New camera suggestions?

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I've got a Nikon Coolpix 9100 that is almost 10 years old now and I think it's time for a replacement. I don't really use a camera a lot. Mainly I use it each October when I go to Road Atlanta for the Petite Le Mans race or some other event like that. The one thing I would like the camera to do is to be good at capturing cars in motion. I kind of would like to stay in the $600 and under range if possible.

Here's some examples of what I shot last year.



The weather was misty and rainy during the morning warmup I didn't get any decent shots of cars moving but here is what I got in 2016.



And I shot these at a Manchester City vs. Tottenham exhibition match in July 2016.

 
42
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I would go for a dslr which gives you the option to buy new lenses in the future.
Not sure on u.s prices but have a chat in a camera store and get a feel for the cameras before you make a purchase.
I have owned a couple of nikon dslrs and they have been excellent.
If you look in my album, those were all taken on my nikon dslr.
Hope that is helpful to you.
 
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I would go for a dslr which gives you the option to buy new lenses in the future.
Not sure on u.s prices but have a chat in a camera store and get a feel for the cameras before you make a purchase.
I have owned a couple of nikon dslrs and they have been excellent.
If you look in my album, those were all taken on my nikon dslr.
Hope that is helpful to you.

One I've been looking at is the Nikon D3400.
 
42
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One I've been looking at is the Nikon D3400.

That is a nice camera packed full of good features
You will have a lot of fun with it.
Also look at used as you can get a nearly new camera and it will save you some money.
 
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Ok so I got this Nikon D3400 on Friday and I spent most of the weekend trying to understand it. First thing I noticed is there is no zoom unless you use the LCD screen. I guess with a DSLR you're supposed to take a big picture and crop it down from there if you want a close up shot? I took a few pictures just standing outside on my balcony but since a USB cable didn't come with the camera I have to pick one up tonight to see what those test shots look like.

I don't really want to mess with things like ISO settings so AUTO is probably ok, however the camera has different mode settings like portrait, night, and sports. Since I'm going to the race at Road Atlanta this weekend I want to get some shots of moving cars. There is an AF setting called AF-C for things in constant motion, like a car, but I can't get into it unless I go to full manual which I don't want to do. Again I'll have to try and play with it some more in the few days I have left before the race.

I think I'm in way over my head and expertise level. I probably just needed a more modern point and shoot camera that would do a better job of taking a picture of a moving race car. I think I bought too much camera for my usage. The bag for it and the lenses is too big for the tote bag I take to the track so I'm going to have to figure out someway to haul the tote bag, camera, bag, stadium chair, and umbrella all the way from the car to the track and back.

I think I bought a Ferrari 488 just for a 2 mile round trip per day when I nice Ford Focus would have probably done a better job. :)
 
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Ok so I got this Nikon D3400 on Friday and I spent most of the weekend trying to understand it. First thing I noticed is there is no zoom unless you use the LCD screen. I guess with a DSLR you're supposed to take a big picture and crop it down from there if you want a close up shot? I took a few pictures just standing outside on my balcony but since a USB cable didn't come with the camera I have to pick one up tonight to see what those test shots look like.
I'm assuming that you got a prime lens with it then?
I don't really want to mess with things like ISO settings so AUTO is probably ok, however the camera has different mode settings like portrait, night, and sports. Since I'm going to the race at Road Atlanta this weekend I want to get some shots of moving cars. There is an AF setting called AF-C for things in constant motion, like a car, but I can't get into it unless I go to full manual which I don't want to do. Again I'll have to try and play with it some more in the few days I have left before the race.
For cars in motion try out the S mode (Shutter priority) on your camera, you'll want to set the shutter at 1/60 or 1/30 and have auto focus in AF-C. Also ISO helps make pictures brighter or darker but the higher the ISO number the more noise you may get.

This tutorial is pretty good also if you wanna watch and learn about panning shots.

I think I'm in way over my head and expertise level.
Don't worry just take your time and watch a few tutorials on Youtube and you'll learn. :cheers:
 

Moglet

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Ok so I got this Nikon D3400 on Friday and I spent most of the weekend trying to understand it. First thing I noticed is there is no zoom unless you use the LCD screen. I guess with a DSLR you're supposed to take a big picture and crop it down from there if you want a close up shot? I took a few pictures just standing outside on my balcony but since a USB cable didn't come with the camera I have to pick one up tonight to see what those test shots look like.

