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Thread: Best Camera for Race Photos

  1. #1
    Insider Chris Paff's Avatar
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    Best Camera for Race Photos

    I am looking to upgrade my camera to one that will take really good racing photos..

    What is a good camera with the longer lens that is easy to use and not too expensive?
    "Paff has been closer to the mark than anyone will give him credit for."

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    Registered User Stewie's Avatar
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    The first question with cameras is always going to be, what do you determine as not too expensive? If you can give an upper limit, it'll be easier to recommend something.

    Also are you after a DSLR / mirrorless camera where you change lenses or just something like an advance point and shoot / bridge camera?

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    My Samsung Galaxy does good
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    Insider Chris Paff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stewie View Post
    The first question with cameras is always going to be, what do you determine as not too expensive? If you can give an upper limit, it'll be easier to recommend something.

    Also are you after a DSLR / mirrorless camera where you change lenses or just something like an advance point and shoot / bridge camera?
    Around $250 or less

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Paff View Post
    Around $250 or less
    get on craigslist and see what you can find. you might be able to pic up an older DSLR, which would work. Maybe even a few lenses if you're lucky. For that money though, it's just what you can scrounge up.

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    Registered User Stewie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moid View Post
    get on craigslist and see what you can find. you might be able to pic up an older DSLR, which would work. Maybe even a few lenses if you're lucky. For that money though, it's just what you can scrounge up.
    Agreed, 2nd hand is going to be the best way to go.

    I'm not sure on 2nd hand prices in the US, but over here the equivalent of $250 (£200) would just about get you a Nikon D300 and a 70-300 lens - probably the minimum I'd want for autofocus speed is something like the D300, it's a bit old but still does the job.

    (I shoot Nikon so not sure on equivalent Canon models etc).

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    A relative told me about this website that lets you rent cameras. I've never used it but thinking about giving it a try in May. https://www.borrowlenses.com/

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    I would recommend an ASPC single lens or mirrorless camera with at least a 300mm zoom lens. The better glass, the better. You should be able to get by with $300 for the lens and $500 for a new camera. Used can be bargain, almost anything 5 years or newer with a "sports mode" and ability to shoot 5 frames per second or better.

    Full frames will be bulky, APSC will give more '"reach" with 1/3 closer cropping factor. Expensive cameras can be confusing. Practice and understand the settings on your camera is key.

    Once you get all that down, your biggest frustration will be a vantage point to get a photo, especially through fences.

    good luck



    I'll bet you can guess which one I took with 35mm film?

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    Outsider Glenn's Avatar
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    I like my Pentax X-5

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    Cameras don't take good photos. Photographers take good photos.

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    Yes, but you do have to make sure that you are not hamstrung by your hardware...

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelP View Post
    Cameras don't take good photos. Photographers take good photos.
    Un-named Person:"Those are beautiful photos! You must have a really good camera!"

    Me: "That was a delicious dinner, you must have a really good stove!"
    So long, and thanks for all the fish!

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    Insider Unzerdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelP View Post
    Cameras don't take good photos. Photographers take good photos.
    Good photographers know that good race photos don't come cheap. Canon. End of story. 70-200mm 2.8L lens is 1200 bucks. 2000.00 for image stabalizer. short range, you need a 35-70mm 2.8L, another 1200.00 Camera bodies, Cheap bodies are 1000.00. Full Frame 3-5k.

    The best camera for race photos is Canon. 250 bucks isn't going to do it.

    Then there is the knowing how to use it. It took years and lots of trial and error. There in lies the fun.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat" -Teddy Roosevelt

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    Registered User bsanderson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoodStone1969 View Post
    Un-named Person:"Those are beautiful photos! You must have a really good camera!"

    Me: "That was a delicious dinner, you must have a really good stove!"
    Winner

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    Hope you guys can see these without being members of Cloudy Nights. He uses a Canon 7D and Canon 400mm L 5.6 Non IS

    Some of the best I have ever seen.

    https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/648615-other-love-motorsport-and-military-aviation/

    I would look for that camera body used, and rent a lens for a weekend.

  16. #16
    I used to use a 70-200mm f2.8 lens, but that wasn't enough range. Now I use a 100-400mm lens for panning shots, and a 24-70 f2.8 while in the pits. I shoot with a Sony A7R Mark 2. Here's a few photos I took with this equipment, with a link to the album.

    https://flic.kr/s/aHsm9vhQiX















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    Insider Jim Wilke's Avatar
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    As the saying goes, the best camera is the one you have with you. If it is too big, you won't carry it.

    I have a little Canon SX 280 that I've had for years. stick in my pocket with a spare battery. Anything bigger gets left in the car.

  18. #18
    A friend of Hal. midtown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unzerdog View Post
    Good photographers know that good race photos don't come cheap. Canon. End of story. 70-200mm 2.8L lens is 1200 bucks. 2000.00 for image stabalizer. short range, you need a 35-70mm 2.8L, another 1200.00 Camera bodies, Cheap bodies are 1000.00. Full Frame 3-5k.

    The best camera for race photos is Canon. 250 bucks isn't going to do it.

    Then there is the knowing how to use it. It took years and lots of trial and error. There in lies the fun.
    Substitute Nikon in the above for Canon, and it's about the same. If your budget is $250, might as well use your phone.
    It's a Hoosier thing, you wouldn't understand...

