Prop Blur - Canon 350D

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Member for

17 years 3 months

Posts: 47

Hello

Can anyone advise me please. I have a Canon 350D and use a Canon 75-300mm EF lens for airshows (Sorry to say divorce beckons if I purchase anything larger in the lens department).

I have found on 'sport' mode the camera captures flypasts by all aircraft with 99% of the time capturing super detail but as it is in high speed freezes the props. I have tried the manual settings mainly in the 'Tv' setting and ISO speed either 200/250/320; but I get 75% of all my images blurred if an aircraft flies past.

Anyone with superior knowledge out there offer some good advice?:confused:

Original post

Member for

24 years 3 months

Posts: 2,606

Have you tried adjusting the shutter speed to a fixed period? There should be a S or shutter priority mode. You can also do this in full-manual but you'll need to fiddle with aperature also. As you point out there's can be a balance between aircraft speed and prop speed. Start at say 1/200s and work slower/faster from there

Member for

24 years 3 months

Posts: 4,508

For the best results, I find 1/90 or even 1/45 to be the best shutter speeds, trying using the TV mode rather than the dedicated programme modes.

Not having that many airshows locally, I spent several afternoons at the local airport just photographing anything that moved to get the hang of it, with mixed results. You will find the lower the shutter speed the more bum shots you'll get, but also the good shots will be worth the hassle.

Not great shots, but an example of what can be gained by playing around.

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c131/en830/Jersey%20Airport%205%20Aug%202006/IMG_1921pb.jpg

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c131/en830/Jersey%20Airport%205%20Aug%202006/IMG_2087.jpg

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c131/en830/Jersey%20Airport%205%20Aug%202006/IMG_1928.jpg

Member for

24 years 3 months

Posts: 843

Hello

Can anyone advise me please. I have a Canon 350D and use a Canon 75-300mm EF lens for airshows (Sorry to say divorce beckons if I purchase anything larger in the lens department).

I have found on 'sport' mode the camera captures flypasts by all aircraft with 99% of the time capturing super detail but as it is in high speed freezes the props. I have tried the manual settings mainly in the 'Tv' setting and ISO speed either 200/250/320; but I get 75% of all my images blurred if an aircraft flies past.

Anyone with superior knowledge out there offer some good advice?:confused:

Tv (shutter priority) is the right mode to use, and the speed at 1/320th or less should stop the problem of stationary props. As the others have already said, the lower the speed the better, but you can use faster speeds for take off, than for landings as the aircrafts power settings will influence things. The other thing you need to do, is set the focus to AI Servo. In sports mode, you get servo, but no control over the shutter speed, so go for Tv mode with Servo focus.

Member for

17 years 3 months

Posts: 47

Thanks for the advice.

Got a trip to Cosford this weekend and a Sunday volunteering at Duxford so hopefully will get a chance to shhot something.

Thanks again :)

Member for

17 years 2 months

Posts: 133

Sport Mode is not the best to use as it automatically sets your camera ISO to 400 for capturing sharp images for fast moving objects.

For prop-blur look for good lighting against a dark background and use a slow shutter speed, just how slow depends on how fast the prop is rotating.

As a previous poster said, go to your local airport and practice on them, where if you fluff shot it is not as important as fluffing a shot at an air show.

Member for

20 years 1 month

Posts: 406

All of the information above is good . but the biggest and most inportant
thing everyone above missed was the person's panning of the camera.
for flying aircraft with props or jets when useing slow shutter speeds.
for prop aircraft flying past on landing you will find the engine is not useing so much RPM . so a slow shutter speed of around 1/200. + or -a stop either way is a good starting point.
for take off the RPM of the engine will be higher so a bit more shutter speed can be used 1/320. + or - a stop each way again.
A1servo on the focus and single shot . once you have the aircraft in focus and press the shutter button keep the button held down and follow the aircraft in the viewfinder for thos few seconds this is called panning and takes some practice , but its the biggest influence on the outcome of the shot.once you get the hang of it you can go for lower shutterspeeds and get greater effects of motion background blurr etc.
my advice would be start around the 1/320th shutter speed and get the panning of the subject with the shutter held down for a second . and then go slower as you feel more comfortable with the images you are getting .
you can use burst mode and take 3fps but learning the techniques of the camrea etc is the art . you can for static aircraft with props running drop your shutter speed very low hand held 1/100 will give a great effect . have a monopod or tripod and you can go even lower but the compact disc look of props i find dont look that great .
hope this helps .

Member for

24 years 3 months

Posts: 4,887

If there is a motorway nearby where you can see the cars drive by, you might want to try that as practise. If the car is sharp, and the background is not, then you will know you got the hang of it.

Member for

20 years 7 months

Posts: 405

Example of panning at 1/80 sec.

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Member for

18 years 8 months

Posts: 5,530

you can for static aircraft with props running drop your shutter speed very low hand held 1/100 will give a great effect

The only thing I'd add to that is for static aircraft, how sharp your shot will be at shutter speeds of around 1/100th depends hugely on your focal length. If you're at 250mm or even 300mm you're quite unlikely to get a very sharp shot at 1/100th.

Using the 1/focal length guide can be good in these circumstances. Basically it's a general rule of thumb that states your shutter speed should be at least equal to or more than your focal length to avoid camera shake, so if you're at 250mm, your shutter speed ideally would be 1/250th or above. There seems to be much disagreement as to whether the crop factor of most DSLR sensors affects how this guide works, but that's something you can decide for yourself!

