Granite
Topic Author
Posts: 5026
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 5:55 pm

Focusing

Fri Nov 10, 2000 8:54 pm

Hi all

Anyone want to share their focusing techniques?

Some years ago now I read a Japanese aviation photography article (in English!) about focusing, especially with auto-focus.

It mentioned about focusing on the nose first then pan along the aircraft. I do this now and it works for me.

Sometimes focusing on the centre can make one end of the shot blurry, or is it my developer?

Also, when recently at LHR, I disabled the auto-focus and was a bit happier in my focusing, especially when landing.

Sometimes with the auto-focus, you can 'miss' aircraft while it is trying to focus.......hope you understood that.
My mate, Mr Barnes might have heard me swearing a few times when this happened to me.

Anyone else 'miss' aircraft like this?

Regards to all
Gary Watt
Aberdeen, Scotland
 
ake0404ar
Posts: 2379
Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 10:55 am

RE: Focusing

Fri Nov 10, 2000 9:02 pm

Out of focus, happend to me quite a few times and that mad me really mad. It could have been a really nice shot but I screwed it up.
When it comes to technique we are on the same wave length Gary, mostly I focus on the nose and go along, nevertheless sometimes the autofocus gets irritated as it cannot find a target. For all shots onboard through the windows I disable the autofocus as I had better experience with it.
If I remember well there is a webiste from Nikon or Canon just dedicated to Aviation photography with tips and tricks. I don't know the URL though.
Maybe someone else knows.

Regards
Vasco Garcia
 
DSMav8r
Posts: 575
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2000 2:32 pm

RE: Focusing

Fri Nov 10, 2000 10:29 pm

I think we have all had this problem more than once...   One of the many challenges of shooting fast-moving, metallic objects, is the ever-annoying light reflection that confuses the heck out of your AF. However, I have only had this problem in continuous AF mode, single servo mode seems to work a little better, but its much trickier to work with.

I agree with your panning technique, I just make sure I never focus on the highly-reflective parts... nose-cone, windows, and tail-cone.

Aric Thalman
Omaha, NE
To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love aviation, the sky is home
 
Granite
Topic Author
Posts: 5026
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 5:55 pm

RE: Focusing

Sat Nov 11, 2000 12:29 am

Hi Aric

When you mentioned 'fast moving metallic objects' it reminded me of Heathrow again.

I really needed to get some nice shots of the American 777's and with the weather being right, I wanted it to be perfect.

I tried autofocus on one of them and was not that great as it kept trying to focus so decided to use the manual focus and it worked out good and I was happy with the results.

You can't get more 'metallic' than an American Triple7 

Regards
Gary Watt
Aberdeen, Scotland
 
ckw
Posts: 4586
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:26 am

RE: Focusing

Sat Nov 11, 2000 2:15 am

The more I hear about autofocus, the more I'm glad I've stuck with manual focus! Focus on the nose is generally you best bet, particularly with approaching aircraft a) the cockpit tends to draw the eye, get this blurry and the pic is in trouble, even if other parts are sharp. b) depth of field extends further behind the point of focus than in front.

In profile shots, again go for the cockpit. This MAY mean engine pods, wing tips out of focus, but this is better than the other way round.

When focusing, I tend to pick up the aircraft some way out and start tracking the cockpit - I get a rough focus fairly quickly and sort of hunt around that point as the plane gets closer - easier to do than describe!

Cheers,

Colin
Colin K. Work, Pixstel
 
APP
Posts: 502
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 7:11 am

RE: Focusing

Sat Nov 11, 2000 3:14 am

I dont know if I have a problem or not, I wear contact lenses, which means that even with the lenses in my sight is not 'spot on'. Therefore if I use manual focus, am I adjusting the focus to suit my eye and therefore throwing the actual focus out slightly? I don't know if my problem is with my eyes or my camera lens. I've even sought advice in this forum before about changing my Sigma lens for a Nikon lens.
Anyhow with the autofocus switched on I've missed loads of potentially good photo-opportunities as the A/F decides to refocus at the exact point that I want to depress the shutter release.
C'est la vie!!!  
Regards,
APP.
 
mirage
Posts: 3612
Joined: Mon May 31, 1999 4:44 am

RE: Focusing

Sat Nov 11, 2000 4:14 am

It's really frustating when I want to shot and the camera don't wants to shot, this happens sometimes when I want to photograph planes moving fast on the runway, mostly with those white liveries. Sometimes I focus on some point of the runway and after passing to manual focus, I wait till the plane passes over that point of the runway, not 100% perfect. Sometimes I'm following the plane but predicting that the camera will not be able to focus, so I pass to manual while composing the picture wich is a kind of stressing.

