Cameras for close-up contrail photography

deirdre

Senior Member.
However I think that, due to their rarity, all observation of aerodynamics contrails by the forum members have been included.
plus there's the whole camera issue. not only how many people are looking for aerodynamics, but how many people can actually zoom in that far to see them! PS. Help: what kind of zoom do I need on a camera to do this?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member

NoParty

Senior Member.
The "newer" one won't be avail for a month (but the specs are much better...could be worth waiting for)
but I've vouched for the sx50 before, here. A very high percentage of Yellowstone visitors have that
Canon 50 around their necks: good, inexpensive camera for getting a decent shot of a bear
or wolf without getting too close. I've taken many good pix with mine (no chemtrail shots...yet!)
 

Efftup

Senior Member.
when it comes to a camera, the LENS makes far more difference than the number of megapixels. Companies use the bare MP numbers to fool you into thinking the new camera (especially on a mobile phone) is much better.

Also with a zoom it MUST be OPTICAL, as in again done by the lens. Once you get to digital zoom a) you might just as well zoom in at home on your photo software, and b) you will start to get individual pixels in a very grainy way when you digitally zoom in a lot.

This is why a lot of the chemtrailers etc get weird "orbs" and "UFOs" in their pictures, they take a photo of something 6 miles up in the air with a mobile phone and then digitally zoom in.
 

Efftup

Senior Member.
So basically you need a really good camera, and can't use our phones to take these photos.
Yes, if you look on Aviation enthusiast websites, the REALLY good photos are taken with a really good camera attached to a TELESCOPE.
 

Jason

Senior Member
Yes, if you look on Aviation enthusiast websites, the REALLY good photos are taken with a really good camera attached to a TELESCOPE.
It's just frustrating when you see something in the sky that's worth sharing on this forum, but when I go to my iPhone to snap a photo it usually ends up being a waste of time.
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
Megapixels matter, but zoom is much more important.
I would go so far as to say that we are at the point now where megapixels really don't matter.

A cellphone nowadays has more pixels than a digital SLR did not very many years ago. But does that mean it takes better pictures? Of course not. In almost all cases, the pixel count is NOT the limiting factor for resolution.

Try zooming in on a cellphone photo. You hit digital "noise" and blurring from the small lens before you start seeing "jaggies" from the actual pixels.

upload_2014-9-26_10-59-44.png


That's a crop from an iPhone 5 which has an 8mp camera. Noisy as anything. And yet I have photos from a (12-year-old) 2mp "proper" camera blown up to poster size on my wall, because it had good optics. (And because I held the camera straght!)


In fact, the modern trend for cramming more and more pixels onto tiny sensors actually leads to MORE noise in your photos. Smaller pixels are more susceptible to noise, all other things being equal.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I would go so far as to say that we are at the point now where megapixels really don't matter.

They only matter when all other things are equal. On a cellphone with no optical zoom it will make a difference. An extreme example is the Nokia Lumia 1020, with 41MP.

And then a Canon EOS 1D X (18MP) is going to take more zoomable photos than the original EOS 1D (4MP), but not vastly different to the other current EOS cameras (ignoring the crop).

But yeah, bottom line is that MP is pretty irrelevant for telephoto photography now.
 

Leifer

Senior Member.
"Camera-shake" is a problem with cellphone (or small "point-and-shoot) cameras pics when trying to track and capture a distant object.
You could try to lean the phone's body on a stable object of some sort.......still it is "iffy", but possible >> especially if you take many photos, and happen to capture one or two good ones.......and discard the bad ones.

The DSLR cameras with super "long" lenses have the same problem.....but in a different way.......the weight of the camera+huge lens actually makes you "top heavy", and your human body is often reacting to a not-normal weight far above your center-of-gravity, and creates wobble.
I don't have a video type "fluid head on a tripod" (yet).....but it seems for distance shots.....this would be the way to go, as the ease in which you could pan and tilt the camera is much more smooth.
 
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