FZ1000 Airshow #3: AFF/AFS, IS OFF, and HDR

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FZ1000 Airshow #3: AFF/AFS, IS OFF, and HDR
1 month ago

Another airshow with my FZ1000 last weekend... Weather and lighting was not very good - it was an evening show with cloudy weather, and it was pretty dark by the end.

This time I tried:

  • AFF and AFS autofocus.
     
  • Stabiliser OFF for the flying shots. (Previously I've been using AFC and "panning" mode Stabiliser).
     I'm still using "panning" mode Stabiliser when attempting "full-disk" propeller-blurs though, using very slow shutter speeds (about 1/50th).
     
  • I'm also using back button focus now.

I shot at 20MP and hand-held, the whole time. Here's a couple of examples, Straight Out Of Camera. They're very "flat" - partly due to dull conditions, but also part intentional - not too contrasty, and sharpening and noise reduction are reduced (SH-2, NR-3)... with the intention of tweaking those things manually in post-processing:

FZ1000. Westland Lysander. 1/50th, attempting "full-disk" propeller blur

FZ1000. Hawker Hind

To see what my photos look like after post-processing, I posted a bunch from this show over at the UK Airshow Review forums >> HERE <<

Overall, I think my results were slightly improved vs my last airshow, but I want to try these settings again in better light. I'm not sure if focus speed/accuracy with AFF is better or worse than AFC. If one is better than the other, it's not glaringly obvious.

However, I did find that I had fewer out-of-focus shots in bursts, with AFF. My AFC bursts sometimes seem to drift momentarily out of focus and then recover. (By the way, I saw several entire bursts that were out of focus throughout, despite using Focus Priority. But I get those with AFC too).

AFS didn't seem to work so well, at least not with 49-point AF or the "panning line" custom pattern. This may be partly because it is a little more demanding to use - I have to shoot as soon as I achieve focus, otherwise the plane may escape my available depth of field. (I use this technique very successfully with the FZ200, but that has inherently more depth of field available).

Image noise in the FZ1000 up to about ISO1600 seems quite "smooth" and fine-grained, and it cleans up well using specialist NR software (I use Topaz Denoise). But I had problems with shadow noise at ISO3200...

Another airshow next weekend, weather permitting. I plan to use the same settings, but I will also try 1-area for autofocus, with the box set fairly large.

~~~~~

I also tried making a few HDR images, of parked-up planes, earlier in the day. I used both in-camera and exposure-bracketed shots manually post-processed. I took "regular" single shots of each scene for comparison too.

Little to choose between them given these subjects and these conditions. After post-processing they all looked about the same Hence, not really useful to post examples.

The manual process using exposure-bracketed shots of course gives the most flexibility and control. But it also takes ages. The in-camera HDR is great for simply eg. cutting down on blown highlights without losing shadow detail or introducing shadow noise. I'm currently preferring doing everything on the spot with in-camera HDR and exposure compensation...

A couple of things of interest with in-camera HDR:

  1. Moving objects can lead to "ghosts" when multiple images are combined. Most HDR software offer some means to prevent this - and it seems the in-camera HDR has anti-ghosting too (but there is no control over it). I took some photos where flapping "remove before flight" ribbons would normally cause obvious ghosts, but the camera did a fair job of minimising them. Doesn't always work perfectly though.
     
  2. In-camera HDR also shows you a slightly cropped view when composing...
    The process of combining images for HDR that were hand-held, usually requires a little cropping after alignment - due to slight camera movements between each shot.
    When I'm bracketing for HDR I always leave a little space for this cropping, when composing. With in-camera HDR, I don't have to - the adjusted view lets me frame my subject, without worrying about unexpected clipping in the final HDR image.

PS. if you're wondering what happened to FZ1000 Airshow #2, I didn't post about it here - I didn't think there was anything noteworthy enough to report. But if you're interested, you can see some of the photos >> HERE <<

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
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