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Beginner needs advice using/choosing lens on helicoper: Pan. 7-14mm, Pan.14-140,or Oly14-42 on Oly P

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Luv-UNC-gal, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. Luv-UNC-gal

    Luv-UNC-gal New to Mu-43

    2
    Dec 9, 2012
    Tar Heel Country
    Margaret
    I'm hoping to capture great pictures in a helicopter in Kauai. I'm a beginner. I may not be able to change lens in flight so I may have to pick one. I've heard about and seen online the purple spots when using the Pan. 7-14mm . Will this occur if using on the Pen E-PL2? The helicopter trip will be in the daytime and I may have direct sunlight. (Also, another question: Are filters not used on these wide angles? Also if using this carefully and not during windy times on beaches, am I safe just using the hood? )

    I also have the Panasonic 14-140mm (but this baby is heavy) as well as the standard Olympus 14-42mm.

    I'm learning to manual focus and enjoy doing that when there is ample time for me to play with it; but in the helicopter, I'm assuming auto focus.

    Obviously you can tell by my questions, I'm pretty green here so any suggestions will be appreciated. Please note I may not understand advanced photography jargon, so if you could keep it real simple for me, that would be super. Thank you very much for any help!
     
  2. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    Ehud
    Helicopters are usually quit shaky therefor you need to use your lens in the fastest possible aperture and short focal length.
    This give you an option to use two lenses the P7-14 and the O14-42. I would start with the O14-42 since it is lighter and give some short telephoto.
    You need to set it in the lowest possible aperture in order to get shutter speed of 500 and above. This shutter speed will freeze any vibration.The best will be to work in S mode and set the camera to shutter speed of 500.
    I suggest that you also take the P7-14 in your bag in case you can change the lens.
    I do not see any use to the long telephoto because of the vibrations so you can keep it at home.
     
  3. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    I don't think the 7-14 makes sense for the helicopter ride, unless you want images including the interior of the helicopter. Ultra-wide angles are good if you have subject matter in the near fore-ground, which is unlikely when you're flying. The 14-42 or 14-140 will be wide enough to capture most things and the telephoto abilities (particularly of the 14-140) mean you will have the option to zoom in on interesting details.

    The most important thing is to keep your shutter speeds high due to the vibration of the helicopter. In theory, image stabilization (in the camera, or the 14-140 lens) could make up for that somewhat, but without testing you're not going to know to what degree.

    As to filters, are you comfortable cleaning your lens directly? If not, filters are a relatively inexpensive way to gain peace of mind. Definitely use the hood though, either way. And try to avoid lens changes in windy places. Getting sand inside the camera can be a real problem.

    Have fun!
     
  4. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    926
    Nov 6, 2012
    Canada
    How high are you planning on flying and what kind of pictures do you want to take while in the air?
     
  5. Luv-UNC-gal

    Luv-UNC-gal New to Mu-43

    2
    Dec 9, 2012
    Tar Heel Country
    Margaret
    Guys....Thanks! Good point about the inside of helicopter showing up in the 7-14mm (don't want that) and that at great telephoto lengths there might be too much vibration using the 14-140mm.

    Dav- I have no idea how high we'll be flying; I believe it will be variable though. I predict I'll be sitting in front as I weigh less than 115 pounds and they usually put the lighter folks in front (might have dash board in view).

    I appreciate the recommendations for the lens you'd use and what setting, (P) or if (M) or S or A what aperature and shutter speed (assuming it's bright and sunny).

    Thanks so much...still learning but out of time and this trip is upon me! I'll post pics when I return.
     
  6. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Well, ... maybe. Shooting through plexi windows, autofocus will sometimes grab some dirt or streaking on the plexi or it might grab a reflection from inside the bird. Watch carefully to make sure this is not happening. If it is, try to move left or right a bit to eliminate the problem. Manual focus is a last resort.

    Watch also for reflections on the plexi that will end up out of focus but reducing the contrast in your shots. Again, reposition. (Ideally you would have a black curtain or a black umbrella behind you but no one is going to stand for that in a tourist helo.)

    The other advice is good. Be careful, too, to not rest your hands, arms, or camera against the windows. This could couple vibration into the camera and cause blur.

    If the pilot is taking you past close scenery, birds on islands, etc. fairly quickly, consider using the motor drive function on your camera and sort out the images in post. At just 30mph, you are moving 50 feet per second.
     
  7. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    I'd go with shutter priority. Depth of field shouldn't be an issue at the distances you're talking about, so set the shutter to something safe, and let the camera worry about the aperture (just make sure it isn't going to f/11 or above - if it is, move to a faster shutter speed). For the 14-42, 1/500 is pretty safe, and for the 14-140, 1/1000 past 100mm. At those shutter speeds, you may as well turn off image stabilization as well.
     
  8. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    Ehud
    You can use polarizer filter to lower reflection. It will also give you nicer clouds and sky color.

    Setting in S and 500 will do the work.
     
  9. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    Shooting at 1/250 and faster will easily eliminate any helicopter vibrations. There is no reason that you cannot change lenses while flying.