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-   -   A few pointers needed. (http://www.railpictures.net/forums/showthread.php?t=5486)

Hellbelly 07-07-2007 07:52 AM

A few pointers needed.
 
Hi all. I'm new here and new to shooting trains too. So, I need a little advise please. I have a nice little spot (well, a few) that I've been trying to catch a train at. Problems are,
1 : Its winter here so there's not much sunlight right now (Australia).
2 : I dont have a tetephoto lens.
3 : I have to shoot from in close to the line and with train coming at me at reasonable speed.

I have two lens' at the moment, they are a nifty 50mm 1.8 and a 17-40 F4 L,(70-200 F2.8 IS will be coming next year). What setting should / could I use. IE I used only 1 focus point. Should I use all of them (oh, shooting with 400D). I also used the auto focus set to AI servo. Should I just use the one spot setting. The other thing I was tossing up was high ISO v DOF. I didnt want to use a real high ISO due to the noise factor but wanted to shoot with a reasonable shutter speed for so I used something around F3. What would be the way to go? Use ISO 800 and F 7 or something like ISO 200 and F 2.5? Remembering that I'm close to the train line and the train is moving at reasonable speed (say 30KPH or 18 MPH). The focus and shutter speed are my main concern.

Sorry if I'm starting to ramble now but I'm still fairly new to the whole DSLR thing. Guess I'm after best shutter speed, best ISO and best Depth of Field.

This is what I've got so far anyway.
http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a78...1/IMG_8298.jpg

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a78.../IndianPac.jpg

Ween 07-07-2007 08:09 AM

To rundown your techniques, I'll compare them to mine (I use a 350D):

- I have the 50mm f/1.8, but it doesn't see much action.

- I use only 1 focal point. I like to prefocus (pick a spot and hold the shutter halfway down) before a train gets to where I want it and when it does, I press the shutter the rest of the way.

- Avoid AI Servo. Too much room for error and mis-focusing. Stick with the One Shot.

- For ISO, I use 200 for most of my shooting and only go to 400 or higher when it's right around sunset.

- As far as settings, you can't go wrong with 1/500s @ f/5.6 as a starting point. 18 MPH isn't that fast, so I'm guessing 1/250s would work fine. As far as aperature, my understanding is that alot of lenses don't produce the best results near the wide open side of the house. For mine, both on the Kit Lens and the 70-200mm, f/8.0 seems to be the "sweet" spot that produce the best results.

So, to sum up: ISO 100 or 200, 1/500s, f/5.6. Leave the ISO as is, and adjust the shutter and aperature from there based on the light...

Hellbelly 07-07-2007 09:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ween

So, to sum up: ISO 100 or 200, 1/500s, f/5.6. Leave the ISO as is, and adjust the shutter and aperature from there based on the light...

Cheers Ween, I really appreciate that. I'll give it a crack tomorrow when I got up there. Lucky for me I live right next to the line (yes, lucky. OK, its noisy for about 1 or 2 minutes when a freighter goes uphill but there's only 6 or so go up per day and less on the weekends, but for the rest of the time theres just lots of trees and nothing else across from the house.) so I've been keeping note of what time's they go up and down. So far i've sussed that one goes up about 4pm every Sunday. Cant wait for summer when there's more light. I should be able to get some good shots with some late arvo sunlight.

Thanks again......HB (Mick)

JRMDC 07-07-2007 09:37 AM

Well, opinions vary. :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ween

- For ISO, I use 200 for most of my shooting and only go to 400 or higher when it's right around sunset.

First of all, are you shooting handheld or on a tripod? If handheld, I suggest ISO 800 and a faster shutter speed. Yes, even at these short focal lengths, plus it's a good habit to get into when the 70-200 arrives.

Quote:

- As far as settings, you can't go wrong with 1/500s @ f/5.6 as a starting point. 18 MPH isn't that fast, so I'm guessing 1/250s would work fine. As far as aperature, my understanding is that alot of lenses don't produce the best results near the wide open side of the house. For mine, both on the Kit Lens and the 70-200mm, f/8.0 seems to be the "sweet" spot that produce the best results.
Aperture issues; true, but overstated. In particular, the artistic effects of using an open aperture (f/2 on the 50, say) can easily dominate any differences in sharpness. And you are using some quality lenses and they are pretty good when beyond the sweet spot. But as a beginner, it's fine to start by choosing f/8 or something like that. One thing, though, don't go much beyond f/11; due to an effect called diffraction, results can go downhill a bit.

Some general issues. First, your tunnel shot is dark; the light was poor. Not much you can do, but be aware that such a shot has poor prospects for acceptance at RP. Bummer, we've all been there.

The second shot, it is fuzzy all over. So it isn't the motion of the train that is blurring, it is something else. It looks to me like the background is OK, suggesting that the camera focused on a point well behind the location of the train. Or you were unsteady with the camera (tripod!) and hand shake blur is stronger in the foreground.

Good luck, we look forward to your stuff showing up on RP.

Ween 07-07-2007 04:29 PM

Quote:

First of all, are you shooting handheld or on a tripod? If handheld, I suggest ISO 800 and a faster shutter speed. Yes, even at these short focal lengths, plus it's a good habit to get into when the 70-200 arrives.
J, I'm doubting you'll see that many people going >ISO 400 for because of the noise issue when you start getting that high (even with the 350/400D's), but I'd be interested to see who does. I shoot almost exclusively handheld with the 70-200mm and have not had a problem with a shutter speed that turned out to be too slow.

In fact, there's a rule of thumb out there that if your shutter speed is the reciprocal of your focal length (i.e. 50mm, 1/50s; 200mm, 1/200s; etc.), your shutter speed will be fast enough...

