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  1. #1
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    Motorcyle Road Racing

    Hi,

    I'm new to digital photography and would like some help on to which camera to buy. I would like to buy a camera specific for motorcycle road racing ie. public roads in the British Isles not circuits. I understand a fast shutter speed is going to be essential. Can anyone tell me what else I need to look out for or recommend any specific cameras?

    Thanks in advance for your help,

    Manxman

  2. #2
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    The Isle!

    Oh my god. Shooting the Isle of Mann is one of the things I want to do before I die. That's the most wonderful and terrible race in the world. I will live vicariously, if you go this year.

    Some questions -

    * What kind of photography experience do you have?

    * What is your budget?

    The first question is because you can't count on the camera to do the job for you. Camera technology is truly awesome now. But the TT isn't even close to any normal type of event. You will need some photo skills. Get your camera and start practicing, NOW.

    Budget is critical. Without knowing what you have to spend, I'll make a list that will easily exceed $10,000 US. If that's ok, then I'm also available as a traveling tutor :-)

    A pro would take the Canon EOS 1D, the EOS 1D Mark II, the Canon EOS 1Ds, the Nikon D1X, or the Nikon D2H. Those cameras are top of the heap - especially for sports. The absolute best right now is the EOS 1D Mark II. It's got the fastest autofocus, 8.5 frames-per-second, and an 8 megapixel CMOS sensor. Second choice would be the Nikon D2H or the Canon EOS 1D. They're both 4 megapixel cameras with super-fast AF that will capture 8 frames-per-second.

    You'll need a long lens. Motorcycle road racing photography requires long lenses. The minimum is a 70-200 f/2.8, and 300mm f/2.8 lenses are standard for pro motorsports photographers. My dream lens, and one I'd seriously consider buying if I shot more motorcycles, is a 400mm f/2.8. The longer the better. You can't get close and get the shot. Once they're next to you, they're gone. Shooting long allows you to drop out the background with shallow depth-of-field, and it gives you time to set up and get the shot. You might get a few as they flash past, but that's a gamble.

    Hope that gets you started. Tell me more about your plans, your experience, and your money. As I said, I'll be getting a lot of vicarious pleasure from this. I really do want to shoot the TT. I have a friend who used to go every year. I've got the T-shirt to prove it :-)
    Photo-John

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  3. #3
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    Hi,

    Although I wrote a reply to you last night it does not seem to be here so here goes my second attempt!

    My experience is very limited. I currently have a minolta xt which I bought for leisure purposes apporximately 6 months ago. I took it to a British Superbike Meeting a couple of days ago and realised that I'm going to need some improved equipment! However, I don't want to take average photographs on average equipment, I want to take good photographs on good equipment - the main constraint being my budget. I am looking to spend between 200 and 300 but will happily stretch up to somewhere in the 500 region (I am a student!). I hope that this sort of budget can satisfy my needs but I will need some hints on what to look for and where to start. One of my concerns is (like you have stated) i will need a long lense. What sort of money should I be looking at for that?

    I'm glad to see you are a bit of a fan of the TT! It's my home road race and basically what I live for from year to year. The photography would allow me to take some great memories with me. I am an avid fan of (public) road racing following it in the whole of the British Isles. This year I plan to take in the TT, North West 200, Ulster Grand Prix along with many more national roadraces in both Ireland and the Isle of Man including the Skerries and Southern 100. Hopefully at the end of the year I will have some good shots to look back on although I can appreciate that it will not come too easily.

    Thanks for your time and help on this,

    Manxman

  4. #4
    Toon Army Foot Soldier straightarm's Avatar
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    to get some decent kit for the amount you are willing to spend, you are going to have to get a second hand film camera. You will also need a 300mm lens.

    I personally prefer Canon EOS series. I had a quick look on mxvphotographic's site.

    www.mxvphotographic.com

    they are in Uckfield in Sussex. I've used them a couple of times and they are very good.

    Their site had a Canon EOS10 at 109,
    a Canon 28 -105 standard zoom at 169 and
    a Canon 70 -300 zoom at 119

    Allowing for post and packing you're looking at 410-420 for a good starter outfit

    Simon
    Simon, bombadier 1st class

  5. #5
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    I agree with straightarm. For the amount of money you have, a 35mm SLR is the best way to go. I'd look for a good used, autofocus body, and a decent zoom lens. If you buy Canon, maybe you can come up with the money for the 28-135mm IS lens. It has a decent multi-purpose range, and the autofocus is excellent. The key thing is that with a decent 35mm SLR, you'll have no shutter-lag. And shutter-lag is your biggest enemy with sports photos.

    Practice is also very important. See if you can't get out to a race or a track day before the TT. You can't rely on the camera to do the job for you. Technique is even more important than your equipment. Practice panning, prefocusing, and learn how your camera works. You don't want to be trying to figure it out during the TT.

    I remember Joey Dunlop. May he rest in peace. I also remember when Foggy raced in the TT.
    Photo-John

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  6. #6
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    Thanks for your help,

    My thoughts are torn between the canon eos 10 or the eos 1n. I've seen previous photography on www.photocycles.com using the 1n and it looks good. The eos 10 only has a shutter speed of 1/4000 compared with 1/8000 on the 1n. Will this make much of a difference? I've seen both these bodies on ebay aswell as the website you qouted all at affordable prices.

    Thanks.

  7. #7
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Never shoot that fast.

    I'm not sure what the EOS 10 is called in the US. But the 1N was the king for a few years. I rarely shoot over 1/1000th sec - even for motorcycle racing. The 1N will be built better, have a faster advance rate, better AF, faster flash-sync, and just generally be a better camera than almost anything besides the Nikon F5 and the EOS 1V. I'd get the 1N, unless the EOS 10 is the same as the EOS 3. The EOS 3 might actually have better AF than the 1N.
    Photo-John

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  8. #8
    Toon Army Foot Soldier straightarm's Avatar
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    Canon EOS10

    was called the Canon EOS10s in the USA. It's an old camera, introduced in 1990.

    details here in the Canon museum

    http://www.canon.com/camera-museum/camera/f_camera.html

    Don't worry too much about the top shutter speed. Even for car racing I rarely use faster than 1/1500 sec. If you want to pan and blur the background, you only need about 1/250 sec.

    The EOS1n is a better camera, but remember it's good lenses you need rather than a better body. For sports photography you will find that you need at least 300mm.

    Also bear in mind that the EOS1n was a professional camera and might well have been heavily used. A EOS10 might well have had an easier life.

    Simon
    Last edited by straightarm; 05-21-2004 at 03:12 AM. Reason: MORE
    Simon, bombadier 1st class

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the replies,

    I think I would prefer the 1n but I found this eos 10 on ebay, also comes with an 300mm lense. http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/ebayISAPI.d...tem=3816931020

  10. #10
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    I have also just noticed this on ebay:

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...816266293&rd=1

    Obviously I would have to buy a lense aswell.

  11. #11
    Toon Army Foot Soldier straightarm's Avatar
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    As the other auction has ended

    This one is your only option.

    If you were to get it for say 200 - 250, you would have a good starter outfit.

    Just remember to buy lots of film!

    Simon
    Simon, bombadier 1st class

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