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Propeller action
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Aug 9, 2021 17:21:22   #
zacksoccer
 
This may be the simplest question ever asked. I recently attended the Oshkosh EAA and photographed several propeller driven aircraft during the air show. I wanted to get the sharpest images possible. I was using a Nikon D500 with a Sigma 150-600 lens. I was shooting at 1/4000, 6.3, 160 iso. At this shutter all the propellers are frozen. Obviously, they are turning slower than 4000 per second. How do I achieve max sharpness with the propellers moving? That would probably have to be at no more than 1/1000.



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Aug 9, 2021 17:40:52   #
ken_stern Loc: Yorba Linda, Ca
 
@ Air Shows, I set the shutter at 1/100 to 1/150 -- ISO @ 200
However, at those speeds, many are called but few are chosen --
It all depends on how much coffee I had at breakfast -- Keepers improve with less java
BUT those that are the chosen ones look damn good!!
Other's "claim" 1/250 works for them
Save the high speed for the jets

Good Luck

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Aug 9, 2021 17:45:33   #
CHG_CANON Loc: the Windy City
 
zacksoccer wrote:
This may be the simplest question ever asked. I recently attended the Oshkosh EAA and photographed several propeller driven aircraft during the air show. I wanted to get the sharpest images possible. I was using a Nikon D500 with a Sigma 150-600 lens. I was shooting at 1/4000, 6.3, 160 iso. At this shutter all the propellers are frozen. Obviously, they are turning slower than 4000 per second. How do I achieve max sharpness with the propellers moving? That would probably have to be at no more than 1/1000.
This may be the simplest question ever asked. I re... (show quote)


For a prop plane, try 1/200 to 1/400, or just default to 1/320 sec. There's no need to be at 1/4000 sec, even for the high-speed pass of the fighter jets. Below is an example at 1/320 sec. I go as slow as 1/100 sec for the helicopters. The Skyhawk jet was captured at 1/2000. Both from Oshkosh in 2019. In the full resolution version, you can read all to visible lettering on the A4. These are both hand-held from the flightline, with the Canon IS active, both with a 2x extender.

Bill Stein by Paul Sager, on Flickr


A-4 Skyhawk by Paul Sager, on Flickr

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Aug 9, 2021 17:53:34   #
zacksoccer
 
Thanks very much...I was able to get the slow shutter speed for taxiing planes but these images showed me that I was just too timid to shoot at a moving object...thanks for all the confirming information...

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Aug 9, 2021 17:57:29   #
CHG_CANON Loc: the Windy City
 
zacksoccer wrote:
Thanks very much...I was able to get the slow shutter speed for taxiing planes but these images showed me that I was just too timid to shoot at a moving object...thanks for all the confirming information...


You just have to practice your panning technique, whether with support or hand-held. You seem to be following John Klatt (?) fine on this upward action. Trust the modern lens stabilization. That's why these lenses cost so much.

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Aug 9, 2021 18:02:26   #
zacksoccer
 
Good point, again. Have spent a lot of time shooting birds in flight and trying to increase sharpness with a cropped sensor by increasing shutter speed...does not apply to propellers in motion...obviously...the Chicago Air show is coming and that's mostly Blue Angels and jets so high shutter won't be an objection...appreciate this forum very much...

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Aug 9, 2021 18:10:22   #
zacksoccer
 
Beautiful images, Paul...

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Aug 9, 2021 18:15:15   #
CHG_CANON Loc: the Windy City
 
zacksoccer wrote:
Good point, again. Have spent a lot of time shooting birds in flight and trying to increase sharpness with a cropped sensor by increasing shutter speed...does not apply to propellers in motion...obviously...the Chicago Air show is coming and that's mostly Blue Angels and jets so high shutter won't be an objection...appreciate this forum very much...


The Blue Angels do a repeated high-speed pass of two solo jets coming coming at each other at show center. To get both frozen, you need to track one jet and rip a burst as they cross. This example is 1/2500 sec. You can see I could have been still faster. If you go multiple days, you get more and more practice. For the rest of the show, 1/1250 sec is all you need. For 2021, it will be only Blue Angels, no water and no other show.

Blue Angels by Paul Sager, on Flickr

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Aug 9, 2021 18:35:30   #
Hip Coyote
 
If you are a member of PSA, then I suggest you look in their archives for an article in the magazine by George "Hutch" Hutchison on the topic. A master photographer explains all..

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Aug 9, 2021 18:44:11   #
zacksoccer
 
Thanks for the great tip...

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Aug 9, 2021 18:47:58   #
zacksoccer
 
Also from 2019 show...


(Download)


(Download)

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Aug 9, 2021 18:56:22   #
CHG_CANON Loc: the Windy City
 
zacksoccer wrote:
Also from 2019 show...


You know how slow they go then. The practice day that year was the first time I'd seen plane #7 in the air. Must years they do a slow diamond pass on the north side of the crowd toward the end of the performance that tends to be well-lit in the afternoon sun and yields great close-ups for anyone with 300mm or longer.

Blue Angels by Paul Sager, on Flickr

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Aug 10, 2021 09:21:00   #
maxlieberman
 
I shoot prop planes at 1/320, and the jets at 1/3200. My air show pictures have been published in NPhoto magazine, so I must be doing something right.

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Aug 10, 2021 09:49:19   #
zacksoccer
 
Indeed. I appreciate your comments and will use these as a guide. Looking forward to the next show...

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Aug 10, 2021 12:09:59   #
Iron Sight Loc: Utah
 
Good info

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