Olympus69
Topic Author
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Digital SLR Camera Settings

Fri Sep 30, 2005 12:44 am

As I am trying to figure out while I have been getting so many rejections lately I thought it might be a good idea to find out if I am making the best use of my Nikon D70.
I would be interested in finding out what settings other Digital SLR owners are using for such things as Autofocus mode, (Single or Continuous); Focus area; Shooting mode (Auto, Program, Shutter, or Aperture Priority, etc.). Also other in-camera enhancements such as sharpening or color mode.
I am interested mainly in settings for action photos of aircraft - landing, taking off etc.I am currently using 1/640sec for the shutter setting. I was using the Program mode but was getting very high shutterspeeds - 1/2000 or faster, and wide apertures. I now seem to be getting photos fairly consistantly under-exposed for some reason. This happens even on sunny days but is worse with overcast conditions. I am using a Nikkor G type lens, 70-300mm, 1:4-5.6.
I would like to hear from users of Canon or other makes as`well since they probably all have similar features, though the names may differ.
 
flyingzacko
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RE: Digital SLR Camera Settings

Fri Sep 30, 2005 12:49 am

Quoting Olympus69 (Thread starter):
I now seem to be getting photos fairly consistantly under-exposed for some reason.

I would say 1/640th of a second is too fast.

Cheers,
Sebastian
Canon 40D + 24-70 f/2.8 L + 70-200 f/4 L + Speedlite 430EX
 
USAF6986
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RE: Digital SLR Camera Settings

Fri Sep 30, 2005 12:52 am

Canon Rebel XT user, Well I use Av or Manual Mode, about Using continuous shooting, ISO 100. I usually try to stay above f/8 when i can, this usually accomplishes anywhere from 640-2000th of a second. I use center weighted metering. and on the settings, i have sat, and anything besides sharpening in the middle, i have it one notch higher. if you are getting slighty underexposed pics, i would use Exposure comp. of a +1/2 or maybe even 1.
 
flyingzacko
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RE: Digital SLR Camera Settings

Fri Sep 30, 2005 1:11 am

Quoting Usaf6986 (Reply 2):
I usually try to stay above f/8 when i can, this usually accomplishes anywhere from 640-2000th of a second.

Is staying above f/8 setting it f/>8 to you? Because if so, I really don't see how that will give you an exposure between 640-2000th of a second, especially when using ISO100.

Cheers,
Sebastian

[Edited 2005-09-29 18:12:29]
Canon 40D + 24-70 f/2.8 L + 70-200 f/4 L + Speedlite 430EX
 
Smalbany
Posts: 255
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RE: Digital SLR Camera Settings

Fri Sep 30, 2005 1:15 am

I use a Canon 300D so I don't have a lot of options regarding metering or focus mode. For jets I usually use aperature priority. I try and keep the aperature set between 6.3 and 8. I use a 70-200 f/4L lens. I only shoot it wide open if the light conditions are bad. For props I usually switch to shutter priority with it set at 1/200 or so. That way you get some motion blur in the props. I always use iso 100.

That my 2 cents.

Hope it is of use.

Dan
 
norfolkjohn
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RE: Digital SLR Camera Settings

Fri Sep 30, 2005 1:31 am

Hi,

I'm not a Nikon user but interestingly I am in correspondence with another D70 user that is also having major acceptance problems and he is also shooting in full auto mode. I would be very interested to know what D70 users with good acceptance ratios are doing as I freely admit, based or reviews I have read, that the D70 should be capable of excellent results.

I use Canon equipment (D10 & D20) and nearly always shoot in Shutter Priority mode. This is largely because I grew up with shutter priority film cameras like the Canon AE1. For action shots what I do depends on the nature of the action to some extent. For approach and landing or take-off shots I generally work at around a 1/320 of a second. For jets I'll push that up to a 1/500 if lighting permits and for props / helicopters I will come down to 1/250 to increase prop / rotor blur. As far as possible I aim to keep aperture above f7.1 with f8 to f11 my ideal. I seldom select the ISO to anything other than 100.

As for AF the standard advice for action shots is AI Servo but I normally use AI Focus which starts off in single shot mode but automatically switches to Servo if the camera detects motion. I also aim to get the lens to refocus just as I'm about to take the shot rather than trying to continuously track the subject for an extended period of several seconds. To do this I focus on the subject initially then take my finger off the shutter release button which will stop any AF tracking then just before taking the shot I half depress the shutter button to do a final focus check hold it down and shoot. If I'm going to adjust the zoom setting I do that before the final focus check so I am not trying to AF track and zoom at the same time. I find the AF very fast indeed and seldom have a problem with a lens losing AF lock or hunting to lock back on the target after AF tracking has been interrupted. I always work with only the center AF point selected as active. I admit that this is probably not a normal way of opeating but it DOES work for me in the situations described above i.e take off, approach and landing.

