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camera setting for night racing

Todd Torfin , Apr 29, 2008; 12:18 a.m.

Anyone found a good starting point for night racing? Settings for the listing below. I have a 1D Mark III with a 70-200 2.8L IS lens.

Shutter Speed f/stop ISO


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Tim Klimowicz , Apr 29, 2008; 12:24 a.m.

Why not start at something like 1/30th wide open at 400 and chimp from there, adjusting shutter/ISO to freeze the motion however much you wish (and can)? Assuming it's relatively consistent artificial lighting, it shouldn't take more than a few frames to figure out a decent exposure that you can use for the rest.

James Gu , Apr 29, 2008; 12:27 a.m.

Just curious, is there a flash that is powerful enough to freeze the action?

Geoff Sobering , Apr 29, 2008; 12:55 a.m.

Ditto on Tim's suggestion. Chimping and the histogram are your friends.

Also, remember not to underexpose (esp. at higher ISO); that's a sure recipe for noise.

Todd Torfin , Apr 29, 2008; 01:12 a.m.

400 ISO Tim? what about f/stop

JDM von Weinberg , Apr 29, 2008; 02:09 a.m.

You'll need to embrace the results of high ISO settings. Turn off, or leave off, the special settings to reduce noise--they will considerably slow down your ability to take pictures quickly.

The advice above is right--you need to experiment since every track will be different in lighting, your location, and so forth.

As for the flash question, yes there are 'industrial'-grade flashes to expose things far away (sometimes used from recon aircraft, for example) but these are either unavailable, specially made, or just plain too expensive. That being said, you might want to experiment with fill-in flash for the people between you and the action that is lighted.

Giampi . , Apr 29, 2008; 02:27 a.m.

Nothing like an industrial strength flash in your face when you are making a turn at 100mph... :)

Just use available light - you camera is MORE than capable of getting GREAT images are ISO 3200 and even 6400. If you got it, use it...

Pick a spot you want to be in, take a reading and set the camera to M - use a combination of F.stop and shutter that YOU prefer (i.e how much depth of field you want, how frozen you want the action to be, etc...) - shoot at will. Change location when bored and repeat the same steps. DO NOT use flashes in ANY sport competition or other situations where they may be interfering with people involved in the action. Some places flat out forbid use of flashes. Ask and if in doubt do NOT use them at all.

It's nice to keep the shutter just a bit slow to give a sense of the action. You can also learn to pan (which takes a bit of practice) to really give a sense of speed. The DOF should be shallow enough to isolate the subject from distracting surrounding.

Giampi . , Apr 29, 2008; 02:31 a.m.

In addition, depending on the track, etc... you may need a 2x TC to get close enough to fill the frame with the subject.

Kari Vierimaa , Apr 29, 2008; 03:43 a.m.

"Nothing like an industrial strength flash in your face when you are making a turn at 100mph... :)"

Yeah, even those traffic control posts that take your picture when they think you're speeding give quite a jolt through the windshield.

David Bell , Apr 29, 2008; 07:29 a.m.

Todd, sounds like you need to learn the basics of exposure. Knowing this will allow you to determine your own starting point. Each situation is different so knowing the relationship between aperture, shutter speed (keeping in mind you want it as fast as possible), iso, safe hand held focal lengths, will easily alow you to determine a starting point, check histogram and optimize settings from there. I found Bryan Peterson's book on understanding exposure very good, check it out on Amazon.

My advice is max ISO, min aperture, shutter speed to match and don't underexpose. Also, there are some very good post processing noise reduction programs out there for high ISI shots.

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