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Best settings for aerial photos?

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision + Discussion' started by voodoo, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. voodoo

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    Hey guys,

    I captured some sweet content yesterday. I noticed some big differences in lighting between my shots. I haven't messed with the stock camera settings too much yet. My co-pilot who controls the camera, has noticed that he sometimes gets the best pics if he tilts the camera down, then comes up for a quick shot, before the camera can auto-adjust to the sun and make the view quite dark.

    I am wondering what the best settings are for capturing aerials? What are most people doing to get the best shots in certain conditions? Thanks!
     
  2. voodoo

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  3. detholm

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    Shoot raw with iso 100 and use exposure comp to get the darks right (there's a lot of noise in the shadows) bring it into photoshop denoise the shadows
     
  4. voodoo

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    thanks yeah i figured i should shoot in raw. going to do some tests soon. cheers!
     
  5. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
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    I'm aware that the DJI camera is much less capable than what I'm used to on the ground and I'm keenly looking for a way to fly a better camera. I shoot jpg in default settings and adjust a little in Photoshop and I'm pretty happy with my results.
    One important factor is to keep the sun behind the bird and be aware of high contrast scenes (eg small dark foreground with large expanse of white cloudy sky). Here's an example of what it's capable of - (view on my website to see the detail at full size).
    [​IMG]
     
  6. voodoo

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    Wow Meta4, these shots look sooooo gooooddd. I'm checking out your website too. I need to look into shooting in jpg bc so far ive just been using whatever the standard default it. the camera seems to do quite a bit of autocorrect so im not sure
     
  7. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
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    Thanks for the compliments.
    btw jpg is the default for the Phantom camera.
    The camera has its limitations but it's still possible to get good pics with it when you understand them and work within them.
     
  8. voodoo

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    Yeah i guess that is my obstacle. I'm not really a photographer. I'm an engineer who has worked with video data collection for years and I think UAVs are where the industry is headed. For now, I'm just learning, and want my footage to look as good as possible.

    So you use jpg, meaning default settings? You allow the camera to perform its auto-lighting? Seems that there is much of this going on. When I shoot near dark, the pics look super light. When we look into the sun, it darkens the shot a lot (automatically), and when we look down @ the ground on a sunny day, the auto-darkening goes away. I'm trying to understand and learn what the camera does so I can best use it. Cheers.
     
  9. Dembo

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    The Vision's camera has three main problems IMHO:

    - lens distortion
    - noise
    - color rendering

    (at least when compared to my 5DIII, not very fair, I agree). All three can be fixed in post to a certain degree and I am still experimenting with the best settings.

    Both Photoshop and Lightroom provide lens correction profiles for the camera which takes care of the distortions (to a certain extend). In addition I found that that shooting scenes with less vertical lines helps - for me at least distortion is more visible in vertical lines due to the fact that the horizon seldom is a straight line so my eye tends to be more forgiving. Meta4's picture is a good example that with careful positioning and a little bit of luck even vertical lines can work out.

    As far as the noise goes there are many excellent products out there do deal with it, but for me Lightroom is sufficient. Just don't try to shoot at times where a landscape photographer would usually take shots (around dusk & dawn).

    Color rendition seems to be a serious problem which should be fixable by DJI. It is the reason why you should always, always, always shoot in raw (DNG) with a Vision. Calibrating your camera with e.g. a X-Rite ColorChecker Passport helps a lot but still the magenta channels have to be cranked up almost to the max to yield semi-accurate colors.

    I do have a shot of the calibration target in my flickr album that illustrates the severely incorrect color rendering: https://www.flickr.com/photos/christian ... 952797597/

    I think autumn is a great time for aerial photography but unfortunately my Vision+ is with DJI atm due to s (slightly) tilted horizon that I couldn't take any more (the DIY fix by realigning the camera and the gimbal axis did not work for me). I'll start shooting again as soon as I am back in the air.
     
  10. voodoo

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    You mean "where a landscape photographer would [not] usually take shots?" I'm still learning about photography, and seems these are the most difficult times lol :p
     
  11. aggiesrwe03

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    You could manually shoot an HDR photo. basically you shoot the same photo three times at three different exposures, then combine the exposures in photoshop and adjust the colors. I shoot at 1.3, 0, and -1.3. I get pretty decent results, but you have to know the limitations of the camera. I hope there will be an update at some point which will allow the camera to shoot brackets, which is basically what I described above, but the camera does it for you. I still need to run these through lightroom, I just edited these on the iPhone this morning.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. msinger

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    I really wish you would expand on this topic. Your work is awesome!