R5 RF 100-500 help. Focus/settings problem

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Lumpyluf

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Hello RF Shooters!

I’m hoping to get a little help with the settings for a Canon R5 with the RF 100-500 lens. I rented one for an airshow earlier in the summer after testing one last year. I love the resolution and reach with the lens.

When going through my pictures from the show I found many examples of shots that generally looked in focus, but when I zoomed in the fine details almost looked like they had been doubled/skewed.

I’ll attach 2 images where this issue was very apparent. The wide shot looks fairly in focus to me, but zooming in on the flag the “doubling” is very noticeable. I’ll also attach a picture of a B-29 that is incredibly sharp and a crop in of the writing on the side.

I also noticed some oddities with some shots having just part of the aircraft in focus and others not. I’m sure I’m not using the best settings. Any help would be really appreciated as I’d like to rent the same set up again for an airshow in October. Thanks everyone!

FA0746B6-E48F-430C-AE9B-CADE9ACE8E9E.jpeg
  • Canon EOS R5
  • RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
  • 186.0 mm
  • ƒ/13
  • 1/80 sec
  • ISO 100
51FFEBB2-31C9-42B3-BF1E-38ED32DE8E3E.jpeg
  • Canon EOS R5
  • RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
  • 186.0 mm
  • ƒ/13
  • 1/80 sec
  • ISO 100
96FB4241-0367-4F6C-A616-E660D2405129.jpeg
3F869B23-8C71-42A7-AF5F-195E63B24C35.jpeg
  • Canon EOS R5
  • RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
  • 500.0 mm
  • ƒ/7.1
  • 1/800 sec
  • ISO 200
D7A85BA5-BC2D-4CEB-9082-FF6870120D5B.jpeg
9258EC59-5BDB-4BB8-A662-8F0E920A55BF.jpeg
 

Kwazy

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Hello, and welcome to the forum!

I think the issue here is that your shutter speed is way too slow. The rule of thumb is your shutter speed should be at least twice the focal length.

Looked it up a bit, and it seems a lot of references give this rule as shutter speed = 1/focal length. I suppose that's why your second picture looks better. For sharper images I'd do 1/(2x focal length) = shutter speed, if light allows.

P.S. You can go a lot higher on ISO to permit higher shutter speeds. These full-frame cameras do very decently noise-wise at much higher ISOs than 100. You can push it well into the thousands if you want to invest into de-noising software like Topaz.
 
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Lumpyluf

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Hello, and welcome to the forum!

I think the issue here is that your shutter speed is way too slow. The rule of thumb is your shutter speed should be at least twice the focal length.

Looked it up a bit, and it seems a lot of references give this rule as shutter speed = 1/focal length. I suppose that's why your second picture looks better. For sharper images I'd do 1/(2x focal length) = shutter speed, if light allows.
Hi Kwazy,

Thanks for your quick reply! So the clearer shot is a 500 focal length and the shutter speed is 1/800 so closer to double. Whereas the blurred one is 180 focal and about half as the shutter speed?

I wondered if it was just a bad pan at a lower shutter speed, but the “edges” of the aircraft looked to be in sharp focus. It just seemed odd to have the finer details doubled instead of blurred.

The upcoming airshow is going to be jets so pans at slower shutter speeds probably won’t be an issue. I guess I’ll just lean towards higher shutters.

Do you have any suggestions on focus settings to ensure the whole aircraft is in focus? I believe I used spot focus because I was tired of it choosing the fence to be in focus over the aircraft, but I wonder if that meant it didn’t catch the whole plane in focus.

Sorry for asking so many probably amateur questions. I really appreciate your help!
 

scotty707

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What mode are you using? As Kwazy said, your shutter speed is low (1/80s), but your aperture is also really small (f/13). You should be able to open it up to f/8 to let more light in and get a faster shutter speed. You may have to bump up your ISO a bit to ISO 200 or 400, but you shouldn't take too much of a hit in the noise department.

For airplanes, I would put the camera in Tv mode and set my shutter speed to 1/500 or faster (again, as Kwazy said, 1/focal length is the slowest speed you should use for handheld shots. Though if you're tracking a moving subject, the speed should be faster) - you can see that your shot of the silver bomber was 1/800s and froze the airplane well enough while still keeping some motion in the propellers to convey a sense of motion.

