ChrisPerkins
Topic Author
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed May 17, 2006 7:57 pm

Taking Pictures Through Cockpit Windows

Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:39 am

Hi

Can anyone give me some advice (or reference) on how to best take pictures through cockpit windows? I am especially looking for comments on what equipment to use. I am currently using a Canon 400D with an IS f4 100-400mm and find it hard to get a sharp image despite the IS. Any advices are most welcome! Many thanks & best regards,
chris
 
beechcraft
Posts: 731
Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2003 2:10 am

RE: Taking Pictures Through Cockpit Windows

Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:59 am

Chris,

it is a pain... it seems the main problem are all those layers the windows are made of. IS or VR won´t solve the problem.
I struggle to find a decent spot all the time...

Here is a Topic from 2007, the problem still remains....

Focusing Through Cockpit Windows?

cheers,

Denis
That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college!
 
ChrisPerkins
Topic Author
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed May 17, 2006 7:57 pm

RE: Taking Pictures Through Cockpit Windows

Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:15 am

cheers, Denis - thanks for the comments. It is not very encouraging knowing that success rate is somewhere between 1/200 and 1/500... I'll take all the advice mentioned, though!

It would be interesting to learn more about equipment choice. How do DSLR compare with compact cameras with great zoom range?

And, using a DSLR, what are good settings, besides a high shutter speed?
 
SNATH
Posts: 3049
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:23 am

RE: Taking Pictures Through Cockpit Windows

Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:50 pm

Chris,

Quoting ChrisPerkins (Thread starter):

What I've found is that the longer you zoom, the more the quality is affected by how bad the windows are. It's very rare to get anything decent at 100mm, so I usually try to shoot wider than longer (but too wide has its issues too: it's more likely to pick up any little specks on the window). So, I don't think the 100-400 is the best choice for window shots (I would guess it's also quite bulky and more awkward to use, especially if you're sitting in Y with a person right next to you).

Quoting ChrisPerkins (Reply 2):
How do DSLR compare with compact cameras with great zoom range?

I haven't tried some of the higher end compacts (e.g., S95, G12, and equivalent), but when you're close to the ground and the ground is moving fast, you need a reasonably high shutter speed to freeze the action (I try for at least 1/400-1/500) and for that you need to increase your ISO (I generally use 200, 400 sometimes on cloudier days). And DSLRs just have much better high ISO performance than most compacts.

Tony
Nikon: we don't want more pixels, we want better pixels.
 
beechcraft
Posts: 731
Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2003 2:10 am

RE: Taking Pictures Through Cockpit Windows

Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:08 pm

Chris,

i haven´t used a compact camera for ages, but there shouldn´t be a difference to DSLRs.

It is more or less is a game of trial and error, at least on a CRJ and B737s. Let´s see how the A320 comes along.

I agree with Tonys reply, you want a high shutter speed to freeze the object, but also you should stop down the aperture a bit. Therefore your camera better has a good ISO performance.

Then you still might come up with something like this in bright sunlight....



keep trying,

Denis
That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college!
 
jspitfire
Posts: 284
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 2:50 pm

RE: Taking Pictures Through Cockpit Windows

Fri Oct 08, 2010 3:49 am

I've found using the 100-400 in the cockpit gets me mixed results. Probably about half the time I've tried using it i've gotten useable photos, the other half aren't that great. (some due to too low an ISO of course!)

One of my problems with shooting up front is the windshield heat. Sometimes, at certain apertures maybe, it really ruins the image. Other times though I've got a decent shot, so I've still got to figure out what works and what doesn't.


Of course, with the plane I'm flying I also have one huge advantage....



The side windows roll down!
 
beechcraft
Posts: 731
Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2003 2:10 am

RE: Taking Pictures Through Cockpit Windows

Fri Oct 08, 2010 7:05 am

Quoting jspitfire (Reply 5):
The side windows roll down!

Jason, that is cheating!!!  

cheers,

Denis
That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college!
 
ChrisPerkins
Topic Author
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed May 17, 2006 7:57 pm

RE: Taking Pictures Through Cockpit Windows

Sat Oct 09, 2010 8:40 am

Guys, thank you for the comments.

@Tony: I don't have the problem in Y class, since the thread says "Taking Pictures Through Cockpit Windows"..   The big difference between passenger windows and cockpit windows I think is the fact that cockpit windows have a built in heating system that often negatively affect the optics. Thank you though for your general input on A2A!

@Jason: That really is a big advantage, offering some spectacular photography options. However, at FL390 I still prefer to have my window shut  

Keep posting any experience/ findings on the topic, so we can increase the success rate (which seems to be around 1/100)..

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