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Sport/ aerial photography... which make of digital equipment is best for long distance airshow images?

Bob is off-linePlatinum Member
13 July 2014 07:51
Bob
Photographer
Bob
Location
United Kingdom
Devon
Honiton

Quote from Pete7890
what do the pro's use?


Whatever comes to hand. It's not the make of equipment that matters but how you use it.

As for settings, I have shot a fair bit of aviation stuff over the last quarter century or more, mostly military helicopters and low-flying transport aircraft, and soon found out that as a rule of thumb most side shots work best at 1/160th and most head-on shots need much faster. This one was shot at 1/640th at ISO160 as a compromise because I didn't want it to look like the Merlins were unsupported by their rotors but I also didn't want the airframes to be too blurry yet needed a bit of depth of field and didn't want to silhouette. If I had been able to set the shot up rather than having to take this 'on the hoof' (I didn't know the formation lead pilot was going to set down pretty much right in front of me) I would have shot it differently, but out in the real world you usually have to make instinctive decisions and hope for the best.


For the one below I had much more time to set up the shot, I had better light and I was also able to position myself to the side so I was able to shoot at 1/160th and F11 to get both main and tail rotors slightly blurred as well as having the scene-setting Chinese MiG variants in the background still reasonably sharp.




Personal experience, built up over time, and gut reaction are often the only things to go by.

Bob


G Jack B is off-line
13 July 2014 11:18
Plymjack
Photographer
Plymjack
Location
United Kingdom
Devon
Plymouth

Apart from one, you have had some good replies... its not the gear as you can use just about anything (so long as its not a point and shoot!) even some camera phones have a high speed option too.

Try a fast shutter speed (1/500) with a 300mm or longer lens (see how you get on with a 300mm to start).
Try to avoid panning to follow the object to begin with find "head on" views and experiment.

Also try setting a higher ISO value - this will help with shooting at the higher speed on cloudy days too.

Good luck.
Real Bread Cook by day, BTL landlord & IT Guru - who said men can't multitask!


Ellesse Photography is off-lineSilver Member
13 July 2014 11:21
EllessePhotography
Photographer
EllessePhotography
Location
United Kingdom
Edinburgh
Edinburgh

OK will pop in a tip for you. Good panning technique is needed, especially for propeller aircraft (or if you want to give an impression of speed). You can practice this almost anywhere there is moving objects (cars, birds etc). Stand with your shoulders square to where you want to take the shot, then turn your body 45 deg left, keeping your feet still. Focus on your subject and follow it through 90 deg, finishing 45 deg to your right (or from right to left if needed). I take the image when I'm square-on, or sometimes a little earlier if I take a sequence of shots.  For propeller Aircraft, a shutter speed from 1/80 up to about 1/320 will give some prop movement, for fast jets, use a shutter speed of at least 1/500 - I usually switch off IS too.

Below is one taken at 1/80 on a 300f4, not flying, but still gives an idea

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..or this one taken at 1/160 fl=280 (70-200 f2.8 + 1.4ex)

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..also, look out for the unusual shot (that is the Sun through the clouds)

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