taking pics of RC cars still/competition

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by ISI_Stang06, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. ISI_Stang06

    ISI_Stang06 TPF Noob!

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    about 2 weeks ago i asked about taking pics of a car cruise and got some good advice, though im wondering if the same advice will work for RC cars.

    the advice i recieved was:

    1. shoot in aperature while the car is still, its what ill be using for when the cars are just sitting there on the ground. this should work just fine.

    2. shoot in manual while they are racing, during the cruise i shot at a shutter speed of 200 and tried finding the right aperature. will this setting work just as good or since the cars are going to be racing very quickly will i need a higher shutter speed?

    3. for the cruise i was told to leave the camera on iso auto, will this work since events start in the evening around 5 and into the night?

    keep in mind that this will be going on from the evening into the night so settings for theses conditions are most preferred.so really my questiones are:
    1. will i need the flash even though there will be lights? and if so will i need to adjust the flash level for racing and still shots?
    2. whats the best shutter speed and aperature to capture motion and stillness during the racing? since these seem faster than ordinary cars due to there small size
    3. how should i adjust my aperature according to it being the evening and night?
    4. will i need to adujst my iso and exposure level or just leave them on auto?
    5. should i keep the photos in normal, vivid, fine...etc? never really understood this concept.

    i really appreciate your help guys, you all really make photography much more easier to understand:thumbup:
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Okay, in no particular order, here are my thoughts. If you are allowed to use the flash, then it will work well if you want to freeze the action. If you're shooting with just ambient light, then I would recommend a shutter speed of probably 1/400 or better (You may be able to get away with lower speeds, but I'm not really familiar with this, so a little trial and error will be required).

    If you want to capture the motion, ie panning the shot, then I would suggest shutter speeds of 1/30 - 1/45 of a second, but this is going to be difficult because of how small the cars are; I suspect you'll have lay on your stomach and shoot from a bit of a distance. Worth trying however.

    I don't recommend shooting with ISO in auto simply because it may climb higher than you want. Remember, the higher the ISO, the more noise you will see in your images. Your camera should work just fine at ISO 800, but keep it as low as you can and still maintain the necessary shutter speed.

    I would keep the camera in full manual, and shutter priority (since DoF is going to be less critical) and ensure you check your settings often.

    As far as the picture control goes, I would suggest normal, but if you're shooting RAW, it doesn't matter too much you can always adjust it later. All the picture control does is add or remove saturation, sharpening and so on to the image.

    In addition to the above, I would recommend that you do shoot in RAW, and that you leave your WB in auto. This may add an extra minute or two in post, but will allow you the flexibility to deal with annoying things like sodium-vapour lights etc, and not have images which are a really garish shade of yellow (if in fact there are any SV lights around).
     
  3. mrodgers

    mrodgers No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    .... and post up the photos when finished. I've seen plenty of photos of car cruises, racing, rallying, etc. I have the ability myself to shoot RC flight at the local field, but haven't seen photo shoots of RC racing yet, except for snapshotish photos on track websites.

    I'm very anxious to see these shots coming from a photography hobbyist if you post them when finished.
     
  4. TamiyaGuy

    TamiyaGuy No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hey, I believe I may be able to help you, as I have shot R/C cars before. But never in the dark...

    First off, you will need a VERY fast shutter speed. I'm talking 1/500 for "panning" shots and 1/2500-1/4000 for still shots. Most shots I have taken have been near the latter numbers, and the wheels can be seen blurred. Depth of field isn't all that important, just the shutter speed.

    Screw the ISO. At the first shoot I went to, I was using ISO 1,600 all the time in daylight. The next time, I tried ISO 800 and some of the photos came out a little blurred (although the good ones did look better). Especially in low light, shutter speed is essential, no matter what the cost.

    As for flash, it depends where you will be. If you're going to be more than 15-20m away from the action, then I would say you shouldn't bother. If the flash is not powerful enough to overpower the natural light coming into the scene, you will get strange blurred sections in the photos. If, however, you're near to the action, then I would suggest trying it, but review your photos in between races to see if they look good. If they do, continue using the flash, If they don't, try without the flash. You should also try to use the fastest sync speed your camera has (is it 1/250 or 1/320 with the D80?) and use Manual flash mode set to 1/1. This will ensure that you can "freeze" subjects as best you can.

    It's not easy getting photos of R/C's, believe me. Just learn to pan with the cars (useful for compsition, not necessarily panning shots), look for "hotspots" in the track like sharp corners, jumps, etc, and have fun! I really wish you the best of luck. Love RC cars :biggrin:.

    Actually, one last thing: If you can, try and leave some "looking space" in front of the car if you haven't centered your subject. It just looks... I dunno... better. :D
     

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