English is not my natural language, I don't understand what do you mean with "...focusing on the nose first then pan along the aircraft..." what is pan along the aircraft?

Luis, Faro, Portugal
 
Aer Lingus
Posts: 1217
Joined: Sun May 14, 2000 4:06 am

Luis

Sat Nov 11, 2000 4:47 am

Luis,
Pan means to move from left to right or from right to left along the length of the aircraft fuselage or body

Hope that explains it a little better !

Martin
 
Jormy
Posts: 220
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2000 4:36 am

RE: Luis

Sat Nov 11, 2000 5:57 am

Hi there.

I don't know which cameras you use but I have not experienced this kind of problem with autofocus - not at all.

I use the following cameras: Canon EOS50E and EOS300. Both have more than one focusing point and that way at least one of the points is usually on the plane and the camera is able to focus correctly and quickly without lens "hunting" for a point to focus.
As a matter of fact I have never regretted selling my MF gear and moving to AF-age, AF focuses always 100% correct and that way you don't have to worry about focusing when taking the pic.

If I were using a MF camera or a single focus point AF-camera (with line-type, not cross type focusing sensor) I would _always_ focus to some part of the plane where are vertical lines, ie: tail, engines, wing, nose, etc...


-Janne
Helsinki, Finland
http://personal.inet.fi/private/efhk

 
PUnmuth@VIE
Posts: 3119
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2000 9:31 pm

RE: Focusing

Sat Nov 11, 2000 5:58 am

I've got some other kind of focussing problem. I do my Pictures with a NIKON Collpix 990 and the manual focus isn't realy useful for moving objects, so I have to use autofocus. So when the temperatures are realyy high the camera seems to be unable to focus on the plane. I mean whe the air is really blurry because of the hot concrete its very hard to get sharp pictures. Frustrating but I think I have to live with this disadvantage of this digicam because I like the advantages.
Peter
-
 
mirage
Posts: 3612
Joined: Mon May 31, 1999 4:44 am

RE: Luis

Sat Nov 11, 2000 6:45 am

but why the need to move that way along the fuselage after focusing the nose? I think after focusing the nose it should be enough to compose the picture and shot.
 
USAir_757
Posts: 949
Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2000 12:30 am

RE: Mirage

Sat Nov 11, 2000 7:33 am

I hate that too! I have missed countless shots to the AF. The problem is, the lens on my camera very easily gets knocked out of focus on MF mode. I will most likely be getting a 70-210 lens and keeping my old Pentax(I love that camera - I hate the lens it has now).

Has anyone got the Quantaray 70-210 f4-f5.6 MF lens? I'll be choosing from either that or the Sigma 70-210 f4-f5.6 MF lens. But i'd like to see a result from the Quantaray lens.


Cheers,
C. Wassell
-Cullen Wassell @ MLI | Pentax K5 + DA18-55WR + Sigma 70-300 DL Macro Super
 
Granite
Topic Author
Posts: 5026
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 5:55 pm

RE: Mirage

Sat Nov 11, 2000 7:49 am

Hi USAir_757

I curently use the Sigma 70-210mm UC Zoom, 1:4 - 5.6

Regards
Gary Watt
Aberdeen, Scotland
 
DSMav8r
Posts: 575
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2000 2:32 pm

RE: Mirage

Sat Nov 11, 2000 8:25 am

USAir,

Quantaray lenses are manufactured by Sigma for Ritz Camera. The build quality and optics are not very good (lots of plastic).

