Zooming while panning

Discussion in 'Sports' started by fred_sickler, Jul 23, 2004.

  1. This question arose from a technique mentioned by Jay Hector in
    another thread "When photographing in bright/harsh light...." When
    zooming while panning is it possible to do this properly with a
    rotating zoom ring, or is it better suited to a push/pull zoom?
  2. Better suited to push/pull zooms.
  3. Probably better suited to push-pull zooms like my 100-400L as it is quicker and easier to change focal lengths IMHO with one of these as opposed to a rotating zoom. It's not something I've actually tried as such, but I'm at Rockingham next weekend and will give it a go! :)

    I'm not going to make any guarantees about the results but it should be interesting to see what the results are like...
  4. I guess it depends on your technique and how comfortable you are with your equipment. When I'm panning, my elbows are locked in tight and I'm panning with my upper body. I can spin my zoom (Cannon 70-200) with just my thumb and middle finger while still solidly supporting the lens with the palm of my hand. For me, not having to move my forearm makes the panning easier. If you're going for mostly abstract with no sharp focus point, this obviously doesn't matter.
  5. Okay... this is getting exciting. when employing this technique do you zoom in or out from your suject? BTW great question Fred. I posted a similar question in the other thread directed to Jay but just backed out and saw your inquiry. This is something I would love to master in camera rather than taking the easy way out with Photoshop.
  6. Witty: Thanks, and I'd love to see the results.

    EJ: Thanks, I'll give your method a try at my next race.

    Norman: I could be wrong, but I think the technique is to start out wide and zoom in.
  7. Fred, I was going to answer in the other thread, but here is fine. IMHO you need a one-touch (push-pull) zoom to do the effect properly because you can zoom so much faster. The example posted above just barely gets a zooming effect while these (and two you saw in the other thread) Jochen Mass , Alan Jones , and Renault , pretty much get the full effect. With K64 and my 80-200 4.5 (ai/ais/non-ai) Nikkor, exposure wise I was at the limit of 1/30th and somewhere between f22 and f32. Not many Nikkor zooms have f32, which in bright sun was needed for proper exposure. With dig I use the 50-135 f3/5 ais as it approximates the 80-200 with a D1H and has f32. Any shutter speed faster than 1/30th doesn't give enough time for the zooming I feel, and to get that with dig you're going to need neutral-density filters. You can go slower, but I got used to doing it at 1/30th so I wouldn't rule-out slower, just faster. Everything is hand-held, and I've never attempted it on a tripod, but it would be cumbersome I believe and not workable running around a racetrack. Pan-zooming is really a hit or miss proposition. Rainer Schleglemilch, a fine German car photographer and zoom-meister, says in his interview in Passion and Precision that it is experimental photography, and to get one good shot from a roll of zooms you've done a good job -- I agree completely with that statement. Everythng has to be synchronized perfectly for the optimal PZ, your body motion, the zooming and the framing, and it's almost impossible to predict where the "circle of focus" is going to be or if you will have one at all. Never mind that the subject is moving in various planes at the same time. With my 80-200, 80 was with the zoom extended, and I would pull the ring toward my body to 200mm as I shot. Jon Eisberg, another Road & Track shooter of high quality and fine zooms did exactly the opposite, going from 200 to 80 pushing the ring away from his body. We did a zoom-off one time at a GP, and there was no difference in the look either way, so that's a matter of taste and comfort for the shooter. No two zooms are going to look the same so don't worry about getting the same look twice. People either love zooms or really hate them, and the latter generally dismiss it as a stupid, easy to achieve, effect. Photoshop makes a feeble attempt at replicating a real zoom, and a rotating zoom-ring cannot have the zoom-power of a push-pull because it takes a violent motion to do what I do. I still expect the lens elements to go flying when I do it. I don't know if Canon has one-touch manual-focus zoom lenses that fit the digital bodies, but you can get an AI Nikkor 80-200 4.5 for about 100 bucks these days and zoom for cheap. The 80-200 4.0 is a later version and doesn't have the slick zooming of the 4.5. You could also get a 43-86 late version Nikkor for 50 bucks and practice with that. I also use the 43-86, 50-135 and the 28-50 as all are one-touch. The ultimate zoom lens would have been a Nikon-mount Panavision 23-460 F10 electric zoom, but at about $500,000 I would have needed to sell a few more pics.
  8. Thank you both for the help with this technique. It's raining out otherwise I would be out practicing on the NYC traffic. (I hope they don't shoot back). Thanks again.