I don't really want to mess with things like ISO settings so AUTO is probably ok, however the camera has different mode settings like portrait, night, and sports. Since I'm going to the race at Road Atlanta this weekend I want to get some shots of moving cars. There is an AF setting called AF-C for things in constant motion, like a car, but I can't get into it unless I go to full manual which I don't want to do. Again I'll have to try and play with it some more in the few days I have left before the race.

I think I'm in way over my head and expertise level. I probably just needed a more modern point and shoot camera that would do a better job of taking a picture of a moving race car. I think I bought too much camera for my usage. The bag for it and the lenses is too big for the tote bag I take to the track so I'm going to have to figure out someway to haul the tote bag, camera, bag, stadium chair, and umbrella all the way from the car to the track and back.

I think I bought a Ferrari 488 just for a 2 mile round trip per day when I nice Ford Focus would have probably done a better job. :)

This is exactly why I'm hesitant to recommend DSLRs to people unless they want more manual control and the ability to change lenses. It sounds like a good compact or bridge camera with a long zoom would have been more suited to your photography. That said, now that you have a DSLR you have a good reason to learn all about focal lengths, apertures, shutter speeds etc. which will help you in the long run. You might need to invest in a zoom lens from the sounds of things though.
 

daan

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Ok so I got this Nikon D3400 on Friday and I spent most of the weekend trying to understand it. First thing I noticed is there is no zoom unless you use the LCD screen. I guess with a DSLR you're supposed to take a big picture and crop it down from there if you want a close up shot?
With a DSLR, the zoom is in the lens. What lens did you get with it? If it only has 1 number on it, then it's a prime lens and you cannot change the "zoom". If it is something like 18-55, then you can zoom in and out, but not very far.

Whichever lens you got with it then it's probably not going to cut it for motorsport images. For my motorsport photography, I use a Tamron 70-200 f2.8 on my Nikon D3200.


British GT Oulton 2018
by David Anderson, on Flickr

Edit: There are places that you can hire lenses from if you only need it once a year.
 
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With a DSLR, the zoom is in the lens. What lens did you get with it? If it only has 1 number on it, then it's a prime lens and you cannot change the "zoom". If it is something like 18-55, then you can zoom in and out, but not very far.

Whichever lens you got with it then it's probably not going to cut it for motorsport images. For my motorsport photography, I use a Tamron 70-200 f2.8 on my Nikon D3200.


British GT Oulton 2018
by David Anderson, on Flickr

Edit: There are places that you can hire lenses from if you only need it once a year.

It came with an 18-55 and a 70-300.

I went and bought the USB cable last night to download the test shots with and I'm confused a little bit. I set the size at 6mb when I first set up the camera but out of the 5 or 6 test shots only one of them is close to that. I think one is slightly over 5mb while the rest are about 1.5mb. The one or two I tried to take using the LCD screen and zooming in a little didn't even take at all. But I didn't scroll through the camera to see if they were there or not. I need to try and do that tonight. I'll also try and post the test shots here.

I've only got a couple of more days left to try and figure this thing out before the race this weekend.

I did come across a fairly good introductory Youtube video on this camera by a guy called Froknows or something like that.
 

Moglet

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The one or two I tried to take using the LCD screen and zooming in a little didn't even take at all. But I didn't scroll through the camera to see if they were there or not. I need to try and do that tonight. I'll also try and post the test shots here.

You shouldn't need to touch the LCD to take photos or zoom in, it's all done using the lens and the camera body. To zoom in you twist the rubber grip on the lens and the lens physically moves in and out to adjust the optics. Since you have an SLR now it might be worth trying not to rely on the screen too much, as you can save a lot of battery life by using the viewfinder to line up your shots. I only ever use the screen on mine to review the photos, everything else is done using the viewfinder as it has readouts for the camera settings in there.
 

daan

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Use the 70-300. Zoom in and out using the zoom ring on the lens itself.
Do not use the screen for anything other than reviewing shots and for changing settings. Put your eye to the viewfinder to take pictures. The screen will have a delay on it so you may not get the image you intended.
 
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I went and bought the USB cable last night to download the test shots with and I'm confused a little bit. I set the size at 6mb when I first set up the camera but out of the 5 or 6 test shots only one of them is close to that. I think one is slightly over 5mb while the rest are about 1.5mb. The one or two I tried to take using the LCD screen and zooming in a little didn't even take at all. But I didn't scroll through the camera to see if they were there or not. I need to try and do that tonight. I'll also try and post the test shots here.

