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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Transportation Talk 
Thread started 15 Feb 2015 (Sunday) 19:13
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Focus issues with aircraft in flight

 
cicopo
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Feb 17, 2015 08:50 |  #16

I rarely shoot anything that far away but from experience at one R/C event I know atmospheric haze can soften some images plus as mentioned a slight bit of movement from pressing the shutter button could easily explain that bit of OFF on the second sample.


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Pagman
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Feb 17, 2015 15:16 |  #17

sandpiper wrote in post #17435230 (external link)
My view on the VR is that whilst it shouldn't be necessary at shutter speeds over 1/1000th, to avoid camera shake showing in the shot, it will still stabilise the viewfinder and help you keep the AF point on target, particularly when the target is such a small object in the frame (is it possible that your soft ones are simply due to the AF point slipping off the plane as you press the shutter?). I have never seen any negative effect on AF using IS with Canon cameras and I doubt that Nikons are going to be different. Does your lens have the equivalent to Canon's mode 2, a panning mode which locks off the IS in the direction of the pan, but stabilises the other axis? It is possible that if it doesn't have that, the VR may be fighting the pan which could potentially cause some anomalies.

I shoot aircraft using IS (mode 2) quite often and have never had any issues with it at any shutter speed from very slow (for prop aircraft) to fast for modern fighters.


On my 70-300VR EF-S lens there are two settings for the VR - active and passive one is for normal use and the other is for movement from a moving vehicle - car etc, there is supposed to be an auto panning feature built into the lens, where it should detect the difference between both.
I have been testing again today in some better weather and by far the most reliable focus setting is the auto setting called AF-A, this is supposed to be a default focus setting used mainly by the camera in full auto modes, it combines both one shot and continues focus with predictive for objects moving towards or away from the camera, its a combination of AF-S and AF-C.
When i was using just the AF-C(contunes) setting the focus was constantly hunting as it was checking and re checking for focus, and although i have my shutter set to only fire upon focus lock(focus priority) in AF-C i was getting out of focus shots more often than with the auto AF-A setting, this is quite odd as i would have expected the opposite.

P.


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cicopo
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Feb 17, 2015 16:57 |  #18

Having owned that lens & carefully read the manual's explanation of the VR modes PLUS my reading re my Canon lenses IS & panning there is a grey area we don't seem to talk about. In general we talk about panning as a side to side thing (a runner, bicycle & rider, or plane passing in front of us. At some point Mode 2 in a Canon lens has to be the wrong setting when we start panning vertical movement or are aiming up into the sky instead of out in front of us. This may or may not have any effect at high shutter speeds & I haven't done any testing (because again I rarely shoot things well up above me) but it's a possible explaination of some problems.


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Feb 17, 2015 19:50 |  #19

cicopo wrote in post #17436411 (external link)
Having owned that lens & carefully read the manual's explanation of the VR modes PLUS my reading re my Canon lenses IS & panning there is a grey area we don't seem to talk about. In general we talk about panning as a side to side thing (a runner, bicycle & rider, or plane passing in front of us. At some point Mode 2 in a Canon lens has to be the wrong setting when we start panning vertical movement or are aiming up into the sky instead of out in front of us. This may or may not have any effect at high shutter speeds & I haven't done any testing (because again I rarely shoot things well up above me) but it's a possible explaination of some problems.


Interesting - i have the lens manual in my hand now, and reading it about the two Vr options - Normal or Active, it talks about the panning detection being built in, but only from side to side, it says that the Active mode can be selected instead of the Normal but this will not activate the panning mode.
So question - is the Normal mode trying to activate panning mode and getting the focus a bit messed up, would the Active mode help this with subjects coming towards the camera/going overhead? but i guess i would need to remember to switch back to Normal for panning across the screen movement?

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Feb 17, 2015 22:42 |  #20

cicopo wrote in post #17436411 (external link)
Having owned that lens & carefully read the manual's explanation of the VR modes PLUS my reading re my Canon lenses IS & panning there is a grey area we don't seem to talk about. In general we talk about panning as a side to side thing (a runner, bicycle & rider, or plane passing in front of us. At some point Mode 2 in a Canon lens has to be the wrong setting when we start panning vertical movement or are aiming up into the sky instead of out in front of us. This may or may not have any effect at high shutter speeds & I haven't done any testing (because again I rarely shoot things well up above me) but it's a possible explaination of some problems.

