Topic Author
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:11 pm

Help Needed! New Camera Purchased.

Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:49 pm

Hello. A first-Timer here.
I have been an Avid Fan of for many years now and have looked in Awe at some of the Fantastic pictures that grace the Website. I have been wanting to take Photographs of a Simlar Nature myself for a while now.
I gave it a go a while back using a Fuji Finepix S5000 with no success, i uploaded a few pictures but they were all Rejected due to many quality issues therefore giving up for a while.
I have since purchased a Canon EOS 1100 D camera with an EF-S 18-55 III Lens and also with it came a Tamron AF70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di (model AI7E) Filter size 62mm, i am just wanting to know if i have bought myself a Good Camera and also hoping the Lens i got with the camera are good too. Canon and Nikon are the best cameras on the market and i think i have chose well. I have recently travelled to nearby Manchester Airport (Ringway) UK and tried the Camera out, i am no expert at Photograpy but would like some info on how to take Perfect day time shots, i have taken plenty of Pictures of Aircraft and they look super when viewing back through the LCD Monitor yet when i get home and view them back on the P.C. they are not as good as first thought, i have been using the Auto Function and expected the pictures to be good quality but were not, am i doing it the lazy way ? would i be getting the best out of my camera by using it the Manual way, if so what are the best settings.? I have been reading up on how to take night shots but it is Day time shots i want to master first. The Pictures on are fantastically clear so much so that you can see the nuts, bolts and rivets crystal clear and everything is so shiny yet my day-time shots are nowhere near as sharp and clear, does the Post editing programme you get with the camera have any importance as mine does'nt really give me that much options, basically it has the Noise reduction facilty and the sharpness, bright, colour, hue and saturation options which is basically it. i am looking forward to any replies and would be grateful for any info whatsoever.

Many Thanks

Posts: 409
Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:04 am

RE: Help Needed! New Camera Purchased.

Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:09 pm

The Canon 1100d is a great little camera. I keep one laying around as backup to my 7D. By chance, I also have the same Tamron lens knocking around. I came across one at a price that was damn near impulse buy so I thought I'd chance it for fun. It's a great lens for the cost. Very sharp. In short, you should have no problems starting to learn the art with the equipment you've got and it won't be long before you shed the training wheels and then start spending way more than you should.  

I wouldn't expect quality just yet, but you can get there. What sort of distances are you shooting the aircraft at? If you want to start messing around with the manual mode, set the ISO to 100, set the aperture to f8 and go for a shutter speed of around 1/150. That's assuming you're shooting in good light, of course. Best time of day is when the sun is at your back and not too low in the sky. You'll have to work out what time of day that's possible for your chosen spotting location. I also recommend shooting in RAW and using that to learn that exposure is.

The best advice that can be given above all the rest said up there, is read, read and read some more. Learn about the exposure triangle and learn the relationship between shutter speed, aperture and ISO. Learn what the histogram is and how to use it to understand the images you're taking. If you don't mind spending a small amount of money, I recommend getting yourself a monthly membership to and watch the photography courses there. They'll fill you in on everything you need to know and I found it an invaluable resource when I was starting out.

Hope this helps. Good luck and remember to post any time you need any other advice or pointers on anything whatsoever.
Topic Author
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:11 pm

RE: Help Needed! New Camera Purchased.

Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:15 pm

Thank you for your quick and kind reply, Very Interesting Information there, i will definitely be Reading, Reading and more Reading as i really want to take this Hobby and Art up properly. I will be at Manchester tomorrow weather permitting and hope to try it out Manually, the shots i am taking are of Aircraft at several distances, some taking off, some landing and some taxi-ing past the Viewing Park, it's all about experimenting i guess, one day i hope to share one or two pictures on this site but as you say it'll be quite a while yet, once again thanks for the reply, i have taken all you have said onboard.


Posts: 281
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:12 pm

RE: Help Needed! New Camera Purchased.

Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:08 pm

Hi Carlsberg,


Books the size of phone books have been written on the subject, whole libraries have been given over to the subject of photography. All you need is a little humilty to be able to say I know nothing, but I am willing to learn.

