Blurry shots?

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aviation_617
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Joined: Fri 28 Feb 2020, 6:11 pm

Blurry shots?

Post by aviation_617 »

Hi All,

I'm new to the airshow photography scene, and have a question that's come up over the last year.

I'm finding that 90% of my photos are all slightly out of focus, and can't seem to remedy this with shutter speed or anything else. I'm using a Canon SX70, and have all the settings correct (servo AF, etc). The 10% that are in focus are of the exact same fast jets as those that aren't - hence why I'm somehwat confused. It's also worth saying that on the camera screen they look focused, and it's only when I bring them up on a larger screen it becomes apparent.

Any suggestions?

Thanks from a newbie guys :)

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Col. Chibani
Posts: 390
Joined: Sun 27 Mar 2016, 8:15 pm

Re: Blurry shots?

Post by Col. Chibani »

Hi aviation_617,
There may be several reasons for blurred shots.

Could you please show some of your pics ?

TonyB
Posts: 194
Joined: Tue 02 Nov 2010, 4:57 am

Re: Blurry shots?

Post by TonyB »

Are the in focus photos the first ones in in a sequence? If so the it could be that if you are "machine gunning" i.e. keeping your finger on the shutter release then the autofocus could be having problems with keeping up.

aviation_617
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri 28 Feb 2020, 6:11 pm

Re: Blurry shots?

Post by aviation_617 »

Col. Chibani wrote:Hi aviation_617,
There may be several reasons for blurred shots.

Could you please show some of your pics ?


https://www.flickr.com/photos/187442689@N02/?

I've put up a small selection of the "blurriness". It's very annoying when I get a decent shot and it turns out like that!

aviation_617
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri 28 Feb 2020, 6:11 pm

Re: Blurry shots?

Post by aviation_617 »

TonyB wrote:Are the in focus photos the first ones in in a sequence? If so the it could be that if you are "machine gunning" i.e. keeping your finger on the shutter release then the autofocus could be having problems with keeping up.


That was my first thought on the matter actually! Upon looking at the photo sets however, it appears that it's usually a shot in the middle of a bunch that's the in-focus one. By machine gunning, do you mean having it on continuous "burst" shooting mode, or just simply pressing the shutter release manually very quickly?

Thank you so much for your help guys :smile:

blackfive460
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun 13 Oct 2019, 1:43 pm

Re: Blurry shots?

Post by blackfive460 »

This looks very much like motion blur to me.
Looking at IMG_3255, the Typhoon, in the image, the port navigation light appears to be stretched horizontally. If it were any other kind of blur, I'd expect stretching in all directions.
Likewise IMG_0624, the Gripen, which shows the same though not to the same extent.

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Col. Chibani
Posts: 390
Joined: Sun 27 Mar 2016, 8:15 pm

Re: Blurry shots?

Post by Col. Chibani »

I had a quick look at Canon SX70 benchmarks.
I saw that it has "shutter priority", meaning that it will take a pic, even when not focused.
I guess that this happens in difficult conditions for the AF : long focal length and fast-moving objects.

Is this camera equipped with image stabilization ?
If not, this could contribute also to the blurriness.

Stagger2
Posts: 1512
Joined: Thu 16 Jun 2011, 8:46 am

Re: Blurry shots?

Post by Stagger2 »

I looked at the Canon SX70 HS review & was amazed at the 'optical zoom range'! With all the features listed, I marvel at what you potentially get for such a small price-tag & almost instantly realise there must be a downside somewhere? In fairness, the shots you've posted on Flickr mostly feature reasonable definition. If they were grey jets on a grey sky then autofocus at maximum zoom can be a matter of luck (or not!)
I noted this extract from the review:- "When it comes to shooting with the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS, the camera will turn on and be ready to fire a shot in a pretty quick 1.5 seconds. Focusing in good light is almost instantaneous, but dimmer conditions slow things to a sluggish 1.5-2 seconds. Zooming-in to the longer focal lengths can also cause some focus hunting and general slowness, and the system is sometimes unreliable in these situations, too. Exposure metering is absolutely dependable though and isn’t fazed by high-contrast scenes." Therefore it's possible that you're maybe asking too much of this device?
There are many exponents of this type of camera on this & other Forums, hopefully my doubting comments will draw meaningful comments from them?
In the meantime you need to beg, steal or borrow a tripod. Wait for a reasonable weather day & select a distant building or object, then set-up the camera to replicate air-show settings, take the same shot twice at 100mm zoom intervals up to maximum zoom. Make sure the auto-focus is moved to blurred before each next pair of shots. Don't bother to pixel-peep between shots. Merely observe/time the auto focus action before the shutter operates (for each focal length') As the camera is tripod mounted please ensure the stabilisation button on the Lens is deactivated throughout the test!
When complete, do the same exercise hand-held, but this time take the first shot of each pair without 'image stabilisation' & the second shot with. Take the camera home & view the images at normal size to evaluate any pattern of results. Then see if the best will hold-up at 100%+.
Armed with those results, go do a test standing well-back from a fast road, hand-held + with & without 'IS'. Never shoot jets (or cars) on maximum aperture as you need the depth of field on fast -movers, especially three-quarter approaching & receding shots. Try for F8 to begin & keep up to sensible Shutter speeds by adjusting the ISO. rating. :up:
Sorry if this sounds tedious, but you don't say what your level of experience is. Besides, you've got bugger-all better to do coz there aint going to be any aircraft displaying in the next couple of months at least! :wink:
After this you'll know if it's You, the camera or the settings that have been causing the problem. :yahoo:

aviation_617
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri 28 Feb 2020, 6:11 pm

Re: Blurry shots?

Post by aviation_617 »

Many thanks for the replies guys - very helpful!

Chibani - I will take a look at the shutter priority, as what you say does make sense with the results I've been getting!

Stagger - So was I when I saw the price! Of course, with that in mind, I'm not expecting the results of a proper DSLR with the matching glass, however for what it costs, I am more than happy with most of the shots. That said, the "keepers" have been of sufficient quality that I'm somewhat determined to try and find the best conditions for this camera, as I feel that in the correct conditions, good consistent shots are achievable. Thanks as well for the tips on practising, and I will definitely be trying them soon.

With regards to my experience. I have been an avid member of the aviation community for some time, and have just turned my attention to airshow photography. My brother is the experienced photographer, and after attending RIAT 2018 and trying out one of his cameras (Nikon D750 with a 400mm lens!!!! :lol: ), I thought I'd try my hand with a budget camera. I have had good results at RAF Lossiemouth with the Typhoons (and visitors) there, hence why I suspect shutter priority and motion blur are the culprits for the fast moving, more unpredictable airshow aircraft being blurred. Worth saying at this point that my brother is a wildlife photographer (hence the very expensive kit), and also why I thought to ask the airshow pros about this, and not him :smile:

Many thanks once again for all your help guys - much learned, and it's greatly appreciated!

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