I don't know about the Nikon lenses, but the Canon mode 2 stabilises perpendicular to the direction of the pan, so it stabilises vertical motion when panning horizontally, and horizontal motion when panning vertically. There is no "wrong setting" due to panning direction, as you describe.

It may be possible that if you are pointing the camera directly upwards, at an aircraft passing high overhead, that may confuse the orientation sensors. However that would likely affect all such shots and not just some of them.




  
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Feb 18, 2015 16:15 |  #21

I can't find whether or not Canon's Mode 2 will follow vertical pans but this says Sigma's isn't designed to do that.

" But do also note: In order to give the appearance of stillness/sharpness to an object moving parallel to the capture sensor, the camera and lens must move at a pace that matches the speed of the object moving through the frame. This is called “panning.” And some of our larger OS lenses offer not only ON and OFF for OS, but OFF/ 1 & 2. On Sigma lenses with Off/1/ 2 controls, OS 1 corrects for any lens movements, while OS 2 only corrects for vertical shakes–meaning you can follow and pan fast-moving objects with or without a tripod, and the OS won’t correct for the chasing of the subject along the horizontal axis."

That was copied from this article.

http://blog.sigmaphoto​.com …ilization-by-jack-howard/ (external link)

It's a bit harder to interpret Nikon's explanation here.

"For a panning shot in which subject movement needs to be emphasized, in the case of a subject moving horizontally, if horizontal blur is corrected by the VR function, the panning would be insufficient to achieve the desired effect. To counter this, Nikon's VR (Vibration Reduction) detects camera movement for panning, automatically suppresses the blur-correction function, and reduces blur in the vertical direction rather than the camera's direction of movement. With this function, the panning effect is maximized. Panning Detection is effective regardless of the camera's orientation or direction of motion."

Which was copied from this article.

http://www.nikonusa.co​m …ce/tips/panning​/index.htm (external link)


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Feb 18, 2015 16:56 |  #22

Is it strictly panning if your are just following along with a subject keeping your focus point on it, then firing when you want to, say like following a car in the distance that is going to travel across your frame? the only thing i see as different in accurate focus detection and lock, is that with something like this at a further constant distance you have more time to track the object, and that its actual distance from the camera throughout its tracking distance doesn't change much, but an aircraft coming towards you then either going to the side of you or over head, is changing its distance quite quickly.
I have noticed however that the Auto - AF-A option does seem to work better than the dedicated continues AF-C mode this is strange and a bit back to front.

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Feb 18, 2015 17:13 |  #23

cicopo wrote in post #17437997 (external link)
I can't find whether or not Canon's Mode 2 will follow vertical pans but this says Sigma's isn't designed to do that.

" But do also note: In order to give the appearance of stillness/sharpness to an object moving parallel to the capture sensor, the camera and lens must move at a pace that matches the speed of the object moving through the frame. This is called “panning.” And some of our larger OS lenses offer not only ON and OFF for OS, but OFF/ 1 & 2. On Sigma lenses with Off/1/ 2 controls, OS 1 corrects for any lens movements, while OS 2 only corrects for vertical shakes–meaning you can follow and pan fast-moving objects with or without a tripod, and the OS won’t correct for the chasing of the subject along the horizontal axis."

That was copied from this article.

http://blog.sigmaphoto​.com …ilization-by-jack-howard/ (external link)

It's a bit harder to interpret Nikon's explanation here.

"For a panning shot in which subject movement needs to be emphasized, in the case of a subject moving horizontally, if horizontal blur is corrected by the VR function, the panning would be insufficient to achieve the desired effect. To counter this, Nikon's VR (Vibration Reduction) detects camera movement for panning, automatically suppresses the blur-correction function, and reduces blur in the vertical direction rather than the camera's direction of movement. With this function, the panning effect is maximized. Panning Detection is effective regardless of the camera's orientation or direction of motion."

Which was copied from this article.

http://www.nikonusa.co​m …ce/tips/panning​/index.htm (external link)

It looks pretty clear that the Nikon works the same way as the Canon does and adjusts for the direction of the pan.