There is no easy work around ,no short cut, there is only hard graft. I worked in television for 20 years. I took up aviation photography 15 months ago. I thought the transition would be easy, I was wrong. I had to reinvent my shooting style for stills when the subject is fast moving aircraft, even though I knew how to frame a shot, my early attempts were quite loose in framing, lots of sky surrounding the plane, so timing is everything. You will rarely get a perfectly framed shot, some cropping will be needed in post. Of the thousands of shots I have taken I would say there are 2 pefectly framed shots in my collection that didn't require cropping, a second either side it was in the electronic bin. The goal of course is to make aircraft appear as large in the frame so there is less need to crop.

If your not taking photos your not a photographer, practice, practice, practice there is no substitute. You will spend a day taking over a thousand shots if your keen, shooting in jpeg for daytime, to begin with will give you more available shots on the memory card, select raw as the sun begins to set it will allow you to practice manipulating shots more extensivley in post, (beware RAW uses more memory than jpeg) you may walk away with one or two that you really like, more as a product of luck to begin with, but you will learn more from your mistakes. Soon you will develope technique, you wont have to think anymore, it will become instinctive as you develope muscle memory, remember My Miyagi in Karate Kid (watch the original!) wax on wax off, that's muscle memory.

Shooting aircraft from the side will help you learn the technique of framing and panning at the same time.

Shooting aircraft from front on during approach to land or takeoff will teach you composition, placing the aircrafts body at centre of frame and wings at either side, as the aircraft approaches you can then apply the technique of tilting as you shoot then as it gets closer apply panning and tilting simultaneously. You have no choice you must follow where the plane goes!

What's daunting about aviation photographer and what attracts me most is the speed, the speed at which those suckers move through the air and thats why you need technique, to counter balance against the speed at which things can happen at. Conversly the further away you are from the moving aircraft the slower the action unfolds or zoom out more than normal to give you some breathing space to begin with, tighten up the shot as you get better.

Just recently I joined Anet so I could start uploading some of what I consider to be my better pictures. I had my first two rejections last week after a 10 day wait. I took their advice on board. I went through the aviation photography archives to seek out solutions to my problems with post producing my shots, all your questions have been asked before, in the archives you will find very good and varied advice on post production of photos using photoshop et al. I read the archive articles, applied their knowledge and technique to a new set of 2 photos. They are in the que as I type, fingers crossed. The 10 day interval makes you take on the screeners advice, because trust me 10 days is along time between rejections.

I always emphasize technique over equipment to begin with.

My advice to you is stick with the camera and lens you have at the moment. Learn your technique with this gear, because it has often been said you can give a great photographer a cheap camera and he/she will make shots that look a million bucks. Likewise you can give an expensive top of the line still camera with a good lens to a novice and the results can look terrible.

An expensive camera is often heavier, which makes it nothing more than an effective paper weight, in the right hands it becomes a tool to create great images worth sharing. However if money is no object go out and buy the best, all it will give you is the ability to talk the talk, but it wont give you the ability to walk the walk.

If you want crisp focused shots, buy a monopod tripod, or buy a tripod and treat it like a monopod.

Get to know your camera. Carry the manual with you. Focus on one mode for a day. Use auto setting to begin with this will allow you to concentrate on framing/composition which is critical to a good shot. You mentioned you have taken photos at Manchester Airport, concentrate on shooting aircraft taxiing, nice slow moving targets, build your confidence with composition, in autofocus of course. Look at the results, but don't delete your photo's, because over time, it will show how far you have progressed as a photographer.

When you gain confidence, select another shooting mode i.e. aperture priority. Lens usually have a sweet spot in terms of fstop, open or closed the aperture or iris is. An fstop of 5.6 is a good place to start. The shutter will adjust accordingly. Then try shooting in shutter mode, try a shutter of say 800 and see what happens to the aircraft and focus when the fstop is set by the camera.

If you are shooting in aperture or shutter priority I recommend experimenting with the + - exposure compensation function. This will come in handy on very bright days. The other day I was shooting in a clear winters light. When a B747-400 was on the horizon I would stop down by a full stop to prevent the aircraft from overexposing when it filled the frame, just remember to set it back to normal or minus one third for smaller aircraft that dont fill the frame as much. Also in post, shooting RAW alows you to fix an overexposed shot, with jpeg your pretty much stuck with what your shot.

When it comes to ISO/ASA settings the lower the better for keeping the noise away. 100 on a bright day is best, but if you shoot early morning or afternoon then you will have to bump up the ISO to higher numbers e.g. 125,160,200,250,320,400, so on and so on, but remember higher number dials up the noise as well.

