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06-07-2011, 08:34 AM   #16
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It can be very helpful to research other people's photos in advance. I found some photos from the Club Corner here. You might find some photos on Flickr or elsewhere that have focal length information included. If they used a DSLR with an APS-C sensor, that's the same framing and image size you'll get.

You can get some practice before the race starts with preliminary events and parade laps. That should help you set exposures in advance and practice panning.

One frequent issue with locations like this is the fence. The autofocus will see the nice steady fence instead of the fast-moving race car, and lock on to the wrong thing. Since the fence is extensive, you can't avoid it by selecting another AF point. Some sort of manual focus is the best option. The racing line won't move a lot so you can pick the best point in advance, focus, turn off AF, then fire when the car gets to the right spot.

06-07-2011, 10:08 AM   #17
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SRSmicrosystems here in the UK have a really good reputation as pentax dealers and offer a lens rental service... I believe that delivery and collection are included in the package offered...
06-07-2011, 11:25 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by deadwolfbones Quote
Not sure what the situation is in the UK with rentals, but over here you can rent a nice heavy f/2.8 tele zoom for a weekend for ~$100 or so. Probably a better idea than bypassing a quality lens and spending money on a subpar one just for one event.

edit: if you do want to buy a cheapo lens, I think the Tamron 70-300 is a pretty good value, and is decently sharp if you stop it down a bit.
I hadn't thought about renting a lens, I'll look into that. Cheers.
On impulse today I bought the Tamron 80-210mm so I'm going to start practising with that while I look for a 300mm lens.
06-07-2011, 11:27 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Welcome to the forum.
You will be limited to what you can get given your budget, but the Tamron 70-300 is a decent consumer AF lens. Otherwise, a manual focus lens like the Pentax M 200mm f/4 isn't a bad choice, but they can be hard to find. Try your luck on this forum's marketplace and you might find what you're after.
Would a manual focus lens be ok for an event where things are moving fast? Yes I'm showing my naivety here!

06-07-2011, 11:28 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
I doubt a manual-focus lens will provide good results at a race. Perhaps after using one for some time to get used it, though.

My lens suggestions for that event are more expensive than the Pentax 55-300, so just get the Tamron or Sigma 70-300 and it should provide acceptable results - but not the rather awesome ones you want.
Ah you've answered my question about manual focus and races, thank you. I guess I need to remember that you get what you pay for and suck it up and buy a decent lens!
06-07-2011, 11:30 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by psychdoc Quote
I would second the option of renting lenses. Here is one company in the UK. I have seen their website. No idea of how good or bad they are. There may be other options. Google and see.

Hire - SRS Microsystems

Try the Pentax DA 50-135, it is a fast lens but its not huge like the 70-200 lenses. Or you could rent the 55-300 which would be cheaper and you could possibly get acceptable results with this slower lens even though it has a longer zoom.

Try the following settings:
Mode: Shoot in Tv mode, set it at 1/1000
ISO: Auto ISO setting-keep the range from 100-1600 or so
AF-C for focus but I am not sure how the Kr does with this, so you may just not want to fool with the auto-focus setting. Plus you need some practice shooting with AF-C.

Shoot some test shots, if 1/1000 is too dark, increase the amount of light by lowering the Tv setting to 1/750 or 1/500 until acceptable.

Best of luck.
Thank you so much for this. I didn't realise that a longer zoom would be slower so thats given me something to think about.
06-07-2011, 11:30 AM   #22
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I think you could use manual focus if you decide to get images of cars going past a fixed spot. Panning might be tricky, but photographers used to do it in the days before autofocus. Are we not photographers?

Just thinking off the cuff - manual focus, stopped down nicely for DOF and rapid fire as the cars pass through your focal zone. I'll bet you get more than a few keepers that way.
06-07-2011, 11:48 AM   #23
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QuoteQuote:
Just thinking off the cuff - manual focus, stopped down nicely for DOF and rapid fire as the cars pass through your focal zone. I'll bet you get more than a few keepers that way.
Experience suggests not. You'll have plenty of noses and tails and probably even more empty frames for you have to shoot before the car enters the viewfinder and this is where the practice and skill comes into it. I covered a Honda 50 run at Easter thinking it would be a cake walk as top speed is around 40 mph with 30mph being the average for a group. Some hope! Setting myself up at a corner I was dismayed to find that they did junctions three abreast without slowing down at all and it was more luck than judgement if any of them appeared near the centre of the image. F1 cars at three or four times that speed on the corners? Best to practice shooting them when you think they are just outside of the frame.

BTW, 135mm will be rather too short for the job.

06-07-2011, 11:56 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by epqwerty Quote
Im not sure if the da55-300 or the tamron 70-300 would be fast enough for f1 racing. Dont those cars travel at 180 easily. Weather wise will be a key factor if you use these lenses. Howver for the price range of the tamron lens im not sure what choices there are left. Youd have to look into a used pentax m. Depending on your distace away you could get a 135mm 3.5 or even a 2.5. Both fine lenses and has a little bit more speed.

