Shooting aviation (propellers) with multiple CMOS chip cameras, question.


Active Member
I was wondering about propellers again (aviation I'm afraid being my main hobby) and wonder if anyone with a 3 CMOS Chip camera (Z5 I believe uses them?) has shot any propeller aircraft in motion.

I understand that cameras that have a single CMOS chip have the issue of propellers not spinning but floating in lines, but talking with a camera operator today using a Z5 (her first outing at an airshow with the camera) she said that she hadn't seen a problem with either the Jello effect or floating props?

Is it just an issue with single CMOS cameras?

Just wondering? I am happy with the 151 as it uses CCD's and has no issues with propellers, but has anyone else tried CMOS cameras on aviation subjects?

Cheers, MP


Well-known Member
Don't think it's going to make any difference --see the comment here for example: Panasonic 3MOS >= 3CCD ? - HeliFreak

What does seem to be true though is that rolling shutter artifacts seem to vary enormously between cameras. Many of the 'weirdest' propellor clips on you tube are taken with phone cameras, which have notoriously slow scan rolling shutters, which make the artifacts worse.
Even the DSLR cameras, like the Nikon D90, which can take superb video images, seem to have slow scan rolling shutters
An aircraft sample here: Crazy Propeller on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
shows it to be virtually unusable for this type of videography.

It does seem as if the manufacturers are improving on the problem, using a variety of tricks to improve the scan times, and reduce rolling shutter effects. The Panasonic HPX371 is supposed to be much better for 'skew' than the previous model the HPX301, released less than a year earlier.

Whether any of these improvements will help with aircraft footage????? -- I haven't found any CMOS footage that records propellors well as yet, but the majority online seems to be posted just to show how bad it is!

It's going to be interesting to see what happens when all the current camcorders 'go CMOS', as seems likely within a couple of years.
I would guess models, like your '151, will probably go up in value!!!

Edit: There's a video which includes some aircraft propellor footage taken with a Sony Z5 here: YouTube - Test of Sony Z5 camcorder -Brooks Sea plane
(the propellor footage is near the end).
Doesn't look too bad. Difficult to tell whether there would be any 'weird' breakup at lower prop speeds, but it's better than other CMOS footage I've seen of this type of subject. Clearly there's a lot of difference between the rolling shutters in different models of CMOS camcorders!
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Active Member
Hey Rogs, that footage is very surprising considering the issues that many CMOS cameras have. The rotation on the prop looks fine and more than authentic.

Would be interesting to hear input from anyone who has shot with a lower-budget CMOS camera or Canon Mk5 DII?

Anyone have footage they can link to that gets around the Rolling shutter effect?

I'd be interested to know if the Z5 suffers with the 'Jello' effect in fast pans left to right (or vice versa).

Very impressed with that footage.

Cheers, MP


Standard Member
Hi,m I might be able to pass on my experiences on this if it helps. I've got a Canon HF-s21 which is a CMOS sensor. (Rogs has already replied about the advantages of CCD over CMOS) but what I have done is to set the shutter speed of the camera to 1/50th second . Even shooting through the front of the aircraft, you cannto even see the propeller so that works for me. Obviously each camera ;/ sensor is going to be different but certianly on the Flickr shot you posted , it looks like the shutter speed is high as the propellor is sharp.
So suggest a slower shutter speed as that might solve your problem.
The problme I have (as Rogs has already seen on this forum) is that I'm shooting from within an aircraft and vibration is the killer for me.
I've gone out and got a sponge and intend wedgeing that between the suction mounted camera and the perspex windows to see if that improves matters.
Its al very weel asking others to film for you whilst you are flying but you're not going to get the shots YOU want unless you can find a cameraman.
I'm also very likely going to purchase a ContourHD camera and use that to either mount to my headset (haven't figured that one out yet!) or move around the aircraft to get different shots.
that'sll will record in 1080 60i so will have to accept some loss of quality , well really frames in order to integrate it into my movies recorded at 1080 50i using Sony vegas Pro.
I'm also considering the use of 1080 25p and accepting a 4% slow down and rendering to 1080 24p for bluray.


Standard Member
I got this information from the Tail Dragger group in VIMEO. A post was made mentioning the problem the guy was working on and that is in the first video address below. It concerns using ND filters, in this case a Go-Pro camera. Seems to work well. Note two video's on the experiment.

GoPro Rolling Shutter/ND Filter Test - Taildragger Pilots on Vimeo

He put further work into the problem and came up with the second video. (BTW, don't try this flight maneuver in the Turner) Quite interesting stuff and the source of the fix that I had been looking for for a long time.

GoPro Rolling Shutter/ND Filter Test - part 2 - Taildragger Pilots on Vimeo

I did not have this problem with my Canon camcorder DV unit, but do have the problem much of the time when using my Canon A1100 in video mode. I too am considering the Contour HD or secondly a Go-Pro HD


Well-known Member
Interesting stuff!!-- the ND filters certainly help with the more outrageous rolling shutter problems, that show up with the prop. Doesn't seem to help much with the 'jello', when the aircraft is suffering from vibration, unfortunately!

There is a simpler solution.
If you know you're going to be shooting aircraft footage?? -- use a camera with a CCD sensor!!
Solves both problems.
Completely! :)


Standard Member
I'm not familiar with what you mean by 'jello'. My limited experience is using a Canon Elura 100 where no prop motion is evident. I would like to upgrade (low budget) to HD however, and like the small size of something like Contour HD for wing mounting as another fairly easy option. The search continues. A couple of my rookie videos are on VIMEO at Mustang ll flight from Pemberton BC, over Whistler and Howe Sound to Sechelt. on Vimeo Thanks for your imput.


Well-known Member
The Canon elura model you refer to has a CCD sensor. Most modern cameras have CMOS sensors, with rolling shuttters, which can cause problems with fast motion, or high vibration, situations.

We covered most aspects of rolling shutter, including 'jello' in this thread: a while back.

Not that easy to find CCD camcorders any more, so you will have to put up with some rolling shutter effect with a modern HD camcorder. The newer ones tend to have faster scan speeds, which can help a bit, and the ND filters, as shown in the videos you linked to, seem to help with 'prop motion'.


Standard Member
Thanks again ROGS. You have been most helpful and my education continues. CCD is certainly the better if I can find what I am looking for. My cockpit is very small and camera size is consequently of great importance. Small is better! In any case, I will continue to educate myself and see where it leads. John


Distinguished Member
We must remember that manufacturers are only interested in selling as many camcorders to as many people as possible . . . currently it seems to be specmanship with larger LCD's as the super-zooms have proved that most movies are better off without them.

The use of a ND filter probably increases the blur because the "auto exp" is forced to use a slow shutter speed.

If new camcorders have droppped CCD's there will be a good reason - (possibly cost?)....if it's Tech then we should be glad, for we may find out there are "other" issues with CCD - Does anyone here have any informed opinion as to why CCD was phased out.


Well-known Member
Cost and (relatively) high power consumption, that's the main reason for phasing out CCDs in consumer camcorders.

CMOS sensors are capable of excellent images, but do suffer from rolling shutter artifacts, to some extent or another. If you have a requirement that involves high vibration situations, then CCD genrerally still offers a better option.

Of course CCDs have their own limitations -- 'smearing' for example - but they do use global shutters, so none of the 'rolling shutter' problems occur.

Hopefully, 'global shutter' CMOS sensors, which currently only appear on specialised scientific cameras, will eventually filter down to the commercial world.

I believe that would probably kill off CCDs once and for all!

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