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KPDX
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Nikon Issue While Panning

Thu Mar 25, 2021 4:25 am

Hello all.

This is particularly for my fellow Nikon photogs. I'm noticing when I drop my shutter speed to pan or get good prop blur, I'm having an issue where the camera seems to alternate between blurring the nose and the tail.

Here's an example, granted it's not the best quality but this is purely for illustrative purposes. This is a P-3 I shot at 1/125 F/10 ISO 31 tonight in continuous mode. These are two consecutive frames. Equipment was D850 with the 70-200 f/2.8.

Image
Image

My current settings are AF-C with 153 focus points selected and if it helps, I had Sport mode (Vibration Reduction) ON.

Any suggestions or ideas what's going on? I feel my panning technique is fairly sound and I also have confirmed with other fellow Nikon photogs on this website that they too have encountered the exact same issue.

Thanks in advance,

Dylan
 
cpd
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Re: Nikon Issue While Panning

Thu Mar 25, 2021 9:31 am

KPDX wrote:
Hello all.

This is particularly for my fellow Nikon photogs. I'm noticing when I drop my shutter speed to pan or get good prop blur, I'm having an issue where the camera seems to alternate between blurring the nose and the tail.

Here's an example, granted it's not the best quality but this is purely for illustrative purposes. This is a P-3 I shot at 1/125 F/10 ISO 31 tonight in continuous mode. These are two consecutive frames. Equipment was D850 with the 70-200 f/2.8.

Image
Image

My current settings are AF-C with 153 focus points selected and if it helps, I had Sport mode (Vibration Reduction) ON.

Any suggestions or ideas what's going on? I feel my panning technique is fairly sound and I also have confirmed with other fellow Nikon photogs on this website that they too have encountered the exact same issue.

Thanks in advance,

Dylan


That's the angle you are taking the photo at. It's inevitable. If you are side on this is less of an issue. I haven't got much in the way of prop aircraft however:



This angle it's easier;

1/10sec 400mm and F/8:
Image

But at this angle it's not so easy:
This is 1/13sec, 400mm, F/8.0:
Image

I have one that illustrates it better somewhere but I can't find it after a lot of searching. You aren't doing anything particularly wrong. Also watch the part of the plane that the camera is focusing on too.
Last edited by cpd on Thu Mar 25, 2021 9:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
 
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julianrv
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Re: Nikon Issue While Panning

Thu Mar 25, 2021 9:40 am

Hi Dylan,

Have you used Nikon ViewNX (not sure if the newly released NX studio is able to show this) to check which focus points were used on each frame?

While usually DoF isn't a problem in daylight photograph I prefer to just use the 9 focus point option and place them in the center of the frame to avoid that it places focus on the front or back of the aircraft and have the other side significantly softer.
 
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KPDX
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Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:04 am

Re: Nikon Issue While Panning

Sat Mar 27, 2021 3:26 pm

Thanks for the tips guys. I adjusted my autofocus points and I'm seeing much better results. Thank you!
 
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ftorre82
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Re: Nikon Issue While Panning

Sun Mar 28, 2021 11:04 am

The paning technique is related primarily with the movement of the object. For example, if an aircraft is rotating on the runway, you will see two movements: one is the aircraft rolling on the runway, and the other one is the aircraft nose lifting off the pavement, so those diifferent motion are very difficult to "copy" with the camera. Thats the reason why sometimes, parts of the aircraft are sharp, and other dont.

The same happens in the picture you showed before. The horizontal motion plus the aircraft approaching are hard to deal with
Fernando Ariel Torre. Air Traffic Controller. Buenos Aires, Argentina
 
JakTrax
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Re: Nikon Issue While Panning

Sun Mar 28, 2021 4:41 pm

ftorre82 wrote:
For example, if an aircraft is rotating on the runway, you will see two movements: one is the aircraft rolling on the runway, and the other one is the aircraft nose lifting off the pavement, so those different motion are very difficult to "copy" with the camera.



Precisely. Too many photographers get caught in the trap of believing IS will come to the rescue in all circumstances, however IS is most effective when nothing in the frame is moving. Similarly, when you're panning an aircraft with all wheels on the deck you're still getting different parts of the aircraft moving through different planes, although the effect is lessened the further away with aircraft is. IS won't really help.

If you've ever watched a 757 or 767 start its take-off roll you'll see that the horizontal stabs vibrate like mad! This is the case with all aircraft of course but it's particularly noticeable with these two types. No amount of IS is going to help and you'll always get some degree of micro-blur.

Karl
 
cpd
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Re: Nikon Issue While Panning

Sun Mar 28, 2021 6:56 pm

JakTrax wrote:
ftorre82 wrote:
For example, if an aircraft is rotating on the runway, you will see two movements: one is the aircraft rolling on the runway, and the other one is the aircraft nose lifting off the pavement, so those different motion are very difficult to "copy" with the camera.