Sounds like you might be confusing mb and megapixels? A more 'simple' photo (i.e. a photo of a plain white wall) will generally give you smaller file sizes (mb), then something with lots going on it. The resolution of the camera is in megapixels (mp), if it's set to 6mp, it'll aways shoot 6mp, but the file sizes will depend on the photo itself.

As has been said, forget about the LCD while you're shooting. Just get the hang of adjusting the Zoom using the zoom ring on the body of the lens.

You might not want to waste the time at this stage, but moving to shutter priority, then full manual (with auto ISO normally an option) really is the way to go. If you've gone to the effort of getting a DSLR then it will allow you to get the best from it. First step is usually investigating shutter priority mode, that way you can start to experiment with getting some movement into the photo (like Daans Lambo above), rather than just having everything look stationary (which is how it will look if end up shooting on 'sport' mode or similar). Then comes adjusting aperture as well, then it's fully auto.

edit:

Meant to add. If you want to get the best at the track, get practice in now!

Firstly, go and stand near a road, take photos of moving cars! Get used to zooming in and out on things whilst on the fly. Secondly, go find a park where people are feeding birds, and try and shoot the birds as they're fighting for food. You'll get rubbish photos but it's good practice for trying to keep things in the viewfinder... in my humble experience.
 
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You shouldn't need to touch the LCD to take photos or zoom in, it's all done using the lens and the camera body. To zoom in you twist the rubber grip on the lens and the lens physically moves in and out to adjust the optics. Since you have an SLR now it might be worth trying not to rely on the screen too much, as you can save a lot of battery life by using the viewfinder to line up your shots. I only ever use the screen on mine to review the photos, everything else is done using the viewfinder as it has readouts for the camera settings in there.

On these lenses there is a button that you push and then the lens rotates and there's marks on the outside but I don't know what they mean. I'm going to have to do some more practicing the next couple of days at lunch since it's getting dark when I get home from work this time of year.

This is the whole package that I got.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LZE8P9M/?tag=gtplanet-20
 

Moglet

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On these lenses there is a button that you push and then the lens rotates and there's marks on the outside but I don't know what they mean. I'm going to have to do some more practicing the next couple of days at lunch since it's getting dark when I get home from work this time of year.

This is the whole package that I got.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LZE8P9M/?tag=gtplanet-20

The button could be for all sorts of things, on my Sony there is a similar button that enables me to override the autofocus without turning it off entirely. Is the button on both lenses or just the 18-55mm?

Also have you swapped the lenses over yet? You won't get much of a zoom with the smaller lens (the 18-55mm) but you should be able to zoom in quite a bit with the larger 70-300mm. You will need to detach the smaller lens from the camera, then attach the larger one.
 
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@Jezza819

Your 18-55 has a lock on the zoom ring. The rounded button halfway along it unlocks it, hold it, and twist the barrel of the lens clockwise (as you point it away from you). You'll notice the end of it starts moving back and forth. This might be why you've not achieved any zoom yet.

I don't think you 70-300 lens has this feature.
 
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The button could be for all sorts of things, on my Sony there is a similar button that enables me to override the autofocus without turning it off entirely. Is the button on both lenses or just the 18-55mm?

Also have you swapped the lenses over yet? You won't get much of a zoom with the smaller lens (the 18-55mm) but you should be able to zoom in quite a bit with the larger 70-300mm. You will need to detach the smaller lens from the camera, then attach the larger one.

I have not swapped lenses yet. That was my next step after I saw what these first few test shots looked like. But I think both lenses have that button on them.

@Jezza819

Your 18-55 has a lock on the zoom ring. The rounded button halfway along it unlocks it, hold it, and twist the barrel of the lens clockwise (as you point it away from you). You'll notice the end of it starts moving back and forth. This might be why you've not achieved any zoom yet.

I don't think you 70-300 lens has this feature.

There is a small ring out near where the lens protrudes away but when I turned it it looked like it was fine tuning focus so I left it alone.

Back to the picture size thing. In that menu I think it read L, M, S which I understood as picture size since my old point and shoot had the same menu on it.
 

Moglet

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There is a small ring out near where the lens protrudes away but when I turned it it looked like it was fine tuning focus so I left it alone.

Back to the picture size thing. In that menu I think it read L, M, S which I understood as picture size since my old point and shoot had the same menu on it.

The small ring near where the lens protrudes is indeed a focusing ring. If you use autofocus you can leave this alone most of the time, but manual focusing is a good skill to learn.
 
13,670
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There is a small ring out near where the lens protrudes away but when I turned it it looked like it was fine tuning focus so I left it alone.

