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05-20-2007, 05:55 PM   #1
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Motorsports shooting with K100D

Hey folks,

Just signed onto the boards and was searching about for information in regards to lens choices when shooting motorsports (I'm a frequenter of F1, CART, Solo/Slalom and other various events). Currently I've been using the standard lenses that came with my K100D kit (Pentax DA 18-55mm and 50-200mm) and I've found the 50-200mm lens to be decent when shooting Solo/Slalom events but with the Montreal Grand Prix coming up I am questioning whether a new lens might be in order when shooting cars at 300+km/h. For the F1 GP I'm seated in Grandstand 31 (rear of the course which is a direct straight which comes down into a short bend where the cars come screaming at you doing over 300km/h and slow to roughly 100km/h entering the turn).

In my searches on the forums I had noticed someone recommend the Sigma 24-135mm f/2.8-4.5 and a few F1 shots were posted that came out quite nicely.

Sorry for the rather generalist approach to the post but I'm fairly new to the DSLR world and the Pentax family so any/all help is greatly appreciated.

Cheers,

Shawn

05-20-2007, 08:05 PM   #2
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Hi,
I also use the Pentax DA 50-200MM lens on my K10D for action shooting, but have found that the focusing is not all that accurate, since it hunts a little and cannot react real quickly in focusing. Therefore, I am going to wait until the end of this year when Pentax comes out with their new 60-250MM F4 ED IF SDM lens. This lens in not only a stop faster, but it has HSM focusing for nearly instant response. But Remember, in order to have the HSM option, you will need to get a K10D body, which has just come down in price a bit to $745, after rebate.
Just a thought!
Art
05-20-2007, 08:47 PM   #3
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The Sigma f2.8 70-200mm may be an alternative. A stop or two faster than the 24-135, though about the same price as the 60-250.

Last edited by SpecialK; 05-22-2007 at 08:18 PM.
05-21-2007, 05:30 AM   #4
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Welcome to the boards Shawn. I posted some shots from my first Autoslalom shoot over here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/7138-autoslalom-pictures.html . All taken with the DA 50-200. Next event I may try my Tamron 70-300. I agree with Art that faster focusing would be nice, especially for continuous shooting. I am hoping to do some shooting from trackside this summer for a Champ car race, so any practice I can get before then is a good thing!

Chris

05-21-2007, 12:57 PM   #5
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Thanks to everyone for their help and suggestions, I'll be looking more into the lens suggestions this week through a couple retailers and see what I can come up with. Thanks for the link to the photo's Chris, the DA 50-200 seems to be fairly competant in those shots, were you using the autofocus or manual? The Tamron lens is quite nice, longer range which might come in quite handy for the Montreal GP.

I jus realised as well that I posted this under the wrong forum as well, not sure if the administrator wants to move it or not.

Cheers,

Shawn
05-21-2007, 03:45 PM   #6
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Shawn,
Everything from that shoot was using AF. I am not fast enough to manual focus while trying to follow cars. One of my plans for next time out is to try prefocusing manually on a particular spot, and get some shots that way. I prefer following the car as it is on course, so don't imagine I will use the technique a lot, but I may find it beneficial for faster cars (Champ Car, F1 etc.). The a longer lens would probably be good for the GP, as you will be farther away from the cars. I found the 50-200 was a good length for autoslalom, and light to boot. My 70-300 is much larger and heavier. I will probably try it out next event just to get a feel for it.
Please post some pictures when you shoot some events. I'd love to see what kind of cars are involved autoslalom in Montreal. Lots of Subaru's and S2000's out here.
You may also want to have a look at the 'Sports and Action' forum at Steves Forums. There are a couple of frequent posters over there that shoot F1 and hillclimb events.

Chris
05-21-2007, 03:56 PM   #7
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I am just jealous, I would love to see the Canadian GP !!! Take LOTS of photos, pleeeeeeease, lol
05-21-2007, 05:08 PM   #8
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I shoot motocross, and I loved my Sigma EXDG 70-200 2.8, and my Sigma 100-300 4.0, but they both focus a bit slow. I htink we just have to deal with that issue until the HSM lenses come out from Pentax. Were I you, I'd hang on and use the 50-200 until then. It will serve your purposes well assuming you're not looking for magazine or huge poster size shots.

