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post #21 of 137 (permalink) Old 01-06-2019, 06:32 AM Thread Starter
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Oh, don't get me started on the "rule of thirds", I don't like it. Gimme the golden ratio any day! Anyway, I'm not a big believe in rules - hence, using things like fisheyes and LensBabys. Honestly, I just like Bryan Peterson's way of thinking of it - the farther to the edge the focal point is, the more interesting, but the more it needs to justify being there. Different subjects should be composed differently.

I think you can get a good photo at a car show - but it's not all that easy. You won't get the glamour shots that VisualEchos does - they're beautiful but frankly I don't have the patience! But you can certainly get nice detail photos, and if it's not too crowded, you can get farther away and use a telephoto to isolate a car from anything around it. It's good IMHO to get low, too, which the telephoto helps with. For example:

You can also capture just part of a car. A short depth of field is definitely your friend. This was at the last LOG, shot with a lens that was built sometime around 1960:


If you want really short DoF, you need a fast prime. Here's a shot at F1.2, 50mm from a LOONY breakfast gathering.

Or, just look for some interesting part of the car and focus on that:

Everyone has their own style and ultimately, if you're not trying to sell your photos, the only person you have to please is yourself.
Thanks for chiming back in. That is really interesting. I hadn't actually heard of the Golden Ratio. But I looked into it and seems cool ( https://petapixel.com/2016/10/24/gol...r-rule-thirds/ ). It is interesting how a certain composition (rule of thirds or golden ratio) just seems more aesthetically pleasing. Thanks for sharing.

I do agree that you can get some really good pictures from a car show (and since I really like going to them probably most of my pictures will come from there). But it is impressive to see what types of results you can get out of the parking lot staged with a more interesting background.

An updated 50mm lens is definitely on my short list of new lenses. Canon has the really nice 1.2 lens but it is super expensive. Sigma a few year back came out with a 1.4 that has gotten really good reviews. I've also been considering the Canon 70mm-200mm lens to try out some shot at a higher focal length than what I've shot. But again, super expensive...
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post #22 of 137 (permalink) Old 01-06-2019, 08:00 AM
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AMAZING Photos!!! Thx for sharing!!
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post #23 of 137 (permalink) Old 01-06-2019, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by tonydim7 View Post
Thanks for sharing your lens info. 200/2 sounds like a pretty awesome lens.

That is really interesting how the proportion of the car changes depending on the focal length. I don't think I ever tangibly looked at that. More focused on how the car was filling the frame, but not so much in what manner the car is distorted.
A really easy way to see the type of distortion effect different focal lengths have is to look at portraits. Here's a good example, comparing the 19mm and the 350mm shots it almost doesn't even look like the same person Untitled Document

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An updated 50mm lens is definitely on my short list of new lenses. Canon has the really nice 1.2 lens but it is super expensive. Sigma a few year back came out with a 1.4 that has gotten really good reviews. I've also been considering the Canon 70mm-200mm lens to try out some shot at a higher focal length than what I've shot. But again, super expensive...
I'm a Nikon guy so I'm not really familiar with Canon's offerings, but Nikon has 2 50mm/1.8s that are very good and cheap ($130 or so for the 1.8 D and around $200 for the 1.8 G) so I'd be willing to bet that Canon has something similar.
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post #24 of 137 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 06:44 AM
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I would agree that you don't need to spend a bunch at this point for a 50mm - the F1.2 lenses are not something most people will need, and they're also going to be bigger and heavier because of the extra glasses needed for the high speed. The depth of field at F1.2 is so narrow (and no lens performs at its best wide open) that you'll rarely shoot at F1.2 anyway.

I'm pretty sure there's a really cheap plasticky but decent optically Canon 50mm F1.8, that's a good place to start to get your feet wet. You may even want to check eBay; good lenses don't depreciate much so if you buy a second-hand lens, you'll probably be able to sell it for what you paid for it if you decide to upgrade later. Also check your local Craigslist, you can sometimes find deals there.