Planes never change they only get dirtier, unless they have a livery change, so try and shoot in different weather and lighting conditions, because this will give your shots loads of atmoshere, especially at sunset.

Most of all remember this, a professional is an amatuer who never gave up. Good Luck. I look forward to seeing your efforts on Anet some time in the future.


[Edited 2012-02-28 15:04:37]
Posts: 636
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 11:34 am

RE: Help Needed! New Camera Purchased.

Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:37 am

Thanks for the great feedbacks here guys. I have been taking pictures of airplanes for the 3 to 4 years with point and shoot camera until about 3 months ago when I decided to get the canon T3 that came with 18 to 55mm lens. I also end up buying the 55 to 250mm lens. when I started shooting with this camera, I didn't like the camera as my pictures where not the likes of the ones I have seen here and I thought I wasn't doing anything wrong after all I was the top student in High school and receive an award for it. But I was worng as. I started reading more about taking pictures and reliaze that I have a long way to go. I can say this that I am getting good at it. but not as good as the great photographer we have on this site. All I can say is that we newbies are the future photographers of this site.
A310, A330,A346,B73H, B747,B772,B77W,CRJ
Posts: 409
Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:04 am

RE: Help Needed! New Camera Purchased.

Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:49 pm

Just keep learning and you'll do fine. The best thing you can do for yourself as a photographer is accept that you have limited knowledge and a lot to learn. Some people are very egotistical and won't admit that fact and stubbornly blame their gear instead of blaming their own limited knowledge. It's great to see that you don't fall into that category. In that respect, I have great faith we'll see a lot of your work here in the future. Just remember that photography is an art form and your equipment is your tool. Learn to master the tools and then you're well on your way to mastering the craft. I wish you luck.  
Topic Author
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:11 pm

RE: Help Needed! New Camera Purchased.

Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:41 pm

Hello Fellow Friends.

Thank you for the response, totally amazing people you are, very informative indeed.
I did NOT manage to get to Manchester Airport earlier due to other commitments therefore i
will be going tomorrow instead, apparently the weather is going to be fine, fingers crossed and
hoping to get quite a few photographs taken, i have penned in a note-pad the information i have been given
regarding settings and hopefully i will get lucky.
I have attached a link to some photograph's i took last weekend at MAN, you will see that i do have certain issues regarding Exposure amongst others, when the pictures are on a small screen/monitor they look clear enough but when enlarged not so clear.... i really do hope to eliminate many problems with all your help...

once again thank you very much


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Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:37 am

RE: Help Needed! New Camera Purchased.

Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:09 am


The advice passed on from Shufflemoomin and Captain Kramer is spot on , all the way! Very good advice indeed.
The biggest mistake I see so many beginners make, is trying to take great photographs before they actually understand photography. You really do have to do a bunch of studying and learn about how photography works before you are likely to take consistantly good pictures. The only thing different I might suggest, is to start out on "page one"rather than say, page 10; What I mean is......first, you must become very familiar with the camera you have, and learn exactly what each button, switch and so on does; it's kinda like a baby trying to learn to walk; first, you must learn to crawl; then to stand up, and after a few days, you'll be walking; never try to learn the stuff on page 10 while you're still on page 1,2 & 3 !

Different "modes"; Auto mode is just great.....for people who have no interest in photography, but just want pictures !
Sure, a knowledgeable photographer can make good pictures with auto, because he understands what it is telling the camera to do; different types of subjects require completely different techniques. You must learn which technique is called for, for different kinds of subjects. If I was a photography teacher, (and I'm not BTW), I would put aviation photography on ,say, page 10; I would teach starting with the simplest subjects first; you really need to have the camera steady, on a tripod is the easiest way of course, but just holding it on something solid will do for some things; I think of learning photography as being like learning to play a piano; first you must learn the keyboard; then the notes, and only then can you start putting a few notes together and making a tune; the same is true with a camera; practice, practice, practice ! It should be much easier, or at least much quicker to learn now with digital, as you don't have to worry about buying film, wasting film, waiting 2 weeks to see what you did (if anything) Ha ! In those days, by the time you got the film back, you had already forgotten what you had done ! That just makes the learning process that much slower. Experiment........set the camera on say a chair, next to a pickett fence, looking down the fence; let the lens focus, then with the camera set on manual, take a photo with the lens set on wide open ( F 2.8, F 4, etc : notice how many pickets are in focus; then set the lens to f -16, or f-22, and notice how many more picketts are sharp; you're now learning about "depth of field". You really must learn all the basics before going on to the more advanced stuff.

