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Iansky

Zoom for sports / BIF

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I am starting to save for a zoom lens to use on the A7iii but as much as I would love the 100 - 400 it is very expensive in comparison to other brands (I know it delivers stunning IQ), but wonder what members if any own the 70-300mm f4.5 - 5.6 and your thoughts on it for motor sport / BIF?

 

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There was some good information in this thread that began before I got a 70-300 and ended after.

The 70-300 is good. Some say that at 300mm f/5.6 it is not as sharp at the edges as other candidates but it seems fine to me. At f/8 it's nice at any focal.

From a practical point of view, motor sport require fast shutter speed, probably also BIF. With either the 70-300 or 100-400 you will need good light or you'll end up with high ISO. You could get the 2.8/70-200 but, while it is a superbly versatile lens, it's a lot of money and you end up with extremely low DoF, which I find very hard to cope with. For motor sport I think you usually want more than a few mm DoF so f/5.6 and f/8 would be preferable. BIF is a specialty that's way beyond my ambition.

Each option involves different compromises. What's best for you is hard to say. in any case, the 70-300 is worthy of your consideration.

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Thanks thefsb for the response,

I am currently using a Nikon D500 with 300mm f4 PF prime (450mm on APSC) and it is perfect for motorsport, BIF and airshow however I want to consider the Sony with a viable zoom to cover these type of events from time to time when I want a lighter/smaller combo.

I would love the 100-400 GM but but at £2400.00 it is a huge investment for a lens that will not be used on a regular basis.

I am not interested in the 70-200 as I have that focal length covered with my other brands. The 70-300 is of interest and despite the f4.5 - 5.6 aperture range the subjects it will be used for will mainly be in reasonable light (some overcast / wet days for track work) and it is financially far more viable than the 100-400.

Thank you so much for your feedback on the lens and it is always more valuable to hear back from an owner user.

Now just got to save!!

Thanks again for all your valuable feedback / comments on my posts, it means a lot.

Ian

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Thanks SnappyMilt however, I do not currently have a lens longer than 24-70 so am in the process of looking at affordable longer lenses and the 70-300 is looking like a cost effective lens.

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23 hours ago, Iansky said:

Thanks Dom, good images here that show the lens can capture "Big birds", what focal length were these shot at?

150mm, 300mm, 172mm and 163mm.

Thanks

Dom

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A plane is a lot easier than a sparrow, believe me. The 70 -300 is my favorite lens too, but for bif photography it is slow. Although focussing is accurate, it is not fast enough for fly by birds. Only against a clear blue sky , with continuous focussing and focus area wide do you have a chance.  So, although this lens is affordable and versatile, beware of the limitations of the 70-300.  Perhaps you could rent one for a weekend and try it out for your particular use. 

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59 minutes ago, Lescatalpas said:

A plane is a lot easier than a sparrow, believe me.

Definitely so.

From an engineering point of view: it's the angular velocity with which you would have to turn your head/camera to track an object, which is significantly different between the two.

The sparrow has a size (length) of maybe 0.15m, yet can attain a speed of up to 60km/h! If you want to shoot the sparrow such that it covers the full width of your sensor, it should propably fly by no further than 1 m from your lens. Let's take 5m, which is more realistic.

The Boeing 777 has a length of 273m and has a landing speed of 272km/h. You could probably shoot the Boeing from 300m away and still fill the width of the sensor.

The angular velocity with which to follow the sparrow is 60km/h (= 17m/s) at a distance of 5m.   17m/s  divided by 5m = 3.5/s.

The angular velocity with which to follow the Boeing 777 is 272km/h (= 76m/s) at a distance of 300m.  76m/s divided by 300m = 0.25/s.

(Note, that this is not the true unit of measurement, yet the relation between the two is unaffected. Actually one would have to divide by 2*PI to arrive at the unit "rotations per second")).

So the sparrow requires at least the 15-fold angular velocity while tracking the bird, compared to the plane. And that's a benevolent estimation. It's probably much worse.

Plus, tracking a tiny bird (little coverage of the sensor) against a cluttered background is much harder than to track a plane (huge coverage of the sensor) against a "clean" background.

In a further addition: the direction of movement of a landing plane is very predictable, compared to BIF in the wild.

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1 hour ago, Chrissie said:

 

Definitely so.

From an engineering point of view: it's the angular velocity with which you would have to turn your head/camera to track an object, which is significantly different between the two.

 

All very valid points. 

Another example, this time much more challenging to the camera and the lens.

Shooting fast incoming 'bird' at the relative speed difference of approximately 900 knots, shot at the distance, through multilayer window pane filled with dense net of heating elements....

Dom

 

 

1-_DSC2038.jpg

2-_DSC2120.jpg

3-_DSC2191.jpg

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Thanks gents,

I currently use a Nikon D500 with the Nikon 300mm f4 PF lens and the tracking ability is superb - I use this combo for BIF, airshows and motorsport with great success and this will probably remain as my primary "fast moving / erratic subject" combo.

I have been considering the 70-300 Sony as a longer reach to work with my current 24-70.  The 100-400 is an amazing lens but is cost prohibitive so the Sony will not replace the Nikon for high speed work but it already has replaced my Nikon DF for documentary with great success.

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