There's a lot of very nice third-party lenses too; Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, etc. If you don't mind manual focusing, Samyang makes some really nice lenses for a very good price. They are often rebadged and sold as Rokinon, Bower, Vivitar Series One, etc. They are just starting to make a few autofocus lenses but the vast majority of their stuff is manual focus.

Same for the telephoto zoom. I currently use a Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 and it's very good. The OEM lens is a little better (and weather-sealed), but would have cost me about 3x what I paid! Considering most photos are viewing on little screens and fairly low resolutions nowadays, you'll probably not notice much of a difference in the final product.

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post #25 of 137 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 07:01 AM
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I would agree that you don't need to spend a bunch at this point for a 50mm - the F1.2 lenses are not something most people will need, and they're also going to be bigger and heavier because of the extra glasses needed for the high speed. The depth of field at F1.2 is so narrow (and no lens performs at its best wide open) that you'll rarely shoot at F1.2 anyway.
Exactly, you use an f1.2 when you need to handhold a shot in a very dark room without flash, or maybe if you were trying to shoot a portrait with someone's eyes in focus, but not their nose or ears for some reason. The depth of field at f1.2 is razor thin, to the point it's useless most of the time so unless you know you really need it you're paying a lot of money for nothing.
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post #26 of 137 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 07:15 AM
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Exactly, you use an f1.2 when you need to handhold a shot in a very dark room without flash, or maybe if you were trying to shoot a portrait with someone's eyes in focus, but not their nose or ears for some reason. The depth of field at f1.2 is razor thin, to the point it's useless most of the time so unless you know you really need it you're paying a lot of money for nothing.
Dof always depends on your distance from the subject. If you are 3 feet from your model, then the dof is only going to give you the eyes (probably just one). However, if you're 20 feet from your model @ 1.2, then you'll have her whole head in focus.

And with regards to what you're paying for, it's many times not the ultimate light capabilities or stats of the lens, but the renderings of the oof areas. Most of my lenses were chosen for their boke.


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post #27 of 137 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 07:44 AM
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Well, if we're being technical, the focal length makes a big difference, too. At 20', F1.2, 50mm gives a 3.48' DoF, but with an 85mm, it's only 1.19'. Online Depth of Field Calculator

I don't think a 50mm is going to be anyone's choice for portraits at 20', you'd have to do too much cropping... even 10' is a bit, you are at about a half foot of DoF with a 50mm F1.2. In the shot I posted, the DoF was just about big enough for the Lotus badge. I have some extra challenge since my lens is manual focus, and no matter how good you are, nailing focus at F1.2 can be tricky!

Here's a fairly close portrait to give an idea of how they look. Not perfect since there's something partially blocking my son's face but I still like it. This was a Cosina 55mm lens (since replaced with a Pentax 50mm) on a crop-sensor camera. A nice thing about closer-focusing is that the background really all turns to bokeh, if that's the effect you're going for.



Regardless, we're off topic. Point being that an F1.2 is certainly not a necessity for most photographers starting out, especially if the primary concern is car photography.

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post #28 of 137 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 07:54 AM
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I would agree that you don't need to spend a bunch at this point for a 50mm - the F1.2 lenses are not something most people will need, and they're also going to be bigger and heavier because of the extra glasses needed for the high speed. The depth of field at F1.2 is so narrow (and no lens performs at its best wide open) that you'll rarely shoot at F1.2 anyway.
AFAIK the argument for faster glass has always been (Nikon has offered an f1.2 and f1.4 50 mm for as long as most of us have been alive) not that that extra fraction of a stop was great, but because the faster lens performed better at f2. That said, I've managed to live without a 50/1.2 for my entire life.

The other side of this is the steady decades-long love of the micro-Nikkor macro lenses. A number of portrait photographers have used these for decades precisely because of the large depth of field and crispness the (slow) lens offers - sort of the opposite approach. It requires a lot more structured shot, but can give a very rewarding picture.

