The Sports Photo: Blog https://www.thesportsphoto.com.au/blog en-us (C) The Sports Photo blake@thesportsphoto.com.au (The Sports Photo) Fri, 22 May 2020 08:50:00 GMT Fri, 22 May 2020 08:50:00 GMT https://www.thesportsphoto.com.au/img/s/v-12/u970844534-o917453510-50.jpg The Sports Photo: Blog https://www.thesportsphoto.com.au/blog 120 68 The Racewars 2019 Rivalry https://www.thesportsphoto.com.au/blog/2019/3/the-racewars-2019-rivalry Who would have thought, a Taxi vs Grandma's chariot?

 

Racewars 2018 saw the creation of a monster - one of Australia's worst vehicles, the AU Faulcon would become the Racewars "unsafety car"

Put together on the cheap with a later model Falcon turbo, valve springs, head gasket and a cam - this thing reeled off 450+HP dyno figures without a care in the world.

Unsafety Car

Roll around to 2019 and word of a new challenger to the crown of crappiest but fastest vehicle had emerged.
WTF Auto - one of Perths best Toyota workshops, well known for delivering wildly powerful MR2's and Supras had decided they would step up to unseat the mightly Falcon from its perch.

Their choice of weapon was the grandparents favourite - the Camry.
Well known to be as reliable (and boring) as hell, the WTF Auto crew remained tight lipped about exactly what was going to be done under the hood.
Due to the cars grandparent attraction, the car was affectionately named Grannypants.

V6 of Fury

In the leadup to Racewars 2019, it went to the Perth Motorplex and promptly destroyed a tailshaft and the WTF Auto team were quick onto the social media banter to pay them out.
This was before the Camry had been seen in action - a big call!

The banter continued back and forth between the Racewars Team and WTF in the lead up to the event, and we all knew that there was only one way this was going to be settled: on the strip.

Fast forward to Racewars weekend, and the AU was seen out and about, and made 4 passes, proving to be both reliable and quick.
The Camry was spotted at the WTF Auto stand but the team were confident (or not confident?) enough to run any passes during the day.
 

Hat- Check, Tissues - Check, Mocking sticker - Check!

The last race of the day, and the moment was finally here.
The AU was parked up in the staging line, ready and raring for a fight - when the camry appeared in what looked to be a cloud of oil smoke. 
This didn't seem like a good start, but WTF Auto's head honcho Tristan didn't look phased.

Tristan all smiles

So started the face off between Jon and Tristan.


An inspection of vehicles started. 

Jon gazed over the amazing FWD v6 and turbo of the Camry, amazed at just how factory it looked but wondered what trickery may have been hiding underneath.

Here is where we hid the nitrous

The banter continued, with Jon making note of the fact he'd run 4 passes.
Tristan countered with the fact that only 1 pass mattered, and to be honest he was right....

How many passes?

With this, the two combatants were separated and headed for their burgundy chariots.
They both lined up on the line, the revs (and smoke) built and the lights were changed out for a good old fashioned arm drop.

On the staging line
The arm went down and the AU launched off the line like a whale beaching itself on Albany's beautiful beaches.
The Camry generated smoke from both its exhaust and its front tyres, the FWD layout scrabbling for traction.


Looking down the runway showed the increased traction that the AU had off the line, as it marched down the strip.
Later video showed that the Camry was picking up speed, but there was no hope of catching up to the Taxi.

AU 1 - Camry 0
 

The competitors turned around and returned back to the finish line.
Well, the Camry did... Jon in the AU decided to go do a lap of honour and show off his steeds victory to the crowd.
As you can see below, there was a smile on the face, even in defeat.
The losers return

So the race was run and won, the AU maintains Australia's honor as the fastest, crappiest car in the land.
Grannypants and the WTF Auto team will have to go back to the drawing board.
Maybe another year of development will allow them to take the crown, but until then....

