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Author Topic: F1 Photography Advice  (Read 23126 times)

TomTom

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F1 Photography Advice
« on: November 11, 2013, 08:47:58 AM »
Hi folks.

I'll be going to the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix next year and i'm looking for some advice on what kit would be best to take.  I have grandstand tickets on the pit straight for all three days and also might get pit lane access probably on the practice day through a friend who works for one of the teams.

I currently have an Eos 50D, Canon 50mm 1.8, Canon 28-135, and Canon 55-250.  I have been considering selling the 55-250 and getting a 70-200 F4.  Would this be a good idea or would the extra reach of the 55-250 be more useful.

Thanks

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F1 Photography Advice
« on: November 11, 2013, 08:47:58 AM »

TrabimanUK

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2013, 09:25:31 AM »
Lucky!  A lot will depend on how far away you'll be.  Reach is great and can never be underestimated, but with the speed of the cars, a fast lens will really help.  If you're on a slow section like turn 1, 2, 4 or 15, then you'll have a more time to focus and the reach might come in handy, but for other faster sections, the faster lens would probably come into it's own.

Have a great time!  :)
« Last Edit: November 11, 2013, 09:42:29 AM by TrabimanUK »
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TomTom

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2013, 01:49:53 PM »
Thanks.  Not sure exactly where we'll be yet.  Do you think the 70-200 F4 will be fast enough or should I look at renting a 70-200 F2.8.  Or do you think any of the third party manufacturer lenses would be any good?

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2013, 03:26:01 PM »
Was at DTM last spring and I had a EF 70-200 2.8 IS II in usage. Was a great lens and fast enough even with the 2x TC MK III.

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Arctic Photo

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2013, 03:44:37 PM »
I've been to the Sepang GP a couple of times. I had tickets to the grandstand on the star and finish straight. Unfortunately it is a very big track and you will find yourself quite far away from the action there. If you could just change side and get a seat on the back straight, also grandstand, you'd be able to get a clwar view of the hairpin where there will be plenty of action, or as one poster mentioned the braking zone to turn one where lot of the overtakes are attempted. As far as lens choice, the 70-200L f4 would be good. You'd probably getsharper pictures with that. I assume its AF is faster than the 50-250.

Whatever you go for I can assure you will enjoy the race.  Make sure you have prepared you departure, it's complete chaos. I'd recommend to get a taxi to take you and pick you up, don't pay him all upfront though. Then he won't wait for you. Get his phone number and make sure to communicate clearly where to meet afterwards.

Good luck and have fun!

Lloyd

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2013, 04:41:38 PM »
I went to the Austin F1 race last year and was sitting in a grandstand at the end of a long straight.  I took a lot of pictures which can be found at http://www.pbase.com/lebthree/f1_austin .  Most of these are heavily cropped and I pretty much loaded all but the God awful up on pbase so it should give you a good idea of what worked and what didn’t.  As I recall, I was using my 70-200 2.8 for most of these.   It also appears that I took most of them at f/4.  I also used my 1.4 extender on a few.  Therefore, your lens selection may work out great.

Depending on your seat, you may find it difficult to take pictures from the grandstand during the race as people will often be standing up at the critical moments.  This is especially true at the start.  Also, unless you are very high in the stands, you are likely to be shooting through fencing.  My better pictures were taken on the practice and qualifying days as there were fewer people and you could move around to various locations.  I don’t know what mobility, if any, you will have at the Malaysian GP on practice and qualifying days.  As you noted, the main straight may allow you to get pit action during the race which might necessitate a longer lens.  However, negotiating it in a large crowd may be a problem. 

I would also suggest that you make sure that the venue allows you to bring your camera gear in as many do not allow “professional” camera equipment into the facility.  They have such a limitation in Austin, but they did not appear to enforce it too strictly.  However, I would hate to show up with a 400/2.8 or 500mm+ without knowing for certain that I could get such a beast in the gate.  Each facility may be different and what they say on their web site may not measure up to reality at the gate. 

The most important thing to bring is ear protection.  The sound is painfully loud and you will suffer hearing damage if you expose yourself to this for any extended period of time.  In Austin, the sound is magnified in the main straight as it is a canyon between large grandstands on each side.   

Walk around a bit before the race with a good walk around lens.  Some of the people attending the race are a spectacle in themselves.  The crowds, fences and limitations on movement on race day make photographing the race action very problematic.  If you have a press-pass with access to the areas with holes in the fences or scaffolding to shoot from, that is a different matter.  For everyone else, my thoughts on race day are to bring what you have, take a few shots and enjoy the experience. 
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IMG_0001

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2013, 08:24:20 PM »
Hi, first post in here but I felt compelled to answer because I've had similar experience researching tips and lenses for F1 photography.

I have been lucky enough to go to Montreal F1 GP three times in the past and gave a shot at photographing from the stands at the end of the start/finish straight. The first two years, I used a rebel XSI and non-L 70-300 IS USM and had real difficulty focusing on the cars and to be honest, reach was also a bit short.

