hccue From Ecuador, joined Sep 2010, 3 posts, RR: 0 Posted (2 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 1678 times:
I have a Nikon D5100 Camera with a 300mm lens.
I get great sharp images everywhere except from inside the cockpit of my aircraft, a B767.
Specially when I try to focus at subjects below the aircraft such as other passing aircraft, islands, etc.
The image looks extremely blur (same through the viewfinder) and the camera is unable to lock the focus even though the naked eye gets a fairly sharp image through the glass.
I wonder how all these great air-to-air and air-to-ground images that I see here are taken.
CaptainKramer From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2012, 188 posts, RR: 0 Reply 1, posted (2 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 1641 times:
These are all suggestions, as I have have never taken pictures from the flightdeck, only from the cabin of Commercial Aircraft, using wide angle lenses.
Having said that I would recommend that you should try and experiment with lenses with a wider angle than using a zoom lens like the 300mm, because a zoom lens is just going to magnify any imperfections in the windshield glass, although I am surprised that flightdeck windows aren't, from an optical P.O.V. as flawless as I assumed, although I do understand that there are several layers sandwiched together to make a flightdeck windshield pane, so it is a big ask.
Also try and experiment with low fstops to reduce the depth of field, and put as much distance between you and the windshield, (without leaving your seat of course!) to help blur any imperfections present in the glass windshield you are photographing through.
Using a wider angle lens, will still enable you to extract a usable image from within the scene, without magnifying the windshield imperfections, be it a landscape, clouds, or passing aircaft. Good photo software editing skills will go along way to sharpen the image as well.
Also try and photograph as perpendicular as possible to the front flat pane of the B767, as this will minimize the amount of windshield glass you are photographing through. Try and avoid shooting out of curved side windows, as found on the B767 as these would not be optically sound as the front flat panes would be.
I look forward to hearing if these suggestions were helpful at all.
ckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 660 posts, RR: 17 Reply 2, posted (2 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 1633 times:
I think the primary problem is that to get good images it is essential that the lens is exactly at right angles (vertically and horizontally) to the glass, and the longer the focal length, the more critical this becomes - you can try this out on your windows at home, but the thick cockpit glass will make this even more important.
I've not tried, but I suspect getting a 300 exactly flat on the glass in the cockpit won't be easy - you really need to have the lens hood held square against the glass. And of course, when you do that you have limited scope to change where the lens is pointing!
but as Frank and Colin already suggested, if you want to avoid blurriness, shoot at right angles as much as possible.
That's about the only real good suggestion I can give you. I cannot say that wide angle lenses produce better results than higher zoom ranges. I already got very decent shots at 80mm and even +200mm. Keep the lens as close to the window a possible and at as straight an angle as possible and you should do fine.
hccue From Ecuador, joined Sep 2010, 3 posts, RR: 0 Reply 4, posted (2 months 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 1511 times:
Thanks a lot for the great advice.
I tried all your suggestions except for the lens change and I can see some improvement.
I don't know exactly the difference between the front and the side windows but trying to get a decent photo from a side window is completely useless no matter the technique.
Front windows are decent if shooting perpendicular and as far from the frame as possible.
But side windows are far worse than passenger windows, it's some kind of curved plastic.
photopilot From Canada, joined Jul 2002, 2540 posts, RR: 19 Reply 6, posted (2 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 1441 times:
Quoting hccue (Thread starter): The image looks extremely blur (same through the viewfinder) and the camera is unable to lock the focus even though the naked eye gets a fairly sharp image through the glass.
So why not try some shots turning OFF the autofocus and focusing manually. If your eyes can see it sharply, or fairly sharply thru the windown, you should be able to get an image at least that sharp. Autofocus is not the end-all and cure-all of all photo situations.
It is hard to explain. It is not that the camera is unable to focus like it is in low light. In that case manual focus does the trick.
The problem is that it is blurry at any focus ring setting. I think that as Colin says, the windshield acts as a lens that cannot be focused. At first I thought I had a bad lens but it works well out of the cockpit.
I had the idea that a whole lot of photographers should have come across this problem.