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Best camera for these types of shot
Ok guys I'm an airline pilot and I spend a TON of time flying. I was wondering what type of camera would give me the best results for these types of shots. Sometimes I'm flying over New York or places like that where I'd love to get a nice quality shot of the cockpit with the skyline of the city in the back ground. I want to blow one up so I could have a large poster of it made and hung on the wall, probably B&W style. Any ideas? Can any SLR do it?.

Http://www.airliners.net/...oto_nr=47&prev_id=1328936&next_id=1328427.

Also which is better for dark pictures. In the cockpit at night I don't want the flash going off blinding us. I'd like to get the shots as "real world" as possible. A dark cockpit where you can seen the self lit instruments with the runway lights out the window in the background as we're on final approach into Houston over Galveston Bay...

Comments (15)

Best to ask in the pro forum, this type of photography is really a specialization. There are mutliple problems to over come from speed of the aircraft, vibrations from the aircraft, shooting through a window, blowing up from a small sensor, haze, and quality of the lens..

Here are some links I have found:.

Http://www.aeropix.net/how-to/how-to-index.htm.

Http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=27.

(slow loading) http://www.dptutorial.com/aerial-photography-tips.

Http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0007UR.

Http://www.shutterbug.net/refreshercourse/outdoor_tips/0405lesson/Rationally I have no hope, irrationally I believe in miracles.Joni Mitchell..

Comment #1

Your two requirements may be at odds with each other..

For the first type of shot, you want the greatest possible depth of field (DOF). The compacts with small sensors tend to have much greater DOF than to the DSLRs with theie much larger sensors. The large DOF is a disadvantage if you want good bokah in your blurred backgrounds, but may be the only way to get both the cockpit and the scenery in focus. Seehttp://forums.dpreview.com/...ums/readflat.asp?forum=1002&thread=26998778.

Unfortunately, the small sensor compacts tend to be rather horrible in low light situations. That is where the DSLRs excel. You will probably be better off with two cameras. Fortunately, one of them will not need to be very expensive.Joel Orlinsky.

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Comment #2

If you're going to take pictures where you want the cockpit and the view outside the window in daylight to be exposed properly you're probably going get your best results with a flash or by using HDR ( High dynamic range software). Since you can't use a flash, HDR may be your best option..

HDR is now available in Adobe photoshop as well as PaintShopPro X2. For this to work well in a situation where there is motion, you need a camera which can shoot in RAW mode, and you want a camera with low noise at high ISO's. A DSLR is really the best choice for this application. You will probably also need a wide angle lens for the cramped cabin location - I'm guessin here but maybe 15mm or less..

That being said, those of us in the back would prefer you keep your hands on the wheel rather than on the camera. Especially on final approach http://www.flickr.com/photos/.

'For every complex problem there is a solution that is obvious, simple..and wrong'..

Comment #3

I don't think your project is all that hard..

I think the criteria will be:.

1/ manual settings, so you can set the camera for the outside light, without having the camera's built-in meter trying to read the darker inside of the cockpit and adjusting the exposure..

2/ a very wide angle lens, I think. It's been quite a while since I've been in a cockpit, and the last one was a Lancaster, which is quite a bit smaller, I imagine..

But I think that if you are seated, you'll need a wide angle lens to get the whole window into the shot. That wide angle, in turn, means you get a lot of the outside in the shot..

3/ night shots; probably you'll need manual exposure again, and set the camera for the light levels coming off the instruments do these planes have big computer screens instead of dials and gauges? You'll need a high ISO setting to get enough exposure to allow the instrument lights to be exposed properly they are not as bright as you might think and a shutter speed fast enough to allow hand-holding the camera..

Even a monopod would help..

Pretty much any D-SLR camera with a wide angle lens would work. With the so-called crop sensor cameras, an 18mm wide angle would probably be OK..

BAK..

Comment #4

BAK wrote:.

I don't think your project is all that hard..

I think the criteria will be:.

1/ manual settings, so you can set the camera for the outside light,without having the camera's built-in meter trying to read the darkerinside of the cockpit and adjusting the exposure..

That's OK for night shots, but in daylight the interior will be grossly underexposed. That's why I suggested the HDR if he can't use flash. You need enough dynamic range to cover the bright exterior and much darker interior..

Even a monopod would help..

Good suggestion. Monopods are pretty compact and manueverable in tight spaces.

Pretty much any D-SLR camera with a wide angle lens would work. Withthe so-called crop sensor cameras, an 18mm wide angle would probablybe OK..

BAK.

I'm not sure about that. I tried using the 18mm end of a zoom lens in the cockpit of Concord that was docked in Manahattan until a few years ago. That may be a much smaller cockpit than you are in but I definitely needed a much wider lens for that situation. If you are going to be taking a lot of these shots try renting a wider lens. I think thats the only way you will know what will meet your needs..