    Oh almost forgot. Jay, is the photo above done with a filter? -NP
  9. Yes, the Ambico Action-Maker filter that was around in the early '80s. It more than paid for itself very quickly, and I milked it for a short time. It required careful use or it looked cheezy, but still a lot of people sold cheezy shots with it. It worked best for me the first time I put it on the camera, and it was downhill after that Cream of the Cheese .
  10. Interesting discussion, this! ;-) While I've not zoomed while panning, I have been playing around with zooming while cars are coming towards me or moving at pretty low speed in the pit lane. As Jay says, it is pretty unpredictable, but hey, that's half the fun... At least with digital there isn't the "ouch, this is gonna cost" factor. I've found that a monopod is a must, even with IS on my 100-400. I think this is due to what Jay mentions the ahem, "violence"of the action - I tend to start long i.e. at 400mm and pull back towards me while the shutter is open as it seems the easiest way. Mind, I do get a lot of discards due to wobble. The pain the butt here is dirt on the sensor, because of the small apertures involved - guess around 1/40 & f22 is pretty typical too, looking back at my exif data. At typical speeds and apertures for ordinary work, dirt on the sensor isn't a problem, but here it can be as I've noticed on some of my slow shutter speed work in the past.
  11. If you look closely on the above shot, you can actually see spots from the sensor dust. Bit of a poo-poo, but I guess it could be cloned out in PS at a pinch. Anyway, below is another shot with zoom, but I think this car was either static or moving very slowly, but I like the shot anyway. (Both taken last season btw...) Fred - will keep you posted as to how I get on with the zoom panning at the weekend. Will be at Rockingham all three days, so plenty of time to have a bit of a play! :)
  12. I'm looking forward to your examples from Rockingham, though I hope you don't pop the elements out of your lense trying this. I'll give the panning zooms a try at the CART event in a couple of weeks, though I expect that it'll be cumbersome with a ring rather, than a push/pull, zoom. Norman mentioned taking the easy way out with Photoshop and I've tried that with an already shaky shot in the attached image. I suppose you could do this, but the results are nothing special and I'd much rather learn the technique for future use. I think it's a matter of discipline. Time to start looking for a push/pull zoom on eBay.
  13. I was going to post some more zoom examples, but my stinkin' Minolta 5400 has a prob. Power supply failed last time I used it (wall-wart) but it ran fine with an equivalent one from my Paperport scanners. So this time it eats two Paperport power supplies. Guess it's going back under warranty as it's more than the power-supplies. Other than that it's great. One of my two shots inside the Passion & Precision book was the Alan Jones zoom they ran as a b&w, which looked great that way too. Just so you know the violent zooming doesn't hurt the lens, here's a normal one with the 80-200 4.5 (only 100 bucks Fred, so get an AI one) Danny's moment of glory .
  14. I'll keep an eye on Ebay to see if a nice example comes up for auction. The all I have to do is find space in my bag for it. It's odd that you posted that shot of Danny Sullivan in a Tyrrell. Take a look at the attached image and tell me if it looks familiar. ;-) The image is from the BRIC event at Road America about 10 days ago and was shot with my Nikkor 500mm reflex.
  15. Fred, I guess the historic owner of the car didn't look at the old pics as the car-number and graphic are reversed. Love the Reflex as always. You might also see if you can get a good late-version 43-86 as I seem 'em for as low as 20 bucks since they have a poor rep for sharpness, which doesn't matter with a zoom (and I don't think they are poor myself).
  16. When it comes to authenticity paint schemes are the least of what baffles me about some historic racers. While some make it a point of pride to be historically correct with their cars, even to the point of replica Stewart, Amon or Villeveuve helmets, I'm left wondering why there was a replica Cobra Daytona Coupe running that weekend and how a 1971 McLaren M8F managed to acquire ground effect venturi tunnels(!).

    The 43-86 sounds interesting, but I think I'll go for the 80-200 f4.5 first. It will have more all around use for me as it'll work nicely with my Nikon F on jaunts through the streets of Chicago. But all this brings up another question: why did push/pull zooms go out of favor? The design obviously has some uses.
  17. Push/pull out of favor, maybe dust. I know Canon's 100-400L has a nasty rep as a Hoover when it comes to dust. I have not noticed it with mine however. I'm sure the rotating types like the 70-200 Canon's seal out rain much better also. No zoom creep as you walk around with it either.
  18. For what Nikon push/pull zooms are selling for on Ebay I think it might be worthwhile to pickup a used on and try some shots. If I get any interesting results I'll post them here.
  19. Well, I'm finally back online after working two consecutive weekends... Didn't get much time to play around with zooming while panning as the shutter on my D60 gave up the ghost just an hour and a half into the first day of the first meeting. Have been using borrowed bodies since and am loath to break them. Anyway... I tried the technique with two of my zooms - a 100-400L (push-pull) from the top of the pits garages and a 28-70L (ring zoom) from the pit wall at Rockingham and here's what I found out. With zooming while panning (unlike head-on zoom) you get better results starting wide and zooming out, especially if you want the whole car in frame - zooming in after starting at 400 mm, especially with the 100-400 ends up with you only getting a bit of the car. On the push-pull 100-400 it feels strange to zoom out, because the instinct is to pull the barrel towards you as opposed to push it away. On the ring zoom 28-70, zooming is tricky either way you twist the ring but again zooming wide to long gives best results. Using the push-pull zoom was easier in the actual mechanics of the technique - the ring zoom was a right pain because you feel you need an extra pair of hands... While not so easy to use for the technique, the results from the ring zoom were actually quite good though obviously it is not particularly fair to compare a tele zoom to a normal zoom. The best (and most consistent) results were when the cars were moving fairly slowly in pit lane. When the cars are moving much faster (they reach 160 on the pit straight) it is more difficult to get nice blur from the zoom. I think that at high car speed, the shorter lens performed much better. Rangewise on the 100-400, the best results were had when zooming from 100 to about 250 or so - I think that 400 mm is a bit too long for where I was shooting from. With the 28-70 I found myself using pretty well much the whole zoom range to get a decent effect. Anyway, I hope this is helpful... Have attached a few sample shots from my curtailed experimentation. Shutter speeds were typically 1/30s and aperture at f22.
  20. And here's another with the 100-400L, this one out on track (T4)
  21. Switching to the 28-70L and using another car (Chris Cooke) and shooting from the pit wall... All shots are starting at the shortest focal length and zooming out longer.
  22. And another shot. Obviously you don't get the degree of zoom effect as with the 100-400L, but I thought the effect was quite pleasing. Definitely going to revisit this when I get a replacement camera!
  23. Here are some shots that might help

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