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Which combination to photograph the Olympic Torch relay?

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    Shortly, the Olympic Torch relay is going to be passing through a town close to me and, naturally, I want a photo of it. :p:

    I have a few options for which camera/lens combination to use:

    1. 550D + 17-50mm f/2.8
    2. 550D + 55-250mm f/4-5.6
    3. 550D + 60mm f/2.8
    4. 5DII + 17-40mm f/4

    I'm leaning towards option 2 - I question whether option 1 will be long enough, option 3 doesn't have any flexibility and option 4 (in addition to also not being long enough) uses a camera that I don't trust the autofocus of - but I have no experience with trying to shoot something that is running past me reasonably close (I do landscapes: I stick the camera on a tripod and have all day to mess around with it :lol:), hence why I am seeking advice.

    What would you advise using?
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    I used my 17-40 and a 24-70

    Depends what the light will be like and where you are positioned I suppose. Have they given you a specific spot to stand?

    If I were you Id take your 17-40 and have the 550D and 55-250 round your neck for the odd shot when you need it
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    Tricky decision if you do not know where you will be and or how crowded it will be.

    I think I would go with Dan's 2 body option. Like halleys comet, it is unlikely to pass by again any time soon. I would also keep a compact in my pocket.

    I believe you have posted elsewhere that you can get access to other lenses, so I would go very long on one body and look for high vantage points, climb if necessary, and relatively short on the other body with 2.8 so you can bokeh the background in a nice and creamy way. If you can borrow a 600D then the screen would be good for shooting over crowds or even upwards having pushed it through down low. (I would probably dump one of my bodies for one of our D5000s for this reason if I was shooting it.)

    Set both bodies to continuous autofocus and dynamic area (not sure what the canon terms for these are.) Shutter at 250th at least, unless you want motion blur for artistic reasons.

    If you have lens stabilisation then drop the shutter right down and pan, if your close you should get some nice background motion blur.

    Good luck
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    A friend tried option 2 (similar setup anyway) and found they couldn't zoom out far enough when the torch went near him. All depends where you stand though. Dan's suggestion of both and swap if/when needed sounds good to me.

    Looks like you live somewhere near me if its near to you today
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    (Original post by TheSownRose)
    Shortly, the Olympic Torch relay is going to be passing through a town close to me and, naturally, I want a photo of it. :p:

    I have a few options for which camera/lens combination to use:

    1. 550D + 17-50mm f/2.8
    2. 550D + 55-250mm f/4-5.6
    3. 550D + 60mm f/2.8
    4. 5DII + 17-40mm f/4

    I'm leaning towards option 2 - I question whether option 1 will be long enough, option 3 doesn't have any flexibility and option 4 (in addition to also not being long enough) uses a camera that I don't trust the autofocus of - but I have no experience with trying to shoot something that is running past me reasonably close (I do landscapes: I stick the camera on a tripod and have all day to mess around with it :lol:), hence why I am seeking advice.

    What would you advise using?
    It might be different where you are, but I just got back from my relay and the lady was alternating between walking and very slow jogging.... I wouldn't worry too much
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    (Original post by DanBrwn)
    I used my 17-40 and a 24-70

    Depends what the light will be like and where you are positioned I suppose. Have they given you a specific spot to stand?

    If I were you Id take your 17-40 and have the 550D and 55-250 round your neck for the odd shot when you need it
    No, it's just a free for all - I'm not official photographer or anything, just going to it. Lighting will be fun; knowing this place, it's going to rain. :lol: It rains for all special occasions there. Plus it's going quite early in the morning.

    The 5DII just has so many disadvantages to it here... The best thing it has is good ISO control. However, I don't like its autofocus as much and I'm not familiar with it yet so changing settings at speed isn't going to happen.

    I was having a go with the 550D + 55-250 today to figure out the best settings. I think that lens will be too long, so I'm now leaning towards the 17-50 (I have managed to persuade someone to act like an idiot for me and run around my garden pretending he's carrying the torch so I can test different lenses :lol:) but I've got the best settings down: manual, because I want to prevent it making the aperture too wide and have shutter control; raw so any exposure problems can be fixed; continuous shot and al servo; maximum ISO to 400 (I may have to raise this to 800 if the lighting is dreadful.)

    (Original post by evening sunrise)
    Tricky decision if you do not know where you will be and or how crowded it will be.

    I think I would go with Dan's 2 body option. Like halleys comet, it is unlikely to pass by again any time soon. I would also keep a compact in my pocket.

    I believe you have posted elsewhere that you can get access to other lenses, so I would go very long on one body and look for high vantage points, climb if necessary, and relatively short on the other body with 2.8 so you can bokeh the background in a nice and creamy way. If you can borrow a 600D then the screen would be good for shooting over crowds or even upwards having pushed it through down low. (I would probably dump one of my bodies for one of our D5000s for this reason if I was shooting it.)

    Set both bodies to continuous autofocus and dynamic area (not sure what the canon terms for these are.) Shutter at 250th at least, unless you want motion blur for artistic reasons.

    If you have lens stabilisation then drop the shutter right down and pan, if your close you should get some nice background motion blur.

    Good luck
    I'm hoping it's going to be relatively uncrowded - early in the morning, forecast to rain, most people in this town live in a different part to the part I'm planning to go to and it's going through that part as well... But, we'll see.

    I can get other lenses, but I believe their owners are going to want to use them. Besides, apart from the 70-300 (only telephoto lens amongst us that will work on the 5DII), I have good matches for them anyway - one is 17-55 and I can't see the extra 5mm being of much use, one is a wide angle and I may as well take my 5DII + 17-40 if I go down that route... My mother does have a nice bridge camera though, so I might see if I can borrow that and take it down (my compact is useless. :sigh:) Alas, no 600D; between us, we've got a couple of 550Ds, a 7D and a 5DII (also have a friend with a Pentax, but a) that's not compatible and b) she's currently in Switzerland with it.)