If you're at a car show, your problems are constraining clutter (shallow DOF helps here, as does adjustable focal length) and framing the shot. I've ended up repeatedly settling on 28-200 zooms for car shows. If I've got a fixed lens in the bag and I see a 'poster-grade' shot, I'll switch lenses after doing a first take with the zoom.
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post #29 of 137 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 08:06 AM
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AFAIK the argument for faster glass has always been (Nikon has offered an f1.2 and f1.4 50 mm for as long as most of us have been alive) not that that extra fraction of a stop was great, but because the faster lens performed better at f2. That said, I've managed to live without a 50/1.2 for my entire life.
That's true, too. I have no doubt that my 50mm F1.2 is sharper at large apertures than my 50mm F1.4 - but the F1.4 is autofocus and about half the size/weight, so that keeps me using it. Lately, I've been favoring a ~60-year-old Takumar 55mm F1.8 though; it's super sharp where it should be sharp and sooooo creamy where it should be. Sometimes you just have to go for the lens that gives the "look" you like the best. Ultimately, I treat the F1.2 the same as I treat the Lensbaby - it's kind of a "gimmick" lens. (Some people feel that way about fisheyes too, but I use my fisheyes a LOT!)

[img]If you're at a car show, your problems are constraining clutter (shallow DOF helps here, as does adjustable focal length) and framing the shot. I've ended up repeatedly settling on 28-200 zooms for car shows. If I've got a fixed lens in the bag and I see a 'poster-grade' shot, I'll switch lenses after doing a first take with the zoom.[/QUOTE]
Makes sense. I don't have an "all in one" zoom but generally mostly use a "normal" zoom (16-50mm on crop, 24-70mm on full-frame) in a car show situation, but also swap between a few primes. I switch lenses a lot.

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post #30 of 137 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 11:39 AM
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I don't think a 50mm is going to be anyone's choice for portraits at 20', you'd have to do too much cropping...
I'd say leave that up to the individual to decide.


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Regardless, we're off topic. Point being that an F1.2 is certainly not a necessity for most photographers starting out, especially if the primary concern is car photography.
No one said it was necessary, but depending on the look you're after, the 50 1.2 could serve you well in automotive photography.

Personally, I find that the 35/1.4 and 200/2 cover everything I need, but it's up to each person to decide what's right for them.

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post #31 of 137 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 11:47 AM
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post #32 of 137 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 03:28 PM
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One of my favorite automotive/motorsport photographers is Larry Chen: https://www.larrychenphoto.com/
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post #33 of 137 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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A really easy way to see the type of distortion effect different focal lengths have is to look at portraits. Here's a good example, comparing the 19mm and the 350mm shots it almost doesn't even look like the same person Untitled Document

Thanks for posting that link. That is crazy how much her face changes depending on the focal length.

I'm a Nikon guy so I'm not really familiar with Canon's offerings, but Nikon has 2 50mm/1.8s that are very good and cheap ($130 or so for the 1.8 D and around $200 for the 1.8 G) so I'd be willing to bet that Canon has something similar.
Yep. I have the Canon 50mm 1.8 and it is a great lens and very reasonably priced. While walking around car shows I feel like it's a really good focal length (based on the spacing in a typical car parking lot you can get a variety of shots without running into everyone). I'd really like to upgrade (sharper lens and better bokeh), but it just gets so expensive so quickly with full frame sensors. But I guess the searching and researching is part of the fun!
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post #34 of 137 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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I would agree that you don't need to spend a bunch at this point for a 50mm - the F1.2 lenses are not something most people will need, and they're also going to be bigger and heavier because of the extra glasses needed for the high speed. The depth of field at F1.2 is so narrow (and no lens performs at its best wide open) that you'll rarely shoot at F1.2 anyway.

I'm pretty sure there's a really cheap plasticky but decent optically Canon 50mm F1.8, that's a good place to start to get your feet wet. You may even want to check eBay; good lenses don't depreciate much so if you buy a second-hand lens, you'll probably be able to sell it for what you paid for it if you decide to upgrade later. Also check your local Craigslist, you can sometimes find deals there.

