04-15-2013 06:22 AM
04-15-2013 12:01 PM - edited 04-15-2013 09:31 PM
If you want more performance than a P&S then you're looking at either going to SLR, or one of the hybrids.
Getting pics of cars without blur is more a function of your skills with a camera than the camera itself. Though, good quality lenses and a camera give you more opportunity for those pics. The two advantages of SLR for your use would be the auto-focus tracking is much better, and the ability to burst off a bunch of shots.
If you're going SLR and don't want to spend a lot then I'd look at the Rebel line, like the T4i. It's a nice introduction to SLR photography at a reasonable price. I'd get a kit lens and go from there. The SLRs give you flexibility of changing lenses for different tasks... the problem is, those lenses cost money.
Alternately, you could get a hybrid like the sx50hs. If, like many people buying SLRs, your desire is to have a single lens and just leave it on the camera, this is the one for you. The down side is the loss of flexibility.
04-15-2013 01:35 PM - edited 04-15-2013 01:36 PM
This is one instance where good gear helps but knowing how to use it properly is more important. Panning skills will be important, & so will choosing the right focal length of lens. I'll assume you have to shoot from the stands but don't know how far you'll be from the stretch of track you're hoping to shoot the cars along. A camera with a good AF system matched to a lens with fast AF capabilities will help too, but you could do this old school & use manual settings & manual focus too. You would set up the camera based on the lighting favoring a Tv that can freeze the car but blur the background & wheels / tires. Then you pick an ISO to allow shooting in the f8 range at that Tv & pre focus on the section of track in front of you. Pan with the car or group of cars as they go by & take a few shots while they are in the zone you've pre focused on.
If however you're really serious about it & think you'll attend enough events to justify spending the money the 7D, 1D2n, 1D3 & 1D4 are all worthy bodies for action thanks to their AF systems & frame rate. For lenses I suggest considering any of these as a starting point but again you may need longer depending on access to the action. 70-200 f4 L, or the IS version or maybe the f2.8 versions but since the 70-300 L IS seems to have both a very fast & accurate AF system it would be my first choice as a from the stands starting point. The 100-400 L would be my next addition to a motorsports kit but I don't think it's the lens I'd start with.
As for setting up a camera for action (DSLR's but some P & S may work too) I wrote an article which is a good starting point & the suggested shutter speeds for prop planes fit a rookie shooting motorsports so I recommend reading this plus use the link in my last post for another set of lessons from Canon that you should read.
As a side note I started attending R/C events to work on my panning skills so I'd be better at the track. A smooth panning swing is developed through practice & it's the key to good results, and follow through after the last shot in each sequence.
04-15-2013 02:44 PM
04-15-2013 03:19 PM - edited 04-15-2013 03:21 PM
Well I know you want to take photos of fast cars, you are not versed in camera settings and you don't want to spend a fortune.
One other point that may impact your decision is where will you be taking these photos from. Do you have track side clearance or do you have to stay in the stands?
I have shot several SCCA races and the Safety Committee will allow only certain places for photographers to shoot from. Of course if you are limited to the stands, it is going to be more difficult. Not impossible but more challenging and possibly a different set-up.
If you get into Canon's Rebel line, you can set the camera to various automatic functions and still not need to know a great deal about photography. But if you do get a Rebel, the camera is very capable of taking stunning photographs. Perhaps some studying up on photographic concepts is in order.
I shot this photo of Billy Butler, Kansas City Royals, hitting a game winning home run from................
04-15-2013 04:11 PM
Your ultimate goal is to get photos like the one in the 4th post here which has the car in sharp focus but notice how blurred the background, wheels / tires & the other car are. This is the match between good technique & the right shutter speed. Too high a shutter speed and everything will be frozen making the cars look like they are parked on the track.