You don’t need loads of gear for motor sports photography

I am a self-confessed petrol head
addicted to engines and motor racing. Consequently, I’m at my happiest at the
trackside taking photos of motorcycles, cars, trucks and any other vehicles that
may be racing. In this clip I’m going to
disclose my motorsports photography equipment. The bag I use is this Lowepro 75 AW, and
whilst it is a huge bag I need it to carry the camera and the lens that I use
for motor sports photography, and that thing else will cut it. I’ve owned and
used loads of camera bags over the years but this one I have stuck with, and I
wouldn’t use anything else. This Lowepro
75 AW is strong, robust, padded and plenty strong enough to protect my photography
equipment. It is also very comfortable to
carry around the trackside. I use a Canon 7d camera for motor
sports photography and the reasons for this are simple. The Canon 7d has a magnesium body
that is sealed. This is crucial to keep the dust
out. Race circuits are notoriously dusty and I
want to make sure the dust doesn’t affect my
camera. The crop factor gives a little
more reach which is essential as I have to stay behind the barriers for
safety reasons. The autofocus is super
quick, and once locked on to a vehicle it will remain locked onto it. The fast processors allow for a higher
burst rate which increases the chances of getting “the” shot. The image quality of
the Canon 7d is fantastic and it never disappoints. I use a battery grip with
the Canon 7d because it results in a balanced setup. When using my zoom lens if I don’t
use the battery grip the lens feels too big and too heavy for the camera, and
it’s not comfortable to use. The battery
grip does add a bit of size and weight to the camera but this balances the lens
and leads to better sports photos. The lens I use is the Canon 100mm – 400mmL
IS lens for motor sports photography, and I
don’t use anything else. The zoom lens is
more versatile than a prime lens, and I can change the focal lengths and zoom
In, or zoom out to change the framing and composition accordingly. The push-pull
zoom is quick and efficient, and that the keeper shot ratio is always high. The
image quality of this lens is not quite as good as that the 400mm f5.6 prime
lens but you do have to go pixel peeping to see the difference, and in
the real world no one does that. This
isn’t the fastest of lenses, but then if it were any faster it would cost several
times more and be well out of my budget. The
speed of this lens simply means I have to do workarounds and push the ISO to keep
the shutter speeds high. The Canon 7d deals
with higher ISOs very well, and the image quality
is acceptable until very high ISO speeds are used, so this really isn’t a problem. I try and take as little photography equipment
with me when I’m walking around taking motorsports photos,
therefore other than the above I don’t take much else. I do to keep a few spare
batteries, memory cards, a lens pen and a cleaning cloth in the
side pockets of my Lowepro bag though. I never use flash for motor sports
photography because I don’t think it’s fair on the racers. In fact, I think that
having the flash go off in your face on the entrance to a fast corner is
downright dangerous. Whenever I go to
race circuits I do see other motorsports photographers using flashes and speed
lights, however I never use them and I never follow suit. So there we have it, that’s all the gear
I use for motorsports photography. I
travel light because I really can’t see the point in taking loads of photography gear
if it’s not going to be used.

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