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02-18-2011, 11:07 PM   #1
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tips for motorsports shooting with kx

Hi all,
I got my Kx with the 18-55 and the 55-300 lenses a couple of months ago. I also got a Pentax M 50mm 1.7 from the marketplace (thanks causey). It is my first DSLR and I am loving it but the main reason why I got it is to take pictures at racing events.
In the past I have used P&S like the Canon SX10 and I was pleased with the results but with the Kx I am not sure what the right way to go is (I have not had the opportunity of using it at event yet). Given my previous experiences I guess I will be using the 55-300 most of the time, but what about cases when cars are approaching my position? Is autofocus good enough or by the time the lens focuses the car will have moved and the picture will be blurry? I have been reading about the catch in focus trick but I am not sure if it would be convenient with the 55-300 (or if it would work for that matter) Should I just get a manual lens so that I can use the focus trap?.
And would the 50mm be useful at all in that situation (I know how to use catch in focus with this one) or will most of the picture be oof due to the characteristics of the lens?
Any comments/suggestions will be appreciated

02-19-2011, 12:23 AM   #2
hcc
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I have a different equipment but Ishoot a lot of dynamic situations: breaking waves, surfers, planes, ....

When the object moves fast (really fast), I got my best shots by shooting MF with Hi continuous shooting. I focus on a location where I intend to shoot the object, and I start to shoot a Hi continuous sequence shortly before the object reach the focused area. The results would typically give me a couple of good shots oer sequence.

Hope that the suggestion will assist...
02-19-2011, 12:56 AM   #3
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I have shot a few motorsport events and you should be fine in most cases with the auto focus of the 55-300.
I'll try and post some examples for you later.

Cheers,
Jason
02-19-2011, 11:52 AM   #4
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thanks guys,
any other experiences/methods/suggestions?

02-19-2011, 12:15 PM   #5
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If your doing a lot of panning turn SR Off. Panning and SR don't play well together. See my links below for some examples shot with a K200D and a 75-300mm manual zoom. Good Luck and Have Fun!

2009 Indy Pole Day pictures by kkoether61 - Photobucket

2010 Indy Pole Day Shootout pictures by kkoether61 - Photobucket

2010 Madison Regatta Saturday pictures by kkoether61 - Photobucket

2010 Madison Regatta Sunday pictures by kkoether61 - Photobucket
02-19-2011, 07:42 PM   #6
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I had been using old Super Programs and got the same lenses as you did with a K-7 in August. Agreed, SR should be off when panning, but in your exact usage, try it both ways just to make sure that it's one more thing you must remember to reset. I've had great luck with continuous focus with rapidly approaching race cars on the 55-300. I found that continuous shooting was badly stuttering until I turned off the lens correction functions, then it got fast and smooth even at max rez. The biggest learning curve for me was watching out for focus points. Different situations call for keeping an eye out for how the focusing choice is doing. I personally never use manual focus for racing - that's why I moved away from the Super Programs. Sometimes, letting the camera autoselect focus points works fine, and sometimes will select a nearby weed or fencepost caught while panning. Yet sometimes, fixed center focus doesn't do it. I'm just saying review your first tries carefully and then keep your wits about you as you change positions on the track. If you're not shooting at F/16, don't assume that focus method is set and forget. The 55-300 is bullet-fast and reliable. I don't personally use the 18-55 except in the paddock. I occasionally has problems reading the image and focusing properly, which can repeat if it really doesn't like something about the aiming point. Have fun!
02-19-2011, 07:51 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mister Pita Quote
...I occasionally has problems reading the image and focusing properly, which can repeat if it really doesn't like something about the aiming point. Have fun!
Boy, when you type and then just look at the TV when something is happening, grammar can really get sloppy. I meant "It occasionally has problems" but maybe it's more accurate as it stands.
02-19-2011, 08:18 PM   #8
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Thanks Mr. Pita. I hope the Kx behaves like the k7 in that respect. Of course once I am there it will be a matter of checking all the possibilities but if I already have some tips I will feel readier. I just hate having to change the settings of the camera 100 times (or try different lenses) while the cars are passing by....

