So I shot, for the first time, at LHR
yesterday, using a Sony a77 and the highly regarded Sony 70-400 G lens. I had tested my copy of the lens on static targets some weeks ago and found it to be very sharp, even at 400mm and wide open. BUT, most of my 400mm shots from my LHR
shoot yesterday were poor - not sharp. I used shutter speeds of 1/1000 to 1/2000 in S mode, with continuous focus selected. I left SSS on (was this a mistake for panning shots?). The camera gave me focus lock confirmation but I still found that my 400mm shots are quite soft. Now bearing in mind that my previous testing had found this lens to be sharp at 400mm with static subjects, I am thinking:-
1. My panning technique needs improvement - yes, entirely possible though I have used panning for lots of other subjects in the past, such as sports, horse racing, etc., so I am familiar with panning.
2. The a77 camera and lens combo is not good for moving subjects - doubtful as I have seen plenty of good aviation shots with this lens and camera combination
So I am wondering - it was quite warm (well, by UK standards) with strong bright sunshine - could some kind of heat haze have been an issue with my shots of airliners taking off? Does heat create atmospheric haze even quite high above the runway, or just for a few feet above it?
Later in the day I moved position and got some better shots at 100-200mm - these were sharp - now this could be because the lens is better at 100-200 but I don't think this is the answer as I did not find this in my earlier testing on static subjects - could it be simply because the airliners were closer for these shots and so not subject to the effects of atmospheric and heat haze?
I have been shooting DSLRs for many years but this was my first attempt shooting airliners so any specific advice about this subject would be greatly appreciated. I shoot raw on the a77 by the way, and process in LR
and DXO Optics Pro.