Shutter Speeds for Motorbikes

Posted on 8 Sep, 2014 by Scott Jones
Jack Miller Silverstone

At Silverstone I was near the end of the Moto3 session and I thought it might be interesting to show some examples of different shutter speeds in the same section of track so you could see the difference in easily comparable photographs.

I intended to use Jack Miller for all examples, but he didn’t stay out on track long enough to accomplish this.

I got him on three laps with different shutter speeds, decreasing the speed each time. I picked a perspective that had foreground color and a sign in the background so it would be easy to see what a difference the various speeds make.

For these examples I used Shutter Priority with fixed ISO of 250. I have noted changes to the aperture. As I was in England, the light was constantly changing as the numbers indicate.

The image above is at 1/640th of a second (f/8), about the fastest I’ll ever use for a track shot. You can see that the bike is nice and sharp, and there are visible details in the surroundings, such as the seams in the red curb, tufts of grass, etc. There are dark spots in the gravel that are clearly small objects sitting in the lighter colored rocks. The letters of the Generali sign are distinct though blurred due to the depth of field.

Moving to 1/400th of a second (f/11) we see that there’s a bit more blur in both the grass and the text of the Generali sign. Curb seams are still identifiable, but dark spots in the gravel are starting to blend in.
Jack Miller Silverstone

five-percent-spacer

At 1/200th of a second (f/11), the text is really spreading out. Grain in the tarmac is becoming stacked horizontal lines.
Jack Miller Silverstone

five-percent-spacer

Now at 1/125th (f/20), Jack Miller went into pit lane so I had to switch riders. Masbou was going well that weekend, so he makes an appearance here. The Generali text is so blurred it’s difficult to make out individual letters. Everything around the rider recedes into the background to isolate the subject.
Alexis Masbou Silverstone

I’m going to put the page break here so the next image will display just below the original, 1/640th example.

More on the next page:

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