FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

New to Digital SLR Cameras?

Read this:
Thanks to U-96 for the link
Quote:
Here's a very useful series of Flash presentations from Canon Japan for people completely new to DSLRs and wanting to understand some of the concepts and terminology. It's also useful for people with high-end compacts with manual settings.

http://web.canon.jp/Imaging/enjoydslr/
What type of camera is the best?

That depends on your budget. You can only buy what you can afford. A few things to think about are the type of photography you wish to pursue. Compact cameras or point and shoot cameras, as they are often referred too, are becoming much more advanced than their predecessor's. However they lack the freedom you get from a Digital SLR. DSLR cameras are obviously more expensive but can be aquired 2nd hand relatively easily through local means or through ebay. Some top end Compact cameras are only slightly cheaper than the entry level DSLR's available from most of the major manufacturers. Compact cameras are exactly that, small. If you want to just take photos at family parties, holiday snaps then you won't go wrong with a compact. However if you want to get more serious into photography then the DSLR is only way to go. Lens choice is what you should consider the most. This is where the money starts to get a bit more serious and you need to consider what you want to spend when making your choice.

What kind of camera is best for Airshows?

Compact cameras can take very good photos of the static display at Airshows however you'll be struggling to get the same quality with the flying display. This is due to the fact that all compact cameras have limitations, shutter lag, some have lack of manual operation for shutter speed and aperature values plus the main problem being focal length with the restriction of only having one lens. However you can with some systems aquire extension tubes to give you more OPTICAL range but they aren't ideal. So the best route is the DSLR one. Again however, you'll need to look into getting a telephoto lens in the range of 300mm to zoom in close enough to the aircraft.

What type of lenses should I get?

This again depends on what type of photography you want to pursue. If the subject requires you to be at a distance then obviously you'll need to get a telephoto lens of some sort. Each manufactuer build their own lenses however third party lens manufacturers such as Sigma and Tamron build lenses to fit all the major camera systems for less than the main manufacturers. These third party lenses can be just as good as the major camera manufacturers. So bear that in mind.

Different types of lenses:
Check out this page from Photo.net on information on the different types of lenses out there.

What type of memory is best?
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What settings should I use?

This depends on how confident you feel with your camera and the subject you wish to photograph.There is a common rule where your shutter speed should be 1/focal length.This means that if you were shooting at 300mm then the MINIMUM shutter speed you should use is 1/300 but rules are there to be broken. For example when shooting Propellor aircraft as explained below you'll find that you will need to shoot much lower than 1/focal length. For fast jets during airshows you want to be shooting at the fastest shutter speed that is possible with the conditions.This is to ensure you get the best sharpness and to prevent camera shake.

What I do for jets is set my camera to Av mode which is aperture priority.I set my camera to f.8 which is the sweet spot regarding sharpness on my particular lens and the camera will then work out the shutter speed needed.

For props see the next section for a more details

For airshow photography,this article from PHOTO.NET will give you a few pointers to start with.Thanks to BUFF for the link.

What is Prop blur?

The reason why we try to achieve prop blur in our shots is to give a dynamic feel,a sense of movement.It makes a tremendous difference to the shot compared to that of a shot that has "prop freeze." Prop freeze gives a static effect where the aircraft looks as though its floating in mid air.

Thanks to SGT_Rock for this explanation.

"Having finally figured this one I found that 1/60th on up to 1/125 work very well. Any faster and the blur arc decreases significantly. It can be hit and miss when panning. Here a a couple of examples:

A lame attempt: http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=4329947
The UH60 rotors barely show any movement. This was shot at 1/750th.

Better attempt: http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=4714006
The V-22 shown here was shot at 1/250th. A few degrees of blur but without a decent background it is acceptable to me but not really eye-catching.

Nailing it:
http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=4713989

http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=4713969

Both shots were taken at 1/90 or 1/125. I actually like the T-6B better due to the background enhancing the motion of the aircraft. The real tricky part is being able to pan with the aircraft while maintaining a slow shutter speed with telephoto glass. I try to avoid shooting rapid fire as the mirror clacking will eventually shake the camera and you will lose sharpness (i.e. think recoil and barrel climb when using an automatic weapon). It may sound silly but I found all the advice regarding follow through to be dead on. In other words once you trip the shutter continue to pan along with the aircraft (the same applies for shooting vehicles).

Hope that helps. There are way better shooters out there who will hopefully add to this.

**Edit**I do not use IS-type lenses; however, my understanding is that only IS mode 2 should be used for panning."

Additional Reading

Check out this thread for examples and read about how other photographers took their shots.Some excellent examples throughout the thread,beware though,its a very long read.

FENCECHECK

Things to remember is that at high RPM, the faster the shutter speed you can get away.So on full power the prop will be turning much faster than at idle therefore you can increase shutter speed for this.There isn't a "perfect" speed for all props, as the amount of blur is a personal taste as can be seen in the FENCECHECK thread linked above.

One last point to make is about helicopters.These are much more difficult to get a decent blur on the prop due to the size and speed of the main rotor compared to the tail rotor.All you can do is practise, practise and practise!

What is Post Processing?

Post Processing is where you download the image taken by your camera onto your computer and use an editing software to adjust and correct the image data, such as levels, contrast, saturation etc. There are a range of different programs available. The better ones cost more money but there are still some decent ones available at afforadable prices. Adobe Photoshop CS2 is highly regarded throughout the professional photography world but at 400 for the top package that is way out of range of most amateur/hobbyist photographers. Adobe do also cater for these people too with smaller packages that still offer a lot of features.

What program/s are best for Post Processing?

Again with everything to do with Digital Photography its really down to what you can afford.
As mentioned Adobe are one of the leaders in digital photo editing.But there are others too.

ADOBE PHOTOSHOP
ADOBE PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS
PAINT SHOP PRO
GIMP - FREE

How do I post an image?

First you need to register with a web host such as Photobucket which is free to use. Its quite easy from there. All you do is upload your image into your web host from your computer and when posting on the forum you copy the IMG tag for your image and paste into your message. Try and limit the size of the photo to either 800 pixels wide or 1024 maximum.This is so other members can view your photo easily.

CAMERA EQUIPMENT

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THIRD PARTY LENSES
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Email him for quotes on Canon and Nikon gear
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USEFUL PROGRAMS
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FREE PHOTO EDITING SOFTWARE
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POST PROCESSING HELP
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GENERAL HELP
CANON GUIDE TO DSLR
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FENCECHECK
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AIRSHOW PHOTOGRAPHY HINTS & TIPS