02-19-2011, 08:36 PM   #9
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I'd also like to get some tips on shooting fast moving objects using the 55-300mm. I found it very slow in focusing. It takes a lot of time unless the previous shot was focused at a nearer point. If it has to go to either extremes, it is damn slow by the time it focuses, the moment is lost. It is very noisy too.
02-19-2011, 09:09 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by sergysergy Quote
Thanks Mr. Pita. I hope the Kx behaves like the k7 in that respect. Of course once I am there it will be a matter of checking all the possibilities but if I already have some tips I will feel readier. I just hate having to change the settings of the camera 100 times (or try different lenses) while the cars are passing by....
If you HAVE to succeed perfectly right out of the box, you'll hate being there. Personally, I often use TAv mode, put the shutter at 1/500 or 1/750 and aperture f/8 or above, and let the ISO float to get the exposure it wants. Better, younger shooters can control framing much better than I can and get down to f/4 and 1/125, but I'll never make that! Motor skills! But don't be afraid to try a tighter DOF or slower shutter speed on some shots just to see if you can pull it off in a situation. You don't need to try a hundred different settings either, unless you are REALLY new to DSLRs. Even then, you just need to get a feel for the shutter speed you shouldn't go lower than, the aperture you want to use for depth of field, and the ISO you don't want to exceed to avoid noise. Too slow a shutter gets everything blurry, while too fast freezes even the car's tires, which doesn't convey a sense of motion. You'll get there, but allow yourself a learning curve first. To enjoy the shoot is more important than worrying about a million possible settings. Next time,.....
02-19-2011, 09:35 PM   #11
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due to my schedule (student) and location (California) I always attend 4 or 5 races that I know quite well. I already know where and when I want to be in each part of the track and I can more or less guess which settings I need with the cameras I have already used (P&Ss).
DSLRs are challenging to me in that I am not sure whether I will have to change lenses or play with the settings more than usual but of course the first 30-60 minutes I will have to get used to it (anyways I will take my sx10 just in case...)

Do you think with the M 50mm 1.7 I would take at least "interesting" pictures? ...just out of curiosity

Btw, thanks kkoether for the panning suggestion.

I am attaching a couple of pictures I took last year with my sx10...I hope it works. As long as the quality with the kx is slightly higher I will be more than happy
Attached Images
   

Last edited by sergysergy; 07-07-2012 at 02:20 PM.
03-25-2011, 12:45 PM   #12
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Since the races are coming (long beach!) I need to revive this post with a couple of questions.
If the cars are APPROACHING you (i.e. where panning is not an option)...is AFS the best option?
Also, if you use the multiple shot feature (I do not know how you actually call it, but I am talking about the one where you leave the button pressed and it takes multiple shots in sequence...) and the cars are APPROACHING, would only the 1st shot be in focus?

Thanks beforehand
03-25-2011, 02:41 PM   #13
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AFS and continuous shoot with cars approaching will give you the first shot in focus, and no others, because you're only letting it focus once. Focus with the 55-300 should be quick enough that you can repeatedly pick and choose single shots using AFS. If you want the safety net of continuous shooting, use AFC so it will attempt to refocus as you go. But... beforehand, turn off lens correction in the menus and use a decent memory card or you'll get out there and wonder why it stutters so badly in continuous shoot mode.

To get an idea whether your 50mm will do the job, walk away from your car about the same distance you typically shoot from at the track. Look through the viewfinder. If you're happy with the result, great. If not, you'll need a longer lens. An f1.7 has nice possibilities for a short DoF, but keep in mind that you might not like the actual result when you get back home, so don't do all your shots with the aperture wide open. The whole car may not be in focus, and using autofocus with an open aperture/short DoF may overtax the camera's ability to focus at all on such a fast-approaching subject. You really won't know what you have until later when you get home, so try a little variety and go home with the goal of learning what works for you or doesn't, for next time. You're not going to want to do or die in one event. Bring your P&S and take some shots with that too, just for insurance.
03-25-2011, 05:30 PM   #14
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thanks so much Mr. Pita, I was aware of the m.card and the lens correction tips but the focusing suggestions are very helpful.
the good thing is that I have tickets for more than one day....so if after day 1 I don't like what I see at home I can always change it in a few hours
And yes, the P&S will be with me since I has done a terrific job on previous years
Cheers,
S
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