I decided to head off to Outlon Park to practice my panning skills shooting superbikes again. I took the Sony a6500 and the 100-400mm GM lens, which was possibly overkill for this amazing circuit where you can get to within meters of bikes doing 200mph.

Note: Although I often provide links to download full resolution JPEG and RAW images on this site, unfortunately I can’t do this for the superbikes due to copyright reasons. All images on this page are copyright protected and may be used for personal use only.

A fast shutter speed of 1/1000 second easily freezes everything, but without any signs of motion blur you are left with a very static image like the following two images.
Honda Superbike taken with Sony a6500 and SEL100400GM Lens

175mm | 1/1000 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 500

Suzuki Superbike taken with Sony a6500 and SEL100400GM Lens

158mm | 1/1000 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 400

If you want to capture more dynamic images that convey the sense of speed of these incredible machines, then I’d recommend shooting at around 1/320 second and under. You won’t get so many keepers with these shutter speeds, but the ones that you do nail should be a lot more pleasing.

BMW Superbike taken with Sony a6500 and SEL100400GM Lens

241mm | 1/200 sec | f/18 | ISO 100

When you slow down the shutter speeds you’ll need to ensure that your panning is supper smooth. If you are using a lens that has a mode 1 and 2 option for the stabilization, you’ll want to make sure that it is set to mode 2 for panning. This basically turns off the horizontal image stabilization. If you don’t switch to mode 2 then the lens will try to correct for deliberate motion blur on the horizontal axis while panning and mess up your shots. You’ll find this option on the Sony FE 70-200 F4 G and F2.8 GM lenses, as well as the FE 100-400 GM lens. If you are using a lens without this option, it’s best to turn off image stabilization completely either on the lens or in camera if it’s available.

BMW Superbike taken with Sony a6500 and SEL100400GM Lens

198mm | 1/250 sec | f/18 | ISO 250

Superbike taken with Sony a6500 and SEL100400GM Lens

200mm | 1/250 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 640

Superbike taken with Sony a6500 and SEL100400GM Lens

198mm | 1/250 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 160

BMW Superbike taken with Sony a6500 and SEL100400GM Lens

400mm | 1/320 sec | f/10 | ISO 100

BMW Superbike taken with Sony a6500 and SEL100400GM Lens

400mm | 1/320 sec | f/13 | ISO 100

Yamaha Superbike taken with Sony a6500 and SEL100400GM Lens

137mm | 1/250 sec | f/5.0 | ISO 100

Yamaha Superbike taken with Sony a6500 and SEL100400GM Lens

203mm | 1/250 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 160

This was my third time shooting superbikes and the best track I’ve been to by far. Compared to Silverstone I could get so much closer to the action, literally just a couple of meters away on some corners. This really made the 100-400mm lens overkill at times, the 70-200 would have been more than enough.

The number of keepers that I have is slowly increasing, so I know that my panning technique is improving. But its by no means perfect! I’d like to try and nail some shots at under 1/100 second, so I’ll definitely be heading back to the superbikes again very soon.

If you also love shooting superbikes or any other sport with your Sony Alpha camera, then I’ve setup the Sony Alpha Sports Shooters Group on Facebook where you can share your photos with fellow sports shooters.

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