  
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Feb 18, 2015 17:42 |  #24

I don't know how to interpret Nikon's wording. They talk about the subject moving horizontally, not vertically, which is what I was taught "panning" refers to. As for AF tracking something approaching of heading away from you one has to consider the lag in the camera's driving of the lens since it calculated where the target will be based on it's last contact with it. Based on my own experiences with the different grades of camera bodies & lenses I've used to shoot radio control events consumer grade stuff can't do it as well as pro grade equipment. I shoot a lot of model aircraft approaching from the side that are easily doing 100 MPH or more. I have no idea what the keeper rate is for that type of shot but in general I get more than enough keepers to use in the event album; but that album will include shots of a lot of different aircraft from a lot of angles.


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Feb 18, 2015 17:58 |  #25

cicopo wrote in post #17438120 (external link)
I don't know how to interpret Nikon's wording. They talk about the subject moving horizontally, not vertically, which is what I was taught "panning" refers to. .

Panning refers to moving the camera to follow a subject, or even not following a subject (in the case of video for example when just taking in a wider scene) and can be in any direction. Nikon states (in that quote you gave) that it can sense the direction and that panning detection works regardless of camera orientation or direction. I would expect Nikon to have the same capability as Canon and so it seems logical to take that as literal and that you can pan vertically whilst suppressing horizontal motion as well as panning horizontally and suppressing vertical motion, as with Canon IS.

The only thing that surprises me is that it seems to be an automatic decision by the lens, rather than a user selected feature like Canons mode 2. If it decides for itself it would seem to work like Canon mode 3 IS (i.e. the lens decides whether it should be in mode 1 or 2). I haven't tried mode 3 myself (as I don't have a lens that has it) but suspect that I would still prefer to select mode 2 when I know I am panning. This is because I am wary of the system being left to decide whether to use mode 1 or 2 after trying AI focus, which is a similar idea, letting the camera decide if it should use one shot focus or AI servo. In my experience AI focus sounds good but tends to be in the wrong mode a lot of the time.




  
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Feb 18, 2015 18:14 |  #26

sandpiper wrote in post #17438134 (external link)
Panning refers to moving the camera to follow a subject, or even not following a subject (in the case of video for example when just taking in a wider scene) and can be in any direction. Nikon states (in that quote you gave) that it can sense the direction and that panning detection works regardless of camera orientation or direction. I would expect Nikon to have the same capability as Canon and so it seems logical to take that as literal and that you can pan vertically whilst suppressing horizontal motion as well as panning horizontally and suppressing vertical motion, as with Canon IS.

The only thing that surprises me is that it seems to be an automatic decision by the lens, rather than a user selected feature like Canons mode 2. If it decides for itself it would seem to work like Canon mode 3 IS (i.e. the lens decides whether it should be in mode 1 or 2). I haven't tried mode 3 myself (as I don't have a lens that has it) but suspect that I would still prefer to select mode 2 when I know I am panning. This is because I am wary of the system being left to decide whether to use mode 1 or 2 after trying AI focus, which is a similar idea, letting the camera decide if it should use one shot focus or AI servo. In my experience AI focus sounds good but tends to be in the wrong mode a lot of the time.


Its nikons eqv of A1 Focus called AF-A that seems to work more reliably for me, as my eqv of A1 Servo called AF-C seems to dance around unable to keep up with the predictive focus, and in AF-C i see the little focus confirmation brackets dancing back and forth, it seems like in AF-A mode it nails focus confirms this - i never see the focus confirn brackets moving, but continues to follow movement.
I wonder if there is a software fault in camera and they have the algorithm the wrong way round, despite the symbols showing for the set focus mode?

P.


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Feb 18, 2015 18:36 |  #27

Pagman wrote in post #17438159 (external link)
Its nikons eqv of A1 Focus called AF-A that seems to work more reliably for me, as my eqv of A1 Servo called AF-C seems to dance around unable to keep up with the predictive focus, and in AF-C i see the little focus confirmation brackets dancing back and forth, it seems like in AF-A mode it nails focus confirms this - i never see the focus confirn brackets moving, but continues to follow movement.
I wonder if there is a software fault in camera and they have the algorithm the wrong way round, despite the symbols showing for the set focus mode?

P.

How does it work in the equivalent of "one shot" (AF-S I think it's called)? AF-A isn't a distinct focus mode, it is simply telling the camera to pick whether to use AF-C or AF-S, so you must be using one of the two even in AF-A. If AF-C isn't working well and AF-A is more reliable, then it must be selecting AF-S. It could be that the times that it doesn't work it has chosen AF-C instead. Perhaps if you select AF-S and try sticking to that for a few sets things might improve.




