Camera for Car Race

Old Jun 4, 17, 3:17 pm
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Camera for Car Race

I am researching what camera to take to a car race. I understand the following are features I should look for - fast autofocus, fast shutterspeed, extensive optical zoom. Due to the length and time of day for the race also - good low light ability, smaller in size, lighter in weight.

The Panasonic Lumix FZ300 looks like a likely candidate. The price at $500 is a bit higher than I prefer, but alright if that is what it takes.

Any suggestions?
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Old Jun 4, 17, 6:05 pm
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One other feature that will be very welcome is fast burst mode. You really can't pan with something moving as fast a race car and get anything with single shots. My camera does 10 frames/second but I'd think you want at least 7. For something as fast moving as auto racing, even experienced shooters will toss a high percentage of their shots, hoping for a few that are sharp.

More importantly, are you really proposing to buy a new camera you have never used and take it to a high energy event expecting to get usable shots? You really need to have some experience with whatever you will be shooting and practice things like panning technique to have any hope. The camera cannot do the job for you, the user is key. Learn the system and practice the techniques and you might bring something back worth having.
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Old Jun 4, 17, 6:15 pm
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Thanks for the advice.

You must start sometime. I cannot practice and learn until I have the camera.
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Old Jun 4, 17, 8:25 pm
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Fast Fast Fast Shutter speed....when I go to F1 races, I noticed a huge difference when I moved from a D810 to D5. 10+ FPS or burst at minimum. Also, the ability to shoot at 1/1250 or faster shutter is critical, so having good ISO behavior is important to. Look for a camera with low to no noise at ISO 1000-2000 levels. Trust me on this....I've taken thousands of shots of car race 'scenes' and I've learned the hard way as to what works and what doesnt.
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Old Jun 4, 17, 8:47 pm
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Thanks. I will examine the specifications for these values.
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Old Jun 4, 17, 9:45 pm
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Originally Posted by Paint Horse View Post
Thanks. I will examine the specifications for these values.
there are several options that are decent, all under $500. So you should come up with a good solution. You might have the option of renting equipment as well, so you can get something state of the art with out a huge investment, especially if you don't take photos often.
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Old Jun 7, 17, 10:27 am
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As an avid Motorsport fan I'll make a few comments

Your budget is tough. If this is a once off then ok but if it's something you'll want to do more often I'd bump up the budget to check ver at least some second hand interchangeable lens cameras.

I rarely shoot in burst mode so I'd argue it's not as important as you think, you will throw out a lot of pictures though, especially at the beginning.

I would disagree very strenuously with the advice to shoot at a very fast shutter speed, this tends to create a very boring photo. You need to pan/move with the car to get it sharp and everything else blurred. This will tend to create a far more dynamic and interesting photo than capturing it at anything close to 1/1250 as at that speed the car will simply look parked.

Practice pannng before you go to the race, go and stand on the side of a busy road and fire away. This will give you a feel of what to do, what speeds you can pan at and how to handle the camera. It's easiest to pan side on so once you're comfortable with that you can try different perspectives like having the cars coming at you at an angle. Point your feet at where the cars are going, not where they're coming from.
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Old Jun 7, 17, 1:01 pm
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Originally Posted by IMOA View Post
As an avid Motorsport fan I'll make a few comments

Your budget is tough. If this is a once off then ok but if it's something you'll want to do more often I'd bump up the budget to check ver at least some second hand interchangeable lens cameras.

I rarely shoot in burst mode so I'd argue it's not as important as you think, you will throw out a lot of pictures though, especially at the beginning.

I would disagree very strenuously with the advice to shoot at a very fast shutter speed, this tends to create a very boring photo. You need to pan/move with the car to get it sharp and everything else blurred. This will tend to create a far more dynamic and interesting photo than capturing it at anything close to 1/1250 as at that speed the car will simply look parked.

Practice pannng before you go to the race, go and stand on the side of a busy road and fire away. This will give you a feel of what to do, what speeds you can pan at and how to handle the camera. It's easiest to pan side on so once you're comfortable with that you can try different perspectives like having the cars coming at you at an angle. Point your feet at where the cars are going, not where they're coming from.
I would challenge your opinion re: the shutter speed....the photos that I sold to various outlets including F1 and a couple of magazines were all at high shutter speed and the panning shots were passed upon but I guess it's the buyers preference there as well. To a lot of people having a tack sharp car outweighs the artistic impression. It's a matter of taste and preference I guess. If you don't have good equipment, don't even bother with panning practice.
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Old Jun 7, 17, 1:16 pm
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Originally Posted by LufthansaFlyer View Post
I would challenge your opinion re: the shutter speed....the photos that I sold to various outlets including F1 and a couple of magazines were all at high shutter speed and the panning shots were passed upon but I guess it's the buyers preference there as well. To a lot of people having a tack sharp car outweighs the artistic impression. It's a matter of taste and preference I guess. If you don't have good equipment, don't even bother with panning practice.
And I would suggest that firing off a burst of 6-10 rapid exposures during the pan will more likely net one or two sharp images than just clicking once and hoping for the best. Every motion shot I have ever sold has been the best out of several taken at the same time.

I guess we all have our techniques that work for us.
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Old Jun 7, 17, 8:27 pm
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With digital, when the cost of film is removed, many subscribe to the technique of "spray and pray"
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Old Jun 7, 17, 9:53 pm
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Thanks for the useful advice, all.
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