I love to photograph sport events. Always with film, never in digital. Sometimes, I use 120mm film rolls, which allows to shot only 12 photos. Here you can find some quick tips to make the most out of 120 films using a toy camera.
The medium format film is fantastic. Great plasticity, very small grain, great details on the negative, especially if you use a professional camera as an Hasselblad or a camera with a sharp lens as a Rolleiflex or even a Lubitel. With these cameras, you have full control of times and aperture, so if you have some experience using an analogue camera, it is very difficult to waste shots. The problem is different if you use a toy camera, as a Diana, an Holga or a Ferrania Eura, because these cameras have a limited possibility of choosing the exposure setting. All these camera have a fixed shutter time and few values available of aperture (two for the Holga, three for the Diana).
So, first of all, you need to choose the adequate film for the event. For example, in a sunny day, you can use a 100 ISO speed film, while in a cloudy or a winter day you need more sensitivity, and in this case is better to use a 400 or even a 800 ISO speed film
You might avoid situation in strong backlight, because the plastic lens of a toy camera is greatly subject to flare. Sometimes, a lens hood can help you when the light becomes comes from a lateral side (forming an angle of 90 degrees with the axis of the lens). A simple lens hood can be constructed by wrapping a matte black cardboard, giving it a cone-shaped form.
The image is sharp a the center of the image, and blurred in the corners. So, you must point the center of the viewfinder toward the most interesting parts of the subject.
If some clouds appear in the sky, you have to open the diaphragm setting the camera on the cloudy option: remember that an overexposed photo is more printable than a underexposed. The medium speed modern films tolerate only one stop error in underexposure, but from one to four stops in overexposure.
Stay close to the subject if you do not have a telephoto lens (there is one available for the Diana F+ camera)
Avoid situation of strong light and deep shadows in a photo, searching for a quite uniform exposure condition.
Take care about the composition. Even with a toy camera, always think before pressing the shutter button. Take care about the parallax error (these camera are not SLR!)
Remember that a toy camera is fun, but because of its limited possibilities of setting, these type of cameras tends to complicate your life rather than simplify it! Always take care of the light conditions, the distance from the subject, the possibility of light leaks and the limited shutter speed (for fast moving subject, as in a car race, you might try a panning).
All these photos were taken with a Diana F+ and two 120mm film rolls. I wasted only a photo on a total of 24 because I advanced an unexposed film frame for my distraction: to avoid this problem (and the risk of double exposures) remember to advance the film just after you have token a photo!
The two teams are Rugby Como and Busto and these photos were taken in the early autumn 2012.