Thursday, September 24, 2009

Yashica TLR

A big welcome to the newest member of the medium-format family! Yesterday class was cancelled and I spotted this sweet little Yashica-Mat on Craigslist. Drove out to Walnut Creek, handed the dude $60 and walked away with the camera, some filters, a carrying bag, and a flash unit. Score!

I'd been thinking about getting a TLR as a sort of step up from the Holga. Don't get me wrong, I love the Holga for its simplicity, hackability, and cult following (how often have you been stopped by someone who says, "OMG! Is that a Holga?!"). But I've been hankering for something that I can turn out some really sharp looking medium format prints with.

A brief intro to the Yashica TLR: They were started as a clone to the Rolleiflex cameras which to my knowledge have been around since the 1920s, but were most popular in the 1950s and 60s, before action photography took off and 35mm and SLRs became the standard.

To focus, the camera is typically held at waist level and the operator looks down onto a ground-glass viewing screen instead of being held up to your face like SLRs and point & shoots. The image is also flipped from left to right, and takes some getting used to.

The top lens is the viewing lens, which feeds the ground-glass, and is used in composing the shot. The lower lens is the taking lens and is the one that exposes the film when the shutter fires. Knobs on the left and right of the two lenses control shutter speed and aperture settings, which on the Yashica-Mat are all part of the Copal shutter system.

Anyway, enough of all that. If you want to find out more about Yashicas or TLRs there are plenty of resources out there. They tend to get a little expensive on eBay, which is why I was stoked to see this one come up on CL. It seems to work just fine except for the B setting, which I understand is caused by dust and buildup in the shutter speed selecting mechanism, and is usually corrected by a little CLA. For now, I don't intend to use the bulb setting much anyway, so I'll probably put a few rolls through it and see how that goes before sending it out for a cleaning.

Happy snapping!

1 comment:

ninie.n.(kdg2)ami said...

nice collection...and it's pretty cheap too:)