Lens Suggestion for Motorsport

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Lens Suggestion for Motorsport

Postby cybergladiator on Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:15 am

Hello all,

We are about to undertake a vehicle stability test at work, and my boss has requested that I photograph it.
The testing will be undertaken here (satellite view is best)
Could someone please suggest a lens that would be suitable for this task (to be used with my Nikon D5000) or let me know if you think that any of the lenses that I already have would be suitable
I have the two kit lenses a 17-55mm and 55-200mm and a very cheap 70-300mm

Thanks in for your help,

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Re: Lens Suggestion for Motorsport

Postby aim54x on Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:29 am

I would be tempted to suggest a 70-200mm f/2.8 of some description. But if you are going to try to use your gear, the 55-200 (VR?) will the choice, you will have to prefocus and snap as you enter the "zone".
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Re: Lens Suggestion for Motorsport

Postby biggerry on Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:28 pm

what part of the test do you need to photograph? the swervy bit? or a frame every few seconds, maybe do a test setup with your 70-300 and see how the range looks and what kind of settings you need to use to nail the sequence or test zone.
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Re: Lens Suggestion for Motorsport

Postby surenj on Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:37 pm

How fast/ which direction to the camera, would the vehicle be moving?
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Re: Lens Suggestion for Motorsport

Postby gstark on Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:45 pm


Please tell us more about how the shoot will be done.

As this is a stability test, I presume that the vehicle might be under some sort of directional stress. I would expect that, for instance, it may be coming up the pit straight into the hairpin as a lh corner, and then proceeding down the straight that you have highlighted.

First things first: safety needs to be paramount here. Have you ever shot motorsports before? be aware that there can be hazards - fast moving hazards - beyond the scope of your viewfinder. Learn to shoot with both eyes open at the viewfinder.

If the scenario I've described is somewhat correct, then you may find vehicle stability at any time one it enters that hairpin, depending upon the vehicle, and the skill of the driver. Any speed faster than a snail driving Old Mother Hubbard's shoe would see a Hyundai spewing off the track, mired in understeer, before the turn was even broached. :)

But otherwise, anything could happen once that turn is being executed; I'd probably be looking at positions with a viewpoint on the outside of the corner as my points from where to shoot, and you might want to head either just near the exit of the turn (or parallel with the axis) or else a little further down the track from there.

Focus may be tricky, given that your lenses are not fast. I'd be trying to choose a bright sunny day, no clouds.

I don't want to discourage you, but I suspect that this may be more difficult task to complete than it initially seems.
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Re: Lens Suggestion for Motorsport

Postby cybergladiator on Wed Feb 15, 2012 10:23 am

Thank you all very much for your assistance.

The Stability test is a lane change test, where the vehicle will drive towards the proposed photography position.
The goal is to capture how much body roll the vehicle gets whilst swerving through "swervy bit" of the course much like in this photo, we are however expecting significantly more body roll.

The place I have nominated is a marshall post which is designed with safety in mind for speed of the V8 supercars so our test with a maximum of 110km/h gives me confidence that it is safe position.

These photos are intended more to provide a visual reference to the test rather than results which are as per the test requirements based on"driver feel"
In addition to the "driver feel" we will be using accelerometers, gps logging etc to further assist in dis/proving the stability of the vehicle so the photos are not excessively critical.

I have never shot any motorsport before, this will be my first attempt at this sort of thing.
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Re: Lens Suggestion for Motorsport

Postby Raskill on Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:43 pm

If you are capturing body roll, you will be shooting head on. No point trying to show roll from the side.

You will want a fast shutter speed, say 600+, single point focus (centre of view finder).

If you want to try your hand at panning, find the point on the circuit where the cars are going their fastest, and use a shutter speed above 150th to begin with, that will give motion blur but also at a fast enough speed to give you some keepers.

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Lens Suggestion for Motorsport

Postby Wink on Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:21 pm

Would video be a better option?
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Re: Lens Suggestion for Motorsport

Postby cybergladiator on Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:37 pm

Thanks again for the help.
The plan is to shoot video as well.
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