Are TLRs a good way to discover medium-format photography?

I guess another way to pose the question would be “are TLRs still relevant”?

Film photography appears to be holding its own in this digital world but have twin-lens reflex cameras lost their appeal? Obviously, not all vintage and classic camera sales go to just collectors – many of these 40 and 50-year-old cameras are being purchased and used by today’s crop of film photographers looking for a way to explore medium-format images without breaking the bank.

dscf3787

Typical twin-lens reflex (TLR) film camera.

I decided to take a snapshot of just completed sales of cameras that were listed as “TLR – Film Cameras – Sold” on eBay.

tlr sold list

The top six are –

  • Mamiya
  • Yashica
  • Rolleiflex
  • Lubitel
  • Rollei
  • Konica Minolta

This list goes back to the last few days of January 2019 and does include some accessories (lenses, lens caps, cases) that are not cameras. So the total numbers will be a bit skewed.

Here’s the list searching for “TLR Camera – Film Cameras – Sold” on eBay which removed accessories like lenses, cases and other minor parts.

tlr list

The top six are –

  • Yashica
  • Mamiya
  • Rolleiflex
  • Rollei
  • Konica Minolta
  • Minolta

This represents an unscientific look at the popularity of TLRs as a viable tool for enjoying medium-format (6×6 cm) photography. 120 roll film is still widely available and it’s easy to find online companies that develop the film.

53580006

6×6 cm image taken with my Yashica-Mat EM TLR. Learning to compose and shoot this square format takes a bit of practice but the quality of the finished picture is worth it.

dscf3060

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

My camera shop is always open and it can be found at http://www.ccstudio2380.com – I’ve got a big sale in progress with some super savings… check it out!

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Advertisements

Yashica-Mat EM

My favorite go-to medium format camera with a built-in exposure meter (EM). This one is from 1964.

25572955935_05d8dd716d_o (2)

Woodblock print by Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858)

Studio Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S9900W

For more about the Yashica-Mat EM please visit one of my previous posts here.

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

Yashica-Mat EM… on assignment… update 12.9.2016

Another look at one of my favorite Yashicas to use – my Yashica-Mat EM is still going strong (since 1964) and the meter is as accurate as ever. Take a peek at the original post – if you please.

Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic

This month’s assignment (actually from September) is to load some Fujifilm into our Yashica-Mat EM and enjoy the benefits that only medium format film photography can fulfill.

Oh the joys of composing 6 x 6 cm images through a pop-up viewing hood in bright sunlight. What I do find nice is that the focusing dial is on the camera’s left side… a natural place for it to me. The EM has a built-in exposure meter and a ‘computer’, slide rule actually, to adjust the aperture and shutter speeds which you then set by using the two thumb wheels. I’ve learned over the years to use the guess method of focusing – I’ve learned how to judge distances by eye and then I set the focus on the marked dial. If you’re shooting in bright light and use the smallest apertures then the dept of field will cover most inaccuracies in…

View original post 578 more words

Happy SUNday! – Have you been flashed lately?

It’s easy to forget that at one time getting the right amount of light on your subject was no easy task…

Every one of us with a smartphone carries around a powerful “photo machine” in our pockets or purses. Not that long ago, well really a long time ago now when you think about it, these monsters were the epitome of high tech flash units and cameras in the 1950s and 1960s.

23804633236_80f738fa68_o (1)

Yashica Mat EM – 1964

Pictured above are a fully functional Yashica-Mat EM and Yashica PRO 40 Quick-Lite electronic flash. This was “as-simple-as-it-gets” with a medium format camera in that era. The EM has a built-in exposure meter (not a thru-the-lens type) and the PRO 40 was a straight forward light machine. Both units together with the 8 AA batteries and a roll of 120 film weigh in at nearly 4 pounds! Yikes!

25051924236_c8965f9d22_o

A close-up view of the exposure meter and scales on the Yashica Mat EM.

Going even further back in time, this Yashica Flex S is mated with a Minicam flash unit.

16663440081_0346b92713_o (1)

Yashica Flex S – 1956 with Minicam flash. Powered by two “D” cell batteries.

The Yashica Flex model S also has a built-in selenium cell light meter made by Sekonic (that little thingy attached to the side of the camera). The cells are located behind the nameplate flap which can be opened to gather more light in low-light situations.

15277870608_de84055002_o

The attached light meter made by Sekonic for Yashica. Here pictured on a Yashica AS-II camera.

The Minicam flash advertised itself as “sunlight at night”! If you can remember back to the days that these types of flash units were used you can agree – they did make “sunlight at night” as you were often blinded for quite some time afterward.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com for some great vintage cameras and photo gear. – Chris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

 

Shooting in squares…

It’s tough to think square again! I’m spoiled (aren’t we all) by the ease of digital photography – nice proportions – wide screen – big images – bold colors – lots of megapixels. Exposures? Shutter speeds? Composition? No worries – the technological gems we hang from our necks will think for us. I’m as guilty as anyone – I love what digital can do and what it can’t.

Now try to think of the world in little squares – 6 x 6 centimeter squares to be exact. It’s hard to do – modern formats are always elongated squares. Who loads square images on their blog? The square format went out with the Instamatic! But if you’re lucky enough to own (or have access to) a medium format (6×6) camera then you too can shoot in squares.

I recently took one of my Yashica TLRs out on a date – threw in some fresh Fujifilm and off I went. I must confess – I love color! Sure I like an occasional fling with some black and white (Neopan 100 Acros) but color gets me going. Not “computer generated color” – the subtle color you see only on film. It’s there (just like in real life) but it doesn’t tackle you to the ground like some overly saturated digital image. Just nice and easy color.

