I recently had the opportunity to borrow an old film camera, a Yashica D, from a friend. I had never shot with a twin lens reflex camera (TLR) before and it provided some real challenges for me.
It’s a bit awkward to manage as it’s heavier than I’m accustomed to and the dials are on the front of the camera. Also the subject is viewed looking down, at waist level and (this one really took some patience!) the image in the viewfinder is horizontally reversed. Tricky. Additionally, there’s no internal light meter; I downloaded this free app onto my phone to help me determine proper exposure. For someone who’s at ease with a Fuji mirrorless, the Yashica was a whole new ballgame.
After shooting two rolls (12 frames each), I sent the film into The Find Lab. Their customer service is terrific and their turnaround time is pretty terrific too. I felt like a kid waiting for Christmas as I watched for the email saying my digital files were ready for download.
Considering this was my first try with a TLR camera, I’m pleased with the results. Most of the frames turned out properly exposed and I rather like the tones of the film I used. Working with a waist level viewfinder and a somewhat cumbersome camera body meant that each image I made was incredibly (almost painstakingly) deliberate. Shooting with my Fuji is almost second nature, but this Yashica…well, it had me working hard.
This beauty of a camera definitely pulled me out of my comfort zone. Which is actually a really good thing. While I shoot in an intentional and slow style to begin with, the Yashica brought my intention (and slowness) to a whole new level. I haven’t fallen in love with the camera yet but, given some more practice, I just might…