Tristan atop his steed, coming back harder and faster next year

Feel free to check out the below for more information on the banter
Racewars Radio: Racewars Radio
WTF Auto: WTF Auto

 

 

]]>
blake@thesportsphoto.com.au (The Sports Photo) Albany au falcom motorsport racewars racing toyota https://www.thesportsphoto.com.au/blog/2019/3/the-racewars-2019-rivalry Sun, 10 Mar 2019 06:23:34 GMT
Sigma 150-600mm Sport Real world Review https://www.thesportsphoto.com.au/blog/2018/2/sigma-150-600mm-sport-real-world-review Sigma 150-600mm "Sport"

 

Firstly, this review will not focus on product images, a listing of specifications or MTF charts - there are plenty of those around on the web.
It is based solely on a couple of months shooting sports in my hometown of Perth, Western Australia.
Hover over images for a listing of body, ISO, aperture and shutter speed.

Mazda RX7 at a local track dayNikon D500, 600mm, F6.3, ISO100, 1/200th

In recent years the telephoto zoom lens segment of the market has become quite saturated, with Sigma and Tamron joining Nikon and Canon with their own variants of a lens to get you closer to the action.
Providing a step up in reach and quality over the traditional 70-300 range of lenses.

In the past, the Sigma 50-500 and 150-500 lenses were the cheap options, and unfortunately they couldnt match the first party offerings.
Since Sigma stepped up with their Global Vision lineup, the quality of their glass has improved significantly.
The Sport versions, are well regarded and I had one on loan for a couple of weeks thanks to Leederville Cameras (Website)

I had a chance to shoot some Motorsport, and some Australian Rules (WAFL) Football.

I own the Sigma 500mm F4 Sport and will make some comparisons to this top tier (and twice as expensive!) lens, and the Nikon 200-500mm below.

Price and competitors

The Sigma 150-600mm Sport is priced around $2700 AUD currently.
As mentioned, there is a fair bit of competition in the long zoom market

  • Sigma 150-600mm "Contemporary" - $1500 AUD
  • Tamron 150-600mm (G1 and G2) - $1350 and $1950 respectively 
  • Canon 100-400mm II - $2800
  • Nikon 200-500mm - $1900

I have personally shot with the Tamron G1 and also currently own the Nikon 200-500mm.

The 150-600mm Focal length is quite useful, going from short telephoto to super telephoto with a twist of your hand.
Clearly this provides a very wide zoom range, which for a lot of sport is good thing - as an athlete or car is coming towards you you can follow the action, or set yourself up in different locations for a variety of shots.

WAFL Players compete in a marking contestNikon D500, 370mm, ISO360, F6.0, 1/1000th

Physical attributes

The Sigma Sport is not a light lens, weighing in at 2860g
The difference is certainly noticable compared to its competitors - and my personal preference was to shoot on my Manfrotto monopod for most of the time shooting.
It certainly is hand holdable for short periods, but this will come down to your personal limits
Interestingly enough a lot of the weight comes from the beefy hood and tripod collar - something you may choose to do without if shooting handheld and where flare wont be an issue.

This lens's weather sealing seems very good - particularly in comparison to the Nikon 200-500.
This is most noticable when zooming the lens, with the Nikon feeling a lot easier to zoom, you can feel the air being pushed out the rear of the lens on your face.
The Sigma is much firmer, presumably as the air needs to push past the weather sealing as the air pumping out is no longer felt.
I suspect this lens would hold up really well in damp and dusty conditions.

 

V8 Supercar at speedNikon D800, 460mm, ISO100, F7.1, 1/250th

Focusing 

The Autofocus of the Sigma 150-600 Sport is good, but not at the level of a telephoto prime
Its fast, accurate and with a pro level body (I shoot D4, D500, D800 currently), and in good light snaps to focus quickly and reliably with very little hunting.
The focus limiter options also work well, and provides a marked bump in focus speed
In lower light and zoomed out, the F6.3 does become a limiting factor in overall focusing ability, with the center point providing the best speed.

The USB dock also allows some customisability with regards to focus speed as well as fine tuning focus - I'd recommend you pick this up to be able to tune it to suit your shooting style.

