Canon 300f/2.8L IS with extenders for motorsports

Started Jul 30, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Schwany Forum Pro • Posts: 10,124
Canon 300f/2.8L IS with extenders for motorsports

I took a 300f/2.8L IS, and 1.4x MkII and 2x MkIII extenders to the Red Bull US Grand Prix motorcycle races at Laguna Seca to see what the lens would do for me. I also brought along some delusions of grandeur. I mounted this stuff on a 1DMkIV. Anyway, the idea was to lighten my load as a forumtographer/spectator and just carry one lens and the extenders around.

I used the lens hand held panning motorcycles during practice sessions Friday and Saturday. My success rate at 1/250th and slower shutter speeds with the world class MotoGP bikes in overcast weather was not great using the 1.4x extender. Focus was a little sluggish and or non-existent at times. (It was better once the sun came out. To be expected I guess.) Focus acted quicker with the 2x extender, but acting and actually being focused are two different things at 600mm. Oh yeah, I also shot with the bare lens and did slightly better in overcast weather, but nothing to write home about. After a few years of use, I think the 1DMkIV is a great stills camera. Probably a stellar performer on a fashion runway as well. but I digress

I picked two sections of the track where the bikes are accelerating and not braking. MotoGP bikes are just about a quick as F1 cars, but not quite. Acceleration is none linear as well, so panning with longer focal lengths can be tricky. (It's easier when they are coming into a braking zone.) Then there's a fence and poles and trees and other little things that get in the way, like young spectators that crowd right up against my elbows. Focus speed and freedom of movement are important, because the window of opportunity is very short.

What I did have reasonable success with was the AMA Pro Supersport and Superbike classes which were also racing at the event. They are not slow, but are more predictable and less violent during acceleration.

My pre-conclusion is one can throw as much money as they want to at this hobby, and or profession, but the higher priced gear won't necessarily make one suddenly more productive. I have officially reached my threshold of limitations. It's time to up the shutter speed.

For those that hate image examples and prefer to pontificate, it's time to run out of the room screaming or hit the complaint button. It is my duty as a forumtographer to post this junk.

The first 4 are no crop pans, and obviously they have been post processed for my entertainment. All shot jpeg.

Conclusion: When focused, the 300f/2.8L IS plus extenders is useable for action photography.

First a pan at 600mm, 300f/2.8 with the 2x MkIII extender.

Some pans at 420mm, 300f/2.8L IS with 1.4x MkII extender

A MotoGP bike in the braking zone before Turn 11. Cropped some of the left edge out of this one.

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