This past weekend I got a chance to play with the Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 while shooting a private event for the local Ducati BMW branches.
This was my first time shooting motorsports and shooting with such a long-reaching zoom lens on the Fujifilm X-T30.
To date, I only own the XF 18-55 f/2.8-4 kit lens. I love this lens but it’s very different from the XF 100-400.
Honestly, I went to support my brother who was racing for the first time ever.
After watching a few tutorials on Youtube, I was expecting to get no useable shots from this day. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to catch any of the riders and wasn’t going to get anything in focus.
The lens was heavy and I couldn’t for the life of me find my monopod so, I was free-handing all the images.
A happy ending to this story: I got a few images that I’m happy with given that this was my very first time doing something like this.
There are 5 things I learned from this experience and tips that I would advise other first-time motorsport shooters to try:
- Charge your camera battery
Rookie mistake on my part but remember to charge your camera battery. This is pretty self-explanatory. I forgot to charge my camera battery on the X-T30 but luckily I had a spare.
- Corners are your actual friend.
Corners are great because riders are forced to slow down. The slower the riders are, the better your chances are of getting the shot in focus.
I tried panning and the lens was just too heavy for me to hold up with my left hand and have everything steady.
I’m not strong enough to hold up the lens with one hand and pan like it’s no big deal. I wished the entire day that I had a monopod with me so that I can at least stabilize the lens and pivot. Panning is hard so I don’t expect that a monopod would have made a huge difference in the number of shots I got but it would have saved me from waking up Monday with a sore forearm.
- Try to focus on the helmet
I don’t think I did this too well but while I was shooting, I tried my very best to focus on the helmets of the riders.
- Shoot in the morning
The best light is not at high noon. Luckily, we left Vancouver at around 4:30 am and made it to Osoyoos around 9:45 am so I had really good lighting. I would imagine the lighting would have been really cool at golden hour too but the event ended around 2pm in the afternoon so your best opportunity is early morning.
I’m seriously contemplating if I want to purchase this lens for my own collection. I borrowed the lens through the Fujifilm Try Before You Buy program and I’m in love. I don’t normally shoot motorsports, sports or wildlife so I don’t see myself using this lens more than once a year.
Next year if my brother wants to ride again, I’ll definitely think about it. For now, I already have a lens that I have in mind for my next purchase.
The location of the track: Area 27 Nk’Mip Rd, Oliver, BC V0H 1T0
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