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Motorcycle (Racing) Photography Q from a Newbie.

TomBoyNI

Standard Member
Hello everyone,

i am just looking a bit of real world and genuine experience in relation to this query.

I have read and watched loads of reviews but with so many ‘paid for’ and ‘sponsored’ reviews it is hard to come upon genuine comments and views when doing research.

So, for quite a few years I have photographing motorcycle racing events, just as a hobby, and using a Panasonic TZ from a Tz30 to my current camera which is a TZ80 but now I am looking to upgrade as the images just aren’t sharp enough and when I use a suitable shutter speed the ISO just means there is so much noise and I want cleaner sharper shots.

So after my research I think I have decided upon a Sony A6400 and am just looking some views on that camera for catching fast sports shots. Will it be a noticeable improvement etc etc.

Or if anyone has other ideas to point me, it is just a hobby so want to spend at the very most £1000 and get something that has plenty of years life left in it.

Thanks for any help or advice.
 

Johnmcl7

Distinguished Member
The A6400 will definitely be a massive improvement over the TZ series with its much larger sensor offering usable high iso and much better dynamic range plus it has an excellent AF system.

Have you thought about lenses? For motorsports I find around 300-400mm and more is needed and there's not many cheaper telephoto options for the Sony system, the only couple I'm aware of are the 55-210mm for around £200 and the 18-200mm superzoom for £500.
 

TomBoyNI

Standard Member
The A6400 will definitely be a massive improvement over the TZ series with its much larger sensor offering usable high iso and much better dynamic range plus it has an excellent AF system.

Have you thought about lenses? For motorsports I find around 300-400mm and more is needed and there's not many cheaper telephoto options for the Sony system, the only couple I'm aware of are the 55-210mm for around £200 and the 18-200mm superzoom for £500.
to be honest I hadn’t thought too much about lenses. I’m not sure for the type of photography I am looking at I would need so far of a reach. The racing I follow is road racing - so the likes of the TT - and with road racing you can effectively be in the hedge beside the bikes.

Another option i was considering is a second A7ii - any thoughts on what would be the better option.

I am open to manufacturers other than Sony too.

Thanks again.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Two things that I would recommend for motorsports photos -

1) perfect your panning technique, with this you can use shutter speeds down to 1/100s or lower and still get a sharp bike but great background and wheel blur

2) look at the camera ability on AI Servo focus which, if fast enough and accurate enough, should keep the bike in focus as it moves towards you.

Just a thought, but DSLRs should have superior AI Servo but this will also depend on the lenses.

If you are OK with second hand kit then something like the Canon 80D or better a 7D (mk2 if you can) with a EFS15-85 would be a good starting point.

Example -

 
Last edited:

snerkler

Distinguished Member
Hello everyone,

i am just looking a bit of real world and genuine experience in relation to this query.

I have read and watched loads of reviews but with so many ‘paid for’ and ‘sponsored’ reviews it is hard to come upon genuine comments and views when doing research.

So, for quite a few years I have photographing motorcycle racing events, just as a hobby, and using a Panasonic TZ from a Tz30 to my current camera which is a TZ80 but now I am looking to upgrade as the images just aren’t sharp enough and when I use a suitable shutter speed the ISO just means there is so much noise and I want cleaner sharper shots.

So after my research I think I have decided upon a Sony A6400 and am just looking some views on that camera for catching fast sports shots. Will it be a noticeable improvement etc etc.

Or if anyone has other ideas to point me, it is just a hobby so want to spend at the very most £1000 and get something that has plenty of years life left in it.

Thanks for any help or advice.
What type of shots are you looking to achieve? Are you wanting straight on/'static' looking shots or panning shots?

Quite often for shots like this I use manual focus (zone focus) and so in theory any camera will do.
Marc Marquez by TDG-77, on Flickr


However, with shots like this I tend to rely on the AF system, and subjects coming towards you is one of the hardest things for an AF system. (You could of course pre-focus if you wished)
P8248445-Edit by TDG-77, on Flickr

For either type of shot the A6400 is more than capable, but I'm not sure of the cost with a good lens(es). I use the Olympus EM1 Mark II as I like the light weight of the lenses yet still getting great IQ.

If you wanted ultimate IQ you could look at something like a used/grey Nikon D750.

Any of the cameras mentioned will get much better pictures than your TZ80, if you know what you're doing of course ;)
 

TomBoyNI

Standard Member
Two things that I would recommend for motorsports photos -

1) perfect your panning technique, with this you can use shutter speeds down to 1/100s or lower and still get a sharp bike but great background and wheel blur

2) look at the camera ability on AI Servo focus which, if fast enough and accurate enough, should keep the bike in focus as it moves towards you.

