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Heat/atmospheric Haze Qs From A Newb Sony User  
User currently offlineGandalf19 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2013, 4 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 3568 times:

So I shot, for the first time, at LHR yesterday, using a Sony a77 and the highly regarded Sony 70-400 G lens. I had tested my copy of the lens on static targets some weeks ago and found it to be very sharp, even at 400mm and wide open. BUT, most of my 400mm shots from my LHR shoot yesterday were poor - not sharp. I used shutter speeds of 1/1000 to 1/2000 in S mode, with continuous focus selected. I left SSS on (was this a mistake for panning shots?). The camera gave me focus lock confirmation but I still found that my 400mm shots are quite soft. Now bearing in mind that my previous testing had found this lens to be sharp at 400mm with static subjects, I am thinking:-

1. My panning technique needs improvement - yes, entirely possible though I have used panning for lots of other subjects in the past, such as sports, horse racing, etc., so I am familiar with panning.
2. The a77 camera and lens combo is not good for moving subjects - doubtful as I have seen plenty of good aviation shots with this lens and camera combination

So I am wondering - it was quite warm (well, by UK standards) with strong bright sunshine - could some kind of heat haze have been an issue with my shots of airliners taking off? Does heat create atmospheric haze even quite high above the runway, or just for a few feet above it?

Later in the day I moved position and got some better shots at 100-200mm - these were sharp - now this could be because the lens is better at 100-200 but I don't think this is the answer as I did not find this in my earlier testing on static subjects - could it be simply because the airliners were closer for these shots and so not subject to the effects of atmospheric and heat haze?

I have been shooting DSLRs for many years but this was my first attempt shooting airliners so any specific advice about this subject would be greatly appreciated. I shoot raw on the a77 by the way, and process in LR and DXO Optics Pro.

12 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinedazbo5 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2005, 2820 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (10 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 3555 times:

Quoting Gandalf19 (Thread starter):
So I am wondering - it was quite warm (well, by UK standards) with strong bright sunshine - could some kind of heat haze have been an issue with my shots of airliners taking off? Does heat create atmospheric haze even quite high above the runway, or just for a few feet above it?

Shooting at 400mm at this time of year is very difficult when the sun is shining at heat haze will pretty much remove the quality from your shots. You need to go early or late when heat haze is reduced at this time of year. Atmosheric conditions dictate quality of shots as much as the camera / lens. You need to consider the effects of atmospheric condistons on your shots when using long lenses at this timeof year.

Darren



Equipment: 2x Canon EOS 50D; Sigma 10-20 EX DC HSM, 50-500 EX APO DG, Canon 24-105 f/4 L, Speedlite 430EX
User currently offlineckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 713 posts, RR: 16
Reply 2, posted (10 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 3502 times:

Likely that the atmospherics cause the problem ... but one thought

You say you were using a shutter speed of 1000 -2000th and panning. Well at that speed the need to pan is questionable, but, it may cause a conflict with the stabilistaion. I'm not familiar with the A77's system, but if it had more than one mode, you must select the pan mode - otherwise you are fighting with the camera as it tries to correct for your pan. If it only has one mode, then probably best to turn it off.

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 9396 posts, RR: 27
Reply 3, posted (10 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3486 times:
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Quoting Gandalf19 (Thread starter):
1. My panning technique needs improvement - yes, entirely possible though I have used panning for lots of other subjects in the past, such as sports, horse racing, etc., so I am familiar with panning.
Quoting Gandalf19 (Thread starter):
2. The a77 camera and lens combo is not good for moving subjects - doubtful as I have seen plenty of good aviation shots with this lens and camera combination

I doubt either of those were the case. Panning technique won't matter too much at 1/1000+ shutter speed, unless you're really jerking the camera around. And the camera/lens combo shouldn't really care whether you're shooting still or moving subjects (with the exception of the image stabilization issue that was pointed out by Colin).

Quoting Gandalf19 (Thread starter):
Does heat create atmospheric haze even quite high above the runway, or just for a few feet above it?

It can reach quite high above the ground, depending on conditions. All you need for heat haze are differing air temperatures. I've had a few days at LAX where heat haze was noticeable up to a few hundred feet. And any atmospheric phenomena will show up more and more clearly as you increase focal length.