WAFL Player laying a tackle in the wetNikon D500, 350mm, F6.0, ISO640, 1/1000th

Image stabilisation

The lens offers a number of stabilization modes - I tended to stick with the default mode, except when doing heavy duty panning when a change to "mode 2" provided a less jumpy viewfinder.
I found that the stabilization was the equal of the latest generation OS in my Tamron and Nikon zooms - which are all very good.
OS operation is again customisable via the USB dock

Formula Ford at speedNikon D800, 460mm, F13, ISO100, 1/125th

Image quality

I found the image quality of this lens to be at the top of the class in regards to image sharpness (with the Nikon 200-500).
Even with a heavy crop on a relatively low megapixel body, the sharpness delivered is fantastic.
As with most lenses, image quality improved a little stopped down, but i tend to shoot as wide open as I can.

Bokeh in most situations was smooth, and a non-issue provided you get close enough to your subject

I didnt get to try this lens with the Sigma 1.4x Teleconverter - however you need to check your camera body will work with regards to Autofocus at F8 (some cameras wont at all, others with limited or just the center point.

WAFL Player on the attackNikon D500, 490mm, F6.3, ISO1000, 1/1000th

Conclusion

I find the Sigma 150-600 Sport provides a great option for a tele-photo zoom.
It is flexible in focal length, fast, sharp and has a rugged build in comparison to some of its competitors.
Dont expect too much, and you'll be very happy with this lens

Will it replace a telephoto prime?
Of course not - so I wont be trading in my 500mm F4, but from my testing I can definitely recommend this lens.

Kudos Sigma!

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any queries regarding this lens, more than happy to answer :)
Some additional images:

Mitsubishi EVO X at Collie RacewayNikon D500, 600mm, F6.3, ISO100, 1/400th

Peel Thunder Player fires off a handball as hes tackled Nikon D500, 360mm, F6.0, ISO320, 1/1000th

 

]]>
blake@thesportsphoto.com.au (The Sports Photo) afl d4 d500 d800 lens lens review motorsport nikon perth photography review sigma sigma 150-600mm sigma sport sport telephoto thesportsphoto wafl https://www.thesportsphoto.com.au/blog/2018/2/sigma-150-600mm-sport-real-world-review Thu, 22 Feb 2018 13:32:46 GMT
World Time Attack 2017 https://www.thesportsphoto.com.au/blog/2017/12/world-time-attack-2017 World Time Attack 2017

 

Time Attack has been taking the motorsport world by storm the last few years, providing great action and fast cars for entrants and spectators alike.
Undoubtably the best time attack event in the world is World Time Attack - which brings together international competitors to Sydney Motorsport Park once a year for the "big show"

Run over multiple days, it has numerous classes where competitors with different vehicles and budgets can compete against the clock to post the fastest possible time.
For more information about World Time Attack, check out their website: World Time Attack

I had attended in previous years and looking at the 2017 lineup led to a last minute decision to fly across the country as a spectator.
This meant shooting without media credentials, and without my "big gun" lenses, but such is the variety of action i still managed to capture the action.

Variety of cars

WTAC is great as there are different classes and regulations that allow different marques and levels of modification.
Front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, all wheel drive - pro drivers, amateur drivers, the combinations are endless.
Compared to many racing events where cars are very similar, it provides a lot of interest on the technical side - with some cars running some extreme aero and engineering packages for fraction of seconds of laptime.

Audi 1:1 Twin Turbo R8This Audi R8 has a twin turbo v10 making around 1200hp, all the way from Finland 3 Rotor Racing FD Rx7 popping flamesOver from NZ this car was definitely a fan favourite

Motorsport Legends

Each year WTAC hosts some demonstration sessions at the lunchtime breaks.
One of my favourite displays is the "Motorsport Legends" which has some historic and rare cars take to the track for some laps.
From Toranas, to Sierras to RX7's, its like a step back in time.

