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Let's Talk About Manual  
User currently offlineBmiBaby737 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 1814 posts, RR: 9
Posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 3145 times:

So I have a Nikon D80 that I shoot with, normally (unless shooting propeller aircraft) I use aperture priority F/8 which seems to be the norm around here. However, I've started noticing that my shutter speed becomes quite high... to a point where it really doesn't feel like it needs to be.

A clear winter's day, the sun is shining, there is no haze, and the aircraft are steadily coming in to land. I get results ranging from ISO 100 F8 1/1000s to ISO 200 F8 1/750s

So, my question is; should I be considering manual for aviation photography? What sort of settings can I use to get to grips with manual? Is there any difference in quality if the settings are correct vs. aperture priority?

An example here, ISO 200 F8 1.750s

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Photo © JRC



bmi

10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineStealthZ From Australia, joined Feb 2005, 5704 posts, RR: 44
Reply 1, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 3128 times:
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Quoting BmiBaby737 (Thread starter):
What sort of settings can I use to get to grips with manual?

Until you understand metering you can't get to grips with manual.

How were you planning to meter your exposure?

Quoting BmiBaby737 (Thread starter):
Is there any difference in quality if the settings are correct vs. aperture priority?

Theoretically no... but that depends on your skill at metering and exposure setting V the accuracy of your camera



If your camera sends text messages, that could explain why your photos are rubbish!
User currently offlineJeffM From United States of America, joined May 2005, 3266 posts, RR: 52
Reply 2, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 3127 times:



Quoting BmiBaby737 (Thread starter):
should I be considering manual for aviation photography? What sort of settings can I use to get to grips with manual? Is there any difference in quality if the settings are correct vs. aperture priority?

Absolutely. Your images will be far more consistent. You said it, the light isn't changing, so why is your camera changing things on every shot? You can chimp like a fool to get the settings you want to dial in manually, or, you can get a meter, press a button and be done with it.


User currently offlineNIKV69 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 3120 times:

I switched to shooting mostly Manual couple of years ago and love it. Sure you have to go through a ton of trial and error with the exposure but once you get an idea what spots and what sun it's not that hard. I think the results are much better. I mean if you are sitting at a spot with good light and 10 B6 320s go by for you to test shoot you can't get the right settings by the time a heavy you want comes by?

User currently offlineStealthZ From Australia, joined Feb 2005, 5704 posts, RR: 44
Reply 4, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3117 times:
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Quoting JeffM (Reply 2):
Absolutely. Your images will be far more consistent.
When I first saw this thread I wondered if I should respond or just wait for JeffM to chime in... knew it wouldn't take long.

What he and Nik says is true, once you come to grips with manual shooting(and Jeff is correct in his continual evangelizing of incident metering) the consistency will amaze you.

Cheers

[Edited 2009-11-24 05:32:22]


If your camera sends text messages, that could explain why your photos are rubbish!
User currently offlineUnattendedBag From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2328 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3114 times:



Quoting BmiBaby737 (Thread starter):
ranging from ISO 100 F8 1/1000s to ISO 200 F8 1/750s

I might suggest turning "ISO auto" off.



Slower traffic, keep right
User currently offlineDvincent From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1745 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3094 times:
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I would consider using the auto exposure lock feature on your camera once you've metered something you like. This should help you get a feel while still having the metering system around. You will naturally want to meter slightly differently on some planes to keep highlights from blowing out, and you can still use your exposure compensation on the locked value.


From the Mind of Minolta
User currently offlineTrackcharlie From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 76 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3074 times:

Does also depend what metering mode you camera is set to. I personally have got better results using Aperture Priority, as the light may (or may not) be fairly consistent but some liveries bounce more light than others making it hard to quickly choose a shutter speed. American vs United for example. I'm quite happy for the cameras sophisticated systems to decide for me, coupled with any exposure compensation. Plus I shoot RAW so I can tweak exposures after the event at home. Another point for me is that my LCD can look dark on a bright day leading me to overexpose a little.

Quoting BmiBaby737 (Thread starter):
Is there any difference in quality if the settings are correct vs. aperture priority?

No I don't believe so. Same lens and sensor. What you dial in might have been selected by the camera anyway. If you feel your shutter speed is too high use the lowest ISO your camera has, this will drop it some.

Maybe I've been photographing at the wrong times, but at f/8 I dont ever remember being concerned about my shutter speed being too high!


TC.


User currently offlineClickhappy From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 9635 posts, RR: 68
Reply 8, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 3057 times:
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PHOTO SCREENER



Quoting Trackcharlie (Reply 7):
Does also depend what metering mode you camera is set to.

Just to clarify, "Metering Modes" are Zone, Spot, and Center-Weighted (might be called different names on different camera brands).


User currently offlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 9, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 3044 times:



Quoting Clickhappy (Reply 8):
Just to clarify, "Metering Modes" are Zone, Spot, and Center-Weighted

Canons generally have four - evaluative, partial, centre-weighted and spot. At least my 30D does anyway.....

I started with Av (aperture priority), then turned to manual and have now come full-circle back to Av. Why? The consistency I'm getting with Av is very good, with far less hassle. Idle? Yes. Happy with it? Yes.

Manual won't get better results but will perhaps be more precise; but as someone already mentioned if you shoot in RAW it's often pretty irrelevant.

Having used the same camera/lens for nearly three years now I'm quite capable of knowing exactly how to use it in Av mode, without the need for incident metres or grey cards. A combination or metering modes and stop compensation is all that's needed. Having said that, I'd definitely have a go at manual - I certainly enjoyed it (until I got too lazy!).

At the end of the day, if you're getting the results YOU want (i.e. for many good enough to upload here) there's no need to change settings. If it ain't broke, yadda-yadda-yadda.....

I switched to manual because little things weren't quite right. I've now learned exactly how to iron out those 'little things' in Av mode.

On a final note, once in a while I'll pull off a shot I think would've been better taken in manual - but after a little tweak in RAW converter........

Karl


User currently offlineCpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4879 posts, RR: 38
Reply 10, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 2975 times:

Quoting BmiBaby737 (Thread starter):
So, my question is; should I be considering manual for aviation photography? What sort of settings can I use to get to grips with manual? Is there any difference in quality if the settings are correct vs. aperture priority?

This I can assist with.  

Use the highlights/shadows display, and the RGB histogram view to determine the right exposure. Start with F8 or F9 as a baseline, and work out the exposure from there. The highlights/shadows display will show you any detail that is blown out by exposure not being correct, and the histogram is an added benefit.

Also, try using pre-set white-balance (WB), this will also allow you to get much more consistency. In sunny conditions, the WB should be cooler, around the 4550-4700K range. In cloudy conditions, it should be warmer, around the 4900-5200K range.

The Nikon D80 might be older, but it is still an excellent camera and will get you great results if you use it right.

[Edited 2009-11-24 14:09:41 by cpd]

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