This obviously isn't a rule as such and should only be treated as a guide, but it will probably help you increase the number of sharp shots you're getting. I use a Sigma 50-500DG and a Canon 30D, and I've had a good few sharp shots at 500mm with a shutter speed of around 1/400th before, so it definately isn't 'hard and fast' as it were. It's something to maybe bear in mind though.

Hope that's of some use. :)

Paul

Member for

20 years 7 months

Posts: 405

The only thing I'd add to that is for static aircraft, how sharp your shot will be at shutter speeds of around 1/100th depends hugely on your focal length. If you're at 250mm or even 300mm you're quite unlikely to get a very sharp shot at 1/100th.

Quite true as a basic rule, but it won't normally give you the desired prop blur. With some practice it is possible to get usable shots at much lower shutterspeeds. See my example above, in which a shutterspeed of 1/80th is used with a focal length of 200mm on a Nikon D2x, which compares to 300mm on a 35mm SLR.

Member for

18 years 8 months

Posts: 5,530

Quite true as a basic rule, but it won't normally give you the desired prop blur. With some practice it is possible to get usable shots at much lower shutterspeeds. See my example above, in which a shutterspeed of 1/80th is used with a focal length of 200mm on a Nikon D2x, which compares to 300mm on a 35mm SLR.

Of course it's possible with practice, but my point related more to static shots rather than panning. As I said, it's a general rule of thumb for photography in general and something that may be worth bearing in mind, not something that must be strictly adhered to! Using the logic of how the 1/focal length guide works, for static shots it may be possible to get better results by zooming out a little, dropping the shutter speed and just cropping a bit more. :)

Paul

Member for

18 years 11 months

Posts: 1,084

Or you could always cheat and blur the blades using photoshop afterwards :dev2: .

I would advise that experience and practice is generally the answer, and at least digital means you can practice at almost nil cost, unlike the days of 35mm when you mentally thought "..there goes another 20 - 30 pence' worth of processing..." everytime you pressed the shutter button.

And, with digicams, at least you can check the outcome of your practicing there and then (assuming the LCD is large enough), rather than having to wait a few hours or days to get back a load of less than successful enprints which went straight in the waste paper bin.

I had real problems avoiding stationary prop-blades with my old Fuji S3500 super-zoom, due to limited user-selectable program modes, but hopefully my move back to SLR (albeit D-SLR with the EOS350D) last autumn will give me more flexibility in choosing camera settings this coming season.

All I need is a chance to spend a couple of hours one weekend at Shoreham trying things out on their Spam-cans before the airshow season starts. A couple of hours taking photos of the circuit bashers may not be too exciting, but at least the steady stream of take-off and landings will give me something to practice on while I get used to the new camera, and sort out which settings give me the best chance of getting nicely blurred props but nice sharp airframes.

Paul F

Member for

19 years 10 months

Posts: 319

In pursuit of the perfect picture!

This was one discussion that I was a bit reticent to get involved in; however as obtaining a nice prop blur is a fundamental issue for all lovers of proper aeroplanes I thought I would get involved.

First things first, we have two interrelated issues shutter speed and aperture , one will get the blur the other will in combination with the shutter speed govern the amount of light reaching the cameras CCD / CMOS, along the way it will determine your 'depth of field'. The important thing to remember is think about the sort of picture you wish to end up with, then think “how am I going to get that image”, to get the answer think about the following:-

The subject -- is it dull, is it shiny, is it a single aircraft or is it an aircraft formation, is it fast or slow!

The Available light – is it a dull or bright day, where is the main light source, behind you in a lot of cases will be a great deal more desirable than seeing your favourite aircraft coming out of the Sun like some avenging angle!

Shutter speed – The aspect of the equation that directly affects the amount of prop blur you will get. Be warned lens aperture and shutter speed have a relationship.

Lens Aperture ---- The function that controls dept of field, setting the aperture at f1.8 will have a number of effects, (one)> the aperture will be fully open letting lots of light in, (two)> the 'in focus' distance between the front and back elements of the photograph will be very small (better known as dept of field) (three)> shutter speed will need to be adjusted in order to obtain a correctly exposed image. In this case we would need a fastish shutter speed to avoid over exposure.

However setting the aperture at say f22 will produce different results (one)> the aperture will be almost fully closed, letting only a small amount of light into the camera. (Two) the in focus distance between the front and back elements of the photograph will be large (the depth of field will be large and you should be capable of getting most elements of the picture in focus. (Three)> Shutter speed would again need to be adjusted; in this case, we would almost certainly need to reduce the speed

The important thing in both of the above is to consider the conditions and the type of image required. Next make the shutter and aperture adjustments you think you need to obtain your image (Be warned compromise my be necessary) finally press the button!

Do not get sucked into the idea that prop movement is everything in an image, you do not need to walk round an air show snapping everything at a 60th of a second or less, in fact I would strongly advise you not to! I would however strongly advise you to walk round the air show using all the suggested elements; some will be strong on speed, some on aperture. At the end of the show you will have some good pictures, the odd great picture and a few awful pictures. As you train yourself the proportion of each will hopefully change.

Happy Picture taking!

Eric

Member for

19 years 6 months

Posts: 1,943

Amazing what you find when you search :)
I will give this all a go tomorrow.