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Action shots

Simonp2013 5 15
25 Feb 2013 8:33PM

i went to watch touring cars last year and took along our little point and shoot Kodak thingy, suffice to say all the racing shots were blurred. We are going again this year and I'm wanting to pick up a cheap camera that will take better shots of cars at speed.

I think I need a dslr and looking at about 50 - 100 which I know isn't much but it's the best I can do at the minute. I know naff all about camera's I.e. shutter speed, iso, white balance so have no idea which is important for catching fast images /action shots.

There are 3 Fuji finepix (S1600, S2500 or the S2980) which seem reasonably priced and would be grateful for any advice or suggestions.

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25 Feb 2013 8:57PM
If you try to set the iso higher on your point and shoot, you should be able to take quicker shutter shots. This means your pictures are less likely to be blurry. Unless you have a really fast lens, you are going to have to set your ISO high. This is how most pros take action shots. For 50-150 you will have to go second hand if you want a dslr. Canon 20D is a good starting point and a cheap sigma lens. Even at that its going to be more than 150... probably about 200.
Simonp2013 5 15
25 Feb 2013 9:08PM
Thanks for the advice. The canon is slightly out of my current price range but could be a step up in the future. What is iso and what does it do ?
Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
25 Feb 2013 9:15PM
I've never used any of the cameras that you're considering there but two of them, the first and the last,
are Fuji 'bridge' cameras.
If either of them is anywhere near as good as my old (and still very usable) Fuji S5700 bridge camera, then you'll be in with at least a fighting chance of getting some pretty good results.
They'll almost certainly have a 'sport' mode, which really means it's adjusted itself to increase the shutter speed and you can always set it yourself.
The biggest problem with using a bridge camera will be shutter lag; in other words, there's a momentary gap between your pressing the button and the shot actually being taken.
With practice, it's quite easy to anticipate the shot and press the button accordingly.
That may, or may not, be a problem for you but I don't think you'll overcome it without using a DSLR.
Other than that, in my experience, Fuji bridge cameras do a great job, particularly bearing in mind how inexpensive they are.
Whatever you do though, avoid, at all costs, using the digital zoom. Tempting though it is, the results will be disappointing, to say the least.


Edit: There's a Fuji S5700 and a S5800 in my local 'Cash converter' going for about 60.00 a piece and they're not known for their low prices.
I know that's no use to you but it gives you some idea of how cheaply you can pick up a used one. And there seem to be loads of them around.
25 Feb 2013 9:18PM
ISO is a acronym (stands for industry standard organisation i think) basically like the old film sensitivity (100, 200, 400 etc). It basically means how sensitive the camera sensor becomes to light. By increasing the ISO, the camera sensor picks up enough light to correctly expose the image "faster" therefore a faster shutter speed can be used. The trade off is an increase in noise on the photograph. Most modern cameras are better at handling noise than those of a just a few years ago but even an older camera is usually ok up to 800 , possibly even 1200 ISO. Combined with a fast-ish lens (f4 for example, the lower the f number , the faster the lens) you should be able to get acceptable shots. Again the trade off of a faster lens is that it is usually more expensive. Second-hand is a must in your case.

MPB photographic is good. Have a look.
Paul Morgan 17 19.1k 6 England
25 Feb 2013 9:20PM
Personally I would hang on and save, beg, borrow for a little more.

The EPM1`s are probably about the best deals around at the moment.


Simonp2013 5 15
25 Feb 2013 9:24PM
I don't expect perfect shots and I'll be more than happy with a "fighting chance" Grin

Feel free to correct me but would I be right in thinking that the trick is to half press the button and be poised so to speak to fully depress when the image I want is entering / about to enter shot depending on my reaction time, camera speed etc.

With regards to zoom I understand optical is way better than digital zoom but what about 'wide' optical zoom?

Apologies if not explaining myself very well.
25 Feb 2013 9:25PM

Quote:Personally I would hang on and save, beg, borrow for a little more.

The EPM1`s are probably about the best deals around at the moment.



That's a good deal. Just remember to factor in for a longer lens if you are thinking of taking close- up action shots of racing cars.
Simonp2013 5 15
25 Feb 2013 9:34PM
I'll have a look at those.

What sort of mp size should I aim for I.e. is 10 too low or is 14 overkill.
Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
25 Feb 2013 9:39PM

Quote: the trick is to half press the button

Sort of!
Half pressing the button will cause the auto-focus to erm, focus, on whatever the camera's aimed at, so you might want to pre-focus on a point half way around a corner, for example, and fully press the button when a car reaches that point.
It's relatively easy to do but you'd probably want to practice. A good place for that is the exit fro a busy roundabout. Likewise, you can practice 'panning' as the traffic drives past.
With regard to catching the cars in motion; speed is perceived and relative, so passing racing cars, although they'll be going more quickly, will be some way away.
Mum's heading home from Tescos will be going a lot more slowly (hopefully!) but will be a lot closer to you and your roundabout, so the car's will seem to be passing you at roughly the same rate.
In other words, pre-focusing and panning at a roundabout should stand you in good stead for the real thing.
I'll be interested to know how you get on. With both the practicing and the touring cars.
Simonp2013 5 15
25 Feb 2013 9:52PM
I must admit I'd not thought about practicing at a roundabout. I had been thinking about trying to capture birds in flight but I like the roundabout idea. It's a few months until I'm going to the btcc this year so i should be able to get soe good practice in beforehand. The hope is I can get some decent shots that will print well at A4 size to be framed for sons bedrooms to go along side some bought pictures from our trip last year.

I go target shooting using scopes and look through the scope with one eye but also keep the other eye open to provide a more complete view of the target and avoid eyestrain. When using camera viewfinders would this be the same principle or do you view just with one eye ?
mike5537 5 15 United Kingdom
25 Feb 2013 9:59PM
your cameras frame rate will have a large bearing on how well your pics come out. If your camera is a point and click don't fire your shot too soon, get the car in view, track it for a second or two (assuming you can) then press the shutter whilst keeping tracking the car, don't stop moving once you press the shutter. Think of it like clay pigeon shooting, keeping tracking it till it explodes.

If the camera can take 2-3 frames a second then do the same principle keep firing till the car is out of sight but you will stand a better chance of getting one in focus.
Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
25 Feb 2013 10:38PM
I've been taking photographs for fifty years and I've never captured a bird in flight, so I'd go for the roundabout idea!
On a serious note, I've done it and it does work.
As for which and how many eyes you use, I think that will be up to you. Personally, I usually keep both eyes open but I imagine that that will be down to personal preference.
Remember too, that cars coming towards you, even at an angle, will seemingly be still, although they will get larger as they approach. Sometimes that can be made to work in your favour.
Pete Plus
17 18.8k 97 England
25 Feb 2013 10:48PM

Quote:When using camera viewfinders would this be the same principle or do you view just with one eye ?

Try both methods and see which suits you best
I find that with some action photography I have the other eye open so I can see what's going on around. You can then switch to single eye at the right moment if you find it more comfortable. For all other photography I have my left eye closed
adrian_w Plus
10 3.7k 4 England
25 Feb 2013 10:54PM
One suggestion is to try & get either head-on or 3/4 on photos rather than side on. Pre focus on a spot where you know the cars will be & wait for the action. As they are aproaching rather than crossing your view ther is less chance of blur.

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