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Old Jul 14, 2008, 8:03 AM   #1
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Hi

Iv had the Sony H1 for a while now, but admittedly haven't used it enough to understand all of the functions.

I would probably use it much more frequently if I didn't let my lack of photographic understanding frustrate me so much.

I have read the whitepages on this camera and think I have pretty much got it set-up as well as I can, even though I still have a 1001 questions to ask.

For now though, I have just a couple of questions that I hope someone can help me with:…..

I'm going to Farnborough Air show this weekend, and I want to make sure I have my camera setup correctly for the event, because last time I went, the shots I really wanted to get were a complete disaster.

Iv found something on my camera recently called Metering Modes.

Should I perhaps set it to spot metering, because that appears top be the only way I can get a nice + in the centre of the screen to track aircraft with.

The most frustrating thing I found when I went to Farnborough last time was trying to take photos of aircraft flying.

For example; I had an Apache helicopter ahead of me doing its thing, but whenever I pointed my camera at it and tried to focus on it, the helicopter would go blurry and vanish, then all I would see is blue sky.

This just kept happening. I just couldn't focus on an aircraft before it just vanishes into blue sky.

I assume the problem to be the fact that if I don't have the focus point directly on the aircraft, ill simply be focusing on the sky, which would make the aircraft vanish from view.

That of course takes me back to the problem of having no + to point at the aircraft.

I'm starting to confuse myself now so I better just leave it there and hope one of you knows what im talking about, and advise me on the best setup and a few tips for the big day.

Many thanks for any help

Shane
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Old Jul 15, 2008, 8:20 AM   #2
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I'd say that, for photos of aircraft in flight,you should turn off autofocus, and manually focus at infinity. The airbourne aircraft will be far enough away that the difference is insignificant, so you'll get good sharp photos and you won't have to wait for the autofocus system.

I also think that spot metering is fine if you can keep the spot on the aircraft, which is difficult as the aircraft zoom by. I think you should use center weighted metering instead.That should get close to what you want,plus you can fine tuneduring post processing. If you use spot metering, the aircraft itself might end up too dark to do anything with.

Also, for helocopters and propeller driven aircraft, you don't want to use a shutter speed so fast that it freezes the blades, but you don't want a shutter speed so slow that the blades are invisible. I think you should keep the shutter speed at about 1/250 or so. For jet aircraft, it doesn't matter.
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Old Jul 15, 2008, 9:19 AM   #3
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Thanks for those useful tips.

Ill have to read up about the infinity focus option.

The whitepages suggested avoiding that type of focus, but I doubt the author considered one of his readers wants to shoot airborne aircraft.

If I manage to get any shots I like, ill try to pop them in this thread.
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Old Jul 15, 2008, 9:57 AM   #4
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Personally I would not use infinity focus and if possible I would not use an auto metering mode as the sky will usually mess up the exposure for your subject.

So for focus I would use continuous AF (C AF) see page 51 of the manual for this. If done with wide area AF then the camera will only have the aircraft to focus on as the sky usually does not have enough contrast to be interesting to the camera.

Now for exposure (pages 29 and 30), manual (M)is the best option. I usually shoot a couple of shots in shutter priority when photographing aircraft/birds in flight, as this will get me in the right area and then can widen the aperture in manual mode to get the exposure for the subject (usually it is about 1/2 - 2/3 of a stop brighter that is needed but will depend on the direction of the sun etc.) There is nothing wrong with using shutter priority and just leaving it at 1/250th but you will find that the majority of your shots are under exposed due to the bright sky. The slightly better option is to do a little exposure compensation however then then aircraft darkness can have an effect.

It's up to you how close you want to get out of the camera. If you do go manual just keep an eye on the histogram on the shots you take so they are not too dark or too light as the day goes on/clouds come over etc, see page 31 of the manual.

If you get aircraft flying over from heathrow/gatwick (not sure where you are in London) it might be worth having a quick play.