  
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Feb 18, 2015 19:25 |  #28

sandpiper wrote in post #17438189 (external link)
How does it work in the equivalent of "one shot" (AF-S I think it's called)? AF-A isn't a distinct focus mode, it is simply telling the camera to pick whether to use AF-C or AF-S, so you must be using one of the two even in AF-A. If AF-C isn't working well and AF-A is more reliable, then it must be selecting AF-S. It could be that the times that it doesn't work it has chosen AF-C instead. Perhaps if you select AF-S and try sticking to that for a few sets things might improve.


One shot AF-S does not work with moving subjects as it does not engage predictive or focus tracking, i too understand that AF-A is a compromise between the two where the camera chooses when to lock focus in AF-S mode or to follow focus in AF-C mode, its just that it seems to be doing something in that setting quite well, almost like selecting between the two very very quickly, in full AF-C mode it just cant make its mind up which way to focus almost like the chuckle brothers "to you-to me-to you-to me" then it must think it has found focus and allows me to press the shutter, i cant express how frustrating it is - trying to follow a plane with the focus bracket square on it thinking it will be a great picture, but the focus in AF-C just wont lock and follow it almost like its made of glass or something, then with seconds to spare i have to change mode to AF-A and the Focus confirm lamp come on stays on and i can fire the shutter.
This is supposed to happen with AF-C i believed? with bif shots there is no such problem just those big metal shiny planes that frustrate and confuse the AF-C out of the camera...

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Feb 18, 2015 19:43 |  #29

Pagman wrote in post #17438264 (external link)
One shot AF-S does not work with moving subjects as it does not engage predictive or focus tracking, i too understand that AF-A is a compromise between the two where the camera chooses when to lock focus in AF-S mode or to follow focus in AF-C mode, its just that it seems to be doing something in that setting quite well, almost like selecting between the two very very quickly, in full AF-C mode it just cant make its mind up which way to focus almost like the chuckle brothers "to you-to me-to you-to me" then it must think it has found focus and allows me to press the shutter, i cant express how frustrating it is - trying to follow a plane with the focus bracket square on it thinking it will be a great picture, but the focus in AF-C just wont lock and follow it almost like its made of glass or something, then with seconds to spare i have to change mode to AF-A and the Focus confirm lamp come on stays on and i can fire the shutter.
This is supposed to happen with AF-C i believed? with bif shots there is no such problem just those big metal shiny planes that frustrate and confuse the AF-C out of the camera...

P.

Yes, I realise that AF-S doesn't track the subject, but the only options with AF-A are that it is shooting in AF-S or AF-C, there is no "compromise" setting, it can only set one or the other. If AF-C is giving worse results then logically the AF-A must be selecting AF-S - if the focus setting is the primary cause of your problem.

The other possibility is that it has nothing to do with the focus mode and it is just coincidental that you got a higher proportion of in focus shots with AF-A. That is why I suggested shooting in AF-S, if it improves things you have solved the problem, if it doesn't then you know any differences in AF-A are coincidental and the issue lies somewhere other than in which AF mode you are set to.




  
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Feb 18, 2015 19:53 |  #30

sandpiper wrote in post #17438295 (external link)
Yes, I realise that AF-S doesn't track the subject, but the only options with AF-A are that it is shooting in AF-S or AF-C, there is no "compromise" setting, it can only set one or the other. If AF-C is giving worse results then logically the AF-A must be selecting AF-S - if the focus setting is the primary cause of your problem.

The other possibility is that it has nothing to do with the focus mode and it is just coincidental that you got a higher proportion of in focus shots with AF-A. That is why I suggested shooting in AF-S, if it improves things you have solved the problem, if it doesn't then you know any differences in AF-A are coincidental and the issue lies somewhere other than in which AF mode you are set to.


I do appreciate the help and input by the way, its rather frustrating paying out and upgrading quite a large step to what is supposed to be a much better camera than my old one, then to discover my old one was more reliable with the same lens, it would be like up grading from a Canon 20D with a 100-400L to a 7D mk 2 with same lens, and getting more accurate reliable focus with the 20D.

P.


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