Back to the picture size thing. In that menu I think it read L, M, S which I understood as picture size since my old point and shoot had the same menu on it.

The small ring towards the end is the focus ring, you only need to touch this in manual focus mode. The main body of the lens forms the zoom ring,
by the looks of it, this won't turn until you've pressed the big round button halfway along the lens... but twisting it is what will zoom the thing in and out.

upload_2018-10-9_16-55-30.png


upload_2018-10-9_16-57-48.png

... having said that, I'd take the small lens off and get the '300 on it. You won't be using the 18-55 for taking photos of cars on track.
 
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The small ring towards the end is the focus ring, you only need to touch this in manual focus mode. The main body of the lens forms the zoom ring,
by the looks of it, this won't turn until you've pressed the big round button halfway along the lens... but twisting it is what will zoom the thing in and out.

... having said that, I'd take the small lens off and get the '300 on it. You won't be using the 18-55 for taking photos of cars on track.

If you look at the examples up at the top of the thread that were taken in 2016, I'm standing right beside the bridge as the cars come out of 10b and head up the hill and go under that bridge. So I'm not all that far away from the track. I only get pictures as soon as I get to the track in the paddock before morning warm up and of the cars on track during morning warm up. And also during the grid walk if possible but it's so congested there it's hard to get a clear picture of anything. So I might not have to zoom all that far. I'll get a better idea of it once I see what it looks like through that bigger lens.

When I get home tonight I'll post the test shots and about how far away I am from what I shot.
 
13,670
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If you look at the examples up at the top of the thread that were taken in 2016, I'm standing right beside the bridge as the cars come out of 10b and head up the hill and go under that bridge. So I'm not all that far away from the track. I only get pictures as soon as I get to the track in the paddock before morning warm up and of the cars on track during morning warm up. And also during the grid walk if possible but it's so congested there it's hard to get a clear picture of anything. So I might not have to zoom all that far. I'll get a better idea of it once I see what it looks like through that bigger lens.

When I get home tonight I'll post the test shots and about how far away I am from what I shot.

Fair enough.

The difference is between shooting at the extreme end of one lens (i.e. 55mm) and the minimum end of the other (i.e. 70mm). IMHO it is better to do the latter as it generally allows the camera more flexibility with its aperture settings, and also maxing out the zoom (even optical) isn't usually the best for picture quality. ... but obviously it depends on the situation which you'll be able to judge at the time.

For me, it's been rare to use anything other than my longer zoom lenses. If going off on one now but you might find it interesting...
There are times when my 50mm prime lens (i.e. one wth no zoom function) has worked really well, there's a few corners - like Druids at Brands, where it's just right...

eBay Motors BMW 125i M-performance Parts by Matt Stokes, on Flickr

In the flipside, if you're shooting from the outside of the bend, you have great big catch fences in the way. When you have something like that, it's better to have a lot of zoom on, and get as close to the fence as possible... that way, any obstructions (such as the fence) have a tendancy to be so out of focus, they disappear...

BMW Z4 GT3, Blancpain & British GT by Matt Stokes, on Flickr

There's some wire fence in the foreground there on that image...

... sometimes it is more noticable...

BMW M3 DTM, Marco Wittmann by Matt Stokes, on Flickr

In that image, the darker patches in the gravel trap are actually reallllly out of focus fence.

It's more noticeable as the pale patches on this shot

BMW M3 DTM, Dirk Werner by Matt Stokes, on Flickr

This is because the fence falls under the minimum focal distance of the length. To get the best out of it, you need the camera to be using a larger aperture (for minimal focal depth) and get as close as you can to the fence.

At many circuits though, you just can't get close enough to the action... and a greater degree of zoom is required.

In this example...

Toyota by Matt Stokes, on Flickr

The zooms at about 168mm. I like this kind of length because with a shutter speed of 1/250 you can still get quite a sharp shot, and get plenty of movement in the background. Because the car is quite a long way away, it's easy to pan and track to get the subject in focus and only motion blur the background..

... with a shorter lens and less distance, it gets harder to keep most of the car in focus..

BTCC, Oulton Park by Matt Stokes, on Flickr

That was back on my 50mm.

So there you go... some waffle to think about when taking photos at the track.
 
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Fair enough.

The difference is between shooting at the extreme end of one lens (i.e. 55mm) and the minimum end of the other (i.e. 70mm). IMHO it is better to do the latter as it generally allows the camera more flexibility with its aperture settings, and also maxing out the zoom (even optical) isn't usually the best for picture quality. ... but obviously it depends on the situation which you'll be able to judge at the time.

