The Cameras for the Cars

Matt Garrett - Dallas Texas


 Several different techniques above in one single unedited 5 min exposure photo

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If you are reading this and taking interest, you probably are into photography and probably know way more about it than me.  I am just displaying my "ignorance" to the pros, but trying to tell the car people how the photos are done.  Many people ask me, "who takes the photos" and want to know more about them.  Most are taken by myself and many by Jim Hailey.  Although I am a total amateur and really know nothing of photography as I do cars, I do take an interest in it with some years of digital photography experience back to the days of the first junkie digital cameras.  I try and bring the photos of the cars to a level that shows them impressively but also a level of resolution that shows the cars in honest detail too.  These are not "30 footer" shots, as you can click the photos and get up within an inch of the car in some cases.  When you click the photos they will enlarge to the max resolution available to the respective camera body that took the shot, most are 21MP, 13MP, some are 8MP.  Now if you have a slow connection, this can be painful, but well worth the wait!

  The two cameras I have used over the past years are the Canon 5D (and MKII) and the Canon 20D.  I shoot with 2nd generation equipment as I am not a pro, I just buy the pros hand me downs for 1/2 when they buy the latest gismos.  I shot with a 20D for a long time, upgraded to the 5D, but then got another 20D body later as I liked it so much and the build quality that camera had then is only found on the 5D and 1D now.  Having both is nice and each camera has its strong points.  The 5D is a huge full frame 13MP camera that really does not have a whole lot or rivals in digital photo quality.  Its a big heavy beast that has brought digital photography to the level of some pro film cameras.  The 20D is smaller, 8MP and is a 1.6 factor camera.  It does not have the large CMOS sensor of the Full frame cameras like the 1D and 5D but it does multiply a lenses zoom by 1.6, so this can be handy at times.  Because its not full frame, it is fast, smaller, light, but still takes way impressive shots despite being about 3 generations old and 1/2 the resolution of the 5D.  It can hold its own against the 5D quite well, thus I have it too.  Prior to that I used a Sony Mavica FD91.  Not a bad unit when the days of broadband were minimal.  Prior to that I had some really ancient 1st generation cheap digitals.   Some of the photos that look "weak" are still on my site from those cameras.  I bet you can pick them out fast!

   I have a variety of (L professional) lenses I use that can fit any canon EF camera back the the 80s.  Most shots are done free hand, no flash, with a Canon Zoom lens, 24-70MM F2.8L or a 24-105MM F4.0L.  Both some of the best pro lenses canon makes, and these are really what make the photos look good, not me.  I do shoot some of the shallow depth of field photos (these are the ones with the nice background blur) with a Canon 80-200MM F2.8L set wide open.  This lens is called the magic drainpipe by nickname as its massive, heavy and was tons of money new.  It is known for this effect and is one of the best 200MM range lenses made even today.  The other lens is a wide zoom Canon 17-35MM F2.8L.  This is good for up close and in the garage shots.  Most inside shots and interior shots will be with this lens.  All the lenses I currently have are large 2.8 aperture lenses.  These are known as fast lenses and are really good in low light settings, most of when the cars are shot at dusk.

Other than those tools, that's about it.  The cars really are some of the best subjects to photograph for me as they are my love.  I try and accent each cars strong points but their weak points are all in the photos too.  I say my cars have few weak points, but everything has weak points!  I really cannot take a good shot of anything else but a car, and I am not even sure I do that right, but some people have told me I do!

Got any tips, or suggestions, I love to chat and learn more about photography too.


Canon EOS 5D with 28-70MM F/2.8L and 550 Speedlight Flash

Canon 5D with 80-200MM F/2.8L and Speedlight

Canon 20D with 17-35MM F/2.8L and BG-E2 battery/grip

Canon 20D with the 80-200MM F/2.8L and speedlight + grip

Canon 5D with 28-70MM F/2.8L again

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