On the rare occasions I shoot fast jets at an air display I do put the AF on Servo and try to continuously track the subject. I aim for a shutter speed above a 1/500 and prefer to be at 1/1000 while still looking for f7.1 to f11. In other words if it is not a bright day I don't try to get real high speed shots. I would also mention that I am normally using image satabalized lenses (300 f4 L or 100-400 L)

On internal image adjustments in the camera I generally do NOTHING at all. The only exception is that with my 10D I have found that with certain lenses I get slightly better results if I use one increment of in camera sharpening. My general advice would be don't do any colour / contrast / sharpness adjustments in the camera. Do these adjustments in Photo Shop on your computer.

Everyone has their own ways of doing things and the above is just my personal way of working.

All the best.

John
One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning.
 
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PositiveClimb
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RE: Digital SLR Camera Settings

Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:21 am

Okay, Olympus E-300 user here (it's called Olympus Evolt 300 for you Americans out there  Wink ).

Typical settings something like that:
Shooting in Aperture Priority mode, normally at around f6.3 - f9.0 (depending on lighting conditions), always keeping an eye on the resulting shutter time (try to keep it shorter than 1/equivalent focal length as a rule of thumb or even shorter for fast moving objects), ISO100 normally (ISO200 in bad light - normally I avoid using ISO400 or above).
Normally using continuous shooting and continuous AF with only the center measuring point selected, metering is typically center weighted, internal sharpening set to 0 (ranging from -2 aka low to +2 aka high). If needed manual exposure compensation (but normally not more than +/-1/3).

That's it, works fine for me so far, but I think everyone has his "own" settings...

Best Regards,
Fabian/PositiveClimb Big grin
A380 - love at first flight!
 
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scbriml
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RE: Digital SLR Camera Settings

Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:48 am

Quoting Norfolkjohn (Reply 5):
I would be very interested to know what D70 users with good acceptance ratios are doing

Well, I use a D70 anyway!  biggrin 

I shoot in:
A mode (aperture priority), with aperture set to f8-f11 depending on conditions.
AF: continuous
AF-area: single (centre)
Matrix metering.

In bright conditions I usually underexpose by 0.3 or 0.7 to prevent blown highlights.
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana!
 
mikephotos
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RE: Digital SLR Camera Settings

Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:58 am

Quoting Scbriml (Reply 7):
Well, I use a D70 anyway!

I shoot in:
A mode (aperture priority), with aperture set to f8-f11 depending on conditions.
AF: continuous
AF-area: single (centre)
Matrix metering.

In bright conditions I usually underexpose by 0.3 or 0.7 to prevent blown highlights.

Same here (as listed above). Just to add, ISO-200 and usually custom WB using the "pringles cap" or sunny when I'm lazy.

Mike
 
NIKV69
Posts: 10889
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 4:27 am

RE: Digital SLR Camera Settings

Fri Sep 30, 2005 7:04 am

Quoting Mikephotos (Reply 8):
and usually custom WB using the "pringles cap"

Hey Mike  wave 

I use those settings but I have always used the "sunny" setting on white balance. I am going to try that other setting!

Thanks!  biggrin 
Hey that guy with the private jet can bail us out! Why? HE CAN AFFORD IT!
 
Olympus69
Topic Author
Posts: 1571
Joined: Sat Jun 15, 2002 11:21 pm

RE: Digital SLR Camera Settings

Fri Sep 30, 2005 9:13 am

Thanks for all your comments so far. There are several suggestions I will have to try out. Incidentally, I keep the shutter speed quite high because my 78 year old hands are not very steady, and need all the help I can give them!
I have trouble following moving planes accurately and this sometimes leads to chopped off tails or noses. Naturally this usually happens when I am photographing something rare  Sad
I also seem to have a bad habit of getting the plane too low in the frame, which sometimes has a bad effect on the metering, and also rotating the camera about 5 degrees counter-clockwise, which has a bad effect on my temper when I am processing the results  Smile
I have had the D70 since April of last year and have taken about 2,500 photos with it. I have been happy with the results until recently; they have been much better than the Minolta and Olympus point and shoot 10x zoom cameras that preceded it.

John.
 
Tonimr
Posts: 269
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RE: Digital SLR Camera Settings

Sat Oct 01, 2005 4:41 am

Hey John!

I'm not quite sure if I'll be helpful to someone who used to take photos many years before I was even born, but I'll try anyway.  Wink

The minimum ISO 200 of the D70 will allow you to take photos at around f8 with speeds around 1/640 or 1/800 on sunny days, If the sun is hidden by clouds you'd had to slow down to 1/400 or 1/500.

Anyway, as your main concern seems to be avoiding camera shake, I'd try to work in "S" mode at 1/800 or lower (1/500) with less light. If that gives you f8 to f11 you'll be getting the best of your 70-300 and you'll get a reasonable depth of field.

Concerning the underexposure you get, it's quite normal as most digital cameras (specially Nikon's) tend to keep highlights safe. In cloudy conditions it's usual to compensate +1.0 or even more, but remember that an underexposed shot is always easier to rescue...

