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Digital Cameras - good for motorsport?

Discussion in 'The Pub' at netrider.net.au started by mjt57, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. I'd like to get a camera to take to the GP with me. Ideally it will have a 10x zoom. But anything higher than 6x may do.

    I had an Olympus C750 that took good shots, good zoom but was hopeless for fast shots or shots in low light. The flash had to be used all the time.

    Basically all it needs to be able to do is to allow me to take a close up of Stoner as he's passing me, not when he's through Turn 1 and cranking it over for Southern loop by the time the shutter operates, or that I get a decent shot of the F18 instead of clear sky.

    I see that Canon has a camera with a decent zoom. It's also styled to look like an SLR but it's not an SLR. I forget the model but it's around the $350 mark in places like The Good Guys.

    So, that's the price mark that I'm looking at. And any suggestions from those who are knowledgeable in the ways of things photographic would be appreciated.
  2. Look for something with minimal shutter lag. My S5500 FinePix is ok but later ones are better. Look for something that fires 3 or more shots per second. Focus lock is good too. Find the range and lock it in. Also xD cards write faster than most others so that will be handy.

    It sounds like I'm describing my finepix :)

    This is what I'd be buying http://www.digitalcamerawarehouse.com.au/prod2676.htm
  3. We had a thread on this a while ago (though we focussed soley on SLR equipment)... I'll try to dig it up in Search perhaps - cooking dinner right now. ;)

    The autofocus lag and exposure-calculation lag is the big cause of delay for point and shoot cameras...

    So the real trick to pulling off highspeed motorsport photos is to get one which can 'lock' its autofocus and 'lock' its exposure.

    You'll sit down at the corner, work out where you want to take the photo in the turn, focus and calculate exposure... and 'lock' them. Then you wait for Stoner to come along, tracking him with the camera until he reaches the point where you focussed and... -click-.

    Having one which at least has "Av" (aperture priority) and "Tv" (shutter priority) would help too, natch.


    Argh, food cooking! *post*
  4. https://netrider.net.au/forums/viewtopic.php?t=52271

    And will be taking my 350D to PI, doubt I'll have another lens by then, am using my 24-105 F4L for everything at the moment

    So how are the action pics from these "deluxe" point and shoots - seen some very good still shots on here
  5. Just wondering guys, why do you not just buy a DVD of the event?
  6. Why even bother going, just watch it on TV :wink:

    Photography is a great hobby. Am still on camera recommended profiles - but still take some good pics. Have started going to friends footy matches and taking 4-500 pics and culling down to around 200 and giving it to the team on a CD. They'll watch it before training - much easier to watch than a DVD as over in a five minutes

    IMHO, photos tell a much greater story and leave it open for more discussion - have a look here for a weekend rally Ducati Rally 07
  7. Nerding it up for a moment - The 'hassle' for P&S cameras is that they autofocus by measuring image contrast, which is inherently slower than SLR-style phase detection. They typically take longer to calculate an autoexposure solution too.

    Still, even with SLR cameras it is not uncommon to set the camera to a manual focus (or in P&S speak, 'focus lock') in action shots, to ensure accurate focus without any waiting for the camera to hunt.

    Similarly, it's possible to do an exposure lock (or set exposure to Manual mode) so the camera doesn't have to think about it either.

    With the composition of the shot planned and all the camera settings selected - focus, exposure, etc... all you have to do is wait for the bike to show up. ;)

    So since it's possible to avoid those weaknesses by planning ahead... really, the only differences are the same as comparing SLR to P&S for static shots - ISO noise, lens quality, etc.
  8. Toecutter, you are right. But what happens is you take all these great photos and have them on record, but technology grows so fast that it becomes a pain to manage all this stuff. DVD's forever I think.
  9. Only Herpes is forever.
  10. Garfield

    No pain to manage, check out my Photobucket account - has most of my trips in there, easy to show anyone who has an internet connection, and whilst not the highest resolution pics - can find the high res ones if needed via the jpg number :cool:

    And don't say storage is a problem - just bought a 500GB backup drive at Hardly Normal for $99 :grin:
  11. a bit of a thought.. the subject of your focus doesnt always have to be in your picture to set the focus and exposure when using automatic settings. i use a pana FZ30, which has all the manual settings, but when i CBF i use the auto.. aim the camera to where you want toe picture to be taken, half press the exposure button.. hold. wait for the subject to come in to view, track it and when i gets within range, finish depressing the button. stops the focus search and exposure search, so the pic is taken fairly quickly and ive had some great results from doing it this way. it also stops you messing up the rest of the days pics becuase you forgot to take the focus lock off.
    i think the half press is a feature on most if not all camera's these days..
  12. Half-pressing the shutter will address the autofocus-induced lag, yes, in the same way using the 'autofocus lock'/manual focus will. :)

    However, P&S cameras do a quick recalculation of the exposure settings just as the shutter is fully depressed, which is the source of the rest of the shutter lag.

    P&S cameras are getting better in this regard, though, as they get faster and faster image processors, etc. Again - it can be avoided by 'locking' the exposure or doing manual exposure mode.
  13. I've just upgraded to a 40D from my 350D. The new body is better built, more rugged and has a much higher frame rate, but the 350D was still a great camera.

    I've sold it to a friend who is used to P&S camera's. Her previous pictures with an old P&S were brilliant, but in the week she's had it she has really appreciated the ease of use of a DSLR. The 40D takes the ease of use one step further with better controls and a more logical layout.

    Ergonomics cannot be underestimated with camera's and although modern compacts take fantastic shots (composition is so much of a picture), often the tools that allow you to take these great photo's are buried behind complicated menus.

    I'm looking forward to 6.5fps with the 40D. Located by the side of the circuit (no media pass for me), you hear the bikes, but your vision is obscured by spectators. By the time you realise the bike is in shot and the button is pressed, your perfectly framed and exposed shot only includes the front, the back or empty tarmac. :(
  14. I used a Canon SX100is at the Superbikes. Its about $350 now 10x zoom. The biggest problem I found was not having a viewfinder. When the bikes are flying past, its easier to follow them on a viewfinder than the LSD screen. I "push the button half way down" to set the focus on a point on the track, then follow the bikes thru and when they hit that point, click.

    Some samples (reduced resulution to fit on this site)



  15. And after having read just one reply[postscript: and a good thing too. The rest are too techo for me to comprehend and don't address the question that I asked] I may have found the camera. I just hope that it takes photos quickly. The problem with most digital cameras is that when you frame the shot and by the time you'v pressed the button, it may be a second or so later before it actually captures the image.

    My wife was taking photos of stuff recently using our new Sony. It's a basic 8mp 3x zoom camera but takes really noice shots. It however, like all others that have come before, seems to take its time when it snaps it.

    She'd frame the shot then as soon as she takes it someone would move into frame. (this was in Madame Tussard's waxworks). Quiet annoying at times, she said.
  16. Well, to simplify it:
    ALL 'point and shoot' digital cameras suffer from that delay between pressing the shutter and the photo actually being taken. The amount varies from camera to camera, but they all do it.

    My posts were mostly concerned with pointing out that there are ways to get around the shutter lag. You need to put more planning into the photo than just (if you'll excuse the pun) pointing and shooting, but any camera can be used for action photos if you use it correctly.
  17. I'd be tempted to go on Ebay and see if there are any 2nd hand DSLR's.
  18. For sale is one used Panasonic
    No film, 'cause it's all electronic.
    For pointing and shooting,
    One-handed, while rooting
    You'll find it's exactly the tonic.
  19. Joel has a lot to answer for, digging up that old thread!
  20. Haven't tried that Finepix model, but I have the Finepix S9500 which I've been very happy with for what was a top of the line fixed lens camera when I bought it...ie non-SLR. The Finepix cameras are really very good so I'd recommend them to someone who doesn't want the hassle of an SLR - which once you get serious about get quite pricey when you realise you need to buy better lenses than they supply with the lower end SLR's to start getting real benefit from them.

    Whilst a decent SLR will outdo anything I can take with my fixed lens camera, its not too shabby and allows you to manually control just about everything.

    Here's a few pics I took at the WSB this year: