Lens for car show

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by jtrainor56, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. jtrainor56 macrumors regular


    Oct 23, 2010
    Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania
    On 10/11 I am headed down to Ocean City, MD for a crusin car show weekend. The show is at the inlet parking lot as well as in the parking lot of the convention center and inside the convention center. They also do a parade of the cars down the boardwalk on Saturday.

    I currently have a Nikon D5100 with a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 and 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens'. I was at the camera store today and the girl at the shop suggested I use one of these:
    Nikon 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 G ED or the
    Sigma 10-20mm F/4-5.6 EX DC or the
    Sigma 10-22mm F/3.5 EX DC HSM.

    I want to be able to use this lens to take photos outside in all locations as well as inside the center and hopefully some shots of cars running up and down the strip. All are available to rent and since I can only rent one, which would be the better choice? I was leaning toward the Nikon....

    Thanks for any suggestions on these or something else. BTW I am strictly an amateur and this is just one of the subjects I like to shoot.
    ~ Joe.
  2. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    You might want to go to DPreview and see if they have a review on those lenses. Also feedback from purchases of those lenses on Amazon might be helpful.

    I know the Nikon offering is a very good one as is the first Sigma offering you listed.
  3. Borntorun macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2011
    Perth, Australia
    You want to go as wide as possible - the suggestions the shop assistant did is spot on. Further, for indoor shots you want as fast a lens as possible as using a flash will be problematic.
  4. InTheMist, Sep 22, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2013

    InTheMist macrumors member


    Jun 22, 2013
    I've shot several car shows. I don't agree going ultrawide, the you'll get too much distracting background and the cars distorted.

    Take the kit. None of those lenses are faster than what you have. What you NEED is a circular polarizer filter to cut down on overhead light glare from the car paint (rotate the polarizer until the reflections in the paint visibly fade). If you plan any post processing at all, shoot Raw because white balance is difficult. I have a 2.8 zoom but it wasn't always this case.

    Most importantly, take careful framing, and get down to car level, watch your background and get a polarizer.

    Advanced: If you have a polarizer, you can put a flash on-camera with a diffuser or Gary Fong and flash all day with no reflections. The last three of these have on-camera fill flash with a diffuser. Strobist purists will argue that the diffuser isn't necessary unless there is something to bounce off of, but I find the results more natural.

    Geneva Autosalon by InTheMist, on Flickr

    Light in Dark Curves by InTheMist, on Flickr

    Car as Art by InTheMist, on Flickr

    Lexus LF-LC Concept - Back by InTheMist, on Flickr
  5. steveash macrumors 6502


    Aug 7, 2008
    Just what I was going to say. Ideally you want to be shooting a narrow aperture to get the whole car sharp, but that's personal preference and may need a tripod. There are people who occasionally shoot cars with an ultra-wide lens but it isn't something I would recommend.
  6. ocabj macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2009
    The reason why you need to go wide for car shows is because of the proximity constraints. Even with 35mm effective, you're going to need to be back to get the entire car (if you need a full car shot).

    The other benefit of wide to ultra-wide is that you'll have more in focus at large apertures (e.g. the DoF of f/2.8 @ 24mm will be larger/deeper than f/2.8 @ 50mm) which you'll need to shoot at indoors in order to use what available light there is.
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    A LOT depends on the style you want. Many people like the in-your-face ultra wide shot that looks distorted. Use about 10 to 18mm for that. A more formal looking shot is from further back at maybe 50mm. If the car is moving you need an even longer lens. Car interiors are either done with a WIDE lens or if you have the $100K budget they saw off parts of the car. Likely you well be using a wide lens.

    f-stops also depend on thestyle you like. Some want every detail short, others want to use DOF to isolate some detail and blur a background

    Of those you listed I'd go with the Nikon

    You can get good shots with ANY lens but you will get different shots depending on the lens. You best plan is to shoot literally a few hundred frames of cars BEFORE the show. Cars are easy to find subjects so you should be able to get plenty of practice. Try and make that junker '93 Honda parked on the street look good. Start now as you need time for many shoot/process/evaluate cycles before the show.
  8. jtrainor56 thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 23, 2010
    Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania
    Thank you everyone for your input. Since it's on $85 to rent the lens for the week with shipping, I am going with the Nikon 10-24mm. Most of the weekend will be outside, only the best of the best are indoors since the venue is not that big. Hopefully the weather will be good.

    I went last year for the first time with this camera so my shots came out okay but I wanted to try something different this time around.
  9. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    Post some pics when you get back. Most of what I've been doing lately has been auto and drag racing related. Haven't been out much other than that.

  10. tekmoe macrumors 68000

    Feb 12, 2005
  11. avro707 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2010
    That's the best choice.

    For interior shots, you'll often need a wide angle to get a decent photo. And for exterior shots, 24mm usually works fine.

    I've used the 24-70mm F/2.8 on an FX frame before and the 16mm Fisheye Nikkor for interior shots, using two cameras. But you've obviously chosen the best for your needs.

    My last car shots were some new Benz cars and inside the Sesto Elemento Lamborghini, that was ages ago so I'm not the go to for advice, except to echo the other comments and go for F/8.0 or F/9.0
  12. Kurwenal macrumors 6502a


    Jun 27, 2012
    Geez, nice shots.

    And thanks for the helpful info on the filter w/ flash.
  13. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2008
    I was going to recommend the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 for Nikon. Great lens, and sharp.
  14. Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    The best wide-angle lens for crops would be the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. It has extreme wide angles with a big aperture fit for indoor use. It's very sharp with good distortion and vignette handling.

    I'd look into the Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 also. It'd let you get the wide-angle shots as well as more close-up shots. Better yet, pair these two together and you get full coverage of the 11-55 range with a constant f/2.8 aperture!
  15. Sylon macrumors 68020


    Feb 26, 2012
    Michigan/Ohio, USA
    This right here, especially shooting at a place like Ocean City, where they try to cram in as many cars as possible. Along with heavy people traffic around the cars, a wide is a must in most cases. However, I don't think I've shot a whole car show with just a single lens. I do find myself switching it up every once in awhile.

    Big automotive events like NAIAS and the LA Auto Show are a lot different than your typical local show like those in OC. Shows like NAIAS have a lot of their cars on stages away from people, allowing photographers to get shots of the whole car without the need for a wide angle lens. Tripods, however, can be difficult to use due to all the people around, but at least those big shows usually have press days to help out those lucky enough to attend.

    BTW, I miss OC. I really need to get back there, it's been far too long.
  16. jtrainor56, Oct 16, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013

    jtrainor56 thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 23, 2010
    Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania
    Just wanted to post a followup... went down to Ocean City in a nasty north easterner storm. It rained from the time we left PA on Friday until after we left MD on Sunday. The inlet parking lot was closed due to flooding as were most of the roads. Normally there would have been over 3000 all over the town but because of the weather, the weekend was confined to the convention center.

    I rented the Nikon 10-24mm from LensRental.com and shot everything with that lens. The pickup truck and Mustang were cropped and adjusted slightly in Lightroom, the 1929 Ford was straight out of the camera.

    The two inside shots are from a spot off of the main floor. The problem with the mail floor is almost every car was roped off and kept getting the ropes in the pictures. I dumped about 150 to my Nikon Image Space for a couple of friends but need to sit down and see what I actually shot.

    For the most part I was happy with the lens and also learned that I could have used at least a diffuser for the camera's flash. I would have preferred shooting outside and not in the center but couldn't do anything about the weather. Thanks again for all the help in selecting this lens, it was appreciated. ~Joe

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