Feb 10, 2002, 12:59 PM
Post #1 of 12
I'm pretty new to still photography. I've been jumping video for a while now as a kind of point and record video log. I would now like to experiment with stills.
I would like to use the camera on the ground first, but prepare myself for using it for freefly capture.
I've settled on a Canon EOS 300 (Rebel G) for the body and I am looking for the right lens combinations. As a general all round first lens, I'm considering the Sigma 28mm-105mm. Although this is great for ground work, is it suitable for capturing freefly? I know quite a lot of people use a 15mm, but I'd like to keep the costs down at the moment while I practice, practice and practice.
General focal settings would be useful too if anyone has a particular choice. For my video I have strapped on the obligatory .42 kenko lens and leave it on infinity focus - is this the same for general stills? What about AF? I am aware of the configurability of the camera and that I would use different settings to capture different things, but at the moment this is a little beyond me before I start practicing on the ground.
From what I know at the moment, I would be inclined to use a high shutter speed with 400 ASA transparancy film. Would I also drop the aperture to f16 or similar and set the focus to infinity? Am I way off track? Probably!
quade (D 22635)
Feb 10, 2002, 3:59 PM
Post #2 of 12
Shooting stuff on the ground is considerably different than shooting stuff in the air. You'll want to become familar with your camera and it's settings, but since air v. ground is -so- different, what gives you good photos on the ground is probably NOT what you'll want to use in the air. That goes for the lens as well.
The 28 to 105 may be ok for bopping around the DZ and shooting your friends, but you probably -won't- want to use a zoom lens in the air. A prime 28mm lens is just about right and also has the advantage of eating up less light than a zoom -- and it's lighter in weight as well. Once you have more than one camera on your head, you'll find that every ounce counts.
Auto-focus for freefall is a waste, so you don't need to bother with that.
Take a LOT of time lining up your cameras so they are both looking at the same center point. It's tricky. I like to sight the video camera first and then use that connected to a TV monitor to sight in the still camera.
Generally speaking, during freefall, you have plenty of light, so 400 speed film probably isn't required. While you're learning, buy some cheap 100 speed rolls of print film. This will give you feedback in about an hour if you run down to the local drug store. ;^) Slide film is great for publication, but it's a pain in the ass for showing around the DZ.
Generally speaking I run in the exposure priority mode (aka time priority or possibly Tv mode on the Rebel Gs.) On a bright day running at maybe 1/500th and in dimmer conditions 2 hours away from sunrise/set running at 1/250th. This should give you -about- f16 in bright sun and -about- f8 for sunset shots.
Generally speaking . . . again . . . I set the focus just this side of infinity hoping that my depth of field will take care of things a bit. There are times I wished I had focused slightly closer or slight farther away, but it usually works out just about right. Slip a larger rubber band over the focus ring to help hold it in place or you can also use a piece of gaff tape.
Actually, I use the Rebel 2000... and I use the stock zoom that comes with it. I just set it around 30mm and tape it there (and prefocus and tape it too).
Sure, I could have gotten a standard fixed lens, but for that particular camera, the fixed lenses were more than the entire camera setup!!!! (may have changed in the past year). Plus, the 3 different 28mm lenses I looked at were either larger than the stock zoom, heavier, or both. All of which were in excess of $300 bucks. OUCH!
So far it has wprked pretty good for me.
quade (D 22635)
Feb 10, 2002, 5:19 PM
Post #4 of 12
Yeah, I was surprised too. Part of it is the zooms are made of cheap plastic, and less expensive optics... the fixed focus are aimed at pros, so they are better glass and metal frames... thus making them bigger and heavier.
if you are using a .42 a 24mm camera lens will give you about the same coverage...
for freefall pics, 100 asa is your best bet...
just to give you some thought...
slide film will make better enlagements, but print film is MUCH more convenient and cheaper to develop. When you are shooting on the ground and looking for GOOD pictures... stay away from the 'full auto' settings.... I generally stick with the 'Av' and 'Tv' settings. I could go on for ever about depth of field and shutter speed... but as a rule of thumb, if you use "Av-make the number as high as it will go, and you will get better detail in your shot. The camera will pick the right shutter speed. (if it is an over cast day and you are on the ground you can probably get away with the "P" setting) If you are in freefall Av works good because you get a clear sharp back ground... but the shutter speed will be a little slower, so you may get a little fuzz on the things up close and moving. (like your buddies leg in the middle of a transition, or a tandem passengers hands when they wave)
Also try "Tv with the shutter at 250 or 350 I like that because its just fast enough to keep you buddies leg from being fuzzy, but just SLOW enough, that a baggy jump suit sleeve, or a section of pants leg, will blur up just enough to 'show' some speed in the shot... There realy is no 'correct' setting...
Q: what setting do you use? A: all of them!
Try something different on every jump until you get the desired effect. One thing I would say though... in freefall autofocus can do silly things... for freefall shots iI use manual focus,and set it just a "tad" shy of infinity... that way everything farther away than my hand, will come out pretty clear....
If you are committed to buying a zoom lens as opposed to a fixed lens, you should consider the Canon 22-55mm zoom. I recently purchased a Rebel 200 Body ($249) and this lens ($99) from B&H Photo. The 22-55 range will work much better for freefall photography. For tandems, I set it to 28mm, which is just slightly wider than my video setup with a 0.5 wide angle lens. For closeup freefly dives, you can crank it down to 22-24, to get a good wide shot. Don't waste your money on a 28-105 if you plan on using it for skydiving, because you will not probably be using anything over 30mm. The 22-55mm lens is also lighter than most of the fixed lenses I've come across. Good luck.