The newest generation of Sigma lenses are pretty nice, I have used the new 50-500mm and was very impressed with it.

You may also want to look at Tamron and Tokina, they make excellent 3rd party lenses as well.

Aric Thalman
Omaha, NE


To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love aviation, the sky is home
 
USAir_757
Posts: 949
Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2000 12:30 am

RE: Focusing

Sat Nov 11, 2000 8:52 am

Ok, based on tht i'll go with the Sigma lens. Gary's photos REALLY speak out on the quality of thta lens. Best of all I can get it on cameraworld.com for $130 !

--OFF TOPIC--
DSM we're missing you in the chat!!!!!  


Cheers,
C. Wassell
-Cullen Wassell @ MLI | Pentax K5 + DA18-55WR + Sigma 70-300 DL Macro Super
 
DSMav8r
Posts: 575
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2000 2:32 pm

RE: Focusing

Sat Nov 11, 2000 9:23 am

The Sigma would be a good choice, especially for the price. Here are a few websites that have excellent lens reviews:

http://www.photodo.com
http://www.photozone.de

-------------------------
I will try to make it into chat soon, I am in the process of moving, so I don't have a lot of free time.

Aric Thalman
Omaha, NE
To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love aviation, the sky is home
 
mikey
Posts: 186
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 1999 4:04 pm

RE: URL

Sat Nov 11, 2000 12:47 pm

Here is the url for the japanese site about aviation photography from Nikon

http://www.nikon.co.jp/main/eng/photo_world/cbp/cbp2-1e.htm
Ex LAX, LGB, SNA aviation photographer
 
USAir_757
Posts: 949
Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2000 12:30 am

RE: Focusing

Sat Nov 11, 2000 1:31 pm

Gary: In MF mode, does your lens have any resistance on the focusing?


Thanks
C. Wassell
-Cullen Wassell @ MLI | Pentax K5 + DA18-55WR + Sigma 70-300 DL Macro Super
 
Granite
Topic Author
Posts: 5026
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 5:55 pm

RE: Focusing

Sat Nov 11, 2000 9:43 pm

Hi USAir_757

No resistance at all.

As I mentioned before my recent trip to LHR I used the manual quite a lot. It worked well and will try and use it more often.

My AA757 'Dangling the Dunlops' on Airliners was shot manually.

Hope this helps.

Regards
Gary Watt
Aberdeen, Scotland
 
Cathay111
Posts: 517
Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 8:21 am

RE: Focusing

Sun Nov 12, 2000 8:58 am

G'day Gazza!

Mate, I either point at the nose gear or main gear to get the focus and then centre the aircraft and take the shot. Also if the aircraft has very clear title on the fuselage you can just point at that.

Quite a simple trick really, but the proof is in the pudding!!!

Anyway, I am off to get the dingo outta the dunny as he's drinking all my VB!!!

Cheers Mate
Craig Murray
 
dullesguy
Posts: 243
Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2000 12:12 am

RE: Luis

Mon Nov 13, 2000 11:55 am

If the plane is coming left to right on the approach does it matter if you pan "against" its movement in this case pan right to left?




stephen
"..the joy of the Lord is your strength" Nehemiah 8:10
 
ckw
Posts: 4586
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:26 am

RE: Luis

Mon Nov 13, 2000 6:27 pm

Just a tad! I don't think you've quite got the panning concept yet ...

In order for an image to be sharp, it must have no perceptible movement in relation to the camera at the point when the film is exposed. By using a fast shutter (eg. 500th) the film is exposed for such a brief time, that the subject has not moved a significant distance during the exposure time (unless we're talking VERY fast jets). But when you use a slow shutter speed, say 1/60th, an aircraft will have moved a noticable distance in that time, causing a blur on the film. To counteract this, you can "track" or pan the aircraft with the camera, so that there is no movement of the subject IN RELATION TO THE CAMERA (though now the background will begin to apprea to move, and reproduce blurred).

If you pan in the opposite direction of movement, you will INCREASE the relative motion (camera moving one way/aircraft the other) and get a very blurry subject.

Cheers,

Colin
Colin K. Work, Pixstel

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