A sudden yearning

Yashica T2 35mm compact camera. AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 film from Poundland. A bit of post scanned neg. post process on Gimp 2.8 software.

I have this sudden yearning to use a Yashica T series compact camera with a bit of colour film.  I did buy a Yashica T2 three years ago – and used it to take the above photo.  The camera that I bought though was sick.  After one test film, I put it back down.  Not long after, I discovered the 50p camera – my Olympus XA2, then moved onto home developed b/w film.

It has been said that a truly creative photographer can use any camera to make good photography.  However, gear is still important.  We do become attached to our cameras.  I’m interested in photographs that portray this, that show people with their cameras.  Are cameras like pets?  Do their owners resemble them?  I love seeing young film photographers on Flickr and Tumblr, flaunting their vintage cameras.  There is something personal about a camera.  It is not just about function.  If it is, then I suggest that you buy whatever the latest magazine bench mark tells you to, no doubt some Canikon DSLR.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s I couldn’t afford a “proper” camera.  No classic SLRs for me back then.  However, I did graduate from some pretty awful Polaroids, 126 Kodaks, and 110 pocket cameras to owning a series of 35mm compact cameras.  Autofocus and motor film wind were amongst the cool features of this breed.  Some of them, including the Yashica T series, even sported posh lens.  There were 35mm compact cameras, then there were 35mm compact cameras with Carl Zeiss.

As above.

I think my yearning now may be based on a nostalgia for those cameras.  I want to hear the motor winding the film on and then back.  I want to manipulate that auto focus.  I want to see if people on the street recognise that I’m using an artefact from 1980s culture, if they look around when they hear the motor.  Will young people wonder what that was?

Yes, you’ve guessed it, a T2 is already on it’s way to me.  I’ve finally given up looking for one at the car boot sales.  I’ve even decided on the first test film – an unloved 35mm Kodak Color film sitting on a bedroom shelf, that was given to me.  Fingers crossed that this one isn’t sick.

Film, 35mm, and scans, Yashica AW Mini - 50p camera project

Back to the Yashica 50p camera

Fenland Sky. Yashica AW Mini compact camera. AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 35mm film from Poundland.

Dog Attack. Yashica AW Mini compact camera. AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 35mm film from Poundland.

Scanning a roll of film from the Yashica AW Mini.  This was the camera that I was using in the 50p Camera Project I.  I sort of lost a bit of interest in it a few weeks ago when I bought an Olympus XA2 zone focus compact camera also for 50p, a much better quality camera, and launched the 50p Camera Project II.

As a recap, the Yashica AW Mini is nothing special.  An early 1990s compact autofocus 35mm film camera.  You know the sort of thing – black plastic, designed to slip into a pocket.  Point and click – motor wind on.  Automatic built in flash is a bit of a problem.  You can force it on, but not off.  I repeat, this is NOT one of the T series of Yashica compacts that sported a Carl Zeiss lens.  This is a relatively low budget compact with a plain unbranded lens.  The result though might be of appeal to some of the Lomo and Toy camera brigade. The Poundland film is giving great results with strong colours.

Yashica AW Mini compact camera, circa 1991 job. The 50p camera project 1. Taken with Sony A200 DSLR.


Cameras and equipment, Pentax K110D DSLR and SMC Pentax-M 50mm F/1.7 prime lens, Rants and discussions, Yashica AW Mini - 50p camera project

The 50p Camera Project

My Yashica AW Mini. Bought for 50p. Taken with Pentax K110D DSLR. SMC Pentax-M 50mm F/1.7 manual focus prime lens.

The NA Scope on the top of the Yashica AW Mini. As above.

Right, I’ve set myself a challenge…

Exactly what does constitute a good photograph, and good photography?  For some it might be simply the clarity, colour, and detail of a beautiful landscape,  For other’s a perfectly exposed high quality portrait with a perfect depth of field.  These types of photo require skill.  They also require high quality lenses, high quality cameras / sensors, tripods, lighting equipment, reflectors, soft boxes, and possibly even the ultra expensive Adobe Photoshop software package.  A combination of a skilled photographer and a fat budget.

However, here’s a little secret.  Not all good photography has great clarity, realistic colour, and detail.  Some great photographs can be taken with much cheaper equipment.  Good photography can also be about imagination.  An alternative to good photography might be photos that are 1) interesting, or / and 2) attractive.  I’m not saying that I have any of the skills required to do this, but I’m an amateur, I can have a crack at it.

So the project is simply this.  Take this 50 pence compact autofocus, fill it with Poundland film, see what I can produce.  I won’t be able to manually adjust aperture, shutter speed (or digital ISO).  I’ll be very restricted.  Can I produce a decent gallery of images from it for a Flickr set?

Let’s see.  This is REAL tight fisted photography. Nasty low budget stuff.  Dirty cheap imagery.

Film, 35mm, and scans

More treasures from old film negatives

Family snapshot of my young daughters on a family day out. Taken circa 1998? with some point and shoot autofocus compact camera and Kodak Gold colour 35mm film. Negative scanned with a Canoscan 5600F CCD scanner.  Touched up and cropped with Gimp 2.8 software

Those autofocus compact 35mm film cameras were getting so good during the late 1990s, shortly before digital came along.  I love old family snapshots as I call them.  I loved those boxes of family photos that we all had, and are now threatened with extinction, or at least, lacking the richness of odd, unselected, poor shots that told so many tales.  So I’m gradually sieving through a box of film negatives from the 1990s, and CCD scanning them.  I keep coming up with beauts, and treasured moments like the above one.

Family snapshots – a forgotten treasure and art.  Social history.