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Spud726 Mar 12, 2005 5:51 PM

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Hi All,

Could someone pleasehelp me determine why my shots turned out so poorly?

Here's my settings: Nikon Coolpix 995, focal length 25mm (119mm), F/8, Shutter 1/500s, Exp comp -0.3, ISO 100, Metering mode: Pattern, Focus: INF.

Misc: altitude ~700', shotthrough open window, camera not in slipstream, not bracing against aircraft, taken at 4pm in Eastern Canada last week, overcast sky.

I set the exposure comp to slightly underexpose in the hopes I could bring out detail in photoshop afterwards.

Any idea why the image is blury and why the tone or contrast is so blotchy? (I'm not sure how to describe this problem.)

Note: this is a 75% cropped image to meet the file size limitations.

Thanks in advance!!!!

calr Mar 12, 2005 8:03 PM

I think your problem might be the infinite focus. The sharpest focus available on a lens is just short of infinity. If the Coolpix 995 has through the lens viewing (SLR) adjust the focus for the sharpest image. If you cannot view through the lens, adjust focus for infinity and then backoff slightly. Try two or three shots at different focus settings to determine what the sharpest point is.

Good luck,
Cal Rasmussen

Spud726 Mar 12, 2005 8:14 PM

Hmm, I'll try that.

The 995 is a great point and shoot buthasa crude manual focus that steps from 30ft to INF in one step. I'll give auto focus a try. I set it to INF to prevent it from focusing on the wind, but once I was upin theairI found I could open the window without to much trouble. (except for the -10degC breeze comming in! Brrrrr...)


slipe Mar 12, 2005 9:04 PM

Both of your poles look like this. The sun is from the upper right with relatively short shadows to the lower left, so the shadow to the left of the pole isn't from the sun. My guess is that the plane was moving from right to left and you didn't pan. Or there was just vibration that showed up mostly to the left.

There might be a focus problem, but there seems to be some motion blur there as well.

Spud726 Mar 13, 2005 9:35 AM

Thanks Slipe!

I see what you're saying with that.I thought setting the shutter to be 1/500s would clear that up.

Here's what I may try next time:

1)a higher shutterspeed like 1/1000s

2) a multi shot sequence (the 995 can take multiple shots andkeep the best based on file size)

3) work on my camera stabilization, currently I am holding the window open with one hand and the camera with the other. I was thinking of making a stick that I can prop the window open with to free upmy other hand to stabilize myself better.

4) set focus to manual

Any thoughts or other suggestions / experiences with aerial work?

slipe Mar 13, 2005 9:56 AM

I was wondering how the best shot mode works. I suppose a clear shot compresses better. I don't have it so I can't comment on whether it is better than just using a burst mode and deciding for yourself. Camera shake and vibration vary from moment to moment and a burst can get a clear shot out of a group. I doubt that applies to a constant prop vibration and aircraft movement.

Don't let the camera touch any part of the airplane. Your body is the best vibration damper on the plane.

Pan even with high shutter speed flying that low. Especially if you can't generate 1/1000 second. If a plane flies over low and you hold the camera still and shoot at 1/500 you will likely get some motion blur. Pan with the plane and you will likely get a sharp shot. It is exactly the same from the plane to the ground with the same movement.

Spud726 Mar 13, 2005 10:29 AM

I haven't used it much but if you compare a blurred image with a sharp one (given the same res and settings etc..) the blurred one will have a lower file size. It has to do with the way jpeg compression works. However, that doesn't mean that the picture was composed better.

Looking at the file sizes from the set taken that day, they all seem pretty close in size: the smallest was 608k, largest 746k. These were of different scenes so the differencemostly comes frome that. But, the BSS must be comparing files of very similar sizes, so I cannot imagine it works perfectly every time unless the blur is considerable.

I see your point about panning and will add that to my checklist for the next trip.

Thanks again.

BillDrew Mar 14, 2005 7:32 AM

You can do some tests for motion blur (not shake) by standing at the right distance from a freeway. If the ground speed of the plane was 140mph and distance was 500 ft, you will get the same blur in cars moving at 70mph shooting at 250 ft. Shoot off a tripod so motion blur is the only issue. You can also try hand-held panning to get rid of that blur - should be good practice.

sjms Mar 15, 2005 10:10 AM

shooting with one hand isn't going to hack it. if you are there to shoot you need to make it so the opening is clear and both your hands are on the camera. do not brace yourself on any portion of the aircraft. them thar bug smasher things (prop jobs)vibrate like all heck

Spud726 Apr 4, 2005 3:42 PM

Follow up...

I just got another trip in with much better results.I was able touse both handsby proping the window open with a stick and suction cup jig. Also, I recently bought a new camera (Rebel XT) which allows a higher iso and so I was using 1/1000s shutter which maybe helped a bit.

I'd say, the improvement was owing mostly to the window jig.

Thanks all!

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