Group A Sierra Cosworth

Keiichi "Drift King" Tsuchiya 

Growing up on a stable of "Hot Version" and "Best Motoring" Japanese motoring videos, it was a great sight to see Dorikin come to the event and bring some of his more well known race cars.
From the Taisan R32 GTR, to his TRD Prepped AE86, he pushed them to the max and was a definite crowd favourite.
The lines for an autograph were longgggggggggg!

Tsuchiya's Taisan R32 GTR Replica at speedThis replica is based on the car that competed in the 1991-1993 JGTC Championship Tsuchiya's Personal AE86 race carFully built TRD AE86 - a great looking and sounding car, it even got a little sideways!

JGTC Demo

The JGTC championship racing is very popular in Japan, and with JDM fans in Australia.
To celebrate this, WTAC brought over two cars, the RE Amemiya RX7 and the JECS S15 - who ran a "battle" on track both days.
Great looking cars with fans able to get up close and personal in the pits

RE Amemiya RX7 leads the JECS S15 out of the last corner

Mazda 767B

This Le Mans car is sister car to the 787B that won the 24 hour event in 1991 (the only Japanese car to do so).
It features a work of art 26B quad rotor engine that can be heard literally kilometers away from the track - aural pornography to any rotary fan for sure.
Hoshino San also made himself and the car available for fan photos - it was great to have him back again

Mazda 767BThis quad rotor 26B powered endurance racer was amazing in the flesh

The Speed

The class that gets the crowds in is the Pro class - which has the most heavily modified cars, driven by pro steerers (in most cases)
Cars generally have wild aerodynamic packages, super light weight and huge power numbers - this year saw a good range of different cars including Mitsubishi Evo's, Holden Astra(!), S13 and S15 Silvias and a Porsche 968.

Insight Motorsports AstraProbably the worlds fastest Holden (Opel) Astra

Scorch Racing S15Perennial fan favourite "Under" Suzuki

In the end this class was won by V8 Supercar driver Tim Slade in the MCA Suspensions "Hammerhead" S13 Silvia - setting a new lap record with a 1:20.9710

MCA Hammerhead S13 SilviaSet a new lap record with 1:20.9710 - more than 1/2 a second in front of the next fastest competitor

What next?

I thoroughly recommend that any petrol head gets over to WTAC 2018 - I'm sure there will be even more to see and do at the event as its been growing steadily every year.
Personally, I hope to get media accreditation and get the opportunity to shoot some different angles and get even closer to the action - stay tuned!

 

Full gallery of images captured over the 2 days are available here: Full WTAC Gallery
 

]]>
blake@thesportsphoto.com.au (The Sports Photo) cars evo honda jgtc motorsport porsche racing rotary s2000 silvia sydney time attack timeattack wrx https://www.thesportsphoto.com.au/blog/2017/12/world-time-attack-2017 Mon, 04 Dec 2017 05:52:28 GMT
Sigma 500mm Sport Real world Review https://www.thesportsphoto.com.au/blog/2017/9/sigma-500mm-sport---real-world-review Sigma 500mm "Sport"

 

Firstly, this review will not focus on product images, a listing of specifications or MTF charts - there are plenty of those around on the web.
It is based solely on a couple of months shooting sports and wildlife in my hometown of Perth, Western Australia.
Hover over images for a listing of body, ISO, aperture and shutter speed.

In the world of the exotic super-telephoto lenses, the first party manufacturers (Nikon, Canon and Sony) rule the roost.
They have been making these for a long time, have the heritage and history to back up the huge price tags. 

Post goal celebrationEven with a heavy crop, the Sigma 500mm Sport delivers great detail (Nikon D4, ISO450, F4, 1/1000th)

Recently, I have been shooting sports and wildlife with my 20 year old, second hand Nikon 400mm F2.8 AFS-II.
This is well known to be a lens that is capable of producing amazing images, and I found this to be the case in the short time I got to use it.
However, it broke - and given its age parts were no longer available from Nikon so it was written off.


What to do?!

