210mm is FINE

A few posts ago, I mentioned this year’s zoo project, and my wariness about the suitability of my existing Mamiya lens arsenal to the larger, open plains zoo at Werribee. So, I’d done a bit of searching for a longer focal length – specifically in the 500mm range, for which there are two choices: an f/5.6 telephoto design, and a fixed f/8 mirror (catadioptric) type. Well, the mirror one is only useful with lots of light and gives no flexibility (it only has f/8!) – which isn’t really the thing for wildlife photos – so the f/5.6 one was the go, and I was getting mildly excited about trying to find one. Trouble is, I had dilly-dallied and procrastinated to the point whereupon today, actually going to the Werribee Zoo – I still only had my trusty 210mm for things far away.
Well, it turns out this is FINE!
This photo of a friendly Giraffe, from the window of the safari bus is almost a mid shot – with plenty of detail and not cropped from the 6×4.5cm frame at all! With an Orange Filter and 400 ISO film (Ilford Delta 400) at f/11ish – I was getting shutter speeds of 1/250th second – plenty of speed for handheld stuff at that focal length.
This satisfied looking Bison, again from the bus, filled the frame even more…
The only things I didn’t get close enough to (for a satisfying composition) were a Brolga, and the group of Rhinoceros’s. I’ll just have to keep going throughout the year ’till they’re closer to ME! Speaking of which – they’re building a giant Gorilla compound at the zoo currently, which is meant to open in April (and then they’re stealing three Gorillas from the Melbourne Zoo) – so I’ll have to come back then.
Werribee zoo also has a few chickens roaming about, which reminded me of the Finnish hens I spent too much time watching at Helsinki Zoo last year. Memories…

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