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ted evans Oct 17, 2012 8:15 PM

best camera for high speed subjects and quick recovery
i need some help on getting a camera for taking pics of fast moving race cars ? i take pics at our local dirt tracks and need to know which camera to buy that will get sharp clear pics and has an ultra quick recovery time ? i bought a sony cybershot dsc hx200v 2 weeks ago and used it at a big event . the still (parked cars ) pics look nice until you put them at actual size and they have a grainy look . it is 18mp but i'm not at all happy with it . i am returning it to the store who said i have a 30 day trial period .

the fast moving pics are not good at all , tried many settings and scenes etc but scrapped about 600 pics . the other issue with the sony is recovery time , when shooting 8 fps , it takes 12 or more seconds to save them and allow for more pics , that is not acceptable . during a short warm up session the cars get only 2 laps at approx. 16 seconds a lap on the race track . so i only get 2 chances per car to get the pics before i do the video filming of the actual races after warm ups .

i film lots of hd movies that are on youtube and i had taken lots of pics with my canon vixia hg20 movie camera . it takes surprisingly decent stills of fast moving cars as long as i move with them recovery time is a few seconds after 3 or so stills in continuous mode . but the mp is not very big so the size is not so good . i share my pics with the drivers for free and enjoy getting pics of their cars in action for them .

so here are my needs : quick recovery time , clarity with high speed subjects and a good zoom (12X is what the movie cam has and it's doing okay ) .

is there a decent priced camera under $1000.00 that can get great quality pics in high speed ? and not look grainy at full sized ?
i looked at some sample pics of a sony slr cam , an alpha slt-A57 , the pics looked way nicer than my sony dschx200v when opened up to atual size . being a slr and the included lens is gonna not be near enough zoom to reach the race cars like i want . i saw this at best buy for $699.00 but what would an equivilent 12x zoom cost for this A57 ? any other camera suggestions ? i have no slr experience and always used the point and shoot cams but it seems the slr's may have the best options for what i need ? any cameras capable of taking continuous shots in a decent size without a long wait to take more ? i also need to know if there are any free photo sites to upload my pics and display them ? sorry for such a long post but i'm really in need of your help ............... ted

BBbuilder467 Oct 18, 2012 2:47 AM

You can upload photos to Flickr for free up to a limit.

You would probably be a lot better off to start with a body with an optical viewfinder for fast moving subjects. That eliminates a lot of the delays that occur with any liveview camera. There won't be anything to wait for.

A 4 or 5 fps burst will be fast enough for short bursts in/through the corners and a good high ISO of 3200 will help a lot with the narrow f/5.6 aperture you'll have with a lower cost 55-250 lens. You have to keep the shutter speed up to freeze the motion.

From the infield you'll probably target the #4 corner as the cars come off, and from the spectator side the center of 3 and 4. That's really the only place on a dirt track where the cars "hang" for a second before they hook and launch down the straight. About 3 shots from a 5 fps burst is all you will get before the car accelerates out of focus.

I like liveview, but it is just too difficult to use for the speeds and quickness of dirt race cars. And most tracks run in the dark under lights. The optical viewfinder just avoids a lot of the difficulties. You need the high speed burst to offset the liveview. With an optical viewfinder, you might not need the burst at all. When you do use it, it will be to capture the car in a certain position or angle, not just to get a clean shot.

wave01 Oct 18, 2012 3:54 AM

hi I have just read an article on this and it had an expert and an leaner. the leaner had a canon 7d with a 100-400 lens but the expert had a 1d with a 500 lens. advice given was keep the shutter speed up so made high iso use A1 servo mode thge list went on but to get back to what the OP wants he needs a camera with a fast burst rate and a long lens