These following images were taken with my Yashica-Mat EM twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera. Exposures were determined (suggested actually) by the EM’s on board exposure meter. Yashica claims that it’s built-in but it’s really just attached to the left side of the body by three screws and a wire. No TTL or coupled metering here… just a bunch of tiny numbers on top of more tiny numbers with an almost invisible pointer pointing at those tiny numbers. I chose Fujifilm’s Fujicolor PRO 400H color negative film because I enjoy shooting with Fujifilm and usually like the results. I will point out that no post production was done on these images. No cropping, no color adjustments – they’re just as they were when developed and scanned by the lab (which was The Darkroom).

53580001

This is actually image 12 on the roll. Taken on day 2 of my travels. Perfect small town America shot. I lost my bright sun from the day before but the Fujicolor 400 made up for the dull sky. Is it properly exposed? Probably not. Off by about 1 stop or so.

53580006

Day 1 – image 7 on the roll. The Fujicolor handled the strong contrast between the sky and building. The Yashica’s meter did a fantastic job. About 1/500 at f/ 16-22.

53580008

Faded Florida – along U.S. Highway 17 in North Florida. High contrast with strong shadows. f/ 16 at 1/500.

53580012

A nice test for the Tomioka 80mm lens. No flare and some nice highlights on the water. 1/250 at around f/ 11-16. I metered to the left of the bridge. Looking south into Florida from Georgia. Highway 17 bridge over the St. Marys River.

53580009

Looking north towards Georgia. The Yashica’s meter did a wonderful job suggesting the proper shutter speed and aperture setting. 1/250 at f/ 16.

Shooting in squares can be fun and challenging. Do I think some of the images would be better in a 6 x 4.5 or 6 x 7 format? Yes – definitely. Can I learn to enjoy squares again? Yes – definitely.

Comments are always appreciated and welcomed. Thanks for your visit!

Chris

 

A beautiful sight…

Nothing like a fresh roll of film in your camera. The possibilities are endless – the results, well I’ll have to wait a week for those. Could be the reason digital became so popular so quickly. Could be why people still load cameras with instant film.

dscf3067

Some Fujicolor Pro 400H color negative film.

It’s a beautiful sight…

Thanks for your visit! Now load up some film!

dscf3068

Yashica-Mat EM… on assignment… update 12.9.2016

This month’s assignment (actually from September) is to load some Fujifilm into our Yashica-Mat EM and enjoy the benefits that only medium format film photography can fulfill.

Oh the joys of composing 6 x 6 cm images through a pop-up viewing hood in bright sunlight. What I do find nice is that the focusing dial is on the camera’s left side… a natural place for it to me. The EM has a built-in exposure meter and a ‘computer’, slide rule actually, to adjust the aperture and shutter speeds which you then set by using the two thumb wheels. I’ve learned over the years to use the guess method of focusing – I’ve learned how to judge distances by eye and then I set the focus on the marked dial. If you’re shooting in bright light and use the smallest apertures then the dept of field will cover most inaccuracies in your focus guess. Saves time and frustration. This month the Yashica-Mat EM (this one is from 1964) I will be using is in perfect condition… all shutter speeds sound correct and the aperture blades behave as they should. The meter does not require batteries and I’m sure most of my bright and sunny shots will be f/ 11 and 16 and f/ 22 for the Fujifilm 400. Below is my favorite one camera-one day bag. It’s made from vintage washed canvas material and is super soft inside and out. I trust it not to scratch my cameras going in and out and once inside, they’re safely cushioned.

dscf3060

My day bag – one camera only. The bag is super soft vintage cotton canvas and has a cushioned liner to protect its precious cargo.

The bag is 100% cotton and made by ‘Rothco’. It was stitched in India which makes me feel a bit better about it. It was purchased at the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum in Ft. Pierce, Florida which helps support this awesome museum. The desert toned U.S. Flag was also purchased there and was added to the bag by me. No worries when I travel with it. No matter what I wear, I’ll always look like an American. I mention this only because when I was a Sailor in the U.S. Navy (a long time ago) we were often told to not look American while travelling overseas – which is a hard thing to do when an aircraft carrier is in a foreign port and 5,000 Sailors were out on liberty.

I plan on shooting two rolls of Fujifilm – gorgeous Neopan 100 Acros and a roll of PRO 400H color negative film. The Yashica has Tomioka Optical made Yashinon 80mm lenses with a fairly bright f/ 3.5 taking lens. The glass is crystal clear and always produces sharp details. The image is nice and bright on the focusing screen and the red grid marks help to keep things straight. I’ll tote along the lens hood just in case. No tripods needed but I may bring along my monopod.

We hope to post our images soon. Now that the fall weather has given us a brake from the oppressive heat and humidity of summer it will be fun to roam about our little town and the adjacent countryside.

dscf3067

Fresh roll of Fujicolor PRO 400H color negative film.

And some of the results…

53580012

Purposely pointed into the low angled sun – great way to test how the lens is going to look. The stars from the highlights on the water was a nice plus. Also a great test for the EM’s exposure meter. I metered off the water well left of the bridge. About 1/250 at f/ 11 maybe f/ 16.

53580006

The Fujicolor did well here. Big contrast in this image between the stark beige of the building and the deep blue sky. Shot at 1/500 around f/ 16-22. No post production of this image. As framed in the focusing hood on the EM.

53580001

Dat two of the photoshoot. I lost the bright sunshine and the sky turned rather blah. Small town America at its best. 1/250 at f/ 11-16. No post production. As developed.

The EM performed beautifully – the built-in exposure meter was spot on and the shutter was accurate. These images were focused at infinity so no real chance to test the accuracy of mid-range focusing. Another time.

Thanks for your visit!

Chris & Carol