05-21-2007, 05:21 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by smcclelland Quote
Hey folks,


In my searches on the forums I had noticed someone recommend the Sigma 24-135mm f/2.8-4.5 and a few F1 shots were posted that came out quite nicely.

Sorry for the rather generalist approach to the post but I'm fairly new to the DSLR world and the Pentax family so any/all help is greatly appreciated.

Cheers,

Shawn
as far as 135mm is conserned, I find that focal length kind of short for action shooting if you are going to be a distance away from the subject.
you are better to go with something that zooms out to min 200mm
I read that the new Tamron 18-250 is a great lens if you don't want to spend an arm and a leg on a F2.8 lens (still expensive at $550 canadian dollars) Lens Test: Tamron 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II Macro - - PopPhotoMay 2007

good luck with your purchase

randy
05-21-2007, 07:17 PM   #10
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wow, thanks for that link Randy that Tamron looks to be a very nice lens and something I am going to consider more due to a decent price and wide range of use (be nice to be able to shoot landscapes and pit events as well as the on-track action using just a single lens). At $550 it's not such a bad expense considering the amount I can foresee myself using it.

Chris, very cool, the AF does seem to be a bit stubborn when shooting action shots so I've mainly been working on using the manual focus with predefined points or trying to speed up manual focussing while panning (not so pretty haha). I'll be sure to post some pictures when I shoot some events, I just moved to Montreal in the fall for work having moved from Toronto and Vancouver before that so things are just beginning to get moving here with automotive events now.

Stratman, I'll be sure to post as many pictures as I can (I'll just host them all anyways and then post the links). I've stocked up on memory cards for the 3 day weekend event

thanks again to everyone for their help and suggestions.

cheers,

shawn
05-22-2007, 12:04 AM   #11
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I am somewhat taken aback at the over emphasis on AF - how many years of F1 images were taken before AF came out? I don't know - but it sounds to me like technique is being lost here.

Just understand what the DOF is at the f/stop-shutter combination that you will be using. Prefocus on the edge of the turn - (turn 11?) - turn off SR and get ready to pan (requires practice - do not wind up -start out tight then rotate into a relaxed posture). Wait for the cars and blast away. Put the camera into burst mode - fire off 3 - 4 frames (practice this).

Oh - by the way if you are in the stands at turn 11 (the hairpin) the approach speed is 200 - 300 kph but the turn is 88kph (according to pitpass.com). And you are going to need something bigger than 200mm. There is a run out on turn 11 where the cars hit pea gravel and slow down to a survivable speed - from 200 kph (under very hard braking) it takes a lot of space to slow down before hitting the tire barrier.

Edit: from Pitpass description of the course:
"the following straight where you again reach around 185 mph (300 kph) which leads to the braking area for the Virage du Casino hairpin, the tightest corner on the circuit, which is taken in second.
You can overtake here as well; in fact, this is where most of the overtaking takes place. After the hairpin, you're on the longest straight and fastest part of the circuit where we reach 200 mph (325 kph). "
Or are you at the end of the long straight (turn 12) - where they do have to slow down for the final chicane before the start finish line? From there a 135-200mm would work fine.

PDL

Last edited by PDL; 05-22-2007 at 12:12 AM. Reason: words about turn 12
05-22-2007, 03:41 AM   #12
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The 50-200 and 70-300 lenses are not fast enough unless you want to make use of higher ISO settings, which I don't. I used the 16-45 F4 for a broad-daylight motorsport event earlier in the year - yes, totally inadequate focal length, but not fast enough either - at F4 in bright Australian end-of-summer daylight 1/1250s is the fastest shutter speed and you need faster for crisp action shots. Panning shots though, 1/200-1/100s all you need. f5.6 at the long end is FAR too slow. I've got a Sigma 70-200 f2.8 on order for motorsport primarily. I got the EX APO version, which is only US$700. The DG version is US$50 more. The new 70-200 f2.8 Macro will be out eventually with HSM (SDM equiv.) but from what I've read it's inferior to the previous non-macro version.
05-22-2007, 04:52 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by SupremeMoFo Quote
T Panning shots though, 1/200-1/100s all you need. f5.6 at the long end is FAR too slow.
Not true about 5.6 being too slow. If you are panning then would be in Tv mode and the camera should be picking apertures between that and f16 depending on the light. You are going to be stopping your lens down unless you are shooting at dusk and the light is crappy.

