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12noon Jul 25, 2007 1:12 PM


I'm going to an Air show on Sunday and i'll be taking my P850 with me. I wouldn't mind some advice on the best settings for the camera and ways of taking photos of aircraft.

I think the weather will be overcast and could even be raining, so any advice would be much appreciated.

Ronbaird Jul 25, 2007 4:18 PM


Be sure you set the camera correctly to account for background lighting where appropriate, i.e. subject dark background looking good. You may want to be sure you meter for the subject you want to capture and take a few shots of everything to make sure you have captured them all.

If you are going to shoot some of the planes in the air, use good panning techniques. Get the plane in the viewfinder and follow it snapping the shutter as you follow the plane. The plane will be correct and the background blurred. Of course you can reverse this technique as well.

Prefocus a zone you know will be correct and capture a plane as it moves through it. Pan with the plane till it is in the zone and snap the shutter at that point. Remember there is a short lag time with a digital camera, so practice a bit ahead of time.

Consider the approach angle and what you have to work with. You can always move around to get a better perspective, light, composition, or other.

Enjoy the show, they are a lot of fun.

Ron Baird
Eastman Kodak Company

12noon Jul 26, 2007 12:43 PM

I'm hoping that i can snap some planes on the ground, but it's the planes in the air that might be tricky. I'll give it a good go anyway and see what the results are like.

Thanks for your help.

ac.smith Jul 26, 2007 1:08 PM

I have posted air show photos in this forum taken with my Z612. The EXIF data is attached so you can look at the exposure data:;forum_id=18

The big difference with between my situation and what your projecting is light - I had a decent amount of light.

Overcast should not be that much of a problem for the static displays as you'll probably be using wide-angle to short telephoto and even in overcast you should be able to use [email protected]/60 sec. if you need DOF as you probably will considering the shapes of aircraft.

Aircraft in flight - everything you do here involves speed. First, if you haven't shut off Quickview (I presume the 850 has the function) do so as it will frustrate you very quickly. Next, focusing, either pre-focus manually as Ron suggests or set for distance focus (mountain symbol). Finally - shutter speed, do everything reasonable to use a high shutter speed. If your using max telephoto try to keep shutter speed above 1/250 sec. If you need to up the ISO to achieve this do so. I wouldn't hesitate to use ISO 400 if needed on my Z612 but, based user comment here and else where many would suggest not going over ISO 200 with the 850. The trade-off is loss of detail through high ISO or loss of detail through motion blur. Choose the lesser of evils based on your exact circumstances.

As Ron suggested panning is very important for successful in-flight photos especially continuing the motion after you press the shutter. As a frame of reference I was between 300 and 500 yards (275-450m)of airshow center line for most of my in-flight photos.

Rain - have a plastic poncho/cover to keep the rain off the camera while not shooting. Carry a micro-fiber cloth to wipe raindrops off of the lens.

12noon Jul 27, 2007 1:22 AM

Thanks for the advice.
I've been told that using a flash would make my aircraft photos better. I don't know how a flash would be of any use in this situation though. Oh and i only have the built in flash anyway.

ac.smith Jul 27, 2007 9:33 AM

12noon wrote:

Thanks for the advice.
I've been told that using a flash would make my aircraft photos better. I don't know how a flash would be of any use in this situation though. Oh and i only have the built in flash anyway.
The only place that I can see that a flash might help is as a fill flash under the follow conditions: Your taking detail photos (engine, undercarriage and the like) and part of the area is illuminated by bright sun and part in shade. That's not usually required on overcast days since the key ingredient for deep shadows is bright sun|:-) The other time you might want flash would be if you get the opportunity photograph interiors.

12noon Jul 30, 2007 1:18 AM

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Here's a few photo's i took : -

12noon Jul 30, 2007 1:19 AM

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The sun came out a few times, but it was also overcase and rained at times.

12noon Jul 30, 2007 1:20 AM

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Had a great day out in Sunderland.

12noon Jul 30, 2007 1:21 AM

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The red arrows were the best.

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