Hope it goes well and wish I was going to be there myself but can't make it.

Happy shooting,

Mark
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Old Jul 16, 2008, 8:04 AM   #5
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Thanks to you to Mark.

When you say "wide area AF", is that what the user guide refers to as Multi point AF?

I was going to use Center AF, as I was concerned that perhaps I would end up focusing on clouds using Multi point AF, but as you said "the sky usually does not have enough contrast to be interesting to the camera".

So this is how I should set up my camera then??...

Multi point AF

Continuous AF

I'm not sure about metering though, I didn't notice you comment on that Mark.

Tcav suggested Center weighted, so perhaps ill use that.

I'm getting confused again now. Is metering referred to as Multi point AF??

Gawd, I have a few days left to figure this out :?










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Old Jul 16, 2008, 9:49 AM   #6
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5hane wrote:
Quote:
Thanks to you to Mark.

When you say "wide area AF", is that what the user guide refers to as Multi point AF?

I was going to use Center AF, as I was concerned that perhaps I would end up focusing on clouds using Multi point AF, but as you said "the sky usually does not have enough contrast to be interesting to the camera".

So this is how I should set up my camera then??...

Multi point AF

Continuous AF

I'm not sure about metering though, I didn't notice you comment on that Mark.

Tcav suggested Center weighted, so perhaps ill use that.

I'm getting confused again now. Is metering referred to as Multi point AF??

Gawd, I have a few days left to figure this out :?









LOL, don't panic, there is a lot to take in.

If you are using manual then metering is out of the equation, if you are using shutter priority then it comes back into play. If you are filling the frame pretty well and keeping the subject in the centre you are fine with spot or centre weighted, if you are not so sure then using the whole area for metering will be fine as then no matter when the subject is it is likely to take up the same % of the sensor so won't change the metering, however you go back to the same problem of under exposure due to bright sky.

As for the focus as the aircraft should be quite large with the lens on the H1 it will be a better 'target' for the AF in the camera so you shouldn't have a big issue. I'm not sure how fast the AF is on the H1 so if something is coming at you at high speed then you might struggle to keep up but give it a go.

Lastly, yes I was confusing my terms re the wide area/multi point AF..... and there was me getting so close to being perfect LOL.

Seriously though, I would possibly take a few 'safety shots' with shutter priority then start working in some positive exposure compensation (over exposure) as you will notice the subjects are dark and the sky is exposed correctly, lastly switch to manual. If you are willing to give it a go you will learn lots about your camera and photography in general. Also play with the shutter speed to see the difference it makes to the propellers and rotors, again it's good to learn. Most of all enjoy your day out and don't forget to tell us how you got on!! If I don't reply after Monday it is because I'm in Egypt, not being rude
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Old Jul 16, 2008, 10:48 AM   #7
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Thanks for being patient with me!

Ill probably stick with shutter priority all the way through, just so I don't complicate things. At least with that I can get my blurred propellers (hopefully).

I really like the idea of Continuous AF, but the whitepaper(earlier I referred to it as whitepages by mistake) has made me unsure about using that mode.

It says:


Quote:
Continuous Mode keeps hunting for focus even after you half-press the shutter button. It never stops. It's designed to continue focusing on fast-moving subjects (like bicycle or auto races) and doesn't even work very well there. The idea is that the subject may keep moving between the time you half-click and full-click the shutter button. Continuous focus keeps on looking, in case the subject has moved. The problem is that while the AF speed of the camera is pretty good, it isn't fast enough to recapture focus on a fast-moving target in the short time between a half-click and a full-click. The result: In Continuous AF Mode, you may get lots of blurred pictures. I did.

Single Mode
doesn't attempt to autofocus until you half-press the shutter button. That's fine for taking pictures, but it's not at all helpful for composing them. Especially with a long-zoom like the H-Series cameras, where you may be searching for a subject miles away that's completely invisible in a mist of lost focus. You can repeatedly half-press the shutter button to force the camera to re-acquire focus.

