Zoom lens for nikon d60

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by bunga18, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. bunga18 macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2010
    Hi, Just got a nikon d60 and Im looking for a zoom lens. I want it for car races. Ill be around 250 meters away from the race track and I would like to have very nice pictures.

    What would be a good recommendation? I don't know much about lenses but I know it needs to come with a built in AFs motor and VR would be much better.

    My price range is $200 - $500.

  2. Stageshadow macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2010
    70-300 Vr

    If you just want a good tele-zoom...
    Nikkor 70-300 VR :D
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I think your budget is unrealistic given the distance you are from the track. 250 meters is a very long distance. You are going to need a "fast" (at least f/4.0) 400mm lens or better and even then you are not gong to get close up photos of the cars

    At 250m distance a 400mm telephoto lens will cover 14m section of track.
    a 200mm lens will see 28m of track.

    Put another way an object 14m long will fill the frame if you use a 400mm lens from 250m distance. Or a typical race care would fill 1/5th of the frames with that lens at that distance. (this assumes best cases where you see the side of the car

    Now that you know about focal length, what f-stop do you need? You are going to want to freeze the action and shoot at 1/500th or better. Try you current lens in the same light as the track but set the shutter to 1/500 or 1/1000 and set the ISO to what you like and just see where the aperture falls. the key here is "In the same light" Must try this at the same time of day and weather. I'm betting the yo find f/5.6 will not work and you will need a faster lens or you will be forced to use a hight ISO then you want.. But the point here is you don't have to guess, you can measure. And you can figutr out the focal length required by knowing the subject size and distance and how much of the frame you need to fill with the subject.

    You would be FAR better off to rent a lens for the day because what you need is very expensive.

    And no. You do not need VR. You will be using a tripod and a ball head. If you want to spend some of the budget, spend it on the tripod and head. Then rent the lens for the race.

    Is there any way you can get closer? You can save a ton of money if you could get closer
  4. bunga18 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2010
    Thanks ChrisA!

    Actually, i was worng about the distance. It is 250 "feet" instead of meters.

    Someone recommended me the AFS VR Zoom 70-300 f4.5 ED , but how i said, i dont know much about lenses. I just dont want to use a p&s camera.
  5. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    That's still pretty far away. I think your price range is unrealistic if you're expecting great shots. When I got to shoot trackside at Indy unexpectedly, I wished I'd had at least a 300/2.8. The 70-300 is above your price range and f/5.6 at the long end- unless you can shoot at very high ISO, or you're shooting mid-day I think you're going to be disappointed. The 70-300 rents for ~$35/week- I'd suggest renting one before forking out the money.

    A lot also depends on where you are on the track. The best car shots are going to be in the corners, and after four shots of for cars in one corner, you're going to be bored if you can't move to another corner. You can probably pretty-much forget trying to catch a shot on the straight-away from the stands- side-on is difficult if the cars are moving fast.

    You'll also want enough room to pan with the cars, so you can get the wheels in motion- generally for that I think you're going to have to be in the 1/250th of a second or so range.

    Image stabilization is useful, since you're panning, but not essential. I've shot motorcycles from trackside (with a press pass) and used an unstabilized 400mm f/2.8 lens on a tripod (yes, motorsports heresy- but with a pass, you're shooting from inside the corners- which is way safer no matter what as crashes and out-of-control vehicles go outside.) Even there, I'd wished I'd spent a couple of weekends panning near the freeway or at a go-kart track first (but with bikes, as long as you get them leaning heavily in the corners, they're happy!.) Don't forget to keep the vehicle off-center so it has room to "move" into.

    If you can't get trackside, then I think you're probably going to want one of the Sigma n-500mm lenses if you can get a high-enough ISO for f/6.3 at the long end.

    Here's where I'm going to disagree with ChrisA:

    IS/VR/OS is useful when panning quickly to catch a speeding vehicle. Especially if you're on a monopod or hand-held and you're panning with a low-ish shutter speed.

    1/500th to 1/1000th is likely to be too quick for all but the fastest portions of the track(where getting the shot is proportionally more difficult,) in the corners (unless it's roundy-roundy taxicab racing) you'll get frozen wheels which make the images look dumb and static. I don't shoot a lot of motorsports, so I like to be in the 1/125-1/250th range in the corners. People who shoot it a lot are probably in the 1/30-1/60th range in the corners- side-on in a straight, you can probably get away with 1/500th, but in a corner the vehicle is going to look like it's parked there, and that's going to *suck* for a racing picture.


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