35mm, Film, 35mm, and scans, Uncategorized, Yashica T2

Losing wind

New World

I tried doing something different.  I tried to give the home developed b/w film a rest, and to concentrate on using up some Poundland C41 colour 35mm film in the Yashica T2.

I don’t like it.  I don’t like the results.  That, combined with the winter light, work pressure, and lack of travel, has killed my photography.  I don’t like the results.  I’m finding myself looking at and appreciating more b/w film than ever.  I lost something.  I’m not going to abandon the Yashica T2 yet, but I’m abandoning the C41.  More Shanghai, Tmax, and Rollei film is on the way.  I miss my medium format as well.  The Bronica SQ-A is a great system camera – I want to use it again.

I’m not happy with my recent foray into C41 35mm.  I need to sniff fixer again.  All that it has taught me is to appreciate the beauty of b/w film photography more.

Above photo taken on the Yashica T2 and Poundland film in Norwich.

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35mm

A 1980’s 35mm Compact Camera

Yashica T2 testing the autofocus in Wisbech Park. Ilford HP5+ film. Developed in Ilford LC29. Scanned on Epson V500.

I don’t often get an urge for a camera, but just lately, I’ve had some kind of nostalgic desire to get hold of a half decent 1980’s 35mm film compact camera, and yesterday, I got one.

Back in the early 1980’s, I couldn’t afford a decent SLR camera.  My brother bought this knock out Canon AE1 35mm SLR.  I was bowled over by it, but there was no way that I could go without beer long enough in order to buy one.  My Bro recommended that I bought a “35mm compact camera”.  Until then, other than a brief flirtation with a Yashica TLR, I’d only ever owned 126 film Kodak Instamatics, a Polaroid, and God awful 110 pocket cameras.  So a half decent 35mm compact would be a step up!  A visit to a Norwich camera shop, and I purchased one.  I can’t remember which one!  It may have been a Canon AF35M.  Anyway, I remember a salesman trying to explain to me about lens quality.  As they usually did.  I do remember that this 35mm compact camera had state of the art gadgets, including a newfangled space age auto focus, and motorised film advance.  Wow.  I remember reading the user manual about this head screwing technology.

I continued to use 35mm AF compact cameras (with a brief flirtation with Kodak disc film) all the way until I discovered digital around 2003.  Digital came in, 35mm film compact cameras went the way of the dinosaur.  They cram boxes in charity shops and in car boot sales.  Yesterday’s technology.  Most of these 35mm film compact cameras were not anything special.  However, a small number of them were something a bit special.  The Yashica and Contax T series of compacts, were manufactured with highly reputable 35mm f/3.5 Carl Zeiss T* Tessar lenses.  Collectors and those in the know, stalk car boots looking for these treasures.  A VGC Yashica T4 or T5 fetches three figures from the collectors and hipsters on Ebay.  I kid you not, a good GBP £120 – £220 for a compact film camera.  These are not rubbish cameras.

My relatively old and lower status T2 (manufactured c1986) cost me considerably less than that, but just hearing that motorised film advance and rewind sends me back thirty years ago.  I only received it yesterday, I want to use up some Poundland C-41 film in it.  A fun camera to carry around.  I ran a test film through it yesterday, a spare 35mm cassette of Ilford HP5+ that I could quickly develop, then dry overnight.  It works (unlike the last T2 that I bought – see a few posts back).

The above photo is nothing special, except that it demonstrates the daylight flash function, the auto focus works (although this is not an action AF), and the lens does give good shallow DOF when required.

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35mm

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.

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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.

 

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

The 50p Camera Project – Early results

The Axe Murder Schoolgirl. Yashica AW Mini compact camera. AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 35mm film from Poundland

To recap the Project – I’m to attempt to make a half decent Flickr Photo Gallery, using a Yashica AW Mini 35mm compact camera, that I bought from a car boot sale for 50p, loaded only with discount film (AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200) from the Poundland store.  This is discount ultra low budget photography!

 

The Rat Run Home. As above – Yashica AW Mini and Poundland film.

I’m allowed to scan the negatives, and to post scan edit the digital images using free-to-download Open Source image editing software, in the form of Gimp 2.8.

The Irrigation Reel Drum. As above. Yashica AW Mini and Poundland film.

This camera dates to around 1991, and is a typical cheap black plastic 35mm film autofocus compact pocket camera of that period.  It is not one of the fancy T-series of Yashica compacts, it does not feature a Carl Zeiss lens.

Thomas Clarkson Monument, Wisbech. As above. Yashica AW Mini and Poundland film.

I’m not really getting enough time for my photography lately.  Too much work, not enough play.

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

50p camera meets Staffy

Dudget camera meets Staffy. Yashica AW Mini compact camera. AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 35mm film from Poundland. Post neg scan enhancement using Gimp 2.8 free open source software.

Woof!  From the first roll from that Yashica AW Mini that I recently bought at a car boot sale in Wisbech, for 50p.  Now, this is not one of those fancy Yashica T compacts with Carl Zeiss lenses.  This is the budget AW (All Weather) Mini, circa 1991 production, featuring a plain Yashica lens.  It was immaculate when I bought it, but around the time that I took the above photo, the exposure button fell apart, and I lost the soft plastic cover.  It’s now held in with sellotape!

One issue with the camera, I wish that I could turn off that damned auto flash.  Never mind, I’ll regard it as part of it’s charm.  I love the dog owner’s leg, and his tucked in jogging bottoms.  For that reason, I’m submitting it as the first photo for my 50p camera gallery project.

Other news:  I’ve found this brilliant funny community website, called “You Are Not A Photographer“, where people submit awful photographs by Faux Photographers – people with no skill or training that with very little experience of photography, set themselves up as professionals, often with FaceBook professional photography pages, and advertising for business.  It sort of ties in with my own observations in earlier blogs, of beginners that give themselves FB pages and ‘photography studio’ names.

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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.

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