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Old Jun 10, 2009, 5:10 PM   #11
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John is right, fast shutter speeds are not key here and neither is a shallow dof as you generally want to create some movement, a completely frozen car might as well be just parked up on the track, that is not what we are looking for.

Looking at where you are sitting you will not necessarily need the fastest focusing lens. When shooting from the side then there is not much change it the focus distance so even quite a slow focusing lens can often manage. Also when shooting slower shutter speeds you are often stopped down somewhat so you have some dof to play with if it is a little off. I usually work at about f8-f11 (I either shoot shutter priority or full manual), if in shutter priority I play with the ISO to get this sort of aperture range.

It looks like you will have cars coming out of a corner towards you prior to the straight part you can shoot on. If you want to shoot them coming out of the corner this will be harder with a slow focusing lens. In that case you can select the point on the track that you want to capture the car (you can learn the good points from practise laps etc), pre focus on this and then just pan and shoot away when they arrive there, it will take some trail and error but it is certainly possible. Focusing to infinity is not an option so don't consider that.

A basic rule of thumb for stop action (where you want to get a fast shutter speed), use aperture priority with the aperture as wide as possible. For shots where you want a slower shutter then use shutter priority to control this. If you use shutter priority trying to get a fast shutter there is a real possibility of getting shots underexposed.

Being honest, what is your budget for a lens if you decide to make a change?

For panning you are likely to find a monopod will allow a smoother more consistent pan, however just make sure you will have the room to use one (I think most stands will have enough to get it on the floor as you are sitting. Now not everyone likes a monopod so I would have a play first. I use one as usually if I'm shooting an event then the camera is there a long time. Also using a Canon 1D mkIII and Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 lens is not a light combo at about 8.5lb so after an hour I'm worn out if I don't use it.

I would be looking at playing with shutter speeds from 1/80s to 1/320s to give varying amounts of blur. The former will be quite extreme (however for some real fun go lower on a few) with the latter you will get a little blur especially if you are zoomed well in and they are pushing a good speed.

Next steps for you are to get practising shooting fast moving subjects as you need your panning skills honed and play around with settings so that you get a feel for what you can expect.

Take a look at TGs recent threads he is doing more track work than me currently.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/sp...otorsport.html
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/sp...scle-cars.html
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/sp...c-sandown.html

Hopefully that will give you some good starting points.

Oh yes, shoot in AF continuous with centre point selected (I generally find this better than letting the camera select but both will work) if not using a manual fixed focus technique, use jpg not RAW, use continuous motor drive, hmmmm that's about it, have some fun!!!
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Old Jun 10, 2009, 10:19 PM   #12
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How about the Sony 70-400mmG lens?
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Old Jun 11, 2009, 3:53 AM   #13
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Thanks Guys for the great help I've been getting from this forum.

As for my budget if I decide to make a change, would be around $1500 "higher if necessary"

I want to make sure that i got the right gear before i go there, so i can practice and get a grip of it.
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Old Jun 11, 2009, 4:05 AM   #14
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If you were making the change then I would strongly suggest the Sigma 100-300mm f4, this is a fast focusing lens and it is very very sharp. It will also take a 1.4x TC very well so you can get 420mm at f5.6 which could come in helpful.

As mentioned I use the Sigma 120-300mm lens which although costing over twice as much is not actually as sharp as the 100-300, but for me the extra stop of light is important for other sports work (night shooting).

A cheaper option that is well worth looking at is the Sony 70-300 f4.5-5.6G, this won't take a tele converter but reviews still show some good focus speeds and sharp results. Another advantage is that the Sony is quite a bit lighter than the Sigma, almost half the weight in fact.

I would still choose the Sigma but at least you have a couple of options.
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Old Jun 11, 2009, 7:40 AM   #15
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Thanks again Mark,

Do you mean This lens ?

And how about the one mentioned by Flying Fossil "this lens" ?
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Old Jun 11, 2009, 8:22 AM   #16
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Yes that is the one I mean. I'm sorry to say that I have no info at all on the 70-400 and I don't think I've ever seen anyone here talk about it.

I would be tempted to start a new thread with that as the title in the Sony section to see who bites.

I can say with reasonable confidence that it won't be as sharp as the Sigma but it should certainly be convenient.
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Old Jun 11, 2009, 8:58 AM   #17
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Thanks Mark and TCav and to everybody that helped me on this issue.

I guess i'll go to the store and try to get the feel of the Sigma on my DSLR and see from there.

Thanks again
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Old Jun 11, 2009, 9:33 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark1616 View Post
Yes that is the one I mean. I'm sorry to say that I have no info at all on the 70-400 and I don't think I've ever seen anyone here talk about it.

I would be tempted to start a new thread with that as the title in the Sony section to see who bites.

I can say with reasonable confidence that it won't be as sharp as the Sigma but it should certainly be convenient.
Actually, SLRGear and PhotoZone have both posted test results for the Sony 70-400 'G' and the results seem to be quite good.
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Old Jun 11, 2009, 9:57 AM   #19
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Wasn't saying it wasn't good just that it is unlikely for anything to come close to the Sigma 100-300 f4 as it is well known in the industry for almost having prime sharpness. It is just not as convenient as something like the 70-300.
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Old Jun 11, 2009, 11:57 AM   #20
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Quote:
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Wasn't saying it wasn't good just that it is unlikely for anything to come close to the Sigma 100-300 f4 as it is well known in the industry for almost having prime sharpness. It is just not as convenient as something like the 70-300.
Absolutely. I drool over that lens myself.
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