Always remember this; all photography is about light; sounds simple, but there is a lot more to light that you may think; how much light is there, from which direction is the light coming, what color is the light; see, being a human, you have the most perfect "camera of all, the good old eyeball ! It is so good in fact, that it tends to "compensate"; the camera lens is no way near this sophisticated ! When the light is very bright, the eye automatically "stops down" ; cameras do this too now a days, but not nearly as smooth as the eye. In the very beginning, don't worry about making mistakes; matter of fact, make them on purpose; then do what's needed to achieve the desired results; now you're learning; what TO do, and what NOT to do; don't be afraid to make notes; it's only by making simple mistakes then correcting them that you learn. Tell you what..........if you study your camera for a day or two, practice a lot, look carefully at what you have done, fixed what didn't work, within a month you will be taking better pictures than I am, and I've been playing with cameras for 60 years now! But I'm lazy; I frequently don't practice; and I frequently take lousy pictures because of it !

Work on the beginning stuff for a few days, weeks, whatever; don't do your basic learning after you've driven 40 mile to get to the airport ! Make all your beginner mistakes at home, on the neighbors pickett fence; take pictures of cars driving by; notice which shutter speed is needed to make a sharp picture of a slow moving car, person running, anything moving; you're not trying to collect a "portfolio" now, you're learning how to make the camera do what you want it to do.

And keep us posted on your progress !

Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
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RE: Help Needed! New Camera Purchased.

Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:08 am

Do not waste time "practicing" if you don't know what you are doing and why you are doing it. The trial and error method leads mostly to error.

Instead, learn the basic principles of exposure and, above all, composition, first.
Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-400, Fuji X Pro 1, Fujinon 35 f/1.4, Fujinon 18 f/2
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RE: Help Needed! New Camera Purchased.

Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:37 am

The way I learnt when I got my first DSLR was to speak to the other photogs standing around me at the airport (MAN as it so happens at the time). Being a little impatient and wanting reasonable results straight off, I bypassed the "lets try the different settings and see what comes out of the camera" stage and went straight to "do you mind me asking what settings you use on your camera please?" stage. The most common answer seemed that people were shooting at iso100 in Av mode (a semi automatic mode), with the apperture set to f8 (as this seems to be the sweet spot on a majority of lenses) and let the camera decide the shutter speed. If the image was under exposing or over exposing you'd use the exposure compensation and notch it up or down a click or 2 from the center. Typically on a good sunny day at iso 100, I aim for a shutter speed of around 1/500 at f8. The AWB was set to auto and also used evaluative metering. As far as focus points go I used to use all points but these days I tend to shoot center point only. I shot in av for many years until taking on a 7d, which led me to the world of M. The 7d in av was proving somewhat erratic in its choice of exposure and shooting in M has largely tamed that. Shooting M leads you to think about alot more but something i'd definately be scared of when just starting out with a dslr. In my opinion, i'd stick with av for now. I never used "green box" mode on my cameras as you got laughed at by your fellow spotters (peer pressure does you good now and then). The problem with green box mode was that it set the iso for you, and with canon dslrs generally the higher the iso the noisier the photo which leads to more rejections. On some days when I was really struggling I do admit to switching to "p". This lets you set the iso yourself and it deals with the aperture and shutter speeds for you. Have a go with this mode if you don't feel confident with av.

At the time I started with a dslr (2003/4) RAW editing wasn't very common place so jpg was mostly used (and something I still do pretty much today). The reasons I don't personally shoot raw (and yes this will annoy alot of raw shooters) is simply I'm editing for uploading photos online. RAW takes up alot of hard disk space and requires extra post processing (which when you are learning can be mind boggling), so I like to use the KISS principle (keep it simple stupid) and give myself as little editing to do as possible. If someone requests a hq shot then today's jpgs are adequate alot of the time (please note i'm not saying all the time...but then again i don't get requests every other day). I really hate editing photos, but it is a necessary evil. Can't say i've ever uploaded a photo from my camera that hasn't required editing. I do shoot RAW now and then for really important stuff but 95% of the time i'm still a jpg shooter.

