Sports with Bessas

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by rfshootist, Aug 28, 2006.

  1. rfshootist

    rfshootist Member

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    I had always thought, a manual Rangefinder would not be fast enuff for sport, my newest experience is different. The truth is, if it's getting too fast the AF SLR is to slow, not the manual camera.

    I took both to a cycle racing track recently , the bikes and the Dernys passed me with about 45 mls/h, and the amateur AF of the F80 gave up completely. No way. Maybe a F6 would have doen better, I doubt tho. I had to prefocus on the "decisive point" and fire when the bikes arrived there, exactly as I had to do it with the Bessa R .

    When it got dark I put the SLR in the back, completely useless then with the f 3,5 zoom . Which I did not need either, a 50mm and a 75 was enuff as it turned out later.

    There is nothing better than practical expereince, never listen to folks who havemn't really done it. No matter what it could be.

    Bertram
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2006
  2. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Great stuff

    I've used a 35 rangefinder to shoot pro cycling,
    soccer, ice hockey, and motorsports ( no, not F1 ), and
    slalom skiing.

    Rather than chasing the action, you let it come to you.
    Much easier. I don't know the shutter lag of your camera,
    but it beats AF !

    Keep it up, and show us more from the Velodrome !
     
  3. rfshootist

    rfshootist Member

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    Thanks for the flattering comments, glad you liked them ! The truth is that this stuff is not really what I wanted to bring home, rather the result of the very first lesson in the "Sports with Rangefinders" book.
    Next time I will be better.

    best,
    Bertram
     
  4. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Bertram,

    I find that rangefinders have a number of distinct advantages for shooting sports if you don't need the longer telephoto lengths.

    1) The finder is always open, no mirror blackout while following the action. And you can see if you got the shot you were after.

    2) A built in 1:1 finder or external hotshoe 1:1 finder allows you to follow the full field of action with both eyes open and to anticipate action entering or exiting the frame. I have recommended 1:1 hot shoe finders to friends as an SLR accessory for shooting sports.

    3) Less shutter lag, so you can hit the exact moment without having to anticipate so far in advance.

    4) Comparing my shots with the guys who hand out cards at soccer games to sell shots online to parents, I find that my prefocused shots are much more consistently well-focused than their AF shots. To be fair, I would assume that a pro with better understanding and control of an AF SLR would do much better than most of these guys. I have still seen an inordinate number of sharp spectators in the background watching an out of focus player from these AF shooters.

    Knowing the sport and the players is more important than most other considerations. Knowing your tools and having the knowledge and skills to use them properly (like manually prefocusing your autofocus camera) will improve your results no matter what equipment you use.

    I shoot soccer outdoors with a Bessa T, 135mm Hektor (1954 vintage), 1:1 hot shoe finder, trigger winder and palm grip, and DOF chart for the field I'm shooting. I meter in incident mode, appropriately placed for the angle at which I'm shooting relative to the sun. I prefocus and perhaps tweak a tiny bit at the edges. On a sunny day, the use of a lower contrast lens and film is a nice counterpoint to limited range digital sensors and higher contrast lenses.

    Lee
     
  5. Schlapp

    Schlapp Member

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  6. Frank-G

    Frank-G Inactive

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    Very nice, Bertram.
     
  7. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    I LOVE THESE PICTURES. And the Derny.

    ( I'm lingering over a cup of coffee before my daily ride.
    I wish I had a derny to follow today !)

    You know, one problem with today's sports pictures is they are sharp details with no context - in many ways I get more from the older pictures. Here, for instance, only a sliver is sharp, but there is the complete theatre. A picture that would be worth getting out of bed to take,
    and could be done with a Bessa every day.

    ( from www.cyclinghalloffame.com )

    Coffees's gone. Later.
     
  8. Lachlan Young

    Lachlan Young Member

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    Focus on the action - let the rest blur away gently. Develop in an acutance developer to make the focused subject pop out. Voila - a sports picture with impact!

    I seem to remember someone recently winning an award for sports photography with a picture shot on an 8x10 Gandolfi...

    Lachlan
     
  9. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    A rangefinder can do things very nicely for sports. I have a son who played little league baseball one summer. They put him in leftfield where all of the kids who are not particularly skilled are kept. I went to every game. Finally someone hit a ball directly to him and he caught it. I was using an M5 with a 135mm Tele Elmar. I caught the photo perfectly.


    I was very embarrassed to find out that I had not put any film in my camera.
     
  10. rfshootist

    rfshootist Member

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    Agreed at all points, The finder IS an advanage in the way you describe it and what pleases me most is the much faster response of the camera.

    I must admit tho, that in the heat of the fight I had forgotten to set the AF on " Continuous" and to activate all 5 metering spots, I shot it with sharpness prority , trying to get the front man at the beginning of the DOF an to fire befor he left it again. Idiotic, did not work. Sad example attached.
    Maybe my wifes Minolta had done it better anyway, it's AF is faster than the F80 AF.

    Anyway, there is still the finder , the response and the wouite hoples disadvantages of the SLR at night.

    Bertram
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2006
  11. rfshootist

    rfshootist Member

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    Very nice photo ! The track is Oberhausen in Germany, not the Oberhausen near Essen but near Karlsruhe, little village. 3500 came anyway.
    Great to meet a Derny driver personally, I still wonder in which magic way Derny and biker communicate !?? :smile:)

    Best Bertram
     
  12. rfshootist

    rfshootist Member

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    My view too on the old school sports photography .Absolutely ! May be in those days the Tour de France photos had to tell more , TV was rare and the photos in L' Equipe had been the only visualization of Le Tour , for most people.

    Nice link !

    bertram
     
  13. rfshootist

    rfshootist Member

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    I've seen recently some sport photos of Martin Munkacsi

    http://www.deichtorhallen.de/418.html

    which he had shot in the 40s with a huge camera , any sorta (unknown to me) 4X5 (Reflex ?) with a huge waistlevel finder, amazing results, blow you hair back. He cropped it in the darkrom, but with that neg size no prob of course..

    Bertram