Take a look HERE at some of my panning shots. Taken with a worse lens than the sigma 75-300 and using between 1/50s and 1/100s and upwards of f8.
05-22-2007, 05:47 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by -spam- Quote
Not true about 5.6 being too slow. If you are panning then would be in Tv mode and the camera should be picking apertures between that and f16 depending on the light. You are going to be stopping your lens down unless you are shooting at dusk and the light is crappy.

Take a look HERE at some of my panning shots. Taken with a worse lens than the sigma 75-300 and using between 1/50s and 1/100s and upwards of f8.
I am far from an expert, but I shot a rally race at about 5.6 and really struggled getting any decent shots. If conditions are bright, 5.6 would probably be just fine. But if your conditions are crappy as were mine, then the picturues are really going to struggle.

Dark and stormy rally race here: The 2007 100 Acre Woods Rally was cold, dark, and rained perpetually
05-22-2007, 08:59 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by PDL Quote
I am somewhat taken aback at the over emphasis on AF - how many years of F1 images were taken before AF came out? I don't know - but it sounds to me like technique is being lost here.

Just understand what the DOF is at the f/stop-shutter combination that you will be using. Prefocus on the edge of the turn - (turn 11?) - turn off SR and get ready to pan (requires practice - do not wind up -start out tight then rotate into a relaxed posture). Wait for the cars and blast away. Put the camera into burst mode - fire off 3 - 4 frames (practice this).

Oh - by the way if you are in the stands at turn 11 (the hairpin) the approach speed is 200 - 300 kph but the turn is 88kph (according to pitpass.com). And you are going to need something bigger than 200mm. There is a run out on turn 11 where the cars hit pea gravel and slow down to a survivable speed - from 200 kph (under very hard braking) it takes a lot of space to slow down before hitting the tire barrier.

Edit: from Pitpass description of the course:
"the following straight where you again reach around 185 mph (300 kph) which leads to the braking area for the Virage du Casino hairpin, the tightest corner on the circuit, which is taken in second.
You can overtake here as well; in fact, this is where most of the overtaking takes place. After the hairpin, you're on the longest straight and fastest part of the circuit where we reach 200 mph (325 kph). "
Or are you at the end of the long straight (turn 12) - where they do have to slow down for the final chicane before the start finish line? From there a 135-200mm would work fine.

PDL
I agree in the fact of shooting with AF, while it is a nice feature it is not something that I am very accustomed to or used to (I learned photographing motorsports events on my fathers now 25 year old 35mm when I was younger). I often find myself using MF on the K100D just for training purposes but as well as habit I guess, it just feels right to me. Admittedly I do find times when I just want to snap some photos and throw the AF on for convenience sake (another habit, lazy of course).

I'll be seated in Grandstand 33 (turn 6/7) by the looks of it as 31 seems to have been eaten up by the scalpers. 33 is a nice stretch where the cars come down into a chicane with some heavy braking (260 to 100+), it's certainly not as action packed as say 11/12 or 1/2 but still a great area to be at. If I can manage to scrounge up a pair of tickets for my girlfriend and myself in Grandstand 31 (turn 8) it would be a nice vantage point given the cars are coming from 6th to 2nd gear before entering the turn (300+ to just over 100 under hard braking).

Right now the options I am looking at are the suggested 70-200mm Tamron ($515 shipped to my door if I can get it in time for the F1) or an 18-250mm lens. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find a supplier up here that carries the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 (my usual stores only carry the sony, sigma, nikon and canon versions).

Thanks again for the help, this has been a great learning resource for me.

cheers,

shawn
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