In the close up of the text on the side of the plane it looks like you might have some compression artifacts, so check your export settings to make sure the quality is set to high.
 

Lumpyluf

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What mode are you using? As Kwazy said, your shutter speed is low (1/80s), but your aperture is also really small (f/13). You should be able to open it up to f/8 to let more light in and get a faster shutter speed. You may have to bump up your ISO a bit to ISO 200 or 400, but you shouldn't take too much of a hit in the noise department.

For airplanes, I would put the camera in Tv mode and set my shutter speed to 1/500 or faster (again, as Kwazy said, 1/focal length is the slowest speed you should use for handheld shots. Though if you're tracking a moving subject, the speed should be faster) - you can see that your shot of the silver bomber was 1/800s and froze the airplane well enough while still keeping some motion in the propellers to convey a sense of motion.

In the close up of the text on the side of the plane it looks like you might have some compression artifacts, so check your export settings to make sure the quality is set to high.
I believe I was in straight manual mode so I could adjust everything on the fly. I have been extremely pleased with the total control of aperture on the R5. I’m not entirely sure how it works to be honest, but being able to crank up the aperture in order to use a slower shutter speed to capture motion is something I haven’t found possible with say a 90d.

Would that artifacting have anything to do with the stabilization mode on the lens itself? I had read that “2” was best for panning shots so I left it on that the entire time. But I have no idea if that was the correct choice.
 

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Jake Shoots Birds

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Electronic shutter? I've seen this in some of my shots with the R5 when shooting electronic, and vaguely remember comments from others on YouTube able it when tracking a moving object in electronic.
 

Lumpyluf

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Electronic shutter? I've seen this in some of my shots with the R5 when shooting electronic, and vaguely remember comments from others on YouTube able it when tracking a moving object in electronic.
Actually yes, I was in electric. Aviation photography for me is a game of accuracy by volume. Is it corrected/less noticeable in mechanical shutter?

Thanks for the reply!
 

Jake Shoots Birds

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Actually yes, I was in electric. Aviation photography for me is a game of accuracy by volume. Is it corrected/less noticeable in mechanical shutter?

Thanks for the reply!
Absolutely. What you're seeing is because of the rolling shutter. It's not always obvious but if I shoot a series of shots of a bird on a branch and then scroll through them in Lightroom I will occasionally see minor change in bodies because of small camera movements. You'd never notice it on the shot that's different but in series it becomes obvious. I only use Electronic when I need the quiet shutter, or the speed. First Curtain/Mechanical on the R5 is just fine for most of what I shoot. Much less apparent on the R3 (which I don't have). Eventually that tech will make it affordable enough for me to justify.
 

Copterdoc

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From an esthetic perspective, you are experiencing the dreaded tradeoff of getting the propeller blurred. Having spent years shooting helicopters I can say that pictures with a reasonable amount of blur in the propeller/rotor, it is near impossible to get a rotating surface properly blurred and still get the moving fuselage tack sharp. The blur adds a more natural look to the photo but the tradeoff is the slower shutter speed required to achieve this look.
One solution is to practice and perfect your tracking of the subject in flight much like tracking a clay target when shooting skeet. Once you establish a tracking speed that matches the aircraft, there is a higher probability of achieving a tack-sharp fuselage image while maintaining the slower shutter speed for an acceptable blur of the prop/rotor. Like many skills, it will take some practice. You will also need to shoot at relatively high "frame rates per second" to improve the chances of capturing the sharp image with the blurred prop/rotor. For example, a helicopter rotor needs to be shot typically at well less than 1/100th of a second. If you are trying to get the full rotor disk buried (continuous circle of blur) you may have to shoot as low as 1/30th or 1/20th of a second. This requires that your tracking speed needs to be as accurate as possible. The best way to determine the shutter speed initially is to shoot the prop or rotor while the aircraft is starting up and as the RPM reaches flight operational speeds. Then spend time learning how to track the aircraft in flight to match its speed. Then turn on the "high-speed frames per second" capture mode and wish yourself some luck. Remember that the luckiest people are those that work hard to achieve that luck. ;)

Here is a like to a blog written by a good friend who shoots all sorts of aviation-related events and commercial jobs.:
 
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