If you could rent id go for the 70-200 2.8 from tamron.
So I should be looking for something less than 300mm to get the speed I want? Cool and thank you.
06-07-2011, 12:01 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by adpo Quote
since its just a one time thing, i vote for renting a big fast lens.
Save whatever money you have leftover to start saving up for some more fast glass of your own.

the 35mm f/2.4 lens is a great and affordable lens for fun pictures while on vacation thanks to its small size, fast aperture and "normal" focal length (not too wide, not too tele). If you dont mind manually focusing, you can find plenty of great used prime lenses that will also produce great pictures (ie 28mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.7, 50mm f/2) If there is a zoom setting that you find yourself leaving your kit lens at all the time, it might be a good idea to buy a prime lens at that focal length, as the image quality of any decent prime will beat the kit lens at that focal length.

as for using any pentax lenses, if it has a k-mount on it, it will work. Lenses that do not support auto aperture will require you to use stop down metering or shoot wide open in Av mode. You'll also lose pttl functionality for your flash, so be careful when using it with these lenses. M42 lenses require an adapter and function similarly to the lenses without auto aperture.
Thanks for this. I will look out for K-mounts.
I hadn't even considered a 35mm lens. I can see how this hobby can get very expensive!
06-07-2011, 12:04 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Here's 2 photos I took with the K-x + 55-300 at the Australian GP. I used ISO400, shutter 1/640 to 1/1000, wide open aperture most of the time (should have been all the time), Hi-continuous mode, AF-C & jpeg only. The camera did a terrific job, however I did have to quick shift the focus off the debris quite a bit.

You need every mm of 300mm, a 50-200 or 50-135 would not be long enough. I think a 200-400 f2.8 zoom would be ideal

My 2 lessons learned were: 1) I needed to get much closer (within a few feet) to the debris fence and always shoot wide open (I was 4 meters back and that is too far to blur out fence completely). 2) to shoot with a slower shutter speed if I can see the wheels so the cars don't look parked on the track





If I could get pics like that, I'd be pretty happy. Thanks for sharing your tips. I realise now there's lots to take into account. I didn't think about the fence!
06-07-2011, 12:07 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I know you said it is beyond your budget but I think the Pentax DA 55-300 is the best consumer zoom you can get for your two trips. I doubt you could justify it for the race only but with the trip to the states as well maybe you could. It is not as fast as some but it is very small and light which makes it ideal to travel with.

One other thing to think about is you might want to get in some practice "panning". This is not a natural process but it will help you get better shots at the race. it might look silly standing by the road side and taking pictures of cars as they whizz but you will be better prepared for what to expect at the race.
Yeah I really do want some great pictures in the states.
I live near a dual carriageway so I definitely intend to go there and practice shooting the cars
06-07-2011, 12:09 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by GerryL Quote
If you think that the DA 55-300mm as expensive, maybe the DA L version would be within your reach since you will only add a couple more dollars from the Tamron ($160-$180).
The DA L version 55-300mm would set you back around $200-$250.
The DA version 55-300mm is around $300-$350+ even upto $400.
It is the same lens formula except for the plastic mount, no quick-shift focus and no lens hood (I think also no distance markers).
And how important are these features that are missing from the L version?
06-07-2011, 12:11 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenafein Quote
If you're going to be in the states aren't things cheaper for you here? Maybe you should pick up the DA 55-300 while you're state side for your trip. That wouldn't help for your race, but it would help your kit. Otherwise, I'm very happy with my tamron 75-300 for birds and the like and it only cost me 115 US.
That's not a bad idea, I'll definitely consider that.
06-07-2011, 12:14 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by justinr Quote
A zoom, and the longer the better, no doubt about it. I use the 80-250 at an oval track (Tipperary motor speedway.) and often wish for something up to 400mm although that would bring another set of problems altogether. All the pictures on this site are taken with a K10 or K5 (bar one) using either the 80 - 200 or 60 - 250mm

Having said that as you can't get particularly close to the action at Silverstone a fixed telephoto will probably do as you will not be varying the distance between yourself and the subject to any great degree. Speed of focussing is not a problem as you can pre focus and I have found with the K5 shooting on tracking mode can lead to dramatic over exposure when chasing a subject anyway. The attached picture was taken with the K10 and 50 - 200mm from about 15 metres, the bike would be doing 60 mph through this bend so many things are possible without great expense.

One thing is for sure, you'll probably take several dozen shots before they start to come right, timing is of the essence and TBH you are better off taking well timed single frames rather than relying on machine gunning a car as then you are just falling back on luck rather than judgement. Anticipation is the key here.

Good luck with it all, enjoy Silverstone and remember there are also some beautiful villages built of the warm Northamptonshire sandstone in the area that are well worth exploring with a camera. I used to live just 12 miles from the circuit but never got to the see a race there!
Thank you. I will definitely enjoy it, I can't wait. It's a shame I won't be able to get too close! Thanks for your tips.
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