October in the Northeast US means cooler weather, changing leaves, and Halloween. In the automotive community, it also means it’s time for the annual Joe Pearlstein Memorial MR2/AllTrac Bear Mountain Run! 2014 marks the 18th year this event has been held, and it showed no signs of stopping. Over 100 MR2s appeared for the second year in a row, and over $3000 in donations was raised for the American Cancer Society.
As far as shooting the event, I tried something different this year. I had the Sony A6000, successor to the NEX-6, in my possession since its release in April. Having the same sensor as Nikon’s D5300, its image quality was almost neck and neck with my Nikon D7100. Considering it shot at 11fps (vs 6/7 on the D7100), I wanted to give it a good test for getting more usable shots with motion blur. The more shots per second, the better the chance of a sharp one, considering the random movement of a sports car with a stiff suspension. The camera was capable, now I just needed a lens for the run.
My plan originally included picking up a Sigma 60mm F/2.8 DN lens, which was rated as the sharpest lens for Sony’s E-mount system on DXOmark. Unfortunately, problems in shipping kept me from getting the lens in time. I made a last second decision (considering the lens was arriving the day before the meet) to pick up Sony’s 50mm F/1.8 OSS (Optical Steady Shot image stabilization). Honestly, I’m glad it happened that way.
For my needs, the Sony 50mm is superior, even being slightly less sharp than the Sigma 60mm. The OSS and F/1.8 were a potent combo for shooting at night, as you’ll see below. I was able to use a slower shutter speed due to the OSS, down to around 1/60, where the Sigma would give me blurry shots at 1/100. Plus, F/1.8 gives me 1.3 stops of extra light vs F/2.8. Both combine to give a cleaner, brighter image than the Sigma could ever provide. The OSS also helped keep the system a bit steadier on the road for a better chance at sharp shots. And the bokeh (out of focus blurry area) is much smoother. I don’t really miss the extra sharpness from the Sigma, as it wasn’t always apparent in the comparison shots I made before selling it.
The shots below were taken with a combination of the above Sony 50mm F/1.8 OSS, the Sigma 30mm F/2.8 DN, and a Nikon Series E 28mm F/2.8 + Metabones Speed Booster. All mounted on a more-than-adequate-for-the-job Sony A6000.
ENJOY THIS YEAR’S MR2 BEAR MOUNTAIN!