Mike B. 07-07-2007 05:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ween
J, I'm doubting you'll see that many people going >ISO 400 for because of the noise issue when you start getting that high (even with the 350/400D's), but I'd be interested to see who does. I shoot almost exclusively handheld with the 70-200mm and have not had a problem with a shutter speed that turned out to be too slow.

In fact, there's a rule of thumb out there that if your shutter speed is the reciprocal of your focal length (i.e. 50mm, 1/50s; 200mm, 1/200s; etc.), your shutter speed will be fast enough...

I'm going to have to agree with Chris on this one. As long as it's sunny (full) I never go above ISO 160 using a tripod and when handheld and I don't see any reason for anyone to go above 200. The shutter speed is fast enough unless you have a real problem being steady. Of course when the sun is gone, everything changes.

JRMDC 07-07-2007 06:52 PM

Well, I shoot ISO 800 routinely and don't have noise problems, or take care of them in post-processing. I shoot handheld a lot and like the cushion of another stop of shutter speed. I have a 20d; I can't recall for sure but I thought the 400D had a similar sensor technology to the 20D. Or rather, even newer; doesn't the 350D have a similar sensor to the 20D? Anyway, I just disagree with Chris and others, there is no "noise issue" to my eye. At least none worth worrying about given the greater problem of shake while handheld. I rarely notice noise.

Now, when I use a tripod, of course I knock the ISO down.

Ween 07-07-2007 07:01 PM

The noise will show up alot of times in the sky, and up here, it's rare you have a shot that doesn't have alot of sky in it.

For the post-processing part, I have the demo version of Neat Image, but don't like to use it as it only works on JPEGs and you lose the EXIF data.

But, as pondered earlier, anyone else use ISO 400 or higher on handheld, sunny days?

EDIT: dpreview says this about the 350D:
Quote:

Noise free 'silky smooth' images at ISO 100, 200 and 400
The 20D:
Quote:

Very low noise levels even at high sensitivities, fully usable ISO range (100 - 3200)
The 400D:
Quote:

nothing
The 30D:
Quote:

Confidence to use camera at high sensitivities (ISO 1600, 3200)
So, it depends on which camera you're talking about when it comes to noise!

JRMDC 07-07-2007 07:22 PM

Well, I don't think the 30D at 1600, as good as it is for that ISO, is what we are talking about here. :) To some extent it is a matter of taste. I just wanted to point out that there are tradeoffs, and also that 800 isn't that much worse than 400.

Try it, and make your own choices! But the key thing to me is that 800 is worth trying and not dismissing out of hand.

Joe the Photog 07-07-2007 09:42 PM

I tried shooting at ISO 800 with my 300D one tiime and boy was I Surprised. The camera looked over it's shoulder at me and said, "Dude, what are you doing? I can already hear the noise in my head. You do not want to push that shutter." Being hard headed and stubborn like usual, I went ahead and pushed the shutter. And the noise was horrible. Now I generally don't shoot above 200 unless the situation absolutely calls for it.

I strive for doing the least amount of post that I can in railroad shots. I try to shoot on 100 ISO on sunny days. Today it was a little tricky with some diffused lighting, so I went up to 200. I know I have shot at 400 ISO in low light situations, but to go any higher is full of folly with this camera. Which is one gigantic reason I reallly wish I could drop a 0 and get the 30D.

But whatever works for you is what I say. Shoot at 800 ISO, leave your camera on the side in the bag and any other number of things. Make the most of your hobby!


Joe

Hellbelly 07-08-2007 02:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JRMDC
The second shot, it is fuzzy all over. So it isn't the motion of the train that is blurring, it is something else. It looks to me like the background is OK, suggesting that the camera focused on a point well behind the location of the train. Or you were unsteady with the camera (tripod!) and hand shake blur is stronger in the foreground.

I hear you JR, I was crouching down and using AI servo so I think thats where my fuzz problem came from there.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ween
In fact, there's a rule of thumb out there that if your shutter speed is the reciprocal of your focal length (i.e. 50mm, 1/50s; 200mm, 1/200s; etc.), your shutter speed will be fast enough...

I've heard about this rule of thumb Ween but I've heard that you need to take the crop factor into account. So a 50mm lens should shoot at 1/80s etc etc. EI 50 X 1.6.

As for noise, I really dont like to go above 400. I've seen some shots at 1600 that look great but then I've seen others at 400 that look noisey.

I think today when I go a shooting, I'll use the 17-40 at about F6 or so and ISO 200. Its a sunny sort of afternoon so I should still be able to get a decent shutter speed. I'll post my result tonight.

Cheers for all the help guys.....HB.

ottergoose 07-08-2007 06:24 AM

My god, you all make me sick ;-)

My old beast of a camera starts to get grainy at ISO 200, and 400? That might as well not even be an option. For me the sun has to be out, it has to be dark with a long exposure, or I have to be panning. Someday I'll have a better camera... someday...

Return to your relevant discussion...

Hellbelly 07-09-2007 11:07 AM

Oh well, the quest continues. I got to my new tunnel just as the train was inside, so I didnt have time to get ready. Got off two shots but it was flying along this time (about half the length it usually is) so they're real bad. Anyway, thanks for the advise folks. There's always next weekend.

HB.

Callufrax 07-09-2007 12:40 PM

Is that tunnel the Sleeps Hill Tunnel, in the Adelaide Hills?

Hellbelly 07-09-2007 09:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Callufrax
Is that tunnel the Sleeps Hill Tunnel, in the Adelaide Hills?


I really dont know mate. I'll try to find out. There's one inside the Belair National Park, thats the one I've been going to, but have been looking on google earth and found this one further up the hill. There was a sign near it saying 2500 meters to Mt Lofty. I'm really looking forward to summer.

HB.


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