For me, it's been rare to use anything other than my longer zoom lenses. If going off on one now but you might find it interesting...
There are times when my 50mm prime lens (i.e. one wth no zoom function) has worked really well, there's a few corners - like Druids at Brands, where it's just right...

eBay Motors BMW 125i M-performance Parts by Matt Stokes, on Flickr

In the flipside, if you're shooting from the outside of the bend, you have great big catch fences in the way. When you have something like that, it's better to have a lot of zoom on, and get as close to the fence as possible... that way, any obstructions (such as the fence) have a tendancy to be so out of focus, they disappear...

BMW Z4 GT3, Blancpain & British GT by Matt Stokes, on Flickr

There's some wire fence in the foreground there on that image...

... sometimes it is more noticable...

BMW M3 DTM, Marco Wittmann by Matt Stokes, on Flickr

In that image, the darker patches in the gravel trap are actually reallllly out of focus fence.

It's more noticeable as the pale patches on this shot

BMW M3 DTM, Dirk Werner by Matt Stokes, on Flickr

This is because the fence falls under the minimum focal distance of the length. To get the best out of it, you need the camera to be using a larger aperture (for minimal focal depth) and get as close as you can to the fence.

At many circuits though, you just can't get close enough to the action... and a greater degree of zoom is required.

In this example...

Toyota by Matt Stokes, on Flickr

The zooms at about 168mm. I like this kind of length because with a shutter speed of 1/250 you can still get quite a sharp shot, and get plenty of movement in the background. Because the car is quite a long way away, it's easy to pan and track to get the subject in focus and only motion blur the background..

... with a shorter lens and less distance, it gets harder to keep most of the car in focus..

BTCC, Oulton Park by Matt Stokes, on Flickr

That was back on my 50mm.

So there you go... some waffle to think about when taking photos at the track.

Ok yeah now I understand what you're talking about.
 
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I think I'm ready. But I didn't get to practice on moving cars so I'll just have to see what happens with that. The only way to get AF-C for focusing on moving objects is to go into Programmable Auto or I might just flip back and forth between that and Sports Mode and see what turns up.

When I went home at lunch I took a few shots in the Full Automatic with no flash mode and then in that Programmable mode. On the ISO reading on both settings is was about 100. I'm thinking that's because my balcony was shaded as I was shooting but I was shooting out into bright sunlight.
 
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I think it went ok. I wasn't sure how some of the shots with cars in motion would go. Some I think are good, some not so good.

Here's few thumbnail examples.



With a link to all of the shots I took this weekend.

https://flic.kr/s/aHsmpcWoaq

Don't know why there is a red X on some shots but if you click them you can see them.
 

Pupik

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Not bad - I miss going to the races.

The best pieces of advice I can give you are:

1) The first year or two (or ten) of owning a camera is a learning experience. An SLR is rather complicated, so don't try to fiddle with every little setting all at once. Play around with one setting at a time, and see your results. After a little time with a particular subject and conditions, you'll feel more comfortable switching a few more things up on the fly.

2) Look how some of the best do it, and learn from them, but don't compare every shot you take to them...you'll never be satisfied if you do. Make yourself happy with your shots; some days, you get a lot of good shots and other times, you get a wheelbarrow full of meh. The internet is full of people who are dismissing and snobbish about beginner-end equipment, which is exactly where to start, unless you're hemorrhaging cash. And that's fine if you make a career out of taking photos for high-end purposes. Ignore them. A great photographer can make 110 film look good.

3) Photograph what you like to shoot photos of and take notes of what works. And then, let loose on different subjects. Yeah, I'm guilty of over-focusing on a few subjects. But sometimes it makes me more curious to know more about what I've taken photos of, which is an interesting side effect.

4) Every photo doesn't have to be a masterpiece - the best photos you see might have the result of a week's work, months of planning, hyper-expensive equipment, culling though hundreds of shots, and hours of post-production. Or, just one stroke of luck after a single shutter release, because you had a camera ready.

5) If you're unsure for one-of-a-kind moments, just keep it simple. A birthday party full of shots in entirely the wrong white balance or forgetting to use auto-focus isn't worth the frustration.

Getting to know the limits of the camera and how fast you react and respond. That you (might) "bracket" a shot, when possible. Composition of a shot. Shooting moving objects takes a good understanding of parallax. The practice with moving traffic is great advice. Panning takes time and practice, too. You can't control all conditions, and that's what takes time...and patience.

Have fun with it.
 
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