Russian photographer Sergey Savrasov travels all over the world to cover Formula 1 for Spacesuit Media. He combines Nikon cameras with Sigma lenses for an effect so spectacular that his images have been used by four-times world champion Lewis Hamilton.
Formula 1 is viewed by many as the pinnacle of motorsport, boasting the most advanced racing technology, the most talented engineers and the most skilful drivers.
Photographing the sport is no mean feat either. Simply qualifying for a media pass to an F1 event is an achievement in itself. Once on site, photographers’ access to drivers and team garages is tightly controlled throughout a race weekend, making it a real challenge to shoot in the artistic, portrait-led style that Spacesuit is known for. And the sport is so alluring that it draws many top motorsport photographers, making it difficult to create imagery that stands out among this expert crowd.
Sergey has quickly carved out a reputation among the brightest and best in F1 with his vibrant, energetic imagery – and, like many in the Spacesuit community, he is a big #SIGMAUK fan.
“I use Nikon cameras,” Sergey begins. “You might be surprised to know that I use a good old D3S as my main body, with a D700 with battery grip as my secondary body. The battery grip makes the D700 significantly faster with 8fps bursts against the standard 5fps, which is very helpful when shooting motorsports.”
Sergey uses an array of lenses to tackle different situations but SIGMA products always feature at the top of his list.
“One of my all-time favourites is my SIGMA 35mm F1.4 | Art,” he says. “It is very sharp and it provides gorgeous contrast and depth to a photograph. I use it for scenery shots, wide-angle panning shots, headshots and for awesome detail shots, which I enjoy capturing the most. I like to shoot with wide open aperture – that’s how I achieve this ‘cinematic’ effect when shooting portraits, cars or details. I need real sharp F1.4 aperture for it and that’s where the SIGMA Art series lenses are at their best.”
That’s not the only SIGMA lens in Sergey’s kit bag however. “I have a SIGMA 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary which is very useful when working in the pit lane,” he goes on. “This lens allows me to capture those beautiful ‘close-up’ shots of drivers even while they are deep within their garages. I’ve found that this lens is not quite so crisp for track action at the full 600mm but, looking at its price, you can’t ask for more.”
While price is one factor in selecting lenses, a professional motorsport photographer like Sergey requires many other features too.
“The SIGMA 150-600mm | Contemporary lens is the best lens that you can buy for its price, with fantastic focusing and great build quality,” he states. “The SIGMA 35mm | Art lens had been on my ‘to buy’ list since it was recommended it to me by some wedding photographer friends. Then I tried it by myself and I thought, ‘I just have to have this lens!’ I love its versatility – you could shoot literally every aspect of a race with just the SIGMA 35mm | Art mounted on your camera.”
When working in such a fast-moving environment, in all weathers and many miles away from the refuge of the media centre, Sergey must be able to have absolute confidence in his equipment – and he trusts his SIGMA lenses absolutely.
“I use my SIGMA lenses almost every day in the toughest conditions – whether hot as hell or cold and rainy – and these lenses never let me down,” Sergey says. “The only thing that I’ve done is tighten some screws. I can honestly say that, in my professional experience, SIGMA builds one of the best (if not the best) lenses for its price with superb quality. I especially like Art series for its solid metal body and great picture quality.”
Sergey hasn’t quite finished adding to his Sigma collection just yet. “I’d like to try out the rest of the SIGMA Art series; 14mm F1.8 | Art, 24mm F1.4 | Art, 50mm F1.4 | Art, 105mm F1.4 |Art and the mighty SIGMA 500mm F4 | Sport,” he confesses. “And, like other Spacesuit photographers, I can definitely recommend that professional photographers try Sigma lenses, for their unique picture quality, durable construction and the fact that they don’t cost a fortune!”