I certainly couldn't go back to a zoom - once you've shot with a high end prime telephoto, its extremely hard to go back.
So my options were as follows

  • New Nikon 400mm F2.8 VR - Epic lens, priced at Circa $15,000 AUD
  • New Nikon 500mm F4 VR - Circa $11,500 AUD
  • Older generations of both the above lenses were somewhat available second hand at around the $7,500 mark - but having being burnt by a dead lens in the recent past, I wanted something new and under warranty
  • I considered the Nikon 300mm F2.8, however i'd often need to add a teleconverter to get the focal length i needed and already had an older Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 already

In recent years, Sigma have been making big leaps forward in their lens lineup, since moving to the "Global Vision" lineup with the Art, Contemporary and Sport lines.
On price alone, the Sigma 500mm Sport piqued my interest, could something nearly 1/2 the price of the comparable Nikon lens really compete?
I did a lot of reading, including the very thorough in-depth review by Brad Hill, a Canadian wildlife photographer (http://www.naturalart.ca/)

The focal length for what I like to shoot (primarily Motorsport, Australian Rules Football and wildlife), the weight and fast aperture made it a relatively easy choice considering the price.
It also takes a 1.4x teleconverter (Mine is on order).

Mitsubishi Evo take offNikon D4, F4, 1/1250th

Physical attributes

While no 500mm F4 lens is going to be what you call small, the lens is surprisingly light.
Its more portable than my older 400mm F2.8, and even handholdable for short periods - however i primarily use it on a Manfrotto monopod for longer shooting sessions.

One thing i'd like to mention is the bag/carry case.
This is just awesome, well padded, shoulder straps so you can wear it as a backpack and you can carry the lens with a full size body attached.
It even passes most airline carry-on size limits - which for me is important if i want to travel to cover an event.

The lens is marketed as weather sealed - I did get caught out briefly in a rain shower which the lens handled without issue, but I do recommend a high quality rain jacket.
I use the Thinktank Hydrophobia 300-600mm model which works a treat with this lens.

Cute Australian Shelduck duckingNikon D500, ISO100, F4, 1/500th

Focusing 

Simply put, the autofocus is outstanding.
Its fast, accurate and with a pro level body (I shoot D4, D500, D800 currently), its just a knockout.
You will need to ensure that you have your level of focus "stickiness" and focus mode set to ensure that its not so fast it switches to the background however.
The focus limiter options also work well, with a slight increase in speed when set to the zone you want to focus on

The USB dock also allows some customizability with regards to focus speed as well as fine tuning focus - a great purchase for the price.

Swan Districts player narrowly escapes the oppositionNikon D4, ISO500, F4. 1/1000th

Image stabilisation

The lens offers a number of stabilization modes - I tended to stick with the default mode, except when doing heavy duty panning.
I found that the stabilization was the equal of the latest generation OS in my Tamron and Nikon zooms - which are all very good.

OS operation is again customisable via the USB dock

Mumma Shelduck taking the kids for a walkNikon D4. ISO100, F4, 1/640th

Image quality

This lens has simply blown me away with its image quality.
Razor sharp wide open (who really buys an F4 lens to stop down to F11 unless they have to?) and really nice bokeh in both the foreground and background.
Even with a heavy crop on a relatively low megapixel body, the sharpness delivered is fantastic.

I have found no issues with flaring in the situations i've used the lens, likely due to the very deep (mmm carbon fibre) hood, and newest coatings on the lens.

Flying Liam RyanNikon D4, ISO500, F4, 1/1000th

Conclusion

I cannot comment directly on the competing Nikon (or Canon) 500mm lenses - I suspect they are also very good in all the ways that the Sigma excels.
However I do find it very hard to believe that they are delivering twice the value of the Sigma Sport, which is pretty much what you are paying.

Kudos Sigma!