Precisely. Too many photographers get caught in the trap of believing IS will come to the rescue in all circumstances, however IS is most effective when nothing in the frame is moving. Similarly, when you're panning an aircraft with all wheels on the deck you're still getting different parts of the aircraft moving through different planes, although the effect is lessened the further away with aircraft is. IS won't really help.

If you've ever watched a 757 or 767 start its take-off roll you'll see that the horizontal stabs vibrate like mad! This is the case with all aircraft of course but it's particularly noticeable with these two types. No amount of IS is going to help and you'll always get some degree of micro-blur.

Karl


Both right. The VR system only guards against unintended shaking from unsteady hands or for instance (in certain modes) the shaking from an unsteady platform you are standing on.

For this kind of photo, the VR mode tries to eliminate unwanted vertical movements- but allows your panning.

The newer lenses with up to date stabiliser systems are really great. Even the 70-200mm F2.8 VR II Zoom Nikkor I used a lot was fantastic. I could take hand held panning photos at remarkably slow shutter speeds.

No wimberley tripod head was needed at all! It was actually worse when I tried it with the Wimberley.

Then the big heavy lenses like the 200-400 Zoom Nikkor, they do have VR but benefit from using them with a wimberley tripod head on top of a big, steady tripod. It helps with panning and making movement of the heavy lens/camera combination more precise/easier.

At longer distances, angles you still get blur at certain parts of the plane - you just have to keep your shutter speeds a bit higher compared to if the plane was side on.

The rest is just practicing. Photograph the boring common planes with very slow shutter speeds and keep doing it until you start getting the results. There will still be throwaway shots but eventually you’ll start pulling off these shots more and more.
 
JakTrax
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Re: Nikon Issue While Panning

Sun Mar 28, 2021 7:47 pm

Just to add that having IS/VR (or whatever you wanna call it) turned on for panning is better than having it turned off. But it is not the magical tool some think it is. It is subject to physics, like everything else. I used to relieve the boredom between movements at my local by doing panning shots, but I eventually gave up as, although I was getting generally sharp results, there'd always be a slightly blurry winglet or horizontal stab here and there. Even if you perfect your technique there are some elements outside your control.

Not saying no one should ever try panning shots — I've seen some lovely examples — I'm just saying that you shouldn't expect the same results as a side-on taken at f/9 at 1/640th. Since I'm a terrible pixel-peeper slow-shutter panning just wasn't for me.
 
cpd
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Re: Nikon Issue While Panning

Mon Mar 29, 2021 1:16 am

JakTrax wrote:
Just to add that having IS/VR (or whatever you wanna call it) turned on for panning is better than having it turned off. But it is not the magical tool some think it is. It is subject to physics, like everything else. I used to relieve the boredom between movements at my local by doing panning shots, but I eventually gave up as, although I was getting generally sharp results, there'd always be a slightly blurry winglet or horizontal stab here and there. Even if you perfect your technique there are some elements outside your control.

Not saying no one should ever try panning shots — I've seen some lovely examples — I'm just saying that you shouldn't expect the same results as a side-on taken at f/9 at 1/640th. Since I'm a terrible pixel-peeper slow-shutter panning just wasn't for me.


Some people get extremely sharp panning shots. It’s all about practice- the more photos you try the better. Panning photos are the great equaliser- some of it is the equipment but the major bit is the person taking the photo. Remember Florian Trojer all those many years ago used to do do this kind of photo at night with the camera equipment of those times (which was poorer compared to now).
 
JakTrax
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Re: Nikon Issue While Panning

Mon Mar 29, 2021 4:18 am

Indeed, but I was shooting 320s at 50-60mm and it just wasn't happening as the winglet would be moving relative to me much faster than the rest of the aircraft (or the tailplane would be blurry due to the vibration). Not a lot I could do, irrespective of whether my technique was any good or not. 200-300mm and I'd have more success but I found myself having to take 10-15 shots to get one or two sharp ones... and at times they'd all be crap! Too much of a drain on my camera's shutter and I'm not really a distance shooter.

Each to his own.
 
cpd
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Re: Nikon Issue While Panning

Mon Mar 29, 2021 6:08 am

JakTrax wrote:
Indeed, but I was shooting 320s at 50-60mm and it just wasn't happening as the winglet would be moving relative to me much faster than the rest of the aircraft (or the tailplane would be blurry due to the vibration). Not a lot I could do, irrespective of whether my technique was any good or not. 200-300mm and I'd have more success but I found myself having to take 10-15 shots to get one or two sharp ones... and at times they'd all be crap! Too much of a drain on my camera's shutter and I'm not really a distance shooter.

Each to his own.


Ah, close range, yes, that is more difficult. Most of mine are at least in the distance needing 200mm+ lens because that’s just the limitations of the location.

I know from photographing cycling races the same thing - I’m usually much closer so I have a higher shutter speed.

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