SIMON40 Oct 18, 2012 4:59 AM

Hi ted- with any bridge camera,shooting at full burst speed with full resolution will take a few good few seconds to store- and longer if you have some kind of photo enhancement activated, such as DR expander or such like.
Also, when you zoom in or scrutinise images at large sizes, bridge camera's will tend to yield what one might call grainy images- alas it's the nature of small sensors- fine at monitor sizes or prints up to A3 or thereabouts,but not for pixel peepers.
Of course,the "grainy" effect can be kept to a minimum by using the lowest iso possible in the conditions.
If your shooting fast moving cars- and at a longer focal length,you're going to need a fast shutter speed,probably at least 1/500th sec- maybe faster.
Scene modes of any kind or any form of "auto" mode are not ideal for the type of shots you're trying to capture.
Shutter priority would be one way to go for the shots you're taking- set at say,1/500th sec,iso at auto(to compensate for light changes),centre area AF maybe also.
If the camera is over exposing at 1/500th sec- then you have a bright day and can use even more speed- which is great..!
I would also suggest that a burst of 8fps isn't really necessary- as you end up with 8 shots which will look pretty much the same- maybe 4-5fps would be more than adequate..?
As for bridge camera's- Panasonic's FZ-200 might be the most capable for the type of shots you're trying to achieve with it's fast f/2.8 lens allowing plenty of light in- maintaining the lowest possible iso's at fast shutter speeds whilst at the long end of the lens- many stops faster than all competing models. As for how fast it clears it's buffer- no real conclusive tests yet on that score- but my FZ-150 shoots off 17 full-res images at 5.5fps and is ready for another in 8 seconds or so- It will shoot again in 4 or so seconds- you'll just get fewer shots in the next burst- say 10 frames or so. I only have a class 4 SD card on board- stepping up to a class 10 would improve matters I'm sure.
At 12 fps on the FZ-150 I can rattle off 12 frames,wait 2 seconds,then rattle off another 9 frames,wait another 2 seconds and rattle off another 7 frames- pretty impressive with only a class 4 card I think..!

Ozzie_Traveller Oct 18, 2012 4:36 PM

G'day mate

Another option - maybe- is to choose a dSLR "starter body" + an 18-125mm lens maybe

The camera would certainly have good enough hi-speed focussing & shooting for your needs; the lens would? cover most of the track work + closeups in the pits later on

Thoughts from others here??
Regards, Phil

SIMON40 Oct 18, 2012 5:01 PM

Yes Ozzie- A DSLR with its fast AF (with the right lens) and speedy processors/larger buffers are far more suited for fast action- not least due to the speed of composition that only a manual zoom gives you. Maybe an 18-200 might get close to the reach required..?

ted evans Oct 18, 2012 8:01 PM

thanks for the ideas folks , i think the slr is the way to go , but wondering which to go with ? i am critical about the clarity because sometimes i have to crop the pic a lot and the more you crop , the worse the image looks . the slr lenses vary so much in price and i have just started looking into an slr and didn't realize how much different the lens specs can be.

have to read a bunch more on lenses and slr's and shop around . i dont need a $7000.00 camera but i'm beginning to see that i wont get much of a slr camera with long lens for $1000.00 .

as for the slr lenses , a 12x lens in comparison is about 600mm ? and a 600 mm lens that is a quality lens would be very high priced ? there are some tracks that dont have a problem with people shooting from the infield but some tracks have track photographers that are whining about fans like me giving away free pics online to the racers . at one track i shoot from the tower (same whining photographer goes there and sells pics online , and they have their own track photog allready , but the whiner has double stds ) and catch some nice shots but it requires using about 6 or 7 x zoom on my hg 20 movie cam to capture the cars close enough that you dont have to crop to far . that would require maybe 400 mm ? having to think about whether to bite the bullet and spend more ? or just settle for what i have since i dont make money off it ?

i'm hard to please on the quality and want to get the best shots i can within reason $ wise . gonna take a look at a bunch of cameras and lenses .

i dont know very much at all on this stuff but here's another question , i have a canon tc-dc58a teleconverter lens that i bought for my other still cam , can it be used on an slr lens with an adapter ring maybe to get more zoom ? or , are the reg. dig zoom lenses not able to work at all with the slr lenses ?

thanks agin for your tips and ideas . ted

BBbuilder467 Oct 19, 2012 1:40 AM

Is this what you're talking about?

These aren't my photographs. They are photographs of my customers.

I don't know how you get shots like this from the tower behind the grandstands.

SIMON40 Oct 19, 2012 5:11 AM

ted- remember that on a DSLR that a 300mm lens will give you roughly 450mm equivalent on your bridge due to the sensors crop factor- assuming you were to use an APS-C sensor DSLR.
As for "on the end of the lens" converters- I wouldn't use them on a DSLR lens as it will drag on some AF motors- potentially damaging them- never mind making handling/balance awkward and a drop in IQ.
How far away from the cars will you be..?
Do you have a pic to share with us to display your problems..?

SIMON40 Oct 19, 2012 9:40 AM

Food for thought....

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