Feel free to leave a comment if you have any queries regarding this lens, more than happy to answer :)
Some additional images:

Duck coming in to landNikon D500, ISO140, F4, 1/1000th

Porsche 911 in wet conditionsNikon D500, ISO100, F4, 1/500th

The comtemplation after a close lossNikon D800, ISO360, F4, 1/1000th Australian Magpie strikes a poseNikon D4, ISO2500, F4, 1/1250th Mitsubishi Evo at speedNikon D4, ISO100, F9, 1/250th

]]>
blake@thesportsphoto.com.au (The Sports Photo) 500mm d4 d500 d800 lens lens review motorsport nikon perth photography rally review sigma sigma 500mm sigma 500mm sport telephoto wildlife https://www.thesportsphoto.com.au/blog/2017/9/sigma-500mm-sport---real-world-review Tue, 19 Sep 2017 16:14:08 GMT
Porsche Club of WA - Come and Try Day 2017 https://www.thesportsphoto.com.au/blog/2017/2/porsche-club-of-wa---come-and-try-day-2017 Last weekend saw the running of the Porsche Club of WA's annual "Come and Try Day"

This event is intended for club members to be able to get onto the track, and use their awesome machines to their full potential in a non-competitive and fun atmosphere.
Entrants who enjoy the taste of the action can then enrol into the club's track series run throughout the year at various venues.

The weather was a stinking hot 38 degrees celcius under the hot Perth sun - however the over-engineered and amazing craftmenship of the Porsche factory made sure that the cars ran smoothly.

The day started off in the pits, where the serious guys got prepped with fuel, tyre pressures and such.
This gave me the opportunity to get some detail shots of the beautiful machinery

GT3The infamous badge of the track-special Porsches - the GT3

This was followed by a drivers briefing by the very experienced David Blainey (Sporting Director) so drivers would know what to expect

Drivers briefing

Drivers briefing

From here, it was action stations, cars getting lined up in the pits to head out in small groups to get a handle on the track and conditions

In the pits

On the track showed the variety of machines in the Porsche Catalog

From the Vintage

356

To the classic

Classic 911 Targa
To the track specials

996 GT3

In the end, all drivers had a fantastic day and hopefully a few more people caught the track racing bug!

A thanks to Porsche Club of WA for letting me shoot the event.
You can find more details about membership as follows

Images of the event are available for viewing and purchase on this website gallery: http://photosbyblakeparry.com.au/p275059692
Follow my photography pages!

]]>
blake@thesportsphoto.com.au (The Sports Photo) 911 Boxster Cayman Fast Motorsport Perth Porsche Speed https://www.thesportsphoto.com.au/blog/2017/2/porsche-club-of-wa---come-and-try-day-2017 Fri, 03 Feb 2017 01:00:00 GMT
TargaWest 2015 https://www.thesportsphoto.com.au/blog/2015/9/targawest-2015 Perth hosted Targawest between the 13th-16th August and my what an event.


It had the usual ups and down for teams, be it mechanical breakages, excursions off track or just blistering competition the winners were not decided until the very last run in the City stage.

A big congratulations to all teams that entered, and managed to finish the race, and of course the winners in each class.

 

]]>
blake@thesportsphoto.com.au (The Sports Photo) Australia Motorsport Perth Rally Targa Targawest WA photos https://www.thesportsphoto.com.au/blog/2015/9/targawest-2015 Thu, 10 Sep 2015 08:20:30 GMT
Mcrae Rallysprint https://www.thesportsphoto.com.au/blog/2015/7/mcrae-rallysprint Last Sunday saw the running of the first Rallysprint for the season.
A few rain showers made for tricky conditions for competitors, but the clouds made for some lovely backgrounds.

Personal favourite of the day were the GT40 - which came into contact with a tyre wall on the 3rd run, but kept running!

I look forward to shooting more of the rounds as the year goes on
 

]]>
blake@thesportsphoto.com.au (The Sports Photo) Mcrae Motorsport Perth Quit Motorplex Rallysprint https://www.thesportsphoto.com.au/blog/2015/7/mcrae-rallysprint Thu, 23 Jul 2015 16:28:46 GMT