Monitor Mode autofocuses while you compose, and then locks when you half-press the shutter button. I recommend Monitor Mode for its benefit to composition.



I assumed that with Continuous AF that I wouldn't need to focus using a half click, but now it looks like Ill just be using my camera with the same setup as last time - which resulted in a disaster.

What's the point in using a half click to focus, the f16 will be out of focus by the time I am ready??

I would just go along and experiment, but you only get one chance at an air show.

As soon as I seeISO's, AF's, MULTI-POINTS's, FLEXIBLE SPOT's, MONITORS &SINGLESetc etc on the big day, the frustration & confusionwill enter and thefun willexit, so I want to make sure im ready before hand.



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Old Jul 16, 2008, 11:23 AM   #8
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Ah the reason I have a £1700 lens and a £2300 camera body for shooting action LOL

OK back to what you are working with, I've not used a H1 but I have used other P&S cameras (I own a Panasonic TZ-5 for when I don't want to lug around my dSLRs) and that works fine in continuous. Honestly I would give it a go it is not the necessarily the fastest AF but if you keep your subject in the frame you will probably do OK. If last time things didn't work then you need to go for something else.

Don't forget you can view your results so if things are not working you can see that and work on something else.

If your subject is too far away it might be hard for the camera to lock onto it so I would say if it is not at least 1/4 you are going to struggle, and in honestly you want to be a lot closer than than. The more you give the camera to work with the better chance of a good focus.

The attached is an un-cropped photo straight out of the camera with 1/125s shutter speed. If you can get this amount of frame coverage you are laughing.
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Old Jul 16, 2008, 3:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Ah the reason I have a £1700 lens and a £2300 camera body for shooting action LOL
In my dreams!

Also,I better learn to use something a littlemore basic first :-)
Quote:
If you can get this amount of frame coverage you are laughing.
Oh without a doubt, although I didn't get the movement in the rotors like you.

My problem (I think touched in my first post) is being able to track a jet.

Some how I have to track it, zoom in and out and focus all at once.

Last time I did this, focusing made the jets vanish in the thin air, so I was hoping that a new set-up would make my camera work, or maybe im just rubbish at this?

Quote:
If your subject is too far away it might be hard for the camera to lock onto it so I would say if it is not at least 1/4 you are going to struggle, and in honestly you want to be a lot closer than than.
It sound like I can forget about photos of jet fighters then.

Ok, is it possible to just do a short list of what settings to apply, then ill do that now and hope for the best on Sunday.

Thanks very much!!

I will post any shots that might be worthy!!


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Old Jul 16, 2008, 4:17 PM   #10
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With the movement in the rotors this is all down to shutter speed. If you go for 1/250s then you will not get as much movement but you are more likely to get shots that are not blurred due to camera shake/poor panning technique.

I would go for the following.

Multi point AF

Evaluative metering (full area)

Continuous focus

Shutter priority 1/250s(if the aircraft look dark and I expect the will then use exposure compensation to counteract this - it is possible to pull some back in PP however you will probably lose detail in the shadows so get it right in camera)

Try not to zoom while the shooting, otherwise the camera is more likely to miss the shot as when zooming the focus usually changes so you are asking it to do too much. So work out how much zoom you need and shoot, the zoom again, then shoot

As for panning, keep things smooth, practise tracking things like cars so you can keep them near the centre of the frame throughout a pass, this will allow you to get more well framed photos.

With the far away jets I would give it a try and you might be OK. If you are not filling much of the frame you have to ask yourself how good will the final photo be.If you can't get focus on them then switch back to single shot focus and see if it will get a lock that way, if you focus at about the right distance you will probably be OK tracking and then shooting when ready. It's only when you have closer subjects that you have to be more accurate with the focus. This is why TCav suggested the infinity method.

Just realised I gave a lot of information again so just take out of that what you need.
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