View Full Version : Best settings 40D: Night high speed motocross

02-24-2009, 05:34 PM
Im fairly new to shooting photos in low light situations as most of the time I am shooting during the mid day at events. I recently had gone to an event that was outside with just flood lights around the track and I was unable to shoot anything worth using.

Here is the equipment that I have:

70-200 f4
18-55 3.5-5.6 (i believe)
No Flash Yet (duh!)

So i'm currently looking into getting a flash and would like to spend around 200 I saw some deals on ebay for the 430ex not sure if that is good enough or over kill but that is what Im currently decided on getting, of course I can change if anyone has a suggestion.

All events I go to I have media pass to get out on the track so I can shoot up close to where im only 5 feet away if need be. Just wanted to see what settings I should use with a flash.

Any help would be great! Ill be shooting in the same situation in a few weeks and want to make sure I am ready this time!

02-25-2009, 08:27 AM
are you shooting for fun or for money?

it's a tough call on the best route to take here, but if you go for a flash, see if you can get an off camera cord or some cheap wireless triggers so you can get creative with the light. you can get vivitar 285hv flashes for $90 new and they're just as powerful as the 430ex, you can get decent wireless triggers for around $35 as well. then you'll need a light stand or a superclamp to mount it somewhere. i've heard of people just holding their flash up with a monopod and an off camera cord..this one would be especially cool if you get up close with a wide angle like your 18mm.

02-25-2009, 08:43 AM
My money would be on a prime for a situation like this. Autofocus will lock and track faster and a large aperture will allow you to shoot action in lower light. I'd suggest the 85mm 1.8 it's fairly cheap and is really nice mechanically and optically. You should also spend some time learning how to pan properly if you haven't already.

02-25-2009, 08:59 AM
Well I don't shoot sports so take this with a grain of rice..., eh, sand - oh, salt...

I think you want a shutter speed of at least 1/250th - and perhaps even higher - to freeze the action. I think Nick suggestion for the 85 1.8 is probably a good one, but I think you also want a zoom lens to provide some flexibility (even if you're track side). A 70-200mm lens is probably ideal. So you gotta work backwards from there. With an F4 lens this limits you right off the bat. Expect to use ISO1600 or 3200 to be able to freeze the action. (An F2.8 lens would give you an extra stop on the ISO obviously.) If 1/250th is enough to freeze your subjects, then you might be able to get by with an off-camera flash setup with radio triggers (though I find I need to sync my 40D at 1/200th or 1/160th when I use the RF slaves.) But... check if flash is even allowed trackside - might be deemed to be distracting to the riders. With a 430EX or better on camera you can at least use a hi-speed sync setting and get SS higer than 1/250th. But you're left with the on-camera flash look. (Using an OC-3 off-camera cord might help if you can mount the flash on a tripod or something.)

02-25-2009, 09:05 AM
Check out this site, they know more about action photography than most of us probably do...


02-25-2009, 09:53 AM
Check out this site, they know more about action photography than most of us probably do...


just for that i'm gonna shoot nothing but sports from here on out. :p

i really wouldn't mind shooting sports, hell all i listen to is sports talk radio in the truck. you'd think that would be my thing. weird. i guess when it comes to sports i'd rather play them than shoot them.

02-26-2009, 06:16 AM
All good advice here. I'd go for a fast non-zoom (the 85 is a good choice, but if you can get close like you say maybe a 35 would be better).

Try some flash with shutter drag too. Even the built-in should be OK to whet your appetite.