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Thread: Stopping the prop

  1. #1

    Default Stopping the prop

    A question for you expert photo guys. Since I don't have the access some of you have I need to shoot with long lenses. Probably a 300mm Canon L series with a 2.0x, or a 1.4x attached to it. I know the rule of thumb to prevent blurry photos is if your length is 500mm, no slower than 1/500th shutter speed. Now my question, at what shutter speed does the prop freeze. There is nothing worse than a shot of an airplane in the air with the prop froze like it is on ground display.

  2. #2

    Default But seriously

    Really I don't want to stop the prop. At what speed will I be in danger of stopping it.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: But seriously

    Originally posted by T. Adams
    Really I don't want to stop the prop. At what speed will I be in danger of stopping it.
    Actually, Bear is pulling *my* chain on this issue as we and most other photographers, disagree on the stopped prop issue... but that's another debate

    I know what the "formula" is if you shoot a 500mm then shoot at no less than 1/500 but you just have to cheat on this.

    I've been using a 500mm lens with great success shooting as low as 1/250th and if you are fairly steady and follow the subject, you'll get decent results.

    This photo for example was shot at 500mm but I bumped up the shutter speed to 1/350th due to there being severe wind buffeting me and bouncing the lens/camera around significantly and it's not a close in shot, Dave Morss is quite a distance away from me and if memory serves me correctly, he was moving significantly in the frame.. but the results do speak for themselves.

    A lot of it depends on the prop rpm of course. A slower rpm and you'll have to drop the shutter speed correspondingly. There is a math formula, of which I dont' have handy, where you can calculate the prop rpm versus shutter speed and basically know how far the prop will move during the shutter opening. I suppose it's basic math if you know the prop rpm.. Hope this helps. pic below.

    Wayne


  4. #4
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    Default My $.02

    I agree with Adams, 'stopped' props are for static display! The prop blur goes along way to adding the extra feel of speed and motion in the picture. Also, cranking a shutter speed of 1/1000 will stop the prop--and almost guarantee the picture is sharp (assuming the focus is good).

    The challenge is slowing the shutter down to capture the relative speed of the prop without losing the crispness of the plane due to the it’s motion. The easiest shot is when the plane is more-or-less coming straight toward the camera. I have had good luck shooting at 1/250 (at 400mm) which gives about 30 degree prop blur arc (on a P51 at full speed). At 1/500 you will get only a minor blurring of the prop.

    If the plane is crossing side to side, the prop blur will become less noticeable because of the orientation of the prop’s relative motion. Likewise, the shot is more difficult to capture because you have to track the subject with camera and are more prone to blurring the subject due to high zoom (and in my case—shakey hands). I usually bump the shutter speed up (and still yield quite a few blurry airplanes). The effect worsens if the subject is transitioning through focus ranges (Ie, not consistently within the infinity focus of the lens).

    I just bought a Canon L series 100-400 Tele (and the digital body add a 1.6x factor to that) w/ image stabilization, which Canon advertises gives you an additional 2 stops, so I will be looking forward to the upcoming airshow season to give it a through test drive and seeing how much the props can be blurred!

    Kraz~
    Kraz Avian Photo
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5
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    Default Shaky Hands My Ass!!

    Kraz.. I've seen video you shot with a lightweight camera.. you have hands any shooter would kill for!

    This is a nice shot! What speed... less than 1/60th? Tripod?

    Very nice.. I love that full arc blur effect!

    One-Take-Wayne

  6. #6
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    Default Gotta love Digital

    The Bonus of digital is the *extra* data encoded in the photo. For the above photo of the T-6:

    Camera Model Name: Canon EOS D30
    Shooting Date/Time: 9/10/2001 4:35:32 PM
    Shooting Mode: Shutter Speed Priority AE
    Tv (Shutter Speed): 1/20
    Av (Aperture Value): 19
    Metering Mode: Center-weighted averaging
    Exposure Compensation: +1
    ISO Speed: 100
    Lens: 75.0 - 300.0 mm
    Focal Length: 230.0 mm
    Image Size: 2160 x 1440
    Image Quality: Fine
    Flash: Off
    White Balance: Auto
    AF Mode: AI Servo AF
    Parameters:
    - Contrast Normal
    - Sharpness Normal
    - Color Saturation Normal
    File Size: 929 KB
    Drive Mode: Continuous shooting
    Macro: Off

  7. #7
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    Talking What.. Your's Don't Tell Ya If Ya Used A Tripod!!??

    Well... did ya? If you can shoot that clean at 1/20 and not use a tripod.. Dood.. you DO have the hands of a brain surgeon!

    <fancy hand drawn sigfile>
    -----------------------
    -One-Take-Wayne-
    pushy opinionated
    editor type A guy
    -----------------------
    </fancy hand drawn sigfile>

  8. #8
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    Default Maybe.....

    Naw, If I recall, I left my tripod in the office and actually I braced the camera against the crowd fence along pit row.... Took several attempts to get the right effect too-- another advantage of digital: Image review! I kept creeping up on the right combo for the full arc, but could review each shot. I also had several shakey burred shots too.

  9. #9
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    Default Still Pretty Damn Steady!

    Wait'll you turn 50... liver spots and shaky hands... not to mention thinning hair.... oops.. you already have that..

    <ducks as he runs out of the room dodging sharp objects thrown by Kraz>



    One-take-Wayne

    I've turned into a vampire.. I must return to my coffin! The bright glowing orb has risin and I'm beginning to melt!!!

  10. #10

    Default First try

    Well what a can of worms I opened. Here is my first try to post an image "prop blurred". This was shot with the cheap Canon consumer 75-300 USM zoom. I have dumped that lense, bought a 70-200 f/4L, and plan on being armed with a 300 f/4L and teleconverters at this years race. I guess I'll have to try "prop stopped" and "prop blurred". I just hope I don't get too many of the dreaded "planes blurred".

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