Race Event - Lens Recommendation

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by El Jobso, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. El Jobso macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    #1
    Planning on heading up to the Sebring 12-Hr event next year, and would like to bring along my T2i. I currently have just the kit lens, and would like to change it out for a more versatile lens to document the trip. I've had my eye on the Canon EF-S, 17-85mm, EF-S 18-135mm, EF-S 18-200mm, as well as the classic 70-200 F4/L. I would prefer not to have to change out lenses while there to reduce any dust/debris issues.

    Anyone have a recommendation among those lenses, or perhaps any others that would be a good all-around lens for under $800?

    Thanks for any help/info. :cool:
     
  2. El Jobso thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    #3
    Has the lack of IS ever been an issue for you? Do you take a tripod to any of those events?
     
  3. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #4
    Lack of IS has not really been a huge issue: I have practised at tracking without it. It would probably help with tracking shots as it would smooth out any slight horizontal movement.

    I don't take my tripod and after a brief experimentation with a monopod don't take that either. I don't find either help in tracking and if I'm not tracking then the shutter speed is high enough that handheld is OK.
     
  4. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    #5
    It depends on how close you can get to the track! And there are popular corners that get crowded, so you have to get there early and stake out your spot.

    A tripod is an albatross in these conditions. Stabilized lenses are a faaaar better idea. Stabilization systems work differently, so read up on the one you get to operate it in the proper mode.

    You see the lenses used at football and baseball games? One of those. Huge, long, expensive zooms. That is what the pro race photographers use as well (except in the pits).

    Check out a rental lens. Even the pros rent these things as they are so expensive.
     
  5. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #6
    Rent a 300/2.8, a 1.4x TC and bring a monopod. While I've shot motorcycle races with a 400/2,8 on a tripod with a crop body, most of the folks who shoot races use a 300 and a monopod, and it's more maneuverable. Practice with the lens for 2-3 days beforehand, as you'll want to be tracking the cars to get background blur and use a slow enough shutter speed to get wheel motion. Find a good corner or two to get a few different shots. If you're trackside, shoot from the inside of the corners, physics make that the safer option.

    Paul
     
  6. TKEik683 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Location:
    NY
    #7
    I shoot a bit of a different type of event where I am much closer to the action.

    I also shoot with Nikon, but all things are really equal.

    I get the most use out of a 70-200 and 24-70. There are a couple shots where I mess around with some other specialty lenses.

    Depending on how far you will be from the action I would look at renting something longer (read: 300 2.8 with a TC as mentioned above).

    I PERSONALLY dont use any IS(VR) while panning, I find it tries to correct too much.

    Panning takes experience. Start with a higher shutter speed where you are comfortable getting a sharp picture. Start bringing down the shutter speed until you can not keep it sharp anymore. Remember this also directly relates to how fast the car is moving. For rally I usually shoot at 1/60th to 1/80th, however that may be too slow at sebring. I started around 1/200th though, slowly bring it down as my skill went up.

    Also remember that panning doesnt work very when the car is changing its distance in relation you. A slow shutter speed that works well for panning might be too slow if the car is turning towards you. Its all something that you pick up with experience. Go play around before hand, try to get an idea of what to expect and how to change it.

    Dave
     
  7. Eaton Photos macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Location:
    KY
    #8
    I'll make several suggestions to you.

    First, from an IQ & Overall Quality stand-point, rent longer glass. It won't cost' you very much out of pocket, and thus, you will get to experience the difference in quality & responsiveness compared to the lower-end entry level lenses. For shooting Motor-sports, I would suggest getting your hands on a 100-400. Then once you have received whichever lens, you've chosen, practice with it for several days, before the event. Panning takes practice. Especially, when using longer focal lengths.

    Lensrentals: http://www.lensrentals.com/rent/canon-100-400mm-f4.5-5.6-l-is/for-canon
    Borrowlenses: http://www.borrowlenses.com/product/Canon_EF_100-400mm_f4.5-5.6_IS_L
    CameraLensRentals: http://www.cameralensrentals.com/item.asp?itemid=18
    Calumet: http://www.calumetphoto.com/rental

    Second, you may want to consider adding a grip, to your T2i. The Rebel form-factor, does not equal long term comfort, ergonomically speaking, when using the Rebel sized body over an extended length of time.

    Third, I would also suggest you consider another lens, as an alternate to your kit lens. It is the Tamron 17-50 2.8. I have not bought it, though I have done extensive research, while looking into buying it several times. It would give you a lens, that has much better IQ, than the Kit EF-S lens, and its also 2.8, so you gain the shallow DOF & the capability of shooting in low light, plus the focal range gives you plenty of flexibility, to be creative. They offer it, in both VC (IS) & Non VC form factors. Personally, for such a WA Lens, I would skip on the VC.