There's a lot of very nice third-party lenses too; Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, etc. If you don't mind manual focusing, Samyang makes some really nice lenses for a very good price. They are often rebadged and sold as Rokinon, Bower, Vivitar Series One, etc. They are just starting to make a few autofocus lenses but the vast majority of their stuff is manual focus.

Same for the telephoto zoom. I currently use a Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 and it's very good. The OEM lens is a little better (and weather-sealed), but would have cost me about 3x what I paid! Considering most photos are viewing on little screens and fairly low resolutions nowadays, you'll probably not notice much of a difference in the final product.
Yep. I totally agree the Canon 1.8 is a really good lens to start out with. There is a really nice used camera store in Columbus and I rented the Canon 85mm 1.2 for the weekend and was blown away. That's when I started getting the itch to find a better quality lens. I've been looking pretty closed t the Sigma ART series lens. The 50mm 1.4 has gotten reviewed really well and is much more reasonably priced than the Canon 1.2.

I haven't checked out anything besides the Canon 70-200mm at the focal length but I'll definitely check out the Tamron. I haven't looked to closely at other lens manufacturers at the focal length, but it's good to know there is another one out there that is good.
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post #35 of 137 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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AFAIK the argument for faster glass has always been (Nikon has offered an f1.2 and f1.4 50 mm for as long as most of us have been alive) not that that extra fraction of a stop was great, but because the faster lens performed better at f2. That said, I've managed to live without a 50/1.2 for my entire life.

The other side of this is the steady decades-long love of the micro-Nikkor macro lenses. A number of portrait photographers have used these for decades precisely because of the large depth of field and crispness the (slow) lens offers - sort of the opposite approach. It requires a lot more structured shot, but can give a very rewarding picture.

If you're at a car show, your problems are constraining clutter (shallow DOF helps here, as does adjustable focal length) and framing the shot. I've ended up repeatedly settling on 28-200 zooms for car shows. If I've got a fixed lens in the bag and I see a 'poster-grade' shot, I'll switch lenses after doing a first take with the zoom.
I totally get the logic of walking around with a 28-200mm lens. You can cover just about anything at a car show. That is a really interesting focal length actually. Wide angle up to telephoto in one lens. That's impressive. But that's what I was looking at the 70-200mm lens. Better able to cover everything.
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post #36 of 137 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 04:56 PM
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Yep. I have the Canon 50mm 1.8 and it is a great lens and very reasonably priced. While walking around car shows I feel like it's a really good focal length (based on the spacing in a typical car parking lot you can get a variety of shots without running into everyone). I'd really like to upgrade (sharper lens and better bokeh), but it just gets so expensive so quickly with full frame sensors. But I guess the searching and researching is part of the fun!
I hear you there, sensor size doesn't really even matter, better glass gets expensive quick either way. I've been debating for a while now on picking up a 135mm f2 with defocus control, but they're $1400 and a lot more specialized than a 50mm f1.2. Then there's the pro grade zooms on a whole different level of expensive. I've been tempted by the new full frame mirrorless bodies to make better use of old manual focus lenses too. Decisions, decisions...
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post #37 of 137 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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I'd say leave that up to the individual to decide.

No one said it was necessary, but depending on the look you're after, the 50 1.2 could serve you well in automotive photography.

Personally, I find that the 35/1.4 and 200/2 cover everything I need, but it's up to each person to decide what's right for them.
I think that's what's really interesting about photography as an art form. It's a combination of highly technical numbers (focal length, aperture, DoF, shutter speed, etc.) and also entirely subjective. So you have to find a way to make the technical numbers work for the art you want to create. So you can put both "hard numbers" to the technical capability of the hardware while also having the complete freedom for personal choice in what you want you want to create.
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post #38 of 137 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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The joys of modern technology! You can take great pictures using a camera on your phone that you can carry around with you anywhere. Thanks for sharing.
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post #39 of 137 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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One of my favorite automotive/motorsport photographers is Larry Chen: https://www.larrychenphoto.com/
Awesome! Thanks for sharing. I'll have to check him out.
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post #40 of 137 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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For anyone that's posted on here, if you wouldn't mind, I would love to see some of your work. Please feel free to post pictures or links to your work.
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