Last June, I had upgraded to a 60D and rented a 100-400 L. That was worlds apart from my previous experience and I finally had a few good(ish) pictures. The problem was not the equipment anymore.

From my experience, the lens speed is not that important since I found it nice to try slow shutter speeds and panning to provide a sense of speed in my images.

However, I found that hitting focus was relatively hard because of the car's speed (and of all those high contrast publicities all over the place).

I've not been to Malaysia, but the circuit seems to require at least as much reach as for Montreal so my feeling is that 200mm is too short for shooting from the stands.

However, to illustrate the fact that I am only an amateur, here are a few random pics from this year race.

And one final suggestion, don't do as I did the first time and don't forget to enjoy the race (lucky you)...
« Last Edit: November 11, 2013, 08:28:51 PM by IMG_0001 »
What a mess, my camera's sensor is full of massless particules that keep on trying to behave like waves!

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2013, 08:24:20 PM »

Roo

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2013, 02:51:26 AM »
Best wishes for your trip!!  I've been going to the Australian Grand Prix for many years but really only been into photography for the last 2.  The 50 or the 28-135 will be good for walk around  lenses especially if you do get into the pits.  You will definitely want more than 250 reach for the cars on the track.  As well as a Tamron 17-50, I've used a Sigma 150-500 for the last 2 years and it has done the job even when light conditions haven't been ideal.  My seat is usually on the last corner high in the stand. From there I can shoot over the fence to the second last corner, pit lane entrance and along the main straight.  I don't get too many good shots in the last corner as the cars pass too close to the fence to blur it out.

Similar to what Lloyd said, use the Friday and Saturday to your advantage as they are quieter days crowd wise.  From what I understand, the schedule at Malaysia isn't that full so there won't be much to keep you in your seat.

I would use the Friday to explore the track to see where I can and can't go.  Scout good vantage points - I would try to find high mounds so that I would be shooting over the top of the safety fences. If you can shoot at track level find a spot that close to the fence but the cars are some distance away.

Some of my pics are in the bottom half of this page - http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=10845.15
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Hillsilly

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2013, 04:21:41 AM »
Just wondering if anyone had any additional thoughts in relation to lenses for night time F1 races?  Singapore looks like a lot of fun.
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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2013, 06:19:23 AM »
My F1 photography advice is that take pics of grid girls. We've all seen the cars from all kinds of angles already. From my own F1 pictures I like the grid girl pics the most.
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TrabimanUK

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2013, 06:24:29 AM »
Just wondering if anyone had any additional thoughts in relation to lenses for night time F1 races?  Singapore looks like a lot of fun.

Singapore tends to be better lit than a daytime race (espeically a cloudy, rainy European one like the awesome Spa), with the gigawatts of lighting they use.  I doubt you'd need a bigger aperture.
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nebugeater

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2013, 07:33:50 AM »
Am I the only one that clicked on the Subject line on the front page thinking this was going to be about an old Canon F1 35mm camera?      ;D

Hjalmarg1

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2013, 08:42:55 AM »
Standard lenses are too slow for car racing. Follow your plan for getting the 70-200mm lens and you'll get better results. Focusing system of your other lenses are ok for all-around but not good enough for car racing.
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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2013, 08:42:55 AM »

celltech

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2013, 09:43:09 AM »
I will be going to Austin this weekend for the F1 race.  I have been to the track before to watch the ALMS series.  I had a 5D3 and a 70-200 f/2.8, non IS.  I ended up cropping like crazy...

Now I have a 70-200 f/2.8 IS II and am renting a 400 f/5.6...  I hope that combo gives me some better results.
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WPJ

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2013, 09:58:19 AM »
Hi, first post in here but I felt compelled to answer because I've had similar experience researching tips and lenses for F1 photography.

I have been lucky enough to go to Montreal F1 GP three times in the past and gave a shot at photographing from the stands at the end of the start/finish straight. The first two years, I used a rebel XSI and non-L 70-300 IS USM and had real difficulty focusing on the cars and to be honest, reach was also a bit short.

Last June, I had upgraded to a 60D and rented a 100-400 L. That was worlds apart from my previous experience and I finally had a few good(ish) pictures. The problem was not the equipment anymore.

From my experience, the lens speed is not that important since I found it nice to try slow shutter speeds and panning to provide a sense of speed in my images.

However, I found that hitting focus was relatively hard because of the car's speed (and of all those high contrast publicities all over the place).

I've not been to Malaysia, but the circuit seems to require at least as much reach as for Montreal so my feeling is that 200mm is too short for shooting from the stands.

However, to illustrate the fact that I am only an amateur, here are a few random pics from this year race.

And one final suggestion, don't do as I did the first time and don't forget to enjoy the race (lucky you)...

might be an amateur, but I love the pics great job, I'm sure the OP will get some good ones as well,,I wish I was going.  And food for you at planing ahead of time.

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2013, 09:58:19 AM »