North West 200 [Thursday + Saturday]

Only a week after picking up the FujiFilm 100-400 I could already tell I was going to love this lens. On the Tuesday I had shot for around 4 hours, hand-held. Zero tiredness in the arms which would not have been the case had I have been swinging the 400mm f/2.8 above my head. Now of course at 400mm I'm down at f/5.6 but the light during the day allowed me to keep a fast enough (1/1600 sec) to freeze the action. 

Some thoughts .... 

  • Coming from Canon 1DX with its 14fps (jpeg) down to 8fps is quite noticeable ... then again even when shooting with the Canon I never really found myself hammering the shutter that often. It took around 2-3 hours to get used to 8fps mode. 
  • The conditions were not ideal early on as the sun was right overhead and was creating a slight haze. Still the XT1 locked on around 80% of the time. At 8fps I was getting around 6 images which were usable. 
  • I got my most success with the AF-C on single point, followed by zone and lastly wide (tracking). I had not realised (initially) that on 8fps only the centre phase detection points would do tracking. Not much use for motor sports. On 3fps, while it tracked the object across the whole frame, the speed of the bikes meant it was useless. 
  • Very impressed with the ISO performance on the XT1. 
  • I did not try any shots with the 1.4x .... 

So with all that said it was on to the Thursday practice + race and then onto Saturday, the main race day. 

Again very impressed with the performance of the XT1+100-400 combo. On Thursday I was shooting for around 8 hours constant and apart from sore legs I hardly noticed I had been hand holding the camera+lens for that amount of time. Conditions were again not great during practice but improved considerably for race night. 

f/6.4, ISO 1250, 400mm, 1/1600 second (AF-C, Single Point) 

f/6.4, ISO 1250, 400mm, 1/1600 second (AF-C, Single Point) 

f/5.6, ISO 400, 400mm, 1/1600 second (AF-C Zone)

f/5.6, ISO 400, 400mm, 1/1600 second (AF-C Zone)

ISO 1600, f/6.4, 1/1600 second, 400mm (AF-C Single Point)

ISO 1600, f/6.4, 1/1600 second, 400mm (AF-C Single Point)

ISO 1600, f/6.4, 1/2000, 350mm (AF-C Single Point)

ISO 1600, f/6.4, 1/2000, 350mm (AF-C Single Point)

The racing on Saturday was cut short after English rider Malachi Mitchell-Thomas was killed in an accident which was almost a carbon copy of the one I witnessed on Thursday night - both events captured through my viewfinder. For obvious reasons none of those images will appear here. A very poignant tribute from his father here

Certainly a very sad end to what had been an excellent week's racing. My thoughts with the Mitchell-Thomas family and friends. 

On the camera font I'm under no illusions. The XT1+100-400 is no 1DX + 400mm f/2.8 but I have to say I was very impressed in the areas I had hoped it would excel. I'm heading over to London this weekend to work at the FA Cup final. Not shooting this one, rather on tech for one of our other shooters. Next week I hope to get back out with the XT1+100-400 and do some more testing, this time with the abundance of surfers, paddle boarders and kayaks which dot our wonderful coastline.