NEAR SPACE BALLOONING - STRATOSPHERIC PHOTOGRAPHY

PHOTOS

LAUNCH 10 : KANSAS

Part of the reason for attending this year's Great Plains Super Launch was that the day of the group launch, the sun was going to rise simultaneously with a setting full moon. It was something I had caught on camera before, but in the past the moon was always made to look too small due to the wide-angle lenses used. The idea here was to try out focal lengths similar to normal vision. To that end both the Pentax Q7 and Olympus PEN E-PL5 were outfitted with new lenses purchased on eBay. The results were mostly as hoped. I was particularly impressed with the sharpness of the Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G-Series lens used on the Olympus. However, I tried the continuous focus option on the camera and most of the pictures came out too blurry. Further experimentation with the PEN E-PL5 is called for. The Pentax Q7 continues to perform well, though battery life leaves much to desire. The PENTAX 01 Standard Prime 8.5mm f1.9 lens was set for manual focus, which is tricky to set up accurately; a bit of duct tape held the focus ring in place.

In addition to a Canon PowerShot G12, used with great results in past launches, I included a new G15, which has a 12.1 MP CMOS sensor. The battery lasted the entire flight and the quality of the images rivalled the G12. However, I continue to be unable to post-process the RAW images using Adobe Camera Raw with same quality results as the internal Canon algorithms used to create the JPEGs (the Olympus post-processing software is easy to use). The G15 also experienced a lot more lens flare than the G12, so the setup for this camera in future launches will need some adjustment.


PEN E-PL5 (16 MP)



Q7 (12.4), 23-69mm AF/MF Lens





G12 (10 MP)





G15 (12.1 MP)




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