Last month I was lucky enough to get (for christmas!) a ticket to the Kooyong Classic again, which I can walk to from home – and unlike other years where I’ve taken some sort of medium format photo kit, and made strange shots of the crowd and bits of furniture – this year I brought along a useful kit of sorts, at least insofar as capturing some of the actual activity on court!
The platform of choice this time was the wonderful Olympus OM4t – the last in a line of innovative 35mm SLR’s that are super small and light compared to their modern-day equivalents, with large bright viewfinders and excellent metering. I took along a couple of lenses, but the one I was keen to test (and used most) was an Olympus Zuiko 300mm f/4.5 prime lens.
This kit is quite lightweight, even with all that metal (the OM4t has a titanium shell, and is a charming ‘champagne‘ colour). Focusing is all manual with a split diopter in the viewfinder – and so with sports, you really need to pre-empt the shot you’re going to make. To make things easier – I used Ilford HP5+ film, with an ISO of 400 – so in bright sun, I could shoot almost everything at the fastest possible shutter speed (1/2000th second) to eliminate my own movement, and to capture things like fast racket swings. With 300mm, even halfway up the stands, I was still getting a decent head-to-toe shot of either player – and with a 2x adapter (i.e. 600mm equivalent), I was hard-pressed to get anything wider than head-to-belly button. Conclusion: 300mm is a great focal length for Kooyong, and probably many other sports where you’re not miles away, and the light is good!
Because I mostly shoot Large & Medium format, I often find it hard to actually get through the 36 exposures on a 35mm roll in any useful time (and end up with several camera bodies with quarter of a used roll of film in them, grrr), but this time I was so engaged with the novelty of it all, I went through 3 rolls really rapidly.
That will save the economy.