clothing line http://www.airliners.net/addphotos/b...2
47 Dvincent : Yeah, I know those guys. The main rotor turns at just under 400 RPM. That's about 6.667 (rounded) revolutions per second. Given that the 355F1 has a t
48 Sovietjet : Ander, what speeds did you use for those chopper shots with a full disk?
49 Ander : Ivan, that is the speed I used for the Swiss helos. The Cougar and the Alouette have very "slow" rotors. As I wrote in a previous post, luck plays an
50 Dendrobatid : That is absolutely right though there is no doubt that the more the practice, the luckier you should get. With digtal there is little excuse to not t
51 RonS : Dan, as they say in Boston...you're "wicked smat" Thanks. Sure, I agree you have to get lucky, but Ander and Mick are being a tad modest, they have a
52 Dendrobatid : For a static shot, like so many of mine at MAN with a full prop disc, you cannot beat a tripod and that is what I use. The knack is in getting the sh
53 Dvincent : Sounds like you need a gimbal head, Mick. I have a friend who birds with a Minolta 600mm f/4 on a Wimberly - it's a thing of beauty.
54 Ander : Yes, Ron, I use a Gitzo G1320 tripod plus a Wimberley head to hold my 500 mm lens + 1,4 converter, not only for the weight but also a movement the th
55 Post contains links and images Spencer : View Large View MediumPhoto © Ander Aguirre - AirTeamImages Ander..... It also helps to have a good eye and see the shot before it's taken! Spenc
56 Cpd : You need a good tripod / head setup. I'm using a Manfrotto 055XPROB and 808RC4 setup on a heavy camera/lens combo (5.5kg) and have no problems pannin
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