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Old Feb 11, 2011, 4:42 PM   #1
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Default FZ35 - Help with race car pics

Hello all, it has been awhile since I've been on the forum and even just as long since I've been able to go out and take any pics. I was able to go to a dirt track race last week and took my FZ35 to try and get some pics of the cars out on the track. Well.... EVERY pic I attempted to take was nothing but one big BLUR, no matter what setting I used, I tried the "P" program mode and also the "ACTION" or "SPORTS" mode, for taking pics of fast moving objects and it still didn't help.

If you were going to a dirt track race, Nascar race, or just about ANY type of racing, WHAT setting should I have my camera on ??? Lighting was not a problem and the flash was not needed or used, still could not get a CLEAR pic of a moving car, even at SLOW speeds. Any suggestions on what my camera should be set on ???
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Old Feb 11, 2011, 5:37 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Dirtbmw20 View Post
Hello all, it has been awhile since I've been on the forum and even just as long since I've been able to go out and take any pics. I was able to go to a dirt track race last week and took my FZ35 to try and get some pics of the cars out on the track. Well.... EVERY pic I attempted to take was nothing but one big BLUR, no matter what setting I used, I tried the "P" program mode and also the "ACTION" or "SPORTS" mode, for taking pics of fast moving objects and it still didn't help.

If you were going to a dirt track race, Nascar race, or just about ANY type of racing, WHAT setting should I have my camera on ??? Lighting was not a problem and the flash was not needed or used, still could not get a CLEAR pic of a moving car, even at SLOW speeds. Any suggestions on what my camera should be set on ???
I reckon "panning" would be the technique ? Hopefully someone with knowledge will give us some good tips
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Old Feb 11, 2011, 5:45 PM   #3
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The amount of available lighting is very important in any high speed action photos. What were the lighting conditions under which you took your dirt track racing photos?

Sarah Joyce
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Old Feb 15, 2011, 10:53 AM   #4
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Hi Sarah, sorry for the slow response, between work and everyday life, I can barely get on forums anymore,lol.

The lighting was just the normal track lights at a night race, I did not use the flash mainly because I thought I was too far from the cars for the flash to do any good, and also with no flash, what pics DID take (of cars sitting still), the pic itself looked good enough for the quick pics I just wanted to snap. I wasn't trying to do anything fancy and not necessarily WANTED to snap pics of them moving, but as soon as they hit the track, they were moving out, so it's not like there was MUCH of a chance to snap pics of them sitting still.
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Old Feb 15, 2011, 10:54 AM   #5
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The race was eventually rained out and we'll be going back for another race in a few weeks and would like to figure it out before I go to the track next time.
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Old Feb 15, 2011, 11:06 AM   #6
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Can you post some of your blurry photos? Maybe we can spot the problem. If everything in your shot is blurry, that probably means your camera was shaky. If only the cars are blurry, you need a faster shutter speed to freeze the action. For fast action shots, you need to force the shutter speed to 1/250 or above, in S mode. A fast shutter speed plus panning the camera should help...
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Old Feb 15, 2011, 12:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dirtbmw20 View Post
...I was able to go to a dirt track race last week

...Lighting was not a problem and the flash was not needed or used, still could not get a CLEAR pic of a moving car, even at SLOW speeds.


...The lighting was just the normal track lights at a night race
Lighting for a night race at a typical Georgia Dirt Track is a huge problem for your camera (or any camera for that matter), and to get a properly exposed image will require relatively slow shutter speeds because lighting is not very good, even using higher ISO speeds (each time you double the ISO speed, the camera can use shutter speeds twice as fast for the same lighting and aperture setting).

What looks bright to the human eye can be very dim to a camera, as the human eye adjusts much better to changing lighting (and lighting "under the lights" on a Georgia Dirt track is *very* dim compared to lighting you'd have in the daytime, requiring much slower shutter speeds for proper exposure, causing blur with any subject movement).

Note the settings for these images from Steve's Nikon D300 Review samples. These were taken from the stands at night race on a Georgia Dirt Track. These shutter speeds are *way* to slow to freeze rapid movement (hence the blurred tires), even using a dSLR at very high ISO speeds. So, you'll need to pan with the action to keep blur to a minimum.

ISO 4000, f/4, 1/125 second:


ISO 4000, f/5, 1/60 second


ISO 4000, f/4.8, 1/80 second


At shutter speeds that slow, you can expect to take a lot of photos before getting one that's not too blurry for typical print/viewing sizes, and a non-dSLR model is not going to give very good results using higher ISO speeds like that.

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Originally Posted by Forzahibs View Post
I reckon "panning" would be the technique ?
Yep. You'll need to set ISO speeds as high as possible (or tolerable), which will degrade image quality, and practice panning with the cars to get any keepers.

If the car is stationary within the frame (because you're panning with the camera, trying to match a car's speed of movement to keep it the same place in the frame), then you can get by with slower shutter speeds with less blur from subject movement.

But, for best results, you're going to need a dSLR capable of very high ISO speeds to get many keepers at a night race.

Note that if you have access to the Pit Area (inside field), you can usually get better photos, since you're not trying to shoot through a fence from the stands). At some Georgia Dirt Tracks, you can buy a Pit Pass without being part of a team with a car entered. So, you may want to look into that option (and I'd contact the official track photographers for advise in that area).

