Matching a lens to a camera.

Jester77Jester77 Posts: 3Member
edited December 2012 in Nikon DSLR cameras
Hi All,

My main enjoyment is panning, mainly high speed Motorsports
I've been slowly upgrading my equipment over the last few years and as much as I enjoy the stunning quality of my current shots my panning shots have taken a step backwards.
I measure this by the lowest shutter speeds I can use to keep the vehicle in focus with maximum background effect.

I find my current setup of D800 and 70-200vr2 to be the hardest yet to keep the shutter speeds low and still try and get a really good amount of speed blur.

I've spoken to Nikon and they tell me they can match the camera to the lens and this should make a difference, any thought's on this please or any other advice?


  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,454Member
    I think what the Nikn rep means is that the can fine tune the focus (more so than focus fine tune). Not sure if that would help or not, if it is simply a technique issue.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited December 2012
    Brian Redman Vintage at Road America

    Done with 70-200. Panning is an art. With a vehicle moving 60 mph, lens at f/11-16, focus on continuos servo, nine point, shooting about 7-10 FPS, or 5 FPS, VR on normal, lens AF tune set properly, this is what comes out....sometimes. I shoot five to ten images and expect one, if I am lucky.

    Shutter speeds for some area as low as 1/60th second, but I prefer the 1/250 or 1/125 second to get the vehicle sharp as a tack.  For other effects, shutter speed can be down as low as 1/15th sec, or when one uses a wide lens to pan at 1/60 the interesting effect is the edges will be blurred as the relative distance changes in the panning process.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • PatMannPatMann Posts: 2Member
    edited December 2012
    It may be that your focus is more critical because you are using such a high-resolution sensor with the D800. If you're pixel-peeping rather than comparing at the same image size you used to, you will find more of your shots seem to be out of focus compared to with your previous camera.

    I assume you've already verified you don't have the left focus issue with your D800.

    Other things that might make a difference, since you don't describe your technique or mount equipment, include matching your tripod to the track angle and locking vertical, then using a fluid motion panning head rather than trying to pan with a ball head and holding the camera to pan. It's easy to put a twist in the movement if you're not locked into a single axis pan.
    Post edited by PatMann on
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Another thought...for lenses of up to 300mm, I hand hold and pan.  This is easier and allows me to rotate my entire body with the lens/camera held tightly with my elbows against my upper chest.  For the 400-800mm I use a Wimberley style gimbal on a tripod.  This allows me to not have to hold up a monopod when not shooting.
    Msmoto, mod
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,452Moderator
    You should post what you are shooting that you are not happy with so we can all see.

    I shot this 80+MPH bike hand-held with a 70-300 VR on a D5000 (no matching or focus fine tuning).  It is a bit too 'stopped' at 1/000th but not bad.  The best shots I did were when I was younger and could hold the camera better.  60MPH bikes at 1/60 gave excellent blur.

    WFO to Garage Vert!
    Always learning.
  • Jester77Jester77 Posts: 3Member
    Thanks for all the replies, pictures and advice everyone,

    It's not really about my technique or panning skills though as I've been shooting 12 Motorsport meetings a year for 6 years and it's been okay, it was only last year with the addition of the D800 that I had to start using much faster shutter speeds to get my subject in perfect focus.

    I think the comment about the high-resolution sensor may be ta good point.

    So.. if I pay Nikon to match my 70-200 to my camera, will it make a any difference? 
    Has anyone had this done this before?

  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 411Member
    edited January 2013
    Much of it is the sensor. Because of its resolution it has lower tolerances for vertical movement. So does my speed graphlex... (yes I do shoot motorsports with it from time to time)
    Post edited by kyoshinikon on
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited January 2013
    Here is one at 1/250 sec...on a D4

    VSCDA at Road America-12
    3000 pixel size:

    I think the issue with panning has somewhat to do with the f/stop and focal length.  There is actually only one spot on the vehicle which is being followed.  The area before and after this is changing position at a different rate.  This is obvious in wide angle panning with a 16mm on ull frame, only one spot will be sharp.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
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