Old 07-07-2007, 07:52 AM   #1
Hellbelly
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Default 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.


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Old 07-07-2007, 08:09 AM   #2
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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...
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Old 07-07-2007, 09:17 AM   #3
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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)
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Old 07-07-2007, 09:37 AM   #4
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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.
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Old 07-07-2007, 04:29 PM   #5
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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...
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Old 07-07-2007, 05:25 PM   #6
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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.
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Old 07-07-2007, 06:52 PM   #7
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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.
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Old 07-08-2007, 02:13 AM   #8
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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.
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Old 07-08-2007, 06:24 AM   #9
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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...
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Old 07-09-2007, 11:07 AM   #10
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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.
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