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Nikon D5200 settings?

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  • Nikon D5200 settings?

    Hello all!

    After a hiatus of a number of years I've decided to get back into aviation photography. To assist me, I have upgrades from my previously stone aged camera, the Fuji S5600, to the Nikon D5200. As I have seen in the past few weeks, I know there is quite a learning curve after stepping up from a bridge to DSLR camera, however I didn't expect my images to be of worse quality than before, especially with a better sensor.

    Today I was at Heathrow testing out the camera with my 55-300mm Nikkor VR lens (with lens hood attached) while testing a few settings here and there but I got to say I have not been very happy with any of the photos I've taken today. One of the major issues is with focusing. I've adjusted the focusing settings and tested out a few of the options (i.e. 3D tracking etc) however its been very difficult to get pinsharp accuracy on the subject and anything close to it still has blurry's on the tail for example. Some images such as this one, I've got a sharp centre but very blurry nose. My previous bridge cameras had the whole frame in focus every photograph, however I don't understand why this one can't do that?

    Another problem is the colour. I took all my pictures in programmed auto just to be able to drop the ISO to 200 and have had default settings with everything else. I only noticed near the end of my session that the Exposure bias has been set on +2, however lowering it to 0 made me see why it's there. The lighting during my shoot was great, almost too much with slight burns where the sunlight has reflected off the fuselage. My aperture has been set at 4.5 (the lowest this lens will do). However one major thing I noticed regarding the light and colour is the lack of consistency. I took a shot of a Royal Jordanian 787 taking off 09R and within 2 frames which were immediately taken after each other here, you can see the major difference (They didn't turn out the way I wanted them to anyway hence i wasn't planning to upload them; the images also highlight the focusing problems I'm having). This third image, next in the lineup shows some sort of haloing off the wingtips and tail which I've never seen from my previous rubbish cameras, hence I'm very surprised to see them in this advanced camera!

    Examples of 'burning' on the fuselage (you can also see the difference in colour between the two):

    Examples of unfocused images (First one is totally unfocused while the second's tail is out of focus. All images were taken with AF and most with continuous focus, however I did try to refocus every shot by pressing the shutter button half way.):

    This trip to the airport was primarily to test the camera out; luckily I live quite close to the airport, however I wish to sort out these issues before summertime as you can imagine, even though it was pretty sunny out today. I would manual focus all of them, however I never trust my ability to focus properly, especially with my eyes! Any help would be greatly appreciated!