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on Apr 9, 2014 in Gear Head Wed

GearHead Wednesday 14-13


Got a gear question you want answered? I want to help and answer it. Send your gear questions to me at Gear Questions and I’ll do my best every Wednesday to answer as many questions as I can. Lots of great questions this week and a couple didn’t copy over for on the road, so thanks for sending them all with some getting answered next week! Keep in mind the answers are just my $.02 worth and you have to take what works for you and your photography and embrace it and ignore the rest. So here’s this weeks questions ….

Moose –
I have an opportunity to fly in a small plane from Lone Pine to Lee Vining so I can take some general landscape shots of the Sierra crest. I’m wanting to get pictures of the Whitney area, the Palisade Glacier, the Minarets, Mono Lake, etc. I also want to get general context shots of each of the communities in the valley showing the Sierra crest in the background. I’m not likely to get a chance like this again, so I can’t experiment and go back later if my shots don’t turn out. Do you have any suggestions or tricks for shooting though a window of a moving plane? I assume I want fast shutter speeds, do I attempt to pan with the speed of the plane, any special filters to use? I’ve got a D800e and I assume my 24-70 and 70-200 will be the lenses to go with.


-Don, what a great opportunity! Since this is GearHead Wed, I’m going to talk about the gear first. To be honest with you, that’s not a great body choice. Reason, couldn’t find a slower camera with a smaller buffer if you tried. When you’re flying, you have that chance for the shot just once and that is a split second. If you see “the” shot you and you don’t get it the first time, that’s it. While the D800e captures tons of detail, it don’t do it fast.

The lens selection is right on! The 24-70AFS and 70-200VR2 are perfect! Just be sure you’re not shooting in AF mode but Manual mode. Again, has to do with speed. If the camera looses focuses and starts searching, the photo might be gone. You don’t change altitude that much so once you have focus, you’ll have focus.

When it comes to technique, you have to be concerned about reflections from the inside the window. At the same time, the plex is real soft so you can’t scratch it. First, clean the inside of the plex. Next, use a rubber, collapsed rubber shade to protect the plex. Lastly, cut the sleeve off a black sweatshirt and stick the lens through the sleeve and push it up against the plex to block all reflections. Lastly, have fun!

Hello Moose,
I have a number of Nikkor AF lenses, all of which work perfectly on my D7100 with the exception of one – my 18-200mm.
Nikon claims that it is set to their “Factory Standard” but it still gives me a soft image at 70 mm, sharp at 100 mm and poor at 200 mm. And on any given day that may change. The AF Fine-tune does not help. Have you ever experienced this, and is there a solution? Also, how often, and how do you check to see if your zoom lenses are working up to par?
My sincere thanks for your help and for the great photography insight that you share with all of us.

Mr B from Chicago

-B from Chicago, sounds like you have one helluva dilemma! I have not had that issue and this is the first time I’ve heard of it. It sounds like there is an element out of alignment from impact. I would send it back to Nikon to have it checked.