Sunday, 30 September 2012

Air show video using the Lumix 100-300

During the September 1st Royal Norwegian Air Force 100 year anniversary, I tried to video record some of the air plane flybys. This was the very first time I had tried to video record air plane, and I brought the longest lens I have, the Lumix G 100-300mm f/4-5.6 with the Panasonic GH2 camera.

I did not bring any tripod or extra microphone, as I would be standing in a crowd of people, and needed to be fairly agile.

Most of the time, I used the lens in the longest setting, at 300mm, and stopped down the aperture a bit to f/6.3. I could do this at ISO160, the base ISO, and still have a healthy shutter speed of about 1/500s, even when dialing in about +1/3 to 2/3 of exposure compensation. I needed the exposure compensation, as I was mostly shooting into the sun, or close to the sun.

Here I have edited the footage into a video stream of about three minutes with some of the footage:



I used Kdenlive to edit the stream, and I added a bit of post process image stabilization to the video. This was needed, even though I used the OIS feature of the lens. Perhaps I would have been able to go without the extra image stabilization had I used a tripod.

Some things to note about the video:

  • There is quite clearly still some vignetting, even though I did stop down an extra 1/3 of an aperture stop.

  • You can see the lens OIS working, as the brightest central disc area moves about in the frame.

  • The focus is mostly ok. Some times, the camera loses focus for a short period, but it is not a big problem. I had the AF-S mode selected.

  • The sound is not very good. An external microphone would probably have improved it.

  • You can see the evidence of rolling shutter distortion. Here is a frame from a video, where the helicopter blade is bent due to the rolling video shutter:


    When using the mechanical shutter for still images, though, there is virtually no rolling shutter effect:


    This is because the mechanical shutter travels faster than the electronic line by line readout of the sensor is.

4 comments:

  1. My experience would match yours. I actually find IOS in the Panny lenses AND IBIS on my EM5 to cause unnecessary screen fluttering. If you plan to shoot video, stabilization of the camera is essential. I use a Video Tripod head and a heavy tripod to get reasonable results after turning off IS. If you wanted to do video a lot, some special equipment and technique would be necessary. As having the ability to shoot some pretty good video while out taking pictures, these systems work well.

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    1. Yes, you are quite right. Using a tripod is certainly better when using a long lens. And the Lumix G 100-300mm is a very long lens!

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  2. what would be the effect of reducing the shutter speed to 1/250 sec as i think this might be make the roller blade less "clear" and hence looked more natural to human eye ...

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    1. Yes, that is right. However, at a slower shutter speed, the video would probably be softer, with the airplanes looking more out of focus some of the time. Especially since I was holding the camera in my hands.

      With a proper tripod, I think it would be easier to use a slower shutter speed.

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