  19. #19
    Reset your fuel,Go Go Go Z28's Avatar
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    Good race photos depend on how good you are, and where you can get to. With so many new places for catch fences it's a lot tougher to get on track shots of cars. Even at RCs. 36 years ago when I got a Canon AE-1 Program I got almost all car shots and very few driver photos filling shoeboxes. With the advnent of the IRL and NASCAR including 'pit passes' and fan walks with tickets I've got an Olympus digital and the majority of pictures I take are drivers. Most guys especially Helio and TK really a kick out of more candid shots.

    But as for finding something. Around here every few months you'll see a camera show run by a local club, usually at a hotel meeting room where shops, collectors and people selling their storeroom of equipment buy a table. They'll generally know about what they are selling and you can look around for what suits you and maybe at the price you're looking to pay.
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  20. #20
    Insider Unzerdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by midtown View Post
    Substitute Nikon in the above for Canon, and it's about the same. If your budget is $250, might as well use your phone.
    My first 35mm was a Nikon. I learned photography the hard way with that bad boy. It took some of my best photos, a lot of that was luck, My entire journey was plumb dumb luck. I won't burden y'all with my story about getting my first Canon digital camera. That was a gift from above, so that switch was made for me. I added the lenses and eventually upraded bodies. The full frame 5D was a the big jump. That 5D knows what to do when you click L glass onto it. Once you have invested in the glass, you are committed to that manufacturer. Lenses are for life, the computers change like your underwear. You can't pop a Canon lens onto a Nikon and you can't put a Nikor lens on a Canon. Nor would you want to!~

  21. #21
    Insider Unzerdog's Avatar
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    Don't be afraid to check your local pawn shop. You can buy stuff there too.

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    A friend of Hal. midtown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unzerdog View Post
    My first 35mm was a Nikon. I learned photography the hard way with that bad boy. It took some of my best photos, a lot of that was luck, My entire journey was plumb dumb luck. I won't burden y'all with my story about getting my first Canon digital camera. That was a gift from above, so that switch was made for me. I added the lenses and eventually upraded bodies. The full frame 5D was a the big jump. That 5D knows what to do when you click L glass onto it. Once you have invested in the glass, you are committed to that manufacturer. Lenses are for life, the computers change like your underwear. You can't pop a Canon lens onto a Nikon and you can't put a Nikor lens on a Canon. Nor would you want to!~
    Me, I started with a Pentax 25 years ago. Got a Nikon d70 and have been using Nikons ever since. True dat on the glass.

  23. #23
    A friend of Hal. midtown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unzerdog View Post
    Don't be afraid to check your local pawn shop. You can buy stuff there too.
    I'd suggest the local camera shop over the pawn shop. At least you'd be dealing with people where cameras are their business. Or B&H out of New York.

  24. #24
    Outsider West's Avatar
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    If you want professional (loosely stated) looking photos, the starting kit would be just under $1,500 (new) Nikon D7200 and a Sigma 18-250 or something equivalent to that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Unzerdog View Post
    Good photographers know that good race photos don't come cheap. Canon. End of story. 70-200mm 2.8L lens is 1200 bucks. 2000.00 for image stabalizer. short range, you need a 35-70mm 2.8L, another 1200.00 Camera bodies, Cheap bodies are 1000.00. Full Frame 3-5k.

    The best camera for race photos is Canon. 250 bucks isn't going to do it.

    Then there is the knowing how to use it. It took years and lots of trial and error. There in lies the fun.
    The vast majority of people don’t shoot with anything near the speed of those lenses. They are also heavy...

  26. #26
    Waiting for the next race KenK's Avatar
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    These were taken at Springfield about 15 years ago with an Olympus C-720. 3 megapixel and 8X optical zoom.

    These days, $250.00 will get you something MUCH better!
    "It is a besetting vice of democracies to substitute public opinion for law. This is the usual form in which masses of men exhibit their tyranny." - James Fenimore Cooper

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    Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS40
    Purchased new 2014, MSRP = $395
    Leica VARIO-ELMAR Lens (equiv.) 24mm - 720mm
    Aperture: f3.3 - f6.4
    30x optical zoom + 2x digital zoom
    Sensor: 18 megapixels
    Shutter Speed: 1/2000sec to 4sec
    WiFi & GPS

    Chosen by DPREVIEW.com as one of the best Compact Cameras for Travel in 2014.

    Numerous features including full manual, full automatic, manual focus, auto focus, bracketing, exposure compensation, RAW mode, continuous shooting up to 10fps, etc.

    Photos and videos shot at Road Atlanta, 2015 Petit LeMans weekend in cold, rainy and very overcast conditions.

    For the record I go way back, strating in 1980...

    35mm: Mamiya ZE, Mamiya ZE-X, Contax 159MM; all with a Tamron 35-210 zoom and 2x Extender; cheap digital point and shoot, Panasonic Lumix DCM-FZ30, an Olympus P&S model that I can’t remember and the Panasonic listed at the top.



    http://vid133.photobucket.com/albums...ps2lewtcas.mp4

    http://vid133.photobucket.com/albums...pstkouulmc.mp4




    Last edited by flatlander_48; 02-10-2019 at 03:42 AM.

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    Any brand of camera and a good lens will do. Image quality and controls are great on most single lens cameras. I prefer the APSC format.

    I'd think a good telephoto lens and body could be had for less than a grand for good amateur pictures. And you can build a system by adding more sophisticated camera bodies and lenses.

    Learn how it works, practice and find a good vantage.

  29. #29
    Outsider Glenn's Avatar
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    Pentax X-5 at Sonoma

    [IMG]IMGP3785 by , on Flickr[/IMG]

    At Long Beach

    [IMG]IMGP9440 by , on Flickr[/IMG]

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    Previously mentioned Canon SX 280; used for sale on Amazon for $140:


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