The D70 matrix metering is quite accurate but I've noticed that you'll get OVERexposure when shooting at aircrafts with a high contrast livery over a blue sky. In this cases you should compensate the exposure -0.3 to -0.7 as Steve suggests or switch to center weighted metering.

Autofocus: AF-C works well for action and AF-S for static slow objects. If you don't want a lot of different angles of an approach you can use AF-S and move apart your finger from the trigger between shots to ensure that each frame is correctly focused.

And don't forget to keep posting those slide scans regularly!

Toni
There is a very fine line between 'hobby' and 'mental illness'.
 
Olympus69
Topic Author
Posts: 1571
Joined: Sat Jun 15, 2002 11:21 pm

RE: Digital SLR Camera Settings

Sat Oct 01, 2005 1:00 pm

Quoting Tonimr (Reply 11):
The minimum ISO 200 of the D70 will allow you to take photos at around f8 with speeds around 1/640

I usually seem to get f10 or 11 with 1/640 on sunny days. Maybe that accounts for the underexposure? Anyway I'm going to take the camera to Nikon in a month or so when I'm not using it as much and have them check it out. I may take some examples of the original photos with all the shooting data on them.

Quoting Tonimr (Reply 11):
And don't forget to keep posting those slide scans regularly!

Slide scans?

Thanks for the advice,

John.
 
Tonimr
Posts: 269
Joined: Tue Jan 30, 2001 4:32 am

RE: Digital SLR Camera Settings

Sat Oct 01, 2005 6:56 pm

Quoting Olympus69 (Reply 12):
I usually seem to get f10 or 11 with 1/640 on sunny days. Maybe that accounts for the underexposure?

Well, that was just an estimation... it depends of the subject or local circumstances...

Quoting Olympus69 (Reply 12):
Anyway, I'm going to take the camera to Nikon in a month or so when I'm not using it as much and have them check it out.

I don't think that your camera needs fixing, the behavior of it seems similar of what I get with my D70 (and quite similar to the D2X). It's just a matter of recognizing when you need to apply a bit of exposure compensation.

Quoting Olympus69 (Reply 12):
Slide scans?

Yes!, I love your older shots...

Toni
There is a very fine line between 'hobby' and 'mental illness'.
 
kc7mmi
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Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2003 3:15 am

RE: Digital SLR Camera Settings

Mon Oct 03, 2005 3:32 am

I thought my D70 was underexposing too until I read an online article that describes that this is the characteristic of the in-camera tonal curve. You can change this curve as long as you have Nikon Capture software. Go to Photogenetic's Custom Tone Curves page for more information on this. I regularly use custom tone curves to improve the image right out of the camera. The great thing is, if you're using Nikon Capture, you can always revert to any of the other in-camera tonal settings.

[Edited 2005-10-02 20:34:24]
 
kc7mmi
Posts: 834
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2003 3:15 am

RE: Digital SLR Camera Settings

Mon Oct 03, 2005 3:48 am

Here's another link for the custom curves:
http://www.pbase.com/oldskoo1/the_curves/
 
DC3
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RE: Digital SLR Camera Settings

Sat Oct 08, 2005 8:14 pm

Hello John.

Although there may be ways of fine-tuning the camera that will help (compensation, etc.) I think your main problem is framing - if the subject isn't more-or-less central, and of a reasonable size, the meter will be heavily influenced by the tone of the sky, which is normally much brighter than that of the aircraft, hence the underexposure. The meter always assumes the subject is medium-toned. The clue is when you say 'the situation is worse on overcast days' because then you will be metering off a white or pale-grey sky. Clear blue skies, by the way, are pretty-much medium-toned, especially if you are shooting at about 90 degrees to the sun, and are less likely to cause problems even if you are metering 'past' the subject.

Try this - using the same focus as you would for aircraft (usually somewhere near infinity) and any shutter speed that will give you acceptably sharp pictures, meter off some fresh grass or a medium toned building, weathered concrete, etc., note the aperture and set the camera manually. Use this setting for a few aircraft shots, and see if this helps. I would guess that it will.

You can also check the camera's exposure by using the 'sunny f16 rule'. Let me know if you want any help with this concept.

And finally - 78, and still taking pictures!! Well done!!

Cheers,

Chris
 
C133
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RE: Digital SLR Camera Settings

Sat Oct 08, 2005 9:05 pm

Quoting Mikephotos (Reply 8):
Same here (as listed above). Just to add, ISO-200 and usually custom WB using the "pringles cap" or sunny when I'm lazy.

Okay, nobody else asked, so I will: what's the "pringles cap"?

Terry
Fine: Tax for doing wrong. Tax: Fine for doing well.
 
mikephotos
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Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2000 12:52 am

RE: Digital SLR Camera Settings

Sat Oct 08, 2005 10:51 pm

Quoting C133 (Reply 17):
Okay, nobody else asked, so I will: what's the "pringles cap"?

If you can find the older pringles cap that are not clear you can use it to set custom white balance. Use it instead of the more expensive ExpoDisc. It's probably not as great as the $100+ Expodisc but works just fine from my experience.

Mike

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