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Thread: Catching a F1 bullet

  1. #1
    Elite Member leuius's Avatar
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    Catching a F1 bullet

    I had an opportunity last Friday to test my A6000 in a fast moving scenario: Formula 1 racing. I attended the Montreal Grand-Prix pre-qualifications and was positioned near the pit exit, quite a noisy place, where cars are accelerating to meet the main track. I was within 20 feet of the action. Imagine trying to capture a 100+ km/h object passing in front of you at that distance... like standing roadside to the autobahn.

    Well, it turns out I just couldn't pan quickly and reliably enough. Forget auto-focusing, the movement is just to fast, especially with a security fence making a nice obstacle that the AF just loved to lock on to. So I aimed at a fixed spot (I tried different variations), manually pre-focused and waited for the cars to go by. At 11 fps, the cars would completely enter and exit the field of view within 2 consecutive frames. So you get "nothing", "part of a car", "part of a car", "nothing" in most cases. Once in a while, I would get lucky and hit a sequence with "nothing", "most of a car", "nothing".

    My best results, out of 300+ shots, are these uncropped images, shot at 1/2000 and about 70mm.

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    After the cars had jumped onto the main racing track, I moved back and up to get an unobstructed and wider view. When the cars appeared in sight, they were decelerating from about 300 km/h to 135 km/h to manage the curves. That was the best spot to snap them reliably. I was much further away though and could zoom in or out to leave space in front and behind each car as a framing buffer, implying I would be cropping later. The success rate increased markedly. I also tried to reduce the shutter speed down to 1/250 and pan with the cars to get the background to blur and give a sense of speed but I just couldn't achieve a sharp view. These cars are FAST.

    Some samples, somewhat cropped, shot at 1/2000 somewhere between 165mm and 210mm.

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    And a highly-cropped view of the steering wheel (kind of a stretch) flying by at about 200 km/h.

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    Finally, besides the F1 cars, there was also a Ferrari qualification, which yielded interesting images. Notice the front brakes heating up...

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    And the ever present TV-coverage.

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    All in all, a full day of taking pictures and realizing that I am not quite equipped nor experienced yet for that type of challenge. Still fun though...

    Regards,
    Last edited by leuius; Jun 8 2015 at 03:16 AM.
    Stef (leuius is latin for more light)
    Using:
    Sony A6000 + A6500
    (Native E-mount)
    * Sony: 16-50mm | 16-70mm/4.0 | 55mm/1.8 | 55-210mm * Samyang: 12mm/2.0 * Trioplan 50/2.9
    (Adapted to E-mount from SR | C/Y | AD2 | M42 lenses)
    * Minolta: 24mm/2.8 | 45mm/2.0 | 50mm/1.4/1.7/2.0 | 85mm/2.0 | 135mm/2.8/3.5 | 35-105mm
    * Tamron: 28mm/2.5 | SP 90mm/2.8 macro | SP 35-80mm * Tokina: RMC 500mm/8.0 | ATX 100-300mm/4.0
    * Pentax: 50mm/1.4 * Vivitar Series 1: 70-210mm * Soligor: 85-205mm/3.8

  2. #2
    I think you did a great job and being track side many times over the years I can tell you it's really hard. At that range and speed it's near impossible. You really need to be in a much better spot in order to get anything really killer. For panning you need way more room and time as you know. Overall I think you did really well considering the circumstances

    Often getting physically higher and zooming in works well for fast cars when possible of course... I got a few decent ones back in the day at Pocono, but the cars and bikes were going much much slower and they were further away!

    Those cars sound so cool, but I can imagine that getting old after an hour or so.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Jay
    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

  3. #3
    Great shots Stef. Earplugs are handy for an event like this. Really like the angle/perspective on your second frame - could have even used that in the new challenge.

    Willie

  4. #4
    Nice! love the Ferrari
    a6300, a6000 , x700 wMD-1, Pentax k30, a580, a560 , a100 (stollen), 650si Date, 9000+MD90/BP90, XG-M, srTmcII,Nikon EM, Nikon N80, Hanimex Practica, Konica AutoreflexA, Ricoh KR5 super
    Peacock Designs

  5. #5
    Awesome results you got there considering the situation and limitations . Thanks for sharing .

  6. #6
    Elite Member leuius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
    Those cars sound so cool, but I can imagine that getting old after an hour or so.
    You are correct that from my fixed vantage point the experience was getting repetitive but it afforded me plenty of chances to tune my settings and practice. Repetition is key to improving. I could have moved around but would have missed a lot of opportunities. The cars are only on track for 30 minutes or so in each category. The afternoon session was cut short because of heavy rain.

    A few more Ferrari's. I particularly like the one(s) with the rings of fire in the front wheel.

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    Thanks for the comments guys.

    Stef

  7. #7
    Wow, that is some awesome brake heat going on! Ceramic?

    Jay
    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

  8. #8
    Elite Member leuius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
    Wow, that is some awesome brake heat going on! Ceramic?
    Not sure about the material used. I heard awhile ago that carbon fiber was being used in brake construction but the disks look to be metallic. Maybe someone that is more car-savvy could comment...

    Stef

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
    Wow, that is some awesome brake heat going on! Ceramic?

    Jay
    From their website http://corseclienti.ferrari.com/2015en/car/599xx/

    "The development of increasingly high-performance materials has also benefited the carbon-ceramic braking system. The brake pads are now made from carbon-fibre, which means the callipers are smaller while guaranteeing the same efficiency. The new racing carbon-ceramic braking system also delivers shorter braking distances and is generally more efficient due to the weight saving."

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