    Here are a couple on the FM B&S Board:
    http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/923702/0?keyword=17-50#8716945
    http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/919365/0?keyword=17-50#8673904

    Beyond the above suggestions. Do not take/ use a Tripod. They are a hassle, and tend to hinder, more than they help. Also IS/ VR is beneficial most of the time, depending on the subject. Lastly, Practice, Practice, Practice. As Dave pointed out, S/S will depend on the speed of the subject, and also its direction, in relation to you. His recommendation of starting out at 1/200th is spot on. Depending on what I'm shooting (either Aviation or Boating), I'll start out at 1/160th, and work my way down to 1/30th or less. But for starting out, panning at a higher shutter speed is the safe bet, as that will permit you to get keepers, then you can work your way down from there. Also, if your sensor isn't clean, get it cleaned before race weekend. Panning will show every speck of dust on your sensor. :D

    Good luck with your choices, and let us know how everything worked out/ share some results of your efforts.
     
  8. El Jobso thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    #9
    Great suggestions and info from all of you! It seems I have quite a bit of research and practice ahead of me. The idea of renting a lens is quite tempting as it should save me some cash and allow me access to better lenses.

    Usually before the event, they allow spectators onto the track and into the padlock area, so having a quality lens will be important for those tighter shots. I need to speak with a few friends regarding how close one can get during the race, to get an idea of how much zoom I may need.

    Once again, you all have been very helpful, and I look forward to posting some shots once the event rolls around.

    Thanks! :D
     
  9. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #10
    The 100-400 is a little slow, so if the weather sucks or you want to isolate your subject from the background it's not the best choice. Optically it's good, but nowhere near a prime. The main advantage is that it's small and light enough to shoot hand-held for an entire race. I'd still go with a 300/2.8 though, just for the subject isolation and the chance to get pix if it's cloudy or if things go late, as well as the fact that the camera body will get to focus at f/2.8, which can make or break quick focus on moving vehicles versus f/4.5.

    If you're one of those people who thinks a 24-70 zoom is heavy then the 100-400 may be a better choice for you, but if you're not small, the prime is the way to go unless you can't get close enough with a 300- going to a 400, 500 or 600 prime is something that you really have to be used to shooting, and probably not a one weekend rental thing.

    Just to be contrary, I've had no problems at all trackside with my 400 on a Gitzo 1548 - a lot depends on what angles you can get, but I found at Summit Point that I had no problem at all setting up, and very little trouble tracking through the corners. I use a Wimberly head. It may be a shooting style thing though- I tend to prefocus a lot, so I don't need a lot of movement prior to taking a shot. I also thought being able to step back and relax while waiting for the race to come around again was nice, mostly though I simply don't know where the monopod foot is for my 400 :D.

    Paul
     
  10. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #11
    Bingo.

    At Laguna Seca, the best location I can do as a spectator is the base of the corkscrew which puts me 20-30 yards away from the cars. From that distance and shooting with a crop sensor camera, a focal length of 105mm was about ideal.
     
  11. Eaton Photos macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Location:
    KY
    #12
    Yes, the 1-4 could be considered a tad slow, due to its Super-Zoom/ Variable AF feature, but on a Bright & Sunny or Bright & Overcast' Day, it does fairly well. Plus, the OP, does have the option of increasing the ISO, to keep the S/S up, if he so desires. But as you also pointed out, its form-factor, keeps it from getting too heavy over the course of a long day.

    The 300 does a great job w/ isolation. I agree 1000%, though I might be a bit biased. :p However, though the 3 is lighter/ more agile than its larger siblings (4, 5, 6, & 8), they all take some getting used to, and I don't believe a first time rental before a race, would be the best time to learn the curve, with the Big Whites. :)

    BINGO. I'm not here to judge/ make assumptions, but we don't know what the OP has or hasn't used, thus we can only make recommendations, based on our own experiences. Hence the reason, I was recommending the 1-4, as IMHO, its a step above the 7-2/4 that was suggested.

    OP, by all means if you've used the lenses that give you a workout, when using them, then go for the Big Whites. :D However, if you haven't then, I'll stick to my recommendation of the 100-400.

    OP, also just an FYI, one of the reasons' I suggested the grip, is the Rebel doesn't really provide very good balance on long lenses. IMO, here are two important features a grip does for you, (1) it permits you to shoot vertical w/o making your wrist sore (been there, done that), and (2) it provides more balance when mounted on the longer telephoto lenses.

    Just to Clarify;
    Are you using a 400/2.8 IS, on a GT1548 & Wimberley?
    OR
    Are you using a 400/5.6, on a GT1548 & Wimberley?
     
  12. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #13
    I shoot Nikon- 400 f/2.8 AF-S II on a Wimberly II with a Kirk leveling base (which is really too small for it but *just barely* works) all on top of a Gitzo 1548 with a hooked base plate to hang weight from. I think I could hand-hold the Canon 400/5.6 all day long ;) I can HH the 400/2.8 for about 30-45 seconds at a time but it's not stabilized so I don't go there often except occasionally for Eagles in flight when they're on a direct approach where the gimbal doesn't help.

    Paul
     
  13. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    #14
    And, as you know, it isn't easy to get a good spot at that turn and you are quite a bit further away at the others. Over the years the fences got moved further back

    For the discussion on panning: often the best corners are so crowed that panning is difficult, just no room to swing a lens around. You might be better off finder a further away spot, using a longer lens and at least having some room to work. Scouting out locations would make sense.
     

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