For example, if you look at this article I wrote about a Nikon D3, you'll see a shot taken from the inside of the track (I was actually standing on the track using a Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lens to take the shot, but they may not let you get that close without some special arrangements).

http://www.steves-digicams.com/knowl...-nikon-d3.html

Nikon D3, ISO 6400, f/4, 1/125 second:


But, again, it's going to be really tough to get many keepers at a night race, even with really good gear (expensive dSLR models capable of higher ISO speeds compared to your camera).

So, take lots of photos and you may get a keeper or two, as long as your expectations are not too high and you don't need larger print or viewing sizes (as flaws are masked more at smaller sizes).

For example, here's a shot from some years back from the stands using a pocketable camera model with a maximum ISO speed of ISO 400.

Konica Revio KD-510z (a.k.a., Minolta G500), ISO 400, f/2.8, 1/20 second, with panning speed matching the lead car, shot using the wide end of the zoom so that I'd still have f/2.8 available (as most lenses get dimmer as you zoom in more).

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Old Feb 16, 2011, 11:15 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by saly View Post
Can you post some of your blurry photos? Maybe we can spot the problem. If everything in your shot is blurry, that probably means your camera was shaky. If only the cars are blurry, you need a faster shutter speed to freeze the action. For fast action shots, you need to force the shutter speed to 1/250 or above, in S mode. A fast shutter speed plus panning the camera should help...
Unfortunately NO, I have already deleted the pics out of my camera.
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Old Feb 16, 2011, 11:31 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by JimC View Post
Lighting for a night race at a typical Georgia Dirt Track is a huge problem for your camera (or any camera for that matter), and to get a properly exposed image will require relatively slow shutter speeds because lighting is not very good, even using higher ISO speeds (each time you double the ISO speed, the camera can use shutter speeds twice as fast for the same lighting and aperture setting).

What looks bright to the human eye can be very dim to a camera, as the human eye adjusts much better to changing lighting (and lighting "under the lights" on a Georgia Dirt track is *very* dim compared to lighting you'd have in the daytime, requiring much slower shutter speeds for proper exposure, causing blur with any subject movement).

Note the settings for these images from Steve's Nikon D300 Review samples. These were taken from the stands at night race on a Georgia Dirt Track. These shutter speeds are *way* to slow to freeze rapid movement (hence the blurred tires), even using a dSLR at very high ISO speeds. So, you'll need to pan with the action to keep blur to a minimum.

ISO 4000, f/4, 1/125 second:


ISO 4000, f/5, 1/60 second


ISO 4000, f/4.8, 1/80 second


At shutter speeds that slow, you can expect to take a lot of photos before getting one that's not too blurry for typical print/viewing sizes, and a non-dSLR model is not going to give very good results using higher ISO speeds like that.



Yep. You'll need to set ISO speeds as high as possible (or tolerable), which will degrade image quality, and practice panning with the cars to get any keepers.

If the car is stationary within the frame (because you're panning with the camera, trying to match a car's speed of movement to keep it the same place in the frame), then you can get by with slower shutter speeds with less blur from subject movement.

But, for best results, you're going to need a dSLR capable of very high ISO speeds to get many keepers at a night race.

Note that if you have access to the Pit Area (inside field), you can usually get better photos, since you're not trying to shoot through a fence from the stands). At some Georgia Dirt Tracks, you can buy a Pit Pass without being part of a team with a car entered. So, you may want to look into that option (and I'd contact the official track photographers for advise in that area).

For example, if you look at this article I wrote about a Nikon D3, you'll see a shot taken from the inside of the track (I was actually standing on the track using a Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lens to take the shot, but they may not let you get that close without some special arrangements).

http://www.steves-digicams.com/knowl...-nikon-d3.html

Nikon D3, ISO 6400, f/4, 1/125 second:


But, again, it's going to be really tough to get many keepers at a night race, even with really good gear (expensive dSLR models capable of higher ISO speeds compared to your camera).

So, take lots of photos and you may get a keeper or two, as long as your expectations are not too high and you don't need larger print or viewing sizes (as flaws are masked more at smaller sizes).

For example, here's a shot from some years back from the stands using a pocketable camera model with a maximum ISO speed of ISO 400.

Konica Revio KD-510z (a.k.a., Minolta G500), ISO 400, f/2.8, 1/20 second, with panning speed matching the lead car, shot using the wide end of the zoom so that I'd still have f/2.8 available (as most lenses get dimmer as you zoom in more).

Jim..... Thanks very much for the info and sample pics. I understand the human eye and the camera see light completely differently, but as I stated, I wasn't looking for anything spectacular or special, just a few snap shots of some sprint cars. I wasn't even going to print them, just post them on my Facebook page is all.

The first 4 pics you posted would have been GREAT for me, I don't really care about the tires having a blur, but ALL my pics of moving cars looked exactly like the last pic you posted with the two blurred cars to the left of the pic, even when the cars were moving slowly, it was still a badly blurred pic.

I also raced dirt track for almost 15 years so I'm very familiar with the pits, I even use to race up in your neck of the woods at Oglethorpe Speedway down in Savannah and also went road racing after that at Roebling Road, BUT, I don't know how long it's been since you've been to a dirt track race, but now-a-days, the pits are located on the OUTSIDE of the track and although there are a few, not many at all still have the pits in the infield of the track, so even with a pit pass, you're still stuck on the outside of the infield.

I'll definitely take the camera back with me and take some more pics and play with the ISO speed and shutter speed and see what I can come up with
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Old Feb 16, 2011, 11:58 AM   #10
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I also raced dirt track for almost 15 years so I'm very familiar with the pits, I even use to race up in your neck of the woods at Oglethorpe Speedway down in Savannah...
That's where those pics were taken (Oglethorpe Speedway).
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