    250 and 320 were working out quite well for shutter speeds on a moving car, and I'll probably drop it down a bit for people running. Unfortunately, although I do have stabilisation (another disadvantage for the 5DII: the lens I would need to use on that does not), I also have very shaky hands so there's a limit to how low it can go before camera shake is noticeable - even on my short lenses I've been known to start seeing it at 100. Good idea about panning, though - that would be a nice effect, and I hadn't thought about it. Might not be able to drop the shutter enough is the only problem.

    Thanks. We're hoping to position people at various points and get some good shots between us.

    (Original post by dhr90)
    A friend tried option 2 (similar setup anyway) and found they couldn't zoom out far enough when the torch went near him. All depends where you stand though. Dan's suggestion of both and swap if/when needed sounds good to me.

    Looks like you live somewhere near me if its near to you today
    That did occur to me whilst I was practicing shooting the cars on my road as they drove past. I was in my house so I didn't look too odd, and they were further away from me than I imagine the torch could get ... and the 55-250 was a bit long even then, so the 17-50 might be the better option, plus consider it will be effective 27-80.

    Ah, not today - it's tomorrow that it's near me.

    (Original post by dean01234)
    It might be different where you are, but I just got back from my relay and the lady was alternating between walking and very slow jogging.... I wouldn't worry too much
    :lol: That sounds ok then.
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    (Original post by TheSownRose)
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    Not near me then!

    As for panning, if you're practicing with moving vehicles and getting decent results the torch shouldn't be a problem, none of the runners will be sprinting after all!
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    (Original post by TheSownRose)
    250 and 320 were working out quite well for shutter speeds on a moving car, and I'll probably drop it down a bit for people running. Unfortunately, although I do have stabilisation (another disadvantage for the 5DII: the lens I would need to use on that does not), I also have very shaky hands so there's a limit to how low it can go before camera shake is noticeable - even on my short .
    Should be able to drop it a bit from 250th if their leg and handspeed isn't too fast, i.e. they are of the slow and spherical type like me


    The actual running speed will take slower as long as your not right on top of them and they are passing through the frame.

    See how it goes and good luck.
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    (Original post by dhr90)
    Not near me then!

    As for panning, if you're practicing with moving vehicles and getting decent results the torch shouldn't be a problem, none of the runners will be sprinting after all!
    The torch is much harder, because the runners are slower and hence the shutterspeed needs to drop right down to get background blur. Closer the runner is and the further the background behind them is the easier it is due to angular velocities. But the shutterspeeds will still be so low as to require stabilisation.

    I.e. I can get background blur when at santapod panning a top fuel dragster at a 600th.
    World superbike at silverstone 180th to 250th depending upon where on the circuit.
    A daughter who could not drive her go-kart quickly required me to drop to a 25th to make her look like Mr Hamilton
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    (Original post by evening sunrise)
    Should be able to drop it a bit from 250th if their leg and handspeed isn't too fast, i.e. they are of the slow and spherical type like me


    The actual running speed will take slower as long as your not right on top of them and they are passing through the frame.

    See how it goes and good luck.
    I think your luck helped - I got some really nice shots; I'm particularly pleased considering people and action aren't subjects I generally shoot, and my settings had to be off in order to get anything in the horrible lighting conditions (ISO had to be 800 when I really wanted 400, I dropped the shutter to 125 when I was after closer to 200... The final images are ok because I shot in raw specifically so I could salvage them.)

    17-50 was the right choice. There are a couple where I would have liked a bit more reach and I've had to heavily crop the photo I did take ... but I would have missed my favourites if I had taken the 55-250, because they were shot at 50 (a bit long as it was, but it all happened so fast I didn't have time to lower it) and 37 (just about got it lowered), and seeing as one of them was it actually going past and the other was the only one where the flame was properly up, it would have been a shame to miss those. Also think that not taking the 5DII was a good choice (although the better noise control at higher ISO would have been appreciated) - it was hard enough changing settings on the go as it was without adding an unfamiliar camera and lens to the mix, plus I effectively used a minimum focal length of about 60mm, and the longest I could have got on the 5DII would be 40mm.

    All in all, a nice trip out and it reminds me why I'm not a wildlife or sports photographer. :lol:
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    (Original post by TheSownRose)
    I think your luck helped - I got some really nice shots; I'm particularly pleased considering people and action aren't subjects I generally shoot, and my settings had to be off in order to get anything in the horrible lighting conditions (ISO had to be 800 when I really wanted 400, I dropped the shutter to 125 when I was after closer to 200... The final images are ok because I shot in raw specifically so I could salvage them.)

    17-50 was the right choice. There are a couple where I would have liked a bit more reach and I've had to heavily crop the photo I did take ... but I would have missed my favourites if I had taken the 55-250, because they were shot at 50 (a bit long as it was, but it all happened so fast I didn't have time to lower it) and 37 (just about got it lowered), and seeing as one of them was it actually going past and the other was the only one where the flame was properly up, it would have been a shame to miss those. Also think that not taking the 5DII was a good choice (although the better noise control at higher ISO would have been appreciated) - it was hard enough changing settings on the go as it was without adding an unfamiliar camera and lens to the mix, plus I effectively used a minimum focal length of about 60mm, and the longest I could have got on the 5DII would be 40mm.

    All in all, a nice trip out and it reminds me why I'm not a wildlife or sports photographer. :lol:
    Glad it went well. Well done.
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    I find such occasions incredibly difficult, based on how fast everything is! I'll hope to capture the relay on my D5000 with kit lens (too poor to afford any other lens )

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