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F3 Racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

More formula 3 racing action for Simraceway. This time from the Jim Russell F3 Winter Racing Series at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, CA. The goal was to cover the action, keep track of the drivers, and get the in-between moments that coincide with racing. My motorsports kit is getting more streamlined. I’ve been sticking with (2) lenses, a monopod, and a single camera body to help reduce weight during the long day. For this work, I have a few camera preferences, but for this assignment I wanted to try the Nikon D750 to see if the buffer and FPS were fast enough for motorsports. Take a look at the images below, then see my summary at the end of this post.

A few highlights:

 

Is the Nikon D750 fast enough for sports?

The bad news: If you are new to shooting motorsports (for example), you’ll be figuring out the correct shutter speed combos to get blurry wheels and backgrounds while keeping the cars in focus. Each turn has it’s sweet spot, so it’s safer to lay down the shutter release button, track focus throughout the pass, and then choose the sharpest image when behind the computer. The D750 is only 6.5 fps (not the 11 fps of a “pro” sports body) so your margin for error is smaller. That’s 41% less forgiving which could be a bummer for some.

The good news: Normally I’m shooting ALL day, so I actually try to minimize excessive shooting because it requires additional computer time looking at images. For sports, you only need enough fps to capture short sequences of action, and a buffer large enough to hold those bursts. Right. So – your technique has to overcome the minor limitations of the camera (as it should with any camera), and with some practice this can be done with a D750 for sports. The D750 almost cancels out the smaller buffer and slower fps by giving you a camera that is one of the fastest focusing cameras Nikon has ever made. This compensates for the reduced margin for error mentioned above, and it actually increases your hit rate. The focus is just that good. Its performance in this regard is on par with the Nikon D4s, but with 50% more megapixels. When it comes to speed, just don’t forget to factor in the slower processing times that would accompany larger MPs in high volume.


 

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