As much as we all love aerial photography, the image quality die hards amongst us have struggled to come to terms with the limitations of the smaller sensors. I for one even made the dive into a big DJI M600 just to get my Sony camera in the air and overcome this. On a recent trip overseas though I went armed only with my P4P. In a country with so many incredible scenes, I really pushed this little camera to the limits and, whilst it's no full frame sensor, the 1inch EXMOR is, IMO, good enough to meet any expectation. The drawback is that it needs a little more effort and careful planning.
So what worked? This is a hard one to summarise as there's so many variables but:
Planning the desired outcome before flying is a must.
Bracketing became my standard approach as recovering from either end of the histogram isn't ideal. Also bracket the aperture. f5ish for the foreground keeps things crisp but 2.8 is fine for the sky.
In general it seems that the DR from the sky is where the sensor is pushed the most. Most of my skies are made up of 2-3 images so working with layer masks in photoshop is a must.
I would also rely heavily on noise reductions for the sky but this has to be selective, again - layer masks.
I would try to fly without sunlight. Overcast or low light conditions definitely work best. •
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