shooting car racing with a Nikon manual focus camera

Discussion in 'Sports' started by jr stevens, May 26, 2009.

  1. Hi there, I need some tips on shooting auto racing with a manual focus camera (nikon FG with 70-210mm lens)....first of all - can it even be done?? anyone who ha done this successfully please pass on your knowledge to me...thanks!
  2. Of course it can be done. Older generations of pro photographers did it for years, even w/4x5 press cameras!
    Get out and practice. Shoot cars coming around a corner on the highway or nearby street. Not going as fast, but you get a feel as to how good u are! Or not, and what you need to practice.
    Also, set focus, zoom, (& aperture/shutter speed) to a specific point on the course and shoot the cars as they reach that point. We even do that occaisionally with digital set ups having AF capabilities.
    Keep shootin'.
  3. Sure. I have taken some photos of USGP F1 at Indy (and some of the supporting Porsche races) with an FG-20 and longer lenses. I was using 400 speed film, to keep shutter speeds up and apertures a bit narrower.
    1. You can follow the car and manually focus at the same time. Snapping when you need to.
    2. You can pre-focus on a spot on the track and trigger the shutter (either panning or not) when the car arrives at the position on the track. I would usually pick some curbing or a distinct spot on the asphalt... maybe even some tufts of grass on the edge of the track.
  4. SCL


    Ah, how do you think the pictures of the 1950s and 60s were taken? I was doing it at 15 years of age...and the results were great. You set up at a the chosen spot (I frequently had a press pass and usually chose an inside curve location where the cars entered into a drift, and therefore were decelerating), prefocussed on the desired spot, used a relatively small aperture (around f5.6-f8) and a lens in the 135-300mm range. A higher speed ISO was generally the choice to ensure a higher shutter speed, and the racing shots were most often in bright sunlight. Sometimes I panned to get a particular car as the center of attraction and slightly motion blur others which might be operating at slightly different speeds. It does take practice, but is most definitely doable! Coupled with paddock shots, it usually resulted in a good collection for a given day.
  5. Heres an example, Minolta X-700/ Sigma 70-300. As others have said, prefocus on a spot on the track then pan with the car until it gets to your spot then click it! I used film and manual focus for racing until 2005 when I switched to digital. While it can be done, may I suggest picking up a Canon 40D and one of the 70-200 racing photography is a whole lot more fun and vivid in the digital age!
  6. On the other hand heres one from the digital age taken this past weekend. Canon 40D, 70-200 F/4L.......I'll never go back to film!
  7. One more, Canon 40D, 400 F/5.6L.
  8. When I was living in Norwalk, CT. There was a track where guys used to race miniature cars.
    Nikon FM3a, manual focus 100-300 f5.6 Nikkor.

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