Http://www.flickr.com/photos/.

'For every complex problem there is a solution that is obvious, simple..and wrong'..

Comment #5

To prove the point about dynamic range look at the link in the OP's post. All of the cockpit shots show either a severely over exposed exterior.

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Or underexposed interior..

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Or they used a flash.

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There is no way to overcome this problem without a flash or HDR. Otherwise you have to accept a suboptimal result as you see in the first two photoshttp://www.flickr.com/photos/.

'For every complex problem there is a solution that is obvious, simple..and wrong'..

Comment #6

Thanks for the responses it looks like DSLR it is! Thank goodness as I didn't want to have to buy two different cameras lol. I the P&S isn't bad but can't keep anything in the distance clear. As far as lighting goes I'm only worried about outside lighting. Reason being is while we do have computer screens, we dim them so that they match roughly what is going on out there. This allows our eyes to stay focused. The other day we were flying through an area with very high electrical activity and the nose of the plane started glowing so bright it looked like we had the landing lights on! There was also lightning streaks running all over our windscreen.

I'm guessing I'll need to back two lenses. I was so hell bent on getting the Sony A350 but now I'm starting to consider the Olympus E-420...

Comment #7

Some DSLRS are getting better at optimising dynamic range now, so see if you can get one of those. (Sony is quite affordable). I think then with a little bit of layers work in Photoshop you'd probably be able to get it all in one shot. Another way is to fit a Cokin filter holder and drop in a Graduated Neutral Density Filter; this slides up and down so you can place it over the line of transition from very bright to dim interior. I think you'll need a proper wide angle lens for really dramatic comosition - try a Sigma 12-24 which will be future-proof against any movement back to 35mm full frame sensors. The APS-C sensor tailored ones will also work well.



On the other hand (as someone has already mentioned) something very small like one of the Canon Elph/Ixus models (provoided that it has a viewfinder and the 28mm widest angle zoom) can take passable photos. You can use exposure lock and low ISO to get a measure of control..

John.Please visit me at:http://www.pbase.com/johnfr/backtothebridgehttp://www.pbase.com/johnfr/digital_dartmoor..

Comment #8

I will look into this HDR. I had never heard of it. thank you for bringing it to my attention...

Comment #9

Shoot image in raw, then convert RAW to get perfect outside exposure. Recovnert same RAW file for perfect interior exposure, then merge the two images in Photoshop..

As for getting night images of outside...I know on my locomtive, it's almost impossible. Even when stopped, the cab still shakes too much. Imagine flying is much less movement but , still, not a stable platform to drag ones shutter.Dave PattersonMidwestshutterbug.com'When the light and composition are strong, nobodynotices things like resolution or pincushion distortion'Gary Friedman..

Comment #10

This may answer part of your question that a DSLR isn't always necessary as this shot was taken several years ago with a Canon A20 P/S while inflight refueling on a KC-10. Had the ground been visible it would have been a clear shot as well..

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Regards,HankRetired M/SgtUSAF.

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Comment #11

We will do the shooting you do the flying! lol.

GaryPhotos at http://www.pbase.com/gary_602zAll who wander are not lost!..

Comment #12

LOL No worries guys. There's a reason there are two of us. When taking off and landing the other guy is just sitting there. Under no instance is he to grab the controls. The flying pilot stays the flying pilot all the way to the ground unless he's incapacitated. It's just like driving a car with someone in the pax seat...

Comment #13

This is 35mm:.

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This, I believe is 28mm:.

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And this 25m:.

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All shot hand-held with an, image stabilized, fixed lens (non-DSLR) Fz50, 1st nekid, 2nd with screw-on Wcon 08, 3rd with screw-on Wcon 07...

I'd imagine in a jet there's a little more distance in front to the windshield & control-panel so whether a wider angle lens is entirely necessary or if you need a DSLR is entirely up to you... Just posting these for a little perspective....

The Amateur Formerly Known as 'UZ'pShoot'ERS' 'Happy Shootin' Comments, Critique, Ridicule, Limericks, Jokes, Hi-jackings, EnthUZIastically, Encouraged... I Insist!.

* /rrawzz *..

Comment #14

Further to my comments a manual focusing lens would be handy, and almost all D-SLR lenses can be manually focssed..

This way you can focus part way between the runway outside tand the instruments inside and cross your fingers that both will be sharp, if you use the appropriate f-stop..

My comments were based on the big picture on the link; not on a picture that showed flash being used not from a pilot's seat, but from behnd it by someone standing..

With flash, there are ways of balancing inside flash and outside daylight, but that's for another posting by you, after you buy your camera..

BAK..

Comment #15

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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