Family sports

17 comments on Family sports
1 minute

There was a little Tura P150 left in the Nikon F2A. Several of our kids were home for a visit and my wife led several of them into the yard to play bocce. Games like this aren’t my thing, but photographing the family playing them is. To stay out of the game field I needed a long lens, so I mounted my 135mm f/3.5 AI Nikkor.


I don’t use this 135mm lens much. It’s a little too long for the kind of photography I usually do, although it’s been useful for a handful of the portraits I’ve made. It was nice to give it some exercise.

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17 responses to “Family sports”

  1. marcusterrypeddle Avatar

    I had to look up bocce in wikipedia to see what sort of game it is. It looks fun. If you feel brave, maybe next time you could get a wide angle lens and sit right in front of the players as they throw. :)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      And get conked in the head by the ball!

  2. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    We’ve got bocce areas right at some of the lakefront parks in my city. You can join a club if so desired, but the fields are always busy with bocce fans.

    The 135mm today seems like an odd ball lens sized, but was very common back in the late 60’s and early 70’s. It seemed like one of the next lenses people would buy after their first camera purchase. That and the 28mm, which is why there are so many 28’s around used and they are so cheap. Left over thinking from the rangefinder era, is what made the 85mm so popular as a portrait lens, and short tele. This lens, for most rangefinders, being the longest lens you could probably focus accurately with most rangefinders base lengths, as well as not being too large, size wise, to creat an unwieldy package. In the early 70’s, Nikon seemed to put on their big push to get people interested in their 105mm, and generated a lot of advertising associated with that. My first auxiliary lenses for my Nikon early in my career, the 105 and the 35. This ended up In people getting interested in lenses in the 100/105 range for whatever camera system they had.

    But prior to that, most prosumer buyers were talked into buying the 135mm because they wanted to get closer to something they wanted to photograph, rather than do portraits. The same thinking is what sold the 28 over the 35; nonprofessionals wanted to see a pronounced wide effect, rather than use a wide angle that might meet their requirements better, like the 35. When I was in college shooting a Miranda Sensorex, I don’t think they even made an 85, so my first lens was a 135, the 105 they made being too expensive. This lens turned out to be pretty useful shooting races at the Elkhart Lake Road America track, and non-pro sports, where you could get closer to the teams.

    For some reason, to this day, it’s pretty easy and cheap to get a 100/105 or 135 lens used for most vintage equipment, but an 85 is not only harder to get, but sometimes three times the cost of any of the other two and almost priced as new many cases. I bought a Pentax K series lens in 100mm for pocket change, but even a shabby 85 can be well over 300 bucks!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I have 2 135s for Nikon because they’re so plentiful and inexpensive. One was given to me an the other came on a camera. I should sell one of them. I hardly use them. I’ve considered buying an 85 for this system. That does seem like a useful focal length.

      1. Andy Umbo Avatar
        Andy Umbo

        85 to me, seems to be the perfect focal distance for image compression which will render the face details in best form, while supplying a working distance close enough to have a quiet interaction with who you are photographing.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          Yes. With 135, I feel like I’m standing in the next county from the subject.

    2. tbm3fan Avatar

      When I first got my SRT-101 in 1972 the first lens I bought to compliment the standard lens was the Rokkor 200mm f3.5. After that the Rokkor 28mm f2.8. I actually never had a 135mm till I started collecting Minolta after 2000. As for back in the day the Rokoor 85mm f1.7 was way too expensive. Can’t say I have ever shot with just a 135mm.

      1. Jim Grey Avatar

        200! I’ve yet to find a good use for a fixed 200, though I do like it as the max end of a zoom.

  3. Theron Avatar

    Fun stuff! Somehow I was reminded of playing with frisbees and lawn darts back in the 70’s. Not as refined or genteel as bocce, but the lawn darts could provide a bit of drama!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Especially when one of them pierced someone’s foot!

  4. -N- Avatar

    When I first glanced at the photos, I was thinking, oh, these are old photos! This shows you my age . . . but such memories are fun, and I think that film and prints can do a lot for all of us. The fact you did these in BW as well as just a family gathering is heart warming – beats color pictures of the cappuccino!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I tend to shoot things with whatever camera’s loaded, and this time it was b/w!

  5. Khürt Williams Avatar

    Cornhole has replaced bocce as the “low-skill family and friends” backyard game of choice in many parts of the North East USA. Some people think cornhole is dumb and boring but with cornhole, you can sit right next to the action without fear of a concussion. 😁

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Cornhole has been big in Indiana for 25 years. It’s not my thing. I’d rather watch paint dry.

  6. J P Avatar

    I may still own a set of lawn darts (Jarts). Yes, the ones that were taken off the market because of their dangers.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I wonder how many sets lurk in garages and basements.

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