If you want to post a photo, I'm sure people will be happy to take a look.



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offlinedvincent From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1736 posts, RR: 11
Reply 4, posted (10 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 3459 times:
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The a77 (and all sony DSLRs) will automatically disable steadyshot in the direction of panning to avoid conflicts. Has been true since the Konica Minolta A1 that introduced Antishake.

I used the KM 5D, Sony a700 and now the Sony a99 along with the 70-400G for many years at all focal lengths with great results.

Post an example and I can give you some insight.

[Edited 2013-06-06 14:17:28]


From the Mind of Minolta
User currently offlineGandalf19 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2013, 4 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (10 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 3401 times:

OK - here is an example.

Exposure details: ISO 200, 1/1000s, f5.6, Sony 70-400G @ 400mm handheld. Processed from raw with DXO optics and run through an edge sharpen in Photoshop. This was shot at 08:08 earlier this week at LHR from the benches outside the Renaissance Hotel - the aircraft was taking off from 09R. Temp must have been about 15 degrees C.

This is reduced for screen viewing - the softness is not so apparent?

It is here on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcoc/8976602488/

Now here is a 100% crop where you can now see what I mean - is this to be expected of a 400mm lens viewed at 100% when the aircraft is half a mile or more away?

See here on Flickr for 100% crop:- http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcoc/8976616904/


User currently offlineviv From Ireland, joined May 2005, 3142 posts, RR: 29
Reply 6, posted (10 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3390 times:

That last photo is a victim of heathaze.


Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-400, Fuji X Pro 1, Fujinon 35 f/1.4, Fujinon 18 f/2
User currently offlineGandalf19 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2013, 4 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (10 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3385 times:

Another example 100% crop is here, this time 1/1250, ISO125:-

http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcoc/8977083176/

Again, I would ask - is this what you would expect of a 100% crop from a good DSLR and very good lens like the 70-400G at 400mm at a distance of 3/4 mile or so ?


User currently offlineckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 713 posts, RR: 16
Reply 8, posted (10 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3379 times:

Ignoring what (I assume) flickr has done - lots of jpg artifacts - I think this is "heat haze". The air temperature is not really relevant. The problem is that between you and your subject, you have a sun beating down on a lot of tarmac (car parks) - its the heat of the air rising off the tarmac relative to the standard air temperature that is causing the problem.

I think there may be a slight problem with the focus point in the last example - the cabin windows aft of the wind seem sharper than anything else - but its hard to tell due to the haze effect.

There is no real solution to this. Shooting across tarmac in sun will nearly always produce this effect regardless of time of year. Very windy conditions can help as the effect is dissipated much closer to the ground. Finding a location where the ground cover is vegetation between you and the subject will also help.

Note that what is generally referred to as heat haze can have 2 components - one is the turbulence caused by the temperature differential still air and the air rising off the ground. This can occur on the coldest of days when the sun is out.

The other is atmospheric pollution (dust etc.) which is worst on warm humid days as the air can hold more dust in suspension (and of course jet engines produce a lot of particles!).

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 9396 posts, RR: 27
Reply 9, posted (10 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3363 times:
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It would also behoove you to get significantly closer to your subject. You're wasting a lot of the frame, and being farther away introduces more heat haze, as well, not to mention cutting down on detail and quality in the resulting image.

I would almost never expect a good, sharp shot of an airplane from 1/2 to 3/4 mile away. At least, not in LA!



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offlineRCoulter From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 535 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (10 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 3359 times:

Those 100% crops look like the effect of a combination of heat haze, noise reduction, and maybe some compression. Do you have a shot SOOC (straight out of camera) with no extra post processing?

[Edited 2013-06-07 08:49:27]

[Edited 2013-06-07 08:49:57]

User currently offlinedvincent From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1736 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (10 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 3347 times:
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Yeah, that looks like heat haze combined with pushing the shadows too much and not filling enough frame.


From the Mind of Minolta
User currently offlineGandalf19 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2013, 4 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (10 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 3346 times:

Quoting RCoulter (Reply 10):

I will try to post OOC but I shot raw so whatever I post will be a raw coverter's take on the raw file. The only NR used was that built into DXO, which is based on camera specific profiles...


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