The newbie in me at the time wasn't really that interested in the technicalities of the camera. I was more interested in going out and achieving the amazing angles and compositions I'd seen online. So knowing that i was going to get reasonable results with shooting in av from the advice given by others, I left the camera to deal with that and worked on the compositions. If MAN is your local then you need to choose your location or angles carefully. In the mornings you need to really be shooting from the southside of the airport. Sitting in the viewing park in the morning means you are shooting into the sun and you will get horrible backlit shots until the sun swings around. The viewing park unfortunately is pretty limited until late in the day and is very nice on late summer evenings. Going southside presents the best opportunities for the action shots. You can also go up on level 13 in the mornings and shoot down onto the t2 ramp. As others have said, when shooting, try to fill the frame as much as possible with the aircraft. You want to try and not crop too much as this reduces the quality of the photo. Other than that, I went through the photos that were already online and picked out some angles and shots that I would then go out and attempt to replicate.

So, I've been shooting all day and I get home to check the results. My heart sinks most of the time as they never look as good on the screen as they do on your cameras monitor. Then editing starts. There are plenty of workflows that will help you create your masterpiece, and getting your photos accepted online means working out exactly what that website is looking for. By all means edit for yourself and upload to your flikr or facebook etc, but if you want to get acceptances to the big sites then the harsh (and sometimes sad) reality is that alot of the time you have to edit to their needs. One example I can think of is that Anet loves really sharp photos, whereas some other sites aren't so picky. Some sites require near perfect technical shots whereas others forgoe a little quality in exchange for creativity. I could go on but i don't want to run into trouble lol.

This stuff is all just my opinion. It might work for some, but not others but above all just go out and have fun. One final thing I will say is that don't expect miracles on your first few sessions. Everytime I go out with a new camera body it takes a while to adjust to how it works. But persevere and the results will come, so enjoy!
James Rowson
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RE: Help Needed! New Camera Purchased.

Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:39 pm

Quoting Carlsberg10 (Reply 6):
I have attached a link to some photograph's i took last weekend at MAN, you will see that i do have certain issues regarding Exposure amongst others, when the pictures are on a small screen/monitor they look clear enough but when enlarged not so clear.... i really do hope to eliminate many problems with all your help...

once again thank you very much

You've got some not bad shots in there. If I could give one universal pointer, it's that you're using an aperture that's provided a little too much depth of field. f8 or so is great for when you're shooting aircraft in the sky, but since you're shooting mostly on or around the runway, you've got a lot of distracting background. If you're working in Av mode, try a larger aperture to see if you can throw the background focus out a little. (Larger aperture means a smaller number. Counter-intuitive I know, but it's easy to remember in time) As for general pointers on some of those images, some aren't bad at all. Number 4 is slightly under-exposed but well framed. Same goes for number 8. Number 9 had potential to be an excellent image. Apart from being under-exposed, I would have waited just a little longer to avoid having that amount of background or used a wider aperture to try to make it less distracting. If you had show in RAW, this image could likely have been saved. Same goes for the other ones too, BTW. Number 13 is a little under-exposed but otherwise a nice image. 17 is under-exposed and I'd have cropped in tighter, but again, not a bad attempt. 25 needs the horizon levelled and I'd have waited just 1 or 2 seconds more to shoot it to avoid such a busy background. Same goes for 29. That had the potential to be very nice indeed. For number 30, if the fence hadn't been in shot and you'd pulled back just a little to get the full Virgin title in, I'd have really liked this one.

Again, you're showing potential in my eyes with these images. Once you learn to expose those images correctly and not to have such a distracting background, I think you'll find yourself with images that will please you greatly. It's been advised that you avoid shooting in RAW because it can be overwhelming for a beginner and to an extent, I agree with that. However, if only have to touch what you want in RAW. You can ignore all the bewildering settings but the simple thing you would have been able to do is adjust the exposure up a few notches and it would have greatly improved some of these. The 1100D allows you to shoot in RAW+JPEG mode. It's listed in the menu under 'quality' as 'RAW+L'. Heartily recommend you use that mode. You'll still get your JPEGS as normal, but you'll also get a RAW file where you can load it up and play with some settings to see how the image could have been improved. It also means if there's something on the JPEG you don't like, there's a chance you can make a change to the RAW file that gives you the image you want. You can then make a JPEG as normal from the RAW file. It also gives you the opportunity to share the RAW files with us and we can help you see where you went wrong and learning from mistakes is a powerful tool. I believe your 1100D would have come with a CD with Canon's own software for working with RAW files. Keep up the good work. You're doing just fine.  

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