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Newyorkhaas
Topic Author
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:47 am

Semi New Spotter Looking For Some Help!

Mon May 04, 2015 7:58 am

Hey! My name is Josh and I am a Spotter and it seems to be the only one down at PHL(Honolulu). I currently use a Canon T3i and a Ef-s 55-250 lens. I know I am nowhere near airliners level, currently just trying to get pictures to be crisp/clear and not grainy. Below is a shot I took today down at the airport and at that height my camera is at max zoom. Is this why my photo comes out grainy? Or is it due to the overall lack of a good camera/lense?

http://s833.photobucket.com/user/Zar...media/Hopefull.jpg.html?sort=3&o=0
 
G-CIVP
Posts: 1562
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2001 6:38 am

RE: Semi New Spotter Looking For Some Help!

Mon May 04, 2015 11:59 am

Hi Josh,

The problem here isn't the camera or the lens per se but the direction of the sun and time of day you have taken the photo. The common trap of the this site is to conclude that high quality photos are possible irrespective of the weather conditions or time of year. Wrong! You need to figure out (calculate) the optimum time of day to take photo given the prevailing directon of the sun and airport operation. To help you along, looking at the runway configuration at Honolulu (rather than PHL) the parrallel (East - West) ruyways will be better in late autumn and winter. You will probably have more success with the cross wind runway in summer.

[Edited 2015-05-04 05:02:36]
 
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Joshu
Posts: 462
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RE: Semi New Spotter Looking For Some Help!

Mon May 04, 2015 12:59 pm

Hey man,
I have been using the exact setup you have for about four years now and it's never let me down. I am about to hit 1000 photos in the DB with my 'lil T3i. A couple tips:
1) Shoot in good light. Clouds suck!
2) Shoot under 200mm with that lens. It is too soft for distance shots.
3) Shoot manual, and keep the ISO under 200.

The main issue with your photo is that is was taken from a distance way too far away.

Good luck!
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vikkyvik
Posts: 12614
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2003 1:58 pm

RE: Semi New Spotter Looking For Some Help!

Mon May 04, 2015 2:53 pm

Quoting Newyorkhaas (Thread starter):
Below is a shot I took today down at the airport and at that height my camera is at max zoom. Is this why my photo comes out grainy? Or is it due to the overall lack of a good camera/lense?

The reason your shot is grainy is that you took it at ISO800 (higher ISOs give the sensor more light sensitivity, but increase noise/grain).

In broad daylight such as the conditions in which you took that photo, there's no reason to have such a high ISO. You were forced to use a high ISO because you were using a narrow aperture (F/13) and a fast shutter speed (1/1600). Bring your shutter speed down to 1/800, open your aperture to F/6.3, and you can bring your ISO down to 100 and achieve the same exposure, with far less grain.

Very important to get intimately familiar with the Exposure Triangle.

Also, importantly:

Quoting joshu (Reply 2):
2) Shoot under 200mm with that lens. It is too soft for distance shots.

  

Unfortunately, cheaper lenses typically have this sort of limitation.
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KPWMSpotter
Posts: 461
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2006 1:01 am

RE: Semi New Spotter Looking For Some Help!

Tue May 05, 2015 2:28 am

Quoting joshu (Reply 2):
1) Shoot in good light. Clouds suck!
2) Shoot under 200mm with that lens. It is too soft for distance shots.
3) Shoot manual, and keep the ISO under 200.

Agreed, agreed, and...sort of agreed.

PHNL is a tough airport to spot, there aren't any great spots really close to the runways. Try checking out the local air museums or tourist heliports while you're learning. There you can get closer to the planes in good light and give it a try; you'll be surprised by how much better your results are.

The 55-250 lens is a great piece of glass for the price. It's pretty good, and it's really cheap...but be aware, it's absolutely lousy past 200mm. That particular lens gets very soft, no matter how good the light is, or how in-focus your photo looks, the lens will cause distortion.

I wouldn't recommend going full-manual right off the bat. Try using the "P" mode and setting your ISO below 200 in daylight. If things are turning out really bright (overexposed), first try using exposure compensation to dial it down. Once you get comfortable with the relationship between ISO, Exposure, and Aperture, click the camera over to Tv or Av mode, and work your way to full manual.

Scouting out a good location is always the most important step; don't ask too much from your camera and you'll be fine.
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