Just a thought, but DSLRs should have superior AI Servo but this will also depend on the lenses.

If you are OK with second hand kit then something like the Canon 80D or better a 7D (mk2 if you can) with a EFS15-85 would be a good starting point.

Example -

Thanks for this. I will have a look at the dslr option.


What type of shots are you looking to achieve? Are you wanting straight on/'static' looking shots or panning shots?

Quite often for shots like this I use manual focus (zone focus) and so in theory any camera will do.
Marc Marquez by TDG-77, on Flickr


However, with shots like this I tend to rely on the AF system, and subjects coming towards you is one of the hardest things for an AF system. (You could of course pre-focus if you wished)
P8248445-Edit by TDG-77, on Flickr

For either type of shot the A6400 is more than capable, but I'm not sure of the cost with a good lens(es). I use the Olympus EM1 Mark II as I like the light weight of the lenses yet still getting great IQ.

If you wanted ultimate IQ you could look at something like a used/grey Nikon D750.

Any of the cameras mentioned will get much better pictures than your TZ80, if you know what you're doing of course ;)
They are outstanding looking.

After a bit more reading I think the A6500 with the inbuilt stabilisation is possibly the way the way to go.

Thanks for the advice thus far. There really is so much to consider and so many options it just gets more muddled and confusing.

A Sony A7iii with kit lens popped on on Facebook last night with a year’s warranty remaining and only 600 shutter actuations for just over £1k - obviously it didn’t even last an hour o_O
 

Johnmcl7

Distinguished Member
You need to weigh up how useful that stabilisation is bearing in mind many of the lenses have their own stabilisation including the two different a6400 kit lenses (16-50mm and 18-135mm) plus the 55-210mm and 18-200mm telephoto lenses. I find the builtin IS is most useful on short prime lenses in low light as several of them lack IS although unusually quite a few of the Sony E-mount prime lenses so offer IS. I'm not saying you shouldn't consider the A6500 but not to just go for it because it has IS, I was thinking of an A6500 myself then realised I didn't have any non-stabilised lenses and while I do appreciate the lens and sensor based IS system can work together, it's not as big an advantage as having IS compared to a non-stabilised system.

I agree with snerkler's question about what sort of shots you like taking since it can be a big difference in how tough it is for the AF system plus what sort of focal lengths you need.
 

snerkler

Distinguished Member
Thanks for this. I will have a look at the dslr option.




They are outstanding looking.

After a bit more reading I think the A6500 with the inbuilt stabilisation is possibly the way the way to go.

Thanks for the advice thus far. There really is so much to consider and so many options it just gets more muddled and confusing.

A Sony A7iii with kit lens popped on on Facebook last night with a year’s warranty remaining and only 600 shutter actuations for just over £1k - obviously it didn’t even last an hour o_O
Just to add to John's post above, knowing what shots you want to take will also help decide if you need IBIS. If you're taking shots like my second one then IBIS doesn't matter as the shutter speed was 1/1000 and you won't (at least shouldn't) get camera shake at this shutter speed.

Thanks for the kind comments by the way.
 

TomBoyNI

Standard Member
You need to weigh up how useful that stabilisation is bearing in mind many of the lenses have their own stabilisation including the two different a6400 kit lenses (16-50mm and 18-135mm) plus the 55-210mm and 18-200mm telephoto lenses. I find the builtin IS is most useful on short prime lenses in low light as several of them lack IS although unusually quite a few of the Sony E-mount prime lenses so offer IS. I'm not saying you shouldn't consider the A6500 but not to just go for it because it has IS, I was thinking of an A6500 myself then realised I didn't have any non-stabilised lenses and while I do appreciate the lens and sensor based IS system can work together, it's not as big an advantage as having IS compared to a non-stabilised system.

I agree with snerkler's question about what sort of shots you like taking since it can be a big difference in how tough it is for the AF system plus what sort of focal lengths you need.
the shots that I would be taking would change very much on the vantage point I am at. Some would lend themselves towards panning, some towards head on.

Personally I really like both styles.
 

snerkler

Distinguished Member
the shots that I would be taking would change very much on the vantage point I am at. Some would lend themselves towards panning, some towards head on.

Personally I really like both styles.
IBIS may help then. Have you thought what lens you’d like to use?
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
A Sony A7iii with kit lens popped on on Facebook last night with a year’s warranty remaining and only 600 shutter actuations for just over £1k - obviously it didn’t even last an hour o_O
If you're happy to look at used then I'd also check out the stock at MPB, Camera Jungle, WEX, LCE (all of whom I've used).
There are also other online and bricks and mortar camera shops who sell used stock with guarantees.
 

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