It all adds up

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by johnw63, May 19, 2009.

  1. I went up to Laguna Seca raceway, last weekend, to try to improve my auto racing shots. Keep in mind that this track is a very hilly place to watch a race, especially, if you want to get up to the "CorkScrew" corner at the top of the course. I talked with a motorsports photographer, before I went, by e-mail, and decided that a three lens kit would be best. In my case it was like this:
    Nikon F4s
    Nikkor 80-200mm f4.5 AI
    Nikkor 300mm f4.5 AIS
    Nikkor 35mm AF f 2.0
    I thought I tossed in a new purchased 50mm f1.8 AIS to test out, but I grabbed my 24mm f2.8 AIS by mistake. So, make it 4 lenses.
    I also carried my Slik tripod, in case I wanted some sharp, non panned shots.
    Add to this my waist bag, which is sort of large, and my day pack to carry water and change of shirts, if the weather changed from morning to mid day. I also brought along and experimental "step" to attach to the chain link to get me a bit higher, as some of the fencing is just above eye level for me. This was made from a piece of aluminum bench, cut to size with rope attached. None of it weighed that much, on it's own, but all together, it got to be rather HEAVY to carry around , up and down hills, at about 90 degree temps !
    I just put it all on the scale and it totaled 25.31 pounds. As I type this, that doesn't seem that much, but each time I picked it all up and strapped it on, it felt heavier and heavier. If the shots I took of on coming cars, come out sharp, the almost 6 pound tripod stays home, next time. I may be in the market for a light, but sturdy monopod, if they don't.
    Perhaps just because you CAN carry it with you, doesn't mean you SHOULD bring it along. Just a bit of advice for those that may think of doing the same thing.
     
  2. I was there also and I did see one guy shooting with just an M Leica in the pits. I couldn't tell if it was a digital or film camera. In my opinion shots of cars going around and around the track are cliché and the real action is in the pits or in the infield area. It was HOT out there on Saturday wasn't it?
    00TPSp-136157584.jpg
     
  3. you guys should have looked me up:
    http://www.montereycountyweekly.com/archives/2009/2009-May-14/the-monterey-festival-of-speed-at-laguna-seca-brings-the-heat/1/@@index
    The guy in the pits was shooting with film M's.
    Don't complain about weight, I was carrying:
    Cameras: Nikon D2H, D700, F5
    Lenses: (all Nikkor)
    20-35 f/2.8
    28-70 f/2.8
    70-200 f/2.8
    600 f/4 (courtesy of NPS).
     
  4. Nice shots Nick. Did it seem to you that there may have been more photographers than spectators? I don't know about Sunday, but Friday and Saturday looked a little light for a major event like this. The economy is taking it's toll on the events this year. Well, see you at the Concours.
     
  5. Yeah, the who place was deadsville. There were only about a dozen credentials photogs shooting for various mags and one of the other local newspaper shooters I know.
    It was great. I had the run of the mill for prime shooting locales.
     
  6. I wish I could get to some of those official photographer places, but without a job shooting, I'm really limited to where I can get shots. I always hope that the track would just let me sign a waver and hand me a vest, but no such luck.
    I knew on of the VW GTI drivers, so while that team was doing well, it didn't finish well. Mechanical gremlins struck both cars.
     
  7. Good stuff, Nic. BTW, question on workflow: what's the current consensus among editors for file formats? Do they want JPEGs, raw or both? Are you shooting JPEG, raw or both simultaneously? Just curious because I haven't shot a race event since 2005 or 2006 so I'm out of the loop on current preferences.
     
  8. Yeah, not even all the cred'd photogs get vests on the bigger races. It's wayy to busy as it is with everyone...
    Lex:
    My workflow is JPEG's for my art director at the paper. RAW files are a bit overkill, especially for the D700. If I'm shooting my D2H at high ISO (which is never anymore), I'll shoot RAW for noise concerns, but even my old D50 made super nice and clean, saturated JPEG's even at 1600.
    I think most newspaper prefer JPEG's for ease sake and 8gb of RAW files is A LOT. the glossy mags may like RAW better, but I can really only speculate on that...
     
  9. I was lucky enough to get some free tickets to an event at Silerstone last year. Having never shot motorsport before, I though it was an ideal opportunity.
    I took...
    D200 + MB-D200 + 4 Batteries
    12-24 f/4.5-5.6
    24-70 f/2.8
    70-200 f/2.8
    1.7x TC
    Mono pod
    Gorilla pod
    + water, snacks, etc

    And after a day of walking round, I was exhausted. I just put it down to inexperience, but fun!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bladeflyer/sets/72157607399805315/
     
  10. Yes going to shoot for a day like that you learn a lot. I shot all day at some drag races. Didn't even think about the fact I could be using too fast of a shutter speed. Every thing I took a picture looked like it was frozen. I realized later that a little shower shutter speed would have given the appearance of movement.
     
  11. mjt

    mjt

    Next time you're wanting to shoot a "motorsport" event, go for a motorcycle event. Much more intense and provides for more (better) exciting shots. AAMOF, a MotoGP event is coming up July3-5th. Getting shots of these folks over on their knee in the corners is rewarding (and for the rider - I know, I'm a weekend racer:) Outdoor motocross events are all equally rewarding to shoot.
    A suggestion - shooting a race car (or motorcycle) on the track with a fast shutter speed is a no-no - it tends to "stop" the spinning action of the wheels - it looks as if the car is parked on the track. Better to slow the shutter and pan with the car/bike - the blurred wheels provide the visual cue of movement to the viewer.
     
  12. MJ is right. Motosports are wayyy more intense and awesome. Cars are alright too, but motorcycles have a whole other element to them.
    I think frozen shots have their place, depending on what you're doing. The extremely tight shots of motorcyclists around a sharp turn are always solid and also the wider shots to show a clean background. It all really depends.
    A friend of mine is one of the official photogs at Laguna and does nice work:
    http://www.dmtimaging.com/motorcycleracinggallery/index.html
     
  13. More than just cars at the races. These are genuine "Playboy Bunnies". Do they look a little on the young side or am I just getting old?
    00TPuE-136419584.jpg
     
  14. You're too old !
    For the "Festival of Speed" weekend, there were not very many photogs. I would hope they would give out vests to more folks. It is really tough to get the shots you can SEE would be good, but you can't get to that side of the fence.
    Here's a question: Is a D200 good enough for this stuff ? I know it's digital stone age, in some peoples minds, but I can use my current lenses with it. Are the colors not bright enough ? Is there too much CA, as apposed to the newer bodies ? Is it too hard to get sharp focus with manual lenses ? I prefocus and try to set an aperture that will give me a decent DoF.
     
  15. rnd

    rnd

    A couple of D200 shots from last year's Montreal F1 GP. Shot from the stands with a 70-300VR. I found the AF tracked well but I also tried some pre-focused shots. I was happy with the color and sharpness. A dedicated 300 would have been nice...
     
  16. rnd

    rnd

    Try that again...
    00TQCv-136563884.jpg
     
  17. rnd

    rnd

    Another. Motion blur at slow shutter speed.
    00TQCy-136563984.jpg
     
  18. Those girls look a little old to be playboy bunnies, maybe former bunnies? I am 28 and I think that they look older than the girls that I know.
     
  19. Very nice pictures in this thread! :D :D
     
  20. Do you have the info correct on that blur shot ? Maybe F16 and 1/40th of s second ? I don't know any lens that goes to f40.
    I like that shot. How did you get his helmet sharp ? Was it moving the least, at a slow apex ?
     
  21. rnd

    rnd

    Huh. You're right and that is odd. I just copied the info out of the exif data without giving it much thought but the limit should be f/32 for that lens. I checked again and that whole series of shots is showing the same thing: 1/13 sec, f/40. I checked the RAW file in both Lightroom and Capture NX and it was the same. I also did a second similar series but with a Polarizer and the EXIF for those shows 1/10 sec at f/25. Conditions were similar and, as you would expect, there is roughly 2 stops difference. I do remember trying to get as slow a shutter speed as I could so I'm fairly confident in the 1/13th shutter speed but I am at a loss to explain the f/40 aperture in the EXIF data.
    As for the picture itself, I have to admit to a bit of luck :). Out of ~50+ shots I have a few where there is enough sharpness to make out what is going on but this was the only one that had such clear definition. The fact that it was the helmet was an added bonus. This is at the apex of a hairpin so the car was at it's slowest and it is literally pivoting around the driver. Slight crop in post and global saturation/contrast boost to heighten the relative sharpness of the helmet but that's pretty much it.
     
  22. One of the knocks on the D200, from those moving to the D300 and others of that electronics revision was that the D200 didn't have vivid colors. What I was wondering was, are they realistic and the newer bodies just allow you to go beyond real, into the vivid slide type of colors ?
    That BestBuy deal is calling me, but I don't want to hit a limitation right away. I've looked at the member gallery and it looks like there are some nice low light shots in there, which is something the D300 would be better at. I know this is sort of side tracking the thread, but is the D300 almost 3 times better for what I am trying to do ? At this point it's auto races, scenics, and I would like to get into the low light city scapes.
     
  23. The variable aperture in a zoom like the 70-300 VR applies across the board, from minimum to maximum aperture. So f/40 is likely to occur at the longest focal length with a slow shutter speed in bright light.
     
  24. rnd

    rnd

    Thanks Lex. Makes sense and the shot was at 300mm. How does bright light figure into the equation, though? I just tried to replicate the scenario (except that there is no bright light to be had right now) and could only get to f/32...
    John, I have never felt limited by the colors on the D200. I shoot manly in RAW and post process in Lightroom. I would describe the images as neutral and very easy to work with. Easy to push into the "beyond real" realm if that was your goal! I think the complaints may be coming from people who shoot JPEG and want the images to pop like Velvia straight out of the camera. You can certainly adjust the camera to suit but the default settings are definately geared towards a very neutral image, possibly to a fault. Does make it easier to post process, though.
    Not to say that there are no improvements with the latest generation, but I would be more tempted by the improved autofocus (sometimes challenging on the D200) and the high ISO performance - anything above ISO 400 is quite poor on the D200 (for my tastes). For scenics and low light city scapes on a tripod, I would not consider these to be limiting factors. Auto racing is tougher. I was roughly limited to 1/500, f/5.6, ISO 100 in sunny/lightly overcast conditions. I shot mainly at 1/250 to keep the tires somewhat blurred but you'd have to start boosting your ISO under heavily overcast conditions or if you wanted to fully freeze a fast moving race car. Indoor sports and hand held street photography in low light benefit even more from high ISO performance.
    If money were no object, I'd say get a D300, especially if you frequently use fatser than ISO 400 film in your F4. I am a very happy D200 owner, and have no intention of upgrading at this time. YMMV and you'll have to judge for yourself, though. Here is a good review with lots of sample photographs at low and high ISO. The D300 review on the same site has some good side by side comparisons with the D200 at different ISOs.
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond200/
     
  25. Thanks Robert.
    Going by the DXO test web site, the D300 is rated up to 679 ISO and the D200 is rated to 583 ISO, which is only about 100 ISO difference. I was hoping this wouldn't be that noticable an improvement.
    I guess my decision may be based on either getting a D200 at the current price, or not getting a DSLR at all, until the D300 gets a lot cheaper. Being a cheap b@stard, I know it would burn my butt to watch the retail price fall by half, in a year or two, if I got the D300 now